Another year, and the Vuelta a España again decides that the correct thing to do is to pay cyclefucius a visit.
Not quite as “at home” as last year’s finish in Cumbres Verdes, but travelling over some regular cyclefucius haunts such as La Peza, Alhendin, Alpujarra and on to Capileira (not a Brazilian fighting dance but a rough old mountain south of Granada). Looks nice – should be a good turn out on the final climb (which cyclfucius hasn’t ever done and will need to report back on). Stage 11 from Andorra on the other hand, cyclefucius will be leaving to the professionals:
As a whole it looks like a typical modern-style Vuelta – a team time trial to start, lots of mountain finishes, a reasonable individual time trial near the end. But all new summit finishes (not the well-known Angliru or Lagos de Covadonga etc.). And not too many stages over 200km – so could be a little more “racy”.
Someone once said mountain finishes are “cycling for people who don’t like cycling”. It’s true that Mrs. Fucius would happily watch a race up the Ventoux but no amount of echelons or sprint action could get her to watch a flat stage. On the other hand, everyone likes mountain finishes, though cyclefucius would say that this year we do need at least two of the big stars to be in contention. Last year’s tours did produce some Nibali and Contador awesomeness but they weren’t really challenged hard. In Cumbres Verdes we had Valverde, Contador and Froome charging up together and fairly epically dropping Quintana.
Of course we don’t know who’ll even be in it this year. Looks like no Contador but perhaps Froome, Quintana, Nibali, the always unlucky Purito and/or the always unloved Valverde. Or perhaps a “breakthrough” for someone like a Dan Martin, Fabio Aru or one of the French? The big climbs seem concentrated in the first two weeks so the result might depend on strong team performances in the final stages. There’s a lot of Giro-ing and Tour-ing to do before then but cyclefucius hopes that sufficient of them make it through unscathed, as this looks like a fun Vuelta.