Vuelta a España 2018 Stage 14 Preview: Cistierna -> Les Praeres. Nava

Today’s Recap

“Who?” every reporter asks as they rush onto ProCyclingStats to find out a tidbit of information about today’s winner, Óscar Rodríguez.

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Turns out he has done okay in a few Portuguese races this season, finishing 20th overall at La Grandissima, meaning a second placed finish in the young rider’s classification. Aside from that, nothing much. Today definitely marks a breakthrough performance! It was so impressive that he was only 27 seconds slower on the La Camperona climb than best GC rider Quintana.

Favourite from the break Majka came home second on the day and gave a bemused interview post-stage, while Teuns held on to third, denying a late charging Lambrecht.

As mentioned above, Quintana was comfortable and took some time out of his rivals but Yates matched him pedal stroke for pedal stroke until the final 150m. Lopez did well to recover from a mechanical, not losing too much time and gaining some on others. Mas and De La Cruz seem to be timing their peak well and riding into the race. The biggest GC loser on the day was George Bennett who lost 1’46 to Quintana.

However, Herrada held on finishing just behind Bennett so he still leads the race going into another summit finish tomorrow. Let’s have a look at what is in store for the riders.

The Route

More of a sawtooth profile than today’s affair, we are also treated to a brand new finish climb.

vuelta-a-espana-2018-stage-14

We could see the break form on the early unclassified ascent that peaks after only 8km, if not, there will be a tough fight for the following 40kms, possibly more. An easy Cat-3 climb leads the riders into a long descent through the feedzone before the steep Alto de la Colladona (5.4km at 7.5%) awaits.

The Alto de la Mozqueta (10km at 6.3%) and the Alto de la Falla los Lobos (7.1km at 5.2%) follow in the next 60kms but given the 10kms of valley roads between the penultimate and last climb, I can’t see any GC action happening before the summit finish.

les-praeres

Not much to say about the climb really, you just need to look at the gradients to see how tough it is – no kilometre drops under 10%!

How will the stage pan out?

We saw how keen many teams were to get in the break today and just how difficult the stage was to control for those behind. Tomorrow is another day that isn’t too bad to keep check of things in theory but the Vuelta often doesn’t go by the book. I think it is clear after today that the only teams who might chase down the break are Movistar, Astana and Mitchelton. Well, and Cofidis I suppose but they don’t have the firepower to do anything on their own here.

Mitchelton provided a little help today but as they were so keen to get rid of the jersey the other day, I think they will prefer to let the other two teams tire themselves out. Both Astana and Movistar were the most active in chasing the break back today but they left it too late if they were hoping for a stage win. Will they make the same mistake tomorrow or will they just let the break go and save their energy?

Possibly the latter, again, for like what seems the umpteenth day in a row!

TheBreakawayLottery

Break Candidates

Not going to bore you here because I myself am getting pretty bored of trying to come up with some new names but not straying too far from my set group. Names in a hat time.

Vincenzo Nibali – Getting back somewhere near where he should be, he’s been active and managed to get into the break the other day. Took it easy this afternoon, possibly saving himself for one of the coming stages.

Tao Geoghegan Hart – Same reasons as yesterday’s preview pretty much! Sky appear to be trying to get riders into the breaks and TGH is one of the nominated few. He’s made some that have been brought back but can he make one that sticks?

Mikel Bizkarra – Two in two for Euskadi Murias? The Spaniard climbed well today beating some strong climbers such as Bennett, Woods and Herrada. He could spring a surprise.

Igor Anton – Dimension Data now find themselves in second place in the team classification so I expect them to have numerous riders in the breaks over the coming stages. Anton was strong in Burgos but has been quiet this whole race. Is he saving himself?

Prediction

Breakaway wins again and I’ll go for Nibali.

Milano-Sanremo 2018 - edizione 109 - da Milano a Sanremo (294 km)

Betting

0.5pt WIN on them all

Nibali 50s, the rest are 80s.

Thanks as always for reading. Who do you think will win tomorrow and why? Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.

 

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