love that cap/hat that Rodriguez received on the podium, for his stage 19 win
anyone know what this is? assume it's some 'regional' thing, would luv to learn more about it.
EDIT: just found some 'power' charts for Horner on the SRM site - stage 10
and if you back out slowly, there are more charts for other riders in other stages/races - like Valverde in the TDF...
so, has anyone else noticed that horner is poised to win the red, white and, if he has a really good day, blue jerseys?? i was going to drink cava to celebrate, but now budweiser seems more appropriate...
Horner looks super thin. Probably the form of his life. He let Rodriguez go yesterday, by choice. The stage today is brutal. Only time will tell who will crack. I'd put my wildcard on Rodriguez to try to win today @ an attempt to take the race. I'd like to see Chris cap his career with a grand tour win. Will be exciting to watch it happen today.
Come on Horner!
Yeah! Horner's gonna win the Vuelta!
Nibali kept fighting like a true champion. Congratulations to Horner in anticipation of the victory parade tomorrow.
Bravo to Kenny Elissonde for the stage win, lovely to see his emotion crossing the line.
It's been a great Vuelta.
All four of the GC leaders did themselves proud in this race.
Roche in fifth seemed to be comfortable till about half way up and he started looking for his team mate. They came in together on their own so I presume that team mate helped save his GC place with a comfortable 49 second cushion going into the final day.
I think you have to give Nibali/Astana credit for trying something different rather than following the script of stages 18 & 19. It didn't work but then neither did the old one.
He could have just defended his second place but didn't.
It's a pity that the spectators were in so close - it seemed to interfere with the riders and it definitely interfered with the television coverage.
#1 priority, and a lot of people use it as a tuneup for the World Championships. So the race typically has people who are aiming for a second "peak" of form for the season (after riding the Tour or the Giro).
Last year Contador targeted the Vuelta because it came right after his suspension ended. This year he is knackered from the Tour and trying to round out his form before Worlds without overly fatiguing himself.
Horner is perfectly peaked for the Vuelta because of his early-season injury and knee surgery; otherwise he would have targeted the Tour as well.
But it does seem that this second-tier race status makes for a more exciting race.
You're going to get scenes like that on big mountaintop finishes and for me that's what makes cycling different.
The Vuelta favors climbers, and also, not surprisingly, the spaniards hold it a little more dear, so some riders focus on it more than the Giro, for example.
The tier of grand-tour prestige is clearly (1) Tour (2) Giro (3) Vuelta.
Can you name any big-name rider in recent years who has made the Vuelta the primary goal of his season? (apart from injury issues, like Horner, or return-from-suspension, like Contador last year). I can't think of anyone. This is partly b/c the Vuelta occurs so late in the season, but nevertheless the fact remains that some top riders make the Giro the focus of their season (e.g., Nibali this year, and Wiggins although it kinda doesn't count because he was just trying to avoid overlapping with Froome).
My point above was simply that the Vuelta is the least prestigious of the three grand tours. I don't mean that it's irrelevant; simply that it is on a lower rung than the Giro (and clearly lower than the Tour as well).
Nicholas Roche is a second-tier grand tour rider. A very good rider but not someone who could threaten for the Tour de France. He is the type of rider that is most commonly seen targeting the Vuelta.
Horner is a special case because he is targeting the Vuelta as a result of injury. Were it not for his knee surgery, he would have ridden the Tour.
You're also right about Roche but prior to this Vuelta Horner would have been described as second tier also, so him being a 'special case' is irrelevant to your argument.
To win any Grand Tour is an amazing achievement for a rider.
Cool quote from Horner, about the celebration in Madrid
“I am too old to party!” he said. “The only place I feel good is when I am on the bike. You’re never really comfortable until you’re into that first hour of the bike. The bike is the zen.”
Pre-race interview with Horner. Lots of detail about his training, form, plans. He was very confident.