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You might have noticed that we’ve backed off on our Vuelta tipping reports over the past week. Not to worry – the competition is still alive and well and the trash talk continues behind the scenes. However, as wide-open and tightly contested as the Vuelta is, my gut feel is that most people are only really interested on a casual basis. Yesterday’s Queen stage up the Angliru was one of those days that warrants some attention.
Woody’s Tipping And Stage Recaps
Last night the Queen came to town for the Vuelta with her two impressive peaks, the Alto del Cordal and Alto de’Angliru. The Angliru is steeped in both gradient and myth, destroying riders with both. With ramps of 20 odd percent and sections over 16% this was going to be the make or break stage for this year’s Vuelta. A Vuelta that has broken down rider upon rider with its unrelenting brutality. A day under 2000m climbing is considered an off-day and there hasn’t been any room to hide. The idea of using the Vuelta as a warm up for the Worlds has surely been reconsidered by many a rider sitting in their hacienda at the end of a long day on the road. Rough life I reckon, most people who go to Spain get to sit on the beach or party on in Ibiza!
And so with a stage that promises fireworks, a small group was let off the front early and got out to a good lead, but were always going to be a sacrifice for the mountain gods.
This didn’t discourage other riders from hitting out though. Bruseghin, the old italian stallion who has podiumed the Giro in previous glory days, initiated another break that was soon bridged to by Daniel Martin, Carlos “WHO?” Sastre and Moncoutie.
As they hit the base of the Angliru Sastre wanted to party like it was 2008 and hit out, gaining a small gap quickly. Back in the bus El Tiburon was on the ropes, surely thinking these past two days having been a nightmare, and was soon out the pipe, dancing to his eurotrance in the Angliru venga bus. Up front it seemed that the real Igor Anton decided to make an appearance at this Vuelta and replace the cardboard cutout team Euskatel have been dragging around all Vuelta, by quickly bridging across to Sastre.
And so it was like 2008, with Anton and Sastre up front and dreaming of cycling pre-GFC. As the gradient kicked up the wheels fell off like 2008, and Juan Jose Cobo, who really would have to be a throwback to the early noughties, quickly affirmed his stranglehold over this Vuelta.
As Cobo relentlessly ploughed up the climb, the chasing group was beginning to look ill. First Rodriguez was out the pipe, then Martin, Mollema, Fuglsang….this was it kids; when the Vuelta was there to be won and the pretenders were quickly falling away. Wiggins however was, as the New Kids on the Block would say, Hangin’ Tough, but as the finish line grew wider in the eyes of Cobo the distance to Wiggins increased, the threads of his Red jersey slowly unravelling in front of his eyes. And so im saved from breaking into another NKOTB rendition of The Right Stuff when Wiggins showed he didn’t have it in him for the final 2km, being gapped on the run into the line. Up front Cobo had time to give us all the heavy metal salute. Climb the Angliru, win alone and time to give the heavy rock salute. In the parlance of our times I “Like”.
Onto the tipping and again we have multiple tippers of the winner! So the winnings jackpot carries over again!
In the overall and we have a change of leadership! In first AJS now has a 21 second lead over Freddo with AJ only 1:07 back from AJS. While there has been some carnage out the back the pointy end of the tipping is still red hot!
In the sprint, in a disasterous day for Freddo, AJS has taken the Green jersey as well, sitting 11 points ahead of Freddo, 167 to 156. In third the early leader Georgio Fripley is sitting on 144 points.
In the King of the Mountain the amazing WOODY is climbing like an angel, Picking Cobo and consolidating his lead with 58 points. In second Velodrama is sitting on 39 points, still in striking distance while Freddo is lurking on 37 points.
And so we have our second rest day tonight. Put the legs up, maybe go for a quick spin down the cafe with the business socks and maybe take a couple of interviews. And why are you wearing business socks??? Because the third week of the Vuelta is BUSINESS TIME!
Stage 15 Results
1. Juan José Cobo, Geox-TMC, at 4:01:56
2. Wouter Poels, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 0:48
3. Denis Menchov, Geox-TMC, same time
4. Christopher Froome, Team Sky, s.t.
5. Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky, at 1:21
6. Igor Anton, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:21
7. Joaquin Rodriguez, Team Katusha, at 1:35
8. Maxime Monfort, Leopard-Trek, at 1:35
9. Bauke Mollema, Rabobank Cycling Team, at 1:35
10. Sergey Lagutin, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 1:35
General Classification After Stage 15
1. Juan José Cobo, Geox-TMC, at 59:57:16
2. Christopher Froome, Team Sky, at 20
3. Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky, at 46
4. Bauke Mollema, Rabobank Cycling Team, at 1:36
5. Maxime Monfort, Leopard-Trek, at 2:37
6. Denis Menchov, Geox-TMC, at 3:01
7. Jakob Fuglsang, Leopard-Trek, at 3:06
8. Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas-Cannondale, at 3:27
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Omega Pharma-Lotto, at 3:58
10. Wouter Poels, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 4:13