Freeman Cebu Sports

2014 VueltaaEspana: Second chance

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente Araneta - The Freeman

Not a lot of cycling fans enjoyed the Tour de France the moment race favorite Brit Chris Froome got off his Pinarello during stage 5 as a result of (what was to be revealed later) a broken wrist. The disappointment turned to disastrous when the other favorite, Alberto Contador, crashed hard on a descent during the 10th stage and broke his tibia. All of this after another superstar, Mark Cavendish, crashed hard on the first stage in his hometown and separated his shoulder.

Somehow, these fans think that because of the absence of both Froome and Contador, the Yellow Jersey of winner Vincenzo Nibali was a bit paler than usual. (Personally, I think that Nibali won it, for crashes are part of the sport).

Still in a state of hangover from the anticlimactic result of the Tour, cycling-nation were crossing their fingers that the both Froome and Contador would meet again before the season’s end.

Well, the cycling gods have granted their wishes. Both Froome and Contador have said that they both will be riding the VueltaaEspana, the last Grand Tour of the season. And what a blockbuster this Vuelta will be!

The Vuelta has always been the last refuge of those who had a miserable season. Case in point is Chris Horner. At 41 years old, he was looking likely at the 2013 Vuelta as his last ride with a ProTour team before calling it quits or maybe riding for a smaller team. But to everyone’s amazement, Horner beat Nibali soundly to claim the Vuelta, making him the oldest rider to win a Grand Tour!

Starting this weekend, it will be a race of redemption not only for Froome, Contador and Cavendish but also for Horner, who had suffered a career threatening crash early in the season . Also present is Andrew Talansky, who was expected to do well in the Tour but DNF’d after multiple crashes. Then there is Nairo Quintana, the dimunitive and outspoken Colombian, and winner of last May’s Girod’Italia, who is still smarting after being accused of wining the Giro when he allegedly took advantage of a “neutralization” of a stage due to inclement weather.

Finally, there is Purito Rodriguez. Rodriguez had Giro ambitions this year but crashed hard and stopped. He went to the Tour still finding his form. Hopefully, he’ll get it back this weekend.

Think about it, the start list of this years Vuelta is something that the ASO, the organizers of the Tour, could have been seen licking their lips. This is the cream of the crop.

While these names certainly appear strong on paper, where their fitness levels are at this point is still a question even the Riddler could not answer. Are both Froome and Contador back to their best? How about Rodriguez? Horner showed some flashes of himself last week in the Tour of Utah but the ToU is not the Vuelta.

Of all the contenders, the most in form at the moment is Quintana. Last Saturday, he won a mountain stage at the Vuelta a Burgos, a preparatory race for the Vuelta, dropping everybody like a bad habit.

If you ask me, this Vuelta will belong to Quintana and the rest of the contenders will have to go back to the drawing boards and write this season off as disastrous.

vuukle comment











  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with