Vuelta a Espana



  • @Billy-Webb And Laurens de Plus who was quite impressive helping George support Kruiswijk on the TdF climbs.

    Commentators were saying last night the team budget is about half of INEOS'.

    I reckon George might have been sick last night. When Marc Soler set off to join the breakaway, initially George marked him briefly - but, next thing George had dropped back to support Roglic and Sepp Kuss was instead sent forward to chase and catch Soler. (So my theory is that Kuss won George's stage). 🙂

    Next thing the pace went on and the peloton fractured and there were only two TJV riders with Roglic and I was pretty sure neither of them were George, though I didn't get a really good look.

    A bit later that lead "peloton"more or less sat up and everyone re-joined - including the whole TJV team (except Kuss who was up the road).

    On the final climb when the elite guys ramped the speed up, George immediately disappeared - and rode up with Tony Martin.

    Roglic looks like he has things well in hand and supremely confident - despite being left on his own he immediately marked Valverde and there never looked to be any hesitation about letting Kuss ride to win the stage.



  • My understanding is that Bennett has another 2 years after this with TJV...?
    I do hope they give him a more than super-domestique role at one or two of the grand tours next year.



  • @Billy-Webb Problem is that George is only 4th in the pecking order if Dumoulin should arrive and, as we're seeing with the Vuelta, if George (and pretty much anyone else - except Valverde) ride the TdF, then they're too knackered to do a lot at the Vuelta.

    I think George's best bet is to ride as a super domestique for someone in the Giro in exchange for a similar deal as he's had in the Vuelta this year .

    But, I suspect he's too valuable for the team at the TdF - so he'll have to hope that his cartilage operation works and he goes to another level. Otherwise I think he's going to be Wout Poels.



  • @Chris-B said in Vuelta a Espana:

    @Billy-Webb Problem is that George is only 4th in the pecking order if Dumoulin should arrive and, as we're seeing with the Vuelta, if George (and pretty much anyone else - except Valverde) ride the TdF, then they're too knackered to do a lot at the Vuelta.

    I think George's best bet is to ride as a super domestique for someone in the Giro in exchange for a similar deal as he's had in the Vuelta this year .

    But, I suspect he's too valuable for the team at the TdF - so he'll have to hope that his cartilage operation works and he goes to another level. Otherwise I think he's going to be Wout Poels.

    A lot will depend on that op. At the moment TLJ won't take a risk on him as a lead rider because of his side stitch so he does the best job he can.
    My guess is that he may be given another crack at ToC where he has a good record to see the difference post-op. Ride support at the Giro then see what is happening with the others' form/fitness.
    His other big problem in these tours is the ITT component. He may be able to mitigate that loss a bit by being dragged in the TTT but it still means that he has to be part of a decent break somewhere to get on level terms with some of the others.



  • @Crucial To be fair, he is a protected rider in this race - or he was - just doesn't have the legs to do anything much.

    I'm somewhat hoping he's saving some gas for the last couple of mountain stages, when he might be allowed a similar role as Kuss got the other day.

    George did do some good work last night, riding on the front for several kilometres at the start of the final climb - but, he'll be a bit pissed that Lopez chose to launch his attack near or at the end of George's stint, so that Gesink and Powless who were due to take over got blown away and didn't have to work! 🙂



  • Looks like TJV made a blunder in the early part of a flat stage, last night.

    Let Quintana escape in a big group and had to spend the day chasing hard to limit the damage. Still handed back five minutes to Quintana - which puts him in second and Valverde in third.

    With two mountain stages still to come, that could still burn Roglic badly. They can again double team him with attacks if they can isolate him.

    Have to say - TJV management seem to go to sleep at the wheel occasionally in a way that you don't often see from Ineos. They fucked up at the Giro and they let George get caught out at the TdF.



  • @Chris-B said in Vuelta a Espana:

    Looks like TJV made a blunder in the early part of a flat stage, last night.

    Let Quintana escape in a big group and had to spend the day chasing hard to limit the damage. Still handed back five minutes to Quintana - which puts him in second and Valverde in third.

    With two mountain stages still to come, that could still burn Roglic badly. They can again double team him with attacks if they can isolate him.

    Have to say - TJV management seem to go to sleep at the wheel occasionally in a way that you don't often see from Ineos. They fucked up at the Giro and they let George get caught out at the TdF.

    It was crosswinds again. TLJ need a better weather forecaster.



  • Just watched the highlights - one of the fastest ever stages in a Grand Tour.

    Movistar completely outsmarted TJV.

    The peloton split in two and they had Quintana up the road with support and then on one of the small, later climbs they went to the front of the Roglic group with Soler and Valverde - put the hammer down and blew away Roglic's remaining support riders. Isolated him and then sat up.

    Luckily for Roglic, Astana still had some firepower available and they chased the Quintana group (for Lopez) and saved Roglic's ass.

    I reckon TJV would be pretty concerned at how their team is fading around Roglic.

    Tonight will be massive, with questions as to who's going to turn up with some power in their legs after today's stage.



  • @Chris-B Amazing stage!



  • @Chris-B said in Vuelta a Espana:

    Just watched the highlights - one of the fastest ever stages in a Grand Tour.

    Movistar completely outsmarted TJV.

    The peloton split in two and they had Quintana up the road with support and then on one of the small, later climbs they went to the front of the Roglic group with Soler and Valverde - put the hammer down and blew away Roglic's remaining support riders. Isolated him and then sat up.

    Luckily for Roglic, Astana still had some firepower available and they chased the Quintana group (for Lopez) and saved Roglic's ass.

    I reckon TJV would be pretty concerned at how their team is fading around Roglic.

    Tonight will be massive, with questions as to who's going to turn up with some power in their legs after today's stage.

    Damn. I missed the entire stage. Thanks for the great summary @Chris-B
    It would be a shame for Roglic if he fades now and blows his chances. (disclaimer: I am a Roglic fan).
    But I guess that makes the race more exciting.



  • With only the ceremonial stage into Madrid to go, Roglic holds on reasonably comfortably to win the overall tour.

    Some great racing over the final stages - pretty much every stage had surprises and drama.

    Second-to-last stage, Roglic and Lopez were involved in a crash - Movistar launched an attack while they were down, which pissed a lot of people off - and especially Astana (for Lopez).

    Final stage, Pogacar was the man with the most left - he attacked about 40 km out and built a 90 second+ lead that he never relinquished; supplanting Lopez and Quintana in the process. The remnants of Movistar and Astana wouldn't cooperate properly with one another in a chase and for a while it looked like Valverde might even surrender second place to Pogacar (though I suspect Valverde was always saving a little bit in case Pogacar got really close).

    George did some good work for Roglic early in the stage, helping to control Astana's efforts to send men up the road, and eventually was the last TJV man with Roglic, but still fell away when the big attacks came - from Lopez and then Pogacar.

    Somewhat disappointing tour for George. He never seemed properly right after that big crash at the end of the first week. I wondered whether he'd got sick, but also wondering whether he was carrying something from that crash - or whether his TdF efforts just caught up with him, as they did for plenty of others.

    Amazing tour for the Slovenians - first and third. Pretty amazing that Valverde rides the TdF and still manages second. Slightly disappointed for Lopez, who created a lot of the GC excitement, but eventually attacked himself into the ground and comes away somewhat empty handed (5th).


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