Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 14 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 14 Preview

By David Hunter

Stage 13 Recap

We got a break of 11, which included LL Sanchez and Sagan. Orica held the lead at 3 minutes, before the GC teams took over….and FDJ! When we hit the final 10% climb, it was Daniel Navarro who attacked. With the top riders only interested in each other, he was allowed a gap. The Spaniard seized his opportunity and took a wonderful stage win. Dani Moreno attacked in the final 500m for second, with Wilco Kelderman taking third. Surprise of the day, was Nacer Bouhanni in fifth, what a ride!

Stage 14 Santander – La Camperona. Valle de Sabero 200.8km

Another day in the mountains.

v14

This day is another to shape the GC, with two, cat 1 climbs:-

Puerto de San Glorio 20.9km at 5.8%

v14aLa Camperona 8.3km at 7.5%

camperonaThe final 2km of this climb is at an average of around 17%. It is horrible for the riders, but brilliant for the audience!

camperonafAs you can see, there is a very short, flat section with 500m to go, before the final ramp to the finish. This is a climb, where the riders will be in ones and twos. Positioning will be very important. If you are too far back with 3km to go, forget about it! You need to be at the front and ready to hit the steep slope.

I’m going to view the final climb as 2km at 17%. Only a handful of riders, can win this stage, from the bunch:- Contador, Rodriguez, Moreno and Valverde. I have discounted Froome as he looks in horrible condition. The very steep finish looks perfect for the Katusha pair.

The finish into Jaen, is fairly similar to this, and both Rodriguez and Moreno have won that stage. This climb is slightly longer, so also suits the abilities of Contador and Valverde. The road is also narrower and it will be difficult for the riders to pass each other.

There is another Spanish rider, with a good track record in these climbs, Sami Sanchez. The veteran, always seems to judge his form well and is starting to hit a peak. He shouldn’t be underestimated here.

Dan Martin seems to be in good condition, but I’m not sure if he’ll cope with this climb. If he’s on a good day, he has a great chance.

The climb reminds me of Pena Cabarga, but shorter. This was included last year and we watched Nibali and Horner, go toe to toe. The stage was won by a break, Sky rider Vasil Kiryienka taking the glory. Finishing in third place was Adam Hansen.

The 70km between the last two climbs is bad news for the break. The peloton will go fairly slowly, up the first cat 1 climb and then put the hammer down. The break will need a massive gap, at the top of that climb.

The burden of controlling the race, will fall on the shoulders of Movistar and Katusha. Both teams will be interested in taking stage glory and will look to control. I am very interested to see the tactics of Team Sky. They got it all wrong, a few days ago, setting a pace that was too much for Froome. They need to change tactics!

It should be interesting to see the breakaway contenders. Arredondo is still struggling to find form, but this finish is excellent for him. Other potentials are: Le Bon, Nocentini, Landa, Evans, Txurruga, Coppel, Sicard, Hesjedal and Yates.

Prediction time…

Can’t see the break winning this one, thanks to the long gap between the last two climbs. This should be a brilliant GC battle and one of the smaller riders won’t escape this time! I’ve already said that I think it’s between the 5 Spaniards and will go for Alberto Contador to take the stage.

If the break sticks, I say Kiryienka.

David Hunter

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