It was hot, it was cold, it had climbs, you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a summit finish! It’s the spicy Vuelta that has tired everyone out – including me! So it might be a little stream of consciousness this week, however, let’s soldier on, shall we? We have our favourite Vuelta trio: House, Flecha and Chaves; we have a rundown of the epic-ish stage 11, including Froome, Aru, Landa; we have fog and beanie hats, and much much more! So let’s get the hell out of the neutralised zone …
An epic meh?
Well, we hyped that stage 11 up too much, didn’t we? The hardest stage ever in the history of the world. We couldn’t be anything other than disappointed, considering the frothing at the mouth we were all doing in anticipation. But it did throw up some interesting little tweets.
Purito devised this stage. I’m suspecting he wasn’t very popular at the end of that stage (even with himself … he didn’t win the stage …)
This was the stage that Chris Froome had a solo crash almost just out of the neutral zone, rode the entire stage with a fractured foot and ultimately had to leave the race.
If you remember, Juan Antonio himself got knocked off his bike by a TV car in the Tour a few years ago, which started a chain reaction resulting in Johnny Hoogerland landing on barbed wire. So he’s knows of what he speaks when he responded to Oleg’s tweet about the moto-marauders.
Froome’s future teammate, Mikael Landa, however, did not get hit by a moto, but I’m betting sometimes Aru felt like his teammate was riding one, the pace he set. So what’s Landa doing? Showing his new team that he’s strong enough to take a Grand Tour, showing his current team that he’s strong enough to take a Grand Tour, to give us all a moment of ??? with the conflicting team analysis?
‘Meh’ then WTF?
While we’re on the subject of stages that were meant to be exciting but disappointed just a bit, we’ll go onto Monday’s stage 16, with its 30% ramps at the end. The end of the stage was fantastic. But we had to get through a possible go-slow and a GC group who didn’t feel they could attack each other until the last minute.
Yes, you read that tweet right – Schleck wins (Frank to be specific). We know this Vuelta has epitomised the word ‘unexpected’ but this really was unexpected. To say reactions on Twitter were mixed would be an understatement but I’m just going to leave it at this.
And straight from the Unicorn Forest, little bro Andy sends his congrats. (I do miss Andy sometimes …)
So after the solo win, the GC attack did come from Purito but Marge Simpson hung on in there (after nearly being dropped by his own team’s blistering pace … or should I say Landa‘s blistering pace) and had nearly as surprising a ride as Frank, in that he hung on in there and minimised his loss to the red jersey by ONE second. A small spread of responses on all of these subjects …
For so many reasons, this has to be one of my favourite pictures of Purito ever. (I’m still utterly bewildered why all the races give grown men cuddly toys as prizes, but they make for a good photo opportunity so I won’t probe into this subject too far.)
From WTF to Fogtastic?
Okay, I’m not going in the order of stages but I don’t care. The Fog Stage of this year’s Vuelta (we almost always have one but rarely know ahead of time which one it is) *was* exciting. If only for Juan Antonio in a beanie hat.
Someone mentioned that Aru looks more like Snoopy than Marge Simpson. Yep, I can go with that.
Poor Ashley is left out in the cold …
From Fogtastic to Custody Battle?
We’ve mentioned in previous columns how much we love how much Ashley and Juan Antonio love little Esteban Chaves (and honestly, what’s not to love?). But Ashley’s now getting territorial. It’s like Kramer v Kramer all over again but without Meryl Streep.
All of which bizarrely leads us to Flecha & House as the new Morecambe & Wise.
Brian Cookson making sure his attention is not focused on one team.
The perfect response to questioning The MightyDegs about his Vuelta also-rans.
News that made me very sad. I wanted Spartacus in the rainbow jersey for his last year – and to win Roubaix while wearing it.
We found Kenny!!!
Can’t get enough of your love, baby.
Mixing cakes with cycling. I have to say, my future husband Mats had subtlety on his side with this response.
(To be honest, I didn’t realise Andrew Talansky was in the Vuelta this year …)
A few gems from and about King Kelly.
My pick for the rainbow jersey this year.
The last word