Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 11 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 11 Preview

By David Hunter

Stage 10 Recap

The first, really fast time was set by Cancellara. His time looked very good and only one man was able to beat it….Tony Martin! He won the stage by 11 seconds, a close margin but it was never in doubt. The GC battle erupted! Froome had a disaster, Quintana had a very scary crash, Uran was brilliant, Contador was good, Rodriguez punctured and Valverde was solid! Quite a day. Uran was awarded second place, after Cancellara was penalised for drafting.

Stage 11 Pamplona – Santuario de San Miguel de Aralar 153.4km

A massive day for the GC.

ve11Everyone will be waiting with anticipation for the end of the stage.

ve11aIt’s a short stage and nothing much will happen, until the final 10km.

ve11b9.9km at 7.5%, with a 14% maximum. Welcome, to the Vuelta! This climb is going to see the first big gaps of the race, but how will the race play out?

Of course, we’ll get a break. Everyone will want to be in it, as very few teams can win from the peloton. Contador is clearly in form, but the others are faltering. Realistically, only Contador and Rodriguez can win from the bunch. Tinkoff-Saxo, won’t chase all day, so it’ll be up to Katusha. I doubt thy’ll have the stomach for the fight, so they’ll send a rider in the break.

If the break wins the stage, the rider who takes the victory will immediately become a contender for the KOM jersey. This could interest quite a few riders.

As usual, let me go through the breakaway options from the teams, but only the ones who can cope with such a climb:-

Lampre – Cunego, Serpa. Niemiec

AG2R – Bouet, Nocentini

Astana – Kangert, Landa (but will keep men for Aru)

Belkin – x

BMC – Evans, Morabito, Nerz,

Caja Rural – Arroyo, Txurruka

Cannondale – Bennett

Cofidis – Coppel, Mate

Europcar – Sicard, Berhane

FDJ – Pinot, Elissonde, Le Bon

Garmin – Hesjedal, Talansky (one will stay with Dan Martin)

Giant – x

IAM – Tschopp

Katusha – Trofimov (will keep the Spaniards with Rodriguez)

Lotto – De Clercq, Van den Broeck

Movistar – Izagirre, Castroviejo but will want their men with Valverde

MTN – Kudus, Meintjes, Teklehaimanot

OPQS – Serry (interesting option if Tinkoff want to lose the jersey)

Orica – Clarke, Yates

Sky – Cataldo, Kiryienka

Tinkoff – Zaugg, but doubtful they’ll send anyone in the break

Trek – Arredondo, Zubeldia

The TT revealed some riders in good form: Coppel, Sicard, Evans, Kangert and Morabito stood out with their level of performance. All would make strong candidates for the break. Coppel was there on Sunday, but failed to capitalise. Evans is a very dangerous rider, when in form, and the TT shows that his legs are good. BMC can put multiple riders in the break and push on.

As I mentioned, Pieter Serry is an interesting choice. Contador has spoken about “giving away” the jersey. This can only happen, if the rider taking it over, is not strong enough to hold onto it! Serry, who went well today, is 21st at 7:43. That’s a big gap, but all above him can climb very well. What normally happens, in this situation, is a few phone calls between the teams and the deal is arranged. Could this happen tomorrow?

Of all the riders I’ve mentioned, one rider is clearly the best climber….Andrew Talansky. The Pitbull, gave up his chance in order to help Dan Martin, in the cross winds. Hesjedal has been given his chance, Talanksy is due one too. If he gets in the break, he’ll be unstoppable.

What about the GC riders? Froome looks in desperate trouble and if he loses time to the others in a TT, he’ll lose more in the mountains. Quintana will find it very difficult to cope as his body will be very sore. Uran was great today, but has been off the pace in the mountains, so far. That leaves Contador, Rodriguez and Valverde. The climb suits Contador and Rodriguez more, but never write off Alejandro! I see Contador putting more time into the others and strengthening his grip on the red jersey.

If Froome is having a bad day, Nieve will be ready to step up. He has trained on this mountain, unlike most other riders. He’s too big a threat to get in the break, so needs it to fail, in order to have a chance.

Prediction time…

The break will make it, again! The winner will come from Talansky, Coppel. Sicard and Evans. I say Talansky.

David Hunter

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