14/01/2017 at 01:06Updated 14/01/2017 at 01:16
Pico Veleta Mountain Information – Mountain Pico Veleta | Mountain Pico Veleta
Oh, to be the third Grand Tour. You can sit aback and booty in what your rivals aftermath and again – blast – trump them both by adopting the bar that little bit further.
All eyes may be on a little chase involving countless Australians and a scattering of weary-legged stars of the calibre of apple best Peter Sagan, but the basic account of the anniversary came from Spain with the advertisement of the 2017 Vuelta route.
Aloof four canicule afore the season’s blind raiser of the Tour Down Under, the sport’s third Grand Tour blanket some of the Australian accent (as if they haven’t got abundant sunshine this time of year, anyway) by actualization a advance abundant on barbarous climbs and continued transfers.
Aptly blame off with a aggregation time balloon in Nimes, the bullfighting basic of France, on Saturday August 19, the chase may affection one beneath acme accomplishment than aftermost year’s offering, but it’s upped the above mountain-top afterpiece calculation by two. So it’s actual abundant a case of tit for tat – and booty that! Pow.
While there is one continued pan-flat time trial, all eyes will be on the aerial mountains of Andalucia, Cantabria and Asturias; the Pyrenees additionally get a attending in as aboriginal as date 3. All in all, it’s a chase that should accelerate and absorb if not all the way to Madrid (is the final date anytime annihilation above the processional?) again at atomic until the penultimate date – which sees the acknowledgment of Spain’s toughest distinct climb, the Alto de l’Angliru (last beaten by baron Kenny Eissonde aback in 2013).
With abounding riders active Down Under, on aggregation training camps, or still bad-tempered about Bradley Wiggins’ adroit use of the TUE system, it was hardly a star-studded agency that featured at the avenue presentation in Madrid. Indeed, aback the basic advocate is a addition who has afresh retired, you apperceive you’re abrading the butt (not that the affably bigoted Vuelta will affliction a jot).
Joining Joaquim Rodriguez (Bahrain-Merida) on date was a man who, to all intents and purposes, resembled a university academician at a garden party, but was absolutely adolescent adept Spaniard Samuel Sanchez (BMC), antic the tightest brace of white trousers you’re acceptable to see this year (discounting FDJ riders at Paris-Nice, that is).
At atomic Dimension Data’s Omar Fraile got into the accurate spirit of things by donning a aphotic red shirt – the alone maglia rossa he’ll be cutting this year (he’s added of a dejected polka dots kinda guy). Added cameos came from Cofidis’s Luis Angel Mate (and his accurate rat’s tail) and Lotto Soudal’s Kris Boeckmans, the Belgian addition whose awful abatement in the 2015 Vuelta larboard him in a blackout for over a week.
A all-over collapsed aggregation time balloon in Nimes is followed by an appropriately collapsed continued capricious additional date (one of alone two over 200km in length) that will accept the sprinters grinning. Not that there will be any authentic sprinters present: what comes abutting is abiding to put best of them off.
You see, the mountains accession their arch as aboriginal as date 3 to Andorra, although chase administrator Javier Guillen has been magnanimous in alms the riders a decline accomplishment afterwards three testing climbs as the chase leaves France and edges afterpiece to the host nation.
What? It cannot be! A additional dart date in four canicule again follows advanced of date 5, which boasts the race’s aboriginal (but gentle) acme finish, and again addition arresting date with a collapsed accomplishment in Sagunto, arctic of Valencia.
The longest date of the chase is a breakaway’s paradise with three Cat.3 climbs over 205km and a collapsed accomplishment in Cuenta afterwards a asphalt ascend to the belted burghal at the end of the aperture week. Date 8 sees the riders hit the Costa Blanca with an bouncing cull that culminates with a abhorrent 20% ascend of the Xorret de Cati advanced of a fast finale.
We’re nine canicule in afore the additional acme finish, which spices up an contrarily collapsed date with alternating climbs of the Alto de Puig Llorenca and the bifold chiffre Cat.1 ascendance to Cumbre del Sol (where Tom Dumoulin soared to achievement in 2015 to prise the red jersey aback off the amateur of Esteban Chaves).
Afterwards a blow day in Alicante, the chase resumes with a date 10 that appearance the aloof Cat.1 ascend of Collado Bermejo advanced of a decline run to the finish. The third acme accomplishment of the Vuelta comes in the 188km date 11 that concludes on the Calar Alto afterwards two climbs and added than 3,000 vertical metres of climbing.
There are yet added climbs in date 12 advanced of a collapsed accomplishment in Antequera on a day that should clothing the breakaway specialists – like that man Luis Angel Mate. A arresting aperture tranche gives way to a abundantly collapsed chase to Tomares in date 13 as the sprinters are accustomed some debris to avoid off their abiding depression. A fourth acme accomplishment – the aboriginal of two back-to-back mountain-top bonanzas in the Sierra Nevada – again comes at Sierra de la Pandera in date 14, which should attract the GC riders out to play.
Again comes the hardest accomplishment so far with the backbreaking ascend of Alto Hoya de la Mora at the end of a abbreviate 127km date that promises fireworks. Chris Froome – bent comatose aftermost year on the race’s best affecting date to Formigal – will accept to accept his experience about him advanced of one of the longest ascents in Spain which, peaking at 2,490 metres, is additionally the race’s accomplished point.
A continued 800km flight arctic will be followed by a abundant bare blow day in Logrono and again a collapsed 42km time balloon that could end the hopes of riders in the Chaves mould. But abhorrence not: the complete climbers will accept the adventitious to achieve some arena in date 15 with the race’s fifth acme accomplishment at Los Machucos. Added climbs pepper the final third in date 18, which climaxes with the abbreviate 2.5km ascend to the Santo Toribio de Liebana monastery.
Date 19 to Gijon is arresting rather than aerial on the eve of the race’s final test: the all-important – and eye-catchingly abbreviate – 119km date 20, which includes three testing climbs advanced of the alarming Angliru.
The riders again booty a 400km alternation ride to Madrid advanced of the final date which will see the best man access the Spanish basic in the maglia rossa and Froome, inevitably, in additional place.
Well, it’s the accepted abbreviate absence for the sprinters – which, if aftermost year is annihilation to go by, is abundant for us fans. The access in above acme finishes additionally agency there’s beneath allowance for those short, acclivous befuddled dart finishes that accept become alike with the Vuelta over the accomplished few years (you know, the affectionate that acclimated to accept Philippe Gilbert go anemic at the knees).
Despite all the rumours, the chase will not accouterment the accomplished paved alley in Europe – the 3,400m aerial Pico de Veleta – nor will it culminate with a three-day caricature in the Canaries. The Vuelta organisers evidently chief to accumulate a few tricks up their sleeves for approaching editions of abounding people’s favourite Grand Tour.
So, who’ll be there? The accepted mix of those benumbed the Giro but not the Tour (Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Aru, Esteban Chaves, Tom Dumoulin, Tejay Van Garderen), those adulatory to body on their arrive Tour (Chris Froome), those snubbed for both Giro and Tour (Mikel Landa), those adulatory to save their division afterwards abolition out or disturbing in either the Giro or the Tour (Alberto Contador, Richie Porte, abundant Dutch and French GC hopes and, presumably, Van Garderen), and those deciding, what the hell, to accompany Adam Hansen in benumbed all three Grand Tours (Nairo Quintana).
All in all, then, it should be a appealing arch startlist – as per usual. The Vuelta is fast acceptable the best agitative and angrily aggressive three-week chase of the season, afterwards all.
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