As the Vuelta a Espana headed into the mountains before Monday’s rest day, Stage 14 proved to be one of the dullest days of mountain racing that I have witnessed in some time. Starting with 75km to go, I found myself pondering why I’d agreed to watch this Vuelta again. Eventually, Romain ‘Bedhead’ Bardet reminded why we all turn on the telly and watch these men pedal their cranks. Positioning himself for success in the day’s breakaway, the Team (B)DSM rider kept his powder dry until the final climb, spanking the bibs off of all others with an attack with 6km to go. Left in his wake of dominance, Jesus Herrada of the submissive Cofidis Team, finished second on the day. The cruelty of Herrada is nothing to be forgotten as he rudely outsprinted Alpecin’s Jay Vine, who had bravely recovered after crashing into a team car.
Stage 14: Baga to Andorra. Collada de la Gallina, 155.7km
On a day when heavy rain and cold made an already torturous stage even more unbearable, and forcing the withdrawal of his team leader Ivan Basso, Daniele Ratto shrugged off everything and everyone to ride alone, undaunted and unchallenged to the summit of the Collada de la Gallina and claim a maiden grand tour stage, his first win of the season and only the second of career. Meanwhile Vincenzo Nibali again displayed his ability in poor conditions, consolidating his overall lead.
Stage 14: Baga to Andorra. Collada de la Gallina, 155.7km, high mountains
We’re getting into the snaggle-toothed end of this Vuelta as the peloton rides into the Pyrenean country of Andorra. They have an HC and two cat 2 climbs to negotiate before the cat 1 summit finish on the Collada de la Gallina. Continue reading