Vuelta a Espana

  • The Vuelta is well advanced and George Bennett is doing really well. After last night's time trial he's up to 11th - and just 50 seconds off a top 10 finish. That's excellent given he spent the first week as a domestique and only got promoted to team leader after his own leader crashed out of the tour - so he'd given up a lot of time on the leaders.

    He helped one of his team mates win a stage a few days ago - and he finished 4th in that stage.

    Meanwhile Quintana has been dominating Froome in the mountains - including an excellent day where he managed to break away with a strong group and leave Froome in a chasing group but without any supporting Sky riders - but Froome clawed back a couple of minutes in last night's time trial to leave himself with a slim chance of winning if he can somehow break Quintana on a climb.

    In other cycling news, Jack Bauer won a stage in the Tour of Britain.

  • I have loved watching Bennett. This would be easily our best ever performance in a grand tour, no? We have obviously had guys like Julian Dean and Hayden Roulston play a role but having someone up there for the overall classification is something else. It will only be a matter of time before Bennett takes a stage if he keeps this up.

    I think it will be difficult for him to nab 10th tonight. The final climb isn't actually that steep and he has a bit of time to make up.

    Great to see Bauer win after he got mowed down in the tour a few years ago. This time the break just did enough to hold on to the finish line.

  • @hydro11 Yeah, I can't recall anyone ever doing better. Google tells me Tino Tabak's 18th in the TdF is the best by a NZer in that one. Harry Watson (28th in 1928) is second best, and George's effort this year must be third best, with Hayden Roulston 79th in 2009 the 4th best.

    Overnight he needed one of the top ten to crack and looks like Scarponi did, so George is up to tenth and should hold that unless he crashes on the last stage. I guess that last stage showed he can't climb with the likes of Froome and Quintana - but, he's on the next rung down so a good bet to win a mountain stage somewhere.

  • Well done George Bennet, a great achievement. Nice to have a kiwi rider who can hang with the top guys on the climbs.

    I enjoy watching the Vuelta and the Giro so much more than Le Tour. The climbs are generally more difficult leading to far more attacks compared with the procession that has happened in France the last few years.

    The stage where Quintana and Contador attacked early and cracked Froome was probably the best stage of any grand tour in the last 5 years I reckon, great viewing.

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