The Vuelta always seems to throw up excitement, whether it’s new riders breaking into the big leagues or legendary riders showing just why they are legends. And this year gave all that, piled high with drama, chaos and some downright lovely moments. Here’s part one of our A to Z of Vuelta 2019 …
Crikey! Just as I was thinking the most notable feature of La Vuelta’s opening team time trial was the salt-bedecked starting ramp, chaos ensued at the tail end of the stage. On a short and highly technical 13.4km course Astana were slick, swift and decisive, despite unhitching their leader mid-way through, to take stage victory and place Miguel Angel Lopez in the red jersey. Disaster struck Jumbo Visma at the midway point when water on the road caused most of the team to crash into the barriers. They collected themselves well, but red-hot race favourite Primoz Roglic still finds himself 40secs adrift before sight of a mountain. Deceuninck-Quick Step pushed the men in turquoise close, crossing the line only two seconds slower. A time that surely would have been faster if they hadn’t had to dodge around the Jumbo Visma team car parked on the course. You can’t say the Vuelta opening wasn’t spicy.
Almost unnoticed, Pello Bilbao of Astana took 6th place at the Giro d’Italia. Euan peels back the invisibility cloak and asks… how the hell did he do that?