Yup, I’m still not 100% over Cannondale’s tactics on Stage 9. Moving on…
No “Rest-day recap” or that from today as I am short of time so let’s get straight into what is in store for the riders tomorrow!
An easy stage by Vuelta standards with only 1350m of elevation gain…
It just so happens to be though that the majority of it all comes at once.
The day starts off simply, with a small uncategorised climb at the 6km mark. From there, the next 65km or so are all false-flat descent pretty much, before we hae another 50km of flat.
It will take some luck but also strong legs to get into the break on the day!
There is one clear test for the stage; the back-to-back Cat-3 then Cat-1 ascents. Combined together, it looks like the following.
21.3km at 4.8% isn’t too tough for a professional peloton, but it is not exactly easy either. The first 15km in fact are perfect for the stronger, all-round guys in the bunch who can put out a massive power. However, it is the final 6km that could be difficult. Averaging just over 7.5%, this is where the lighter, more traditional climbers will hope to make a difference.
Once over the top of the climb, the riders will face a very technical descent which could be made worse by the predicted bad weather.
Let’s hope everyone stays upright!
With 22km of mostly descent to the finish line, there is a good chance the riders over the climb first will contest for the stage win. Unless anyone takes some risks from behind on said descent!
How will the stage pan out?
With the way this Vuelta is going then yes, I think that’s what is most likely!
Sky will have been in dreamland after Stage 9, getting a stage win while doing no more than 5% of the work throughout the day. With that chalked off and Froome in a strong position, they no longer need to risk riding for stage glory, and they can let the bonus seconds be taken by a rider up the road. Not that they were chasing for many stages anyway!
The threat of bad weather also helps the breakaway in the sense that a few of the GC guys might want an easier descent and reduce their risk of crashing because they won’t be going full gas. Conversely though, someone who is a very competent descender could make some large gaps. It is perfectly posed in that respect!
We could see a team help chase but I’m scratching my head as to who that would be. Quick Step for Alaphilippe? Or Cannondale again? 🙈
It makes no sense for a team to do that, so we’ll once again see a big fight to get into the break.
I named 4 hopefuls on Twitter before, but I’m going to add another to that list now…
What a showman! The Swede looked very strong in the breakaway on Stage 9 and he was the only rider able to keep up with Soler on the tough, steep climb. Not bad for someone of his size! The start of the stage tomorrow is perfect for him to make the move and he’ll just have to hope that there are only a few good climbers in with him. He’ll eat up the 3rd Cat and be close to the front on the 1st Cat section but it all depends who is in the move with him. Let’s hope he’s rested up well.
I was impressed with how long the youngster held on in the main peloton up the final climb on Stage 9. Unfortunate on the opening day when he crashed in the TTT, he seems to be going better day by day. A bit of an uknown rider at this level, he could use that to his advantage in the break. Still without a pro win he’ll have to dig very deep tomorrow to change that, but I’ve seen stranger things happen.
After coming into professional cycling “late”, the Spaniard has really taken a step up this year. Attacking earlier in the race, he was very strong on the finish of stage 9, only losing 27 seconds and beating Yates (Adam) and Kruijswijk. Not bad! Movistar have nothing to lose now in this race, so they’ll be sending riders up the road every day. He could be one of those guys and given his form, he could well deliver.
Exceptional in the Tour until his abandon, the Kiwi is easing himself into this race; looking to peak later on. I think 9 stages is a good enough warm up! If he can get back to the form and climbing legs that he had in France then few riders will be able to distance him on the ascent. Can he drop everyone and come to the line solo?
Now, for that added rider…
I had completely forgot that I had this stage outlined as a potential one for the Movistar man. “Why?” you ask…Well, he is from Murcia! He made the break earlier in the race but did a lot of work for Soler. I think he’ll be close to full fitness now and the extra motivation of riding on home roads could see him through. It will certainly help knowing every inch of that descent in the rain.
Safe Pick – GC guy, Adam Yates.
You’re running out of GC riders, aren’t you? With another potential break win then you’ll want to be backing an overall contender. We should see some attacks on the climb from the main guys but they might not come to too much. Yates seems in OK form at the moment and it saves the “best” riders for later in the race.
Wongshot Pick – Pedrero, i.e. Breakaway rider.
Go for it, c’mon!
Lanterne Rouge Pick – Schwarzmann
A consistently low finisher, I like his form!
Break to win, and I’ll go for heart over head…
No, it’s not Ludvigsson, instead I’ll once again curse Fernandez.
I’m a big fan of Ruben’s and I’ve enjoyed see him progress steadily over the past few seasons. A Vuelta win in his home town would be an incredible achievement and one that is certainly a possibility!
I was going to stick with my 2pts a day rule, but I’m chucking that out the window here…
0.5pt EW on them all
Pedrero 100/1 @ Betfred
Ludvigsson 300/1 @B365
Bennett 150/1 @ Lads
Tolhoek 200/1 @ Boyles
Fernandez 150/1 @ Coral
Thanks as always for reading! Who do you think will win tomorrow? Will it be the break, or will the GC guys come out to play? Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.