Did I miss something while I was away getting my legs torn off over Labor Day weekend? Last time I checked, the Vuelta, especially for sprinters and one-day Worlds contenders, was a drop-in, drop-out sort of event. Certainly, the last three years of points champions haven’t fared nearly as well at other high-profile events.
But not only are the big names sticking around this year, they’re also to determined to finish the race, even deigning to focus on performance, rather than writing the Grand Tour off as “training”.
You’ve got to wonder if Cav’s riding—a few paces below his usual standard—plays into his decision to stick it out to Madrid and battle for every sprint along the way. This Vuelta certainly hasn’t done much to dismiss the notion that he’s a bit soft in the opening stages of Grand Tours, and as a dude who can get emotional in slumps, he might just want to get his confidence back before worlds.
Even among the GC contenders, the race is an all-in affair. The only real knock to be laid against it this season is that fewer of the big stage race names are competing; they seem to think that starting a season in February absolves one of any responsibility of racing past July. Because Eddy Merckx never won Het Volk and Worlds in the same season or anything like that.
On the whole, though, I think it’s fantastic to see a full plate of riders intending to go all out though the end of the season’s final Grand Tour. Sticking it out through races will always rate highly at Cyclocosm, and I think both the fans and race organizers would agree that the 2010 Vuelta has been much better for the change in philosophy.
Of course, I can’t help but think the race-the-Vuelta-hard approach got a serious shot in the arm last year, when Cadel Evans turned a near-miss performance at the Vuelta into a rainbow kit. Lord only knows what sorts of training techniques we’ll see next season if Pippo Pozatto finds himself on the top step of the podium in Geelong.
thoughts on “La Vuelta: Training Race No More”
Indeed a more than entertaining Vuelta, not quite on one level with this year’s Giro but far ahead of the Tour. I wonder if that is the way it’s going to be in the future and how many more great Giros (and Vueltas, although I can’t remember too many good ones like this) it takes to relegate the Tour to be only the second (or at some time third) most important stage race?!
No time for my blog whilst riding the routes of the Vuelta ! Seems like those only going home are those drinking or regretably injured.
When i saw stuey at the beach on rest day ride near Tarragonna i got an Arriverderci from him , now i realise it was code for expect not to see more of me in the next days!
Really dissapointed to see Igor Anton leave thru injury as i enjoyed riding with him and the team that day.
Look to see Nicholas Roche move up the rankings even onto the podium.
Hotel Industry in Spain is CRAP!! Tourist offices not interested in seeing that the tourist gets a fair deal in fact today when i went in to Vallidolid to complain i was told to put bike on street and when i didn´t had the local police do a full body search with me standing around in my briefs whilst they amused themselves for 20 mins but i then took 30mins to get dressed and put my effects in order whilst they got angrier at the delay to their drinking time.
Vuelta is not well attended by Sponsors Guests so can forsee a radical change in the race in the next seasons or will die from lack of interest! Could this be the real reason the racers are making an exceptional effort this season
Spent most of the race in Germany & Austria – it was great being able to go back to the hotel watch the coverage every day on Eurosport. So I am not sure if it was a more exciting race or just more exciting since we could actually follow it every day.
Nice change of pace to see the big boys sticking around longer!
I wonder if that is the way it’s going to be in the future .