Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Vuelta a Espana 2013 : Stage 11 Preview

FIRTSLY, an apology. Totally mixed up when the rest day was and missed Stage 10's preview up a savagely steep final climb.

If it's any consolation I'd have probably gone for a Domenico Pozzovivo type and certainly wouldn't have picked eventual winner and new leader of the Tour Chris Horner.

Horner's ride has stretched the time gaps at the top. Prior to stage 10 the top ten was separated by 1.25. They are now covered by 3.28.

Two former Vincenzo Nibali is second at 43 seconds with Nico Roche third at 53 seconds.

It means that stage 11 will need to be pivotal for some, as it seems every stage so far has been.

Wednesday's stage is an Individual Time Trial, totalling 38.8km in length, and including the 3rd category Alto del Moncayo.

It should alter the overall standings once more as those riders who aren't pure climbers try to steal back some more time.

Nibali and Alejandro Valverde should be able to produce good rides as should ninth place Rafal Majka. All will be towards the top of the day's rankings.

Joaquin Rodriguez and Roche will see this as a chance to cement their

Roche has been particularly impressive during this Vuelta and is perhaps showing the grand tour form that a lot of people have expected from him. His time trialing ability has often been his Achilles heel so the climb should help him out.

Rodriguez though should be the big favourite from those in the top five and at 1.40 behind Horner he needs to put in a good ride.

Horner has been outstanding so far in this race and while he can produce a decent TT, he will need to tap into that top form if he is to limit his losses. I don't expect him to lose the leaders jersey however.

Outside of the top GC boys those looking for the stage win should be the likes of Janez Brajkovic, Roman Kreuziger and Sammy Sanchez.

Other outsiders would include the BMC pair of Marco Pinotti and Dominik Nerz and Lieuwe Westra of Vaconsoleil. All three have had indifferent form recently but are more than capable of doing something here.

It would also be remiss to not mention Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin when taking about an individual time trial.

World Champion Martin put in that sensational effort on stage five as a test for the upcoming defence of his title. On that form alone he looks in tip-top condition. Spartacus is also aiming for a world title although he has his eyes on the road race rather than the test against the clock. This would be a perfect test for him to judge his form.

It has been a fantastic tour for the fans to watch so far and I can't see the twists and turns stopping here.

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