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The Vuelta 2012

Discussion in 'Cycling' started by G&GR News Bot, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. G&GR News Bot Bob McCowan (2)

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    Stage One: Pamplona (TTT) 16.5km
    Terrain: Flat
    Given the short distance of this circuit, it is clear that organizers don’t want to see too many time gaps between the top sides. The circuit provides some novelty value, as many parts of the route are the same as to the one where the traditional running of the bulls takes place. The course it relatively simple until the teams enter the final few kilometres through Pamplona’s central streets. It is here that the well-drilled teams will look to take advantage of the technically turns and narrow streets that may provide challenges for those less competent teams. Look to see Team Sky and Rabo-Bank stamp their authority in this stage.
    Stage Two: Pamplona-Viana 181.4KM
    Terrain: Rolling
    The opening road race stage provides a rare opportunity for the sprinters, as the race organizers opted against the inclusion of the difficult climb of the Etxauri. A typically rolling stage, there is still one categorized climb, a category 3 on the Alto de la Chapela, giving an opportunity to any who look to state an early claim on the King of the Mountains Jersey. The final 800m could prove to be tricky for some already tired sprinters, as it finishes on a small rising hill in Viana.
    Stage Three: Faustino V- Eibar (Arrate) 155.3km
    Terrain: Medium Mountains
    Unlike the Tour de France, the Vuelta avoids easing the cyclists into the event. This stage see’s the first major trek into the mountains for the cyclists, with three categorized climb leading into the final ascent of the Arrate that rises 410m in just 5km. The big challengers will emerge, but don’t expect to see too many time gaps established. Expect to see Euskaltel aim for the stage win due to their traditional support in the Basque Country.
    Stage Four: Baracaldo- Estacio de Valdezcaray 160.6km
    Terrain: High Mountains
    The first major stage for the riders see’s the race head through the Basque Country, ultimately finishing in the wine-centre of Rioka. Some riders will be familiar with one of the more treacherous climbs on this stage, the climb of Orduna, which is a regular feature on the Tour of the Basque Country. The stage then continues through the vineyards to reach the brutal final climb to the Valdezcaray ski station, in which it is its first feature in the Vuelta since the early ‘90s. Despite the long distance of the climb towards the finish, it may not be enough the split the race wide open, but may see the form of some of the main challengers.
    Stage 5: Logrono 168km
    Terrain: Rolling
    If there was one stage on this tour to get the sprinters excited, it is this one. Although it is not flat by traditional standards, the hills are as straightforward, providing an opportunity for teams to get organized early on. Starting and finishing in Logrono, the circuit just shy of 40km will bring the field through the finishing line three times, leaving no team uncertain of what they are in for, which is basically a long and wide avenue. Due to the ferocity of the following stages, do not expect to see anything other than a bunch sprint to conclude this one.
    Stage Six: Tarazona-Jaca 175.4km
    Terrain: Medium Mountains.
    This stage is relatively simple up until the final 20km up to the two brutal climbs on the Puerto de Oroel and the Alto Fuerte de Rapitan. The Rapitan in particular is more challenging then most category 3 ascents, with the climb lasting 4km at more then 8% gradient, with some sections reaching a brutal 14% towards the summit. It will be interesting to see how the lighter more traditional climbers compete against the powerful endurance climbers.
    Stage Seven: Huesca-Alcaniz (Motorland Aragon) 164.3km
    Terrain: Rolling
    With Aragon being bypassed for the past four years, the Vuelta takes to the region for a second finish on this stage. Unlike the previous stage that gave the sprinters no chance of prevailing, this stage see’s another opportunity to deliver a bunch finish. The finishing straights are very wide and the sprinters will have to judge their final effort very well due to a good chance of wind complications on the open terrain.
    The post Vuelta Week One Stage Preview appeared first on Green and Gold Cycling.

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  2. Jethro Tah Bob Loudon (25)

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    Anyone else watching the Vuelta?

    I am lucky to be in a time zone where I can flick to it on internet TV during the work day at my desk and am finding it hard to concentrate on work. It's been an awesome race this year with the duel in the mountains between Rodriguez and Contador. More exciting than Le Tour 2012.

    Stage 16 today was STEEP at up to 24% gradient in the final 2 kms. Some of the lead riders looked like they would fall over sideways near the end due to the slow pace of racing, the slope and fatigue. It looks like the Vuelta podium was decided today with the top 3 of Rodriguez, Contador and Valverde dominant, and Froome clearly suffering (what I'd give to see Wiggins in as much pain). You could see ALL the riders really suffering today - my opinion of them as athletes just keeps going up a notch with every mountain stage. You can see they are sharing the pain when riders from opposing teams help each other off their bike at the end and congratulate each other just for finishing.

    If you get the chance, I recommend watching the remaining stages live or on delay, or at least the highlights.

  3. Ash Michael Lynagh (62)

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    I've only watched a couple of stages, unfortunately. Not had much time otherwise.

    Managed to catch some mountain stages where Contador put in some blistering accelerations - but that's all he had. The other guys just rode their way back to him.

    That last stage with that evil ramp though - amazing to see the winner was too fucked to even celebrate getting over the line. Also amazing to see Contador attack and attack (again!), but have nothing once he gets away. He just doesn't have it.

    I think there's only one really decisive stage to go. Although Purito only has a sub-30 second lead, it's probably going to be enough.

    Anyone else feel a little for Froome? Yes the guy is cooked, but his own team management have cost him one GT (last year's Vuelta) and possibly another GT (this year's TdF) by making him wait for Wiggins. If he never wins a GT.
  4. Jethro Tah Bob Loudon (25)

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    For those that missed the highlights see the last few kms of Stage 16 here:

    That last hill after 5 hours in the saddle was seriously steep. I was cheering for Contador and was awesome to see him just keep trying again and again to attack only for Rodriguez to match every move.
  5. Jethro Tah Bob Loudon (25)

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    Dammit. The one day that I had unavoidable work to do so couldn't watch the coverage was possible the most exciting and eventful day of Vuelta 2012. Dammit.

    Albert, you're a champion. RESPECT. On Stage 17, from 50 kms out and with help from Saxo and an old Astana team mate, he unexpectedly turned the field inside out to win the stage and now looks in the clear to win overall. I will let the professionals tell the story, see here. For coverage of the last 20 kms, see here.

    And how's this quote from the loser on the day, Rodriguez: "what Alberto has done today will fill up a lot of pages in the newspapers tomorrow, and that's a great thing for cycling. And I feel proud to be part of that."
    Ash likes this.

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