Freeman Cebu Sports

Questions answered

ALLEZ - JV Araneta - The Freeman

The 2014 Vuelta a España consist of  21 stages, yet, on the eve of stage 20, it was still touch and go at least to the overall leadership, going into the final stage, a 9.7km individual time trial.

The two main protagonists, overall leader Alberto Contador, and his rival, Chris Froome, were separated by just 79sec. Third overall was Alejandro Valverde @1.32m, veteran Joachim Rodriguez fourth @2.29m and the 22yo sensation, Italian Fabio Aru @3.15.

There were seven climbs on stage 20 although only four were categorized, meaning, the other three were not considered as ascents by the race organizers. If you recall, both Contador and Froome were the main protagonists in the Tour de France, but both also failed to finish the race due to injuries sustained in a crash making the Vuelta the race for both this 2014 season.

The five main contenders were still a group going into the final climb, a 12km monster with gradients of 18%! It was Rodriguez, who lit the race up with 9km to go but he was slowly reeled in by Froome, with Contador in tow. Valeverde and Aruwere found out lacking. Froome then attacked leaving Rodriguez in arrears but with Contador still sitting behind him.

Now this was the show that everybody was waiting for this year, Contador versus Froome. But since both had physical issues going into the Vuelta, it made the race more compelling. My thinking was that Froome would take the lead after stage 20, or at least cut the lead going into the time trial where I think that he was the better rider than Contador.

The Brit tried very hard to get rid of the Spaniard, attacking about 8-9 times according to Contador, but Contador stayed glued to Froomes wheel. With about 700 meters to go, Froome made his 9th attack, but instead of surging forward, Alberto was still there and as Froome slowed a bit, surged forward leaving a tired Froome behind. On the line, Contador added 16sec to his lead.

And so, our questions were answered, at least partially– that Contador is the better rider in this Vuelta. I say “partially” since unlike other sports, getting the body in 100% shape for a bicycle race is very difficult. If the weather is bad, you can’t train. Being in tip-top shape means that the body is between health and disease and maintaining that status is very difficult. Remember Nairo Quinta, the favorite of this years Vuelta? Well, he crashed on an innocent road during the first half and broke his shoulder blade and he had to retire.

Contador has pretty much sewn up this Vuelta. The 9.7km time trial will not make any big difference to alter the top spot unless of course Contador crashes which is rare.

Finally, still more questions here. With very strict doping measures, the races seem to be leveled with the strongest riders still in the finale. While this is good, it makes the race so predictable. On stage 20, a 186km stage, the real action commenced with only with 9km to go. So why would I watch the first 177 kilometers when I know that nothing worthwhile is going to happen?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the anti-doping measures in place, but the races have gotten stale. Hopefully, those concerned will do something about it.

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