Freeman Cebu Sports

Who’ll own the 2014 Vuelta a España?

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente Araneta - The Freeman

This year is not a good year for the contenders of the Grand Tours. 2013 Vuelta a España Champion Chris Horner was hit by a car during training. Purrito Rodriguez crashed hard during the Giro the Italia last May which was won by the new sensation, Nairo Quintana. Then Chris Froome DNF’d in the Tour de France after two crashes and broken bones. Five days later, Alberto Contador broke his leg after a crash and went home. Only Alejandro Valverde came out unscathed but he did poorly in the Tour.

So the Vuelta was the last chance for the contenders to save their season. Everybody thought that this was going to be a dogfight but alas, it started wrong for the defending champion, Horner. He had low cortisol levels after taking drugs to fight a ling infection. Although everything was in order, and UCI rules were followed, his team, Lampre, was signatory to a group that had  a higher standard than the UCI when it came to doping. So he was taken of the team. IMO, I don’t like the idea of an organization implementing rules over an established organization. But that’s the state of cycling today.

Quintana came in as the favorite. But just as the race as about t enter his playground, the high mountains, his brakes failed during a fast speed descent. He crashed hard but he turned out fine. But then the next day, he crashed again and fractured his shoulder blade. He had to leave the race.

Contador took over race leadership from the Colombian and he seemed poised to take control of the race despite teammates that went AWOL with Rodriguez still lacking something and Froome clearly lacking form.

But then came stage 14, with pitches of about 19% in the last 2 kilometers. While it looked like Contador gaining time over his rivals, it was Froome who came from behind and reversed the order and dropped Contador. Froome saved an exciting last week from a boring procession led by Contador!

While the overall contenders were trying to gain advantage, there was a breakaway ahead. Canadian Ryder Hesjedal came from behind Oliver Zaugg in the last 50m to win. The climb was so hard that Hesjedal almost fell after trying to give a victory salute.

The final I think will be exciting. Check out www.steephill.tv for live internet streaming.


In Greek Mythology, Sysyphus was a king who was punished by the gods for deceitfulness. He was compelled to roll a huge boulder uphill only to fail again and again as he almost reached the crest. He was to do this task forever. In contemporary usage, “Sysyphean” means a fruitless job. That’s what the Gilas Pilipinas did last week during the FIBA World Cup.

Don’t get me wrong, my chest tightens when I hear the Lupang Hinirang played during international competitions. I also admire the courage of the athletes, coaches and sponsors for dreaming big. But where my problem lies is not in basketball program, but the lack of diversity in our sports program.

I know I’m not the first to say this but every time I see the Azkals or the Gilas outsized and outplayed, I die a little inside. I hope that one day, this national self-flagellation will end and that we’ll realize that there are other sports out there that may not be as popular as basketball that we can play on level fields.


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