By David Hunter
Stage 9 Recap
We got an enormous break of 31 riders as the peloton sensed that this was the day for a break. The closest on GC was Winner Anacona, at just 2:50. As we approached the penultimate climb, the break started to slim down and very quickly we were left with 3: Anacona, Jungels and Moreno. On the final climb, Jungels was first to be dropped and Anacona, realising that the peloton was speeding up, attacked and went solo. He raced up the mountain, as fast as he could, to claim the stage victory, but finished just 10 seconds away from the red jersey. Back in the bunch, we had a few attacks, before the big one by Contador. He gapped his rivals, and Froome started to go backwards. Quintana then tried to bridge, with Rodriguez in tow. These two managed to finish on the same time as Contador, but he managed to strike a psychological blow!
Stage 10 Real Monasterio de Santa Maria – Borja 37.6km
It’s time-trial time!
They start with 11.2km of climbing, before a long descent to town. The climb is cat 3 and officially 2.2km at 5.5%. Before that they’ve already done a bit of climbing: 3km at 2.2% and 4km at nearly 4%. In fact, if you group the opening 11.2km together, it rises at 3.2%. Not the hardest of climbs, but certainly difficult enough for many to lose a bit of time.
Wind could also be a factor. It strengthens from 8mph to 10mph and comes from the North. This means a tailwind for the climb and headwind, back into town.
Tony Martin starts as the overwhelming favourite. He’s climbing better than ever and looks very difficult to beat. The climb won’t trouble him and he is one of the best descenders.
Fabian Cancellara is next up. He went very well in the Eneco Tour ITT, just losing out to Dumoulin. He won the Vuelta TT, last year, beating Martin by an enormous 37 seconds.
Adrian Malori has won TTs in San Luis and Tirreno, this year. This was a major moment for him and he wants more. Is the time right for his first grand tour TT win? He goes out, very early, so could benefit from the wind.
Rohan Dennis seems to be tailing off, but is capable of a big performance. The course does suit him.
Kristof Vandewalle has just won 2 ITTs, the first of his career. These were in Austria and Poland, can he maintain his wonderful form?
That’s the TT specialists taken care of, so what about the GC riders. Contador, Froome and Uran will be looking to make time on Quintana, Rodriguez and Valverde. Uran won the Giro ITT and has spent a lot of time on his bike, recently. He is a dark horse for a very strong performance.
I have no idea how Froome and Contador will go. If both were fully fit, they could certainly challenge for the stage. Are they fully fit though?
Quintana needs a good performance! He’ll want to stay within 30 seconds of the big 2, but I fear for Rodriguez and Valverde. They could lose big time!
The Vuelta usually throws up a TT surprise. We had Kessiakoff in 2012 and Cancellara last year, although not such a big surprise. Malori could benefit from a lighter wind and he should set a very good time, but I’m going for Spartacus to repeat his win of 2013.
Follow us in facebook https://www.facebook.com/CiclismoInternacionalLatinoamerica?fref=ts … or Twitter @CiclismoInter