Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Vuelta a Espana 2013 : Stage 17 Preview

REST day over and the action continues with what should be the last chance for the sprinters to have their day.

I say should be. It won't.

The route has been so tough, and the Pyrenees in particular were brutal, that the number of quick men still in this race has dwindled considerably.

Michael Matthews is still in as is Maximiliano Richeze and Gianni Meersman but that is about it. Gone are Barry Markus, Geoffrey Soupe, Ramon Sinkledam, Andy Fenn, Baden Cooke, Greg Henderson and Graeme Brown.

It was also very noticeable in previous flat stages that the sprinters teams were struggling to control the race and the opportunists in the field, generally stole their thunder.

And with some teams nowhere near full strength it doesn't look like it will improve.

The rest of the Tour is also going to be decidedly difficult so don't expect the GC boys to want to have anything to do with today. A nice gentle day in the peloton will be their wish so their teams will be on shutdown.

So for the second stage running this has breakaway written all over it.

The route itself is 189km long and runs from Calahorra to Burgos.

Only two 3rd Cat climbs along the way but both out of the way with 50km to go.

The run-in is a bit twisty from about 8km out almost pan flat and if the riders can get navigate through that lot unscathed, the last kilometre is thankfully arrow straight.

I would expect the break to be quite sizeable with all teams trying to get a man away.

It makes picking winner even more difficult than Monday!

In another tour you could bet the house of the likes of Jens Voigt and David Millar being involved. But their not here so who will be?

Because of the two climbs I would expect Nicolas Edet to be there. He currently has a 6 point lead over Daniele Ratto in the Mountains classification so will want to keep that going. Ratto himself may want to get in too if he thinks he can mount a challenge.

Team Sky could look to the likes of Christian Knees, Edvald Boassen-Hagen or Dario Cataldo.

For Garmin who have had a wretched tour so far, it could be Alex Howes or Johan VanSummeren.

Vaconsoleil will proably have both Juan Antonio Flecha and Johnny Hoogerland on full alert.

Christian Meier could be the go-to guy for Orica-Green-Edge while Saxo Bank could have Michael Morkov on the move.

And don't be shocked if Fabian Cancellara wants to play. Although I can't imagine anyone will want to take him along on a breakaway adventure.

I'm not going to pick one but if any of the names above are there then VanSummeren, Flecha and Cataldo will all be capable of springing away in the final few kilometres and staying clear.

No comments:

Post a Comment