If the Tour de France is an eldest son who is a successful brain surgeon, the Vuelta is his younger brother who runs a well-respected nonprofit but is inevitably overshadowed, ignored at family gatherings while his big brother steals the spotlight. Or something like that.
It’s been an exciting first few days of racing at Spain’s grand tour. Some observations:
- The course is not flat. This fact scared away lots of big-name sprinters from even showing up and also has made for more interesting racing, with breakaways having a chance or succeeding on every stage so far and Chris Froome launching a big attack on Stage Three. Personally, I find sprint stages to be far less interesting than lumpy ones, and I’ve enjoyed seeing these stages play out in surprising, tactically diverse ways.
- Speaking of Froome, he’s crushing everyone again, and–bold prediction!–I think he will win it all.
- Chaves is back! So far, the little Colombian with the best smile in pro sports has been one of the few GC contenders with the fitness to stay on Froome’s wheel during attacks that have blown apart the rest of the field. After such a poor performance at the Tour (and more importantly, on my fantasy team), it’s great to see him riding strong.
- Thomas “Off the Front” de Gendt is at it again. Color me not at all surprised. This dude is a beast and it’s a shame that he didn’t win the Most Aggressive Rider jersey at the Tour. Hopefully local biases in Spain don’t screw him over like they did in France.
- Spain looks nice. I’d like to go there sometime. Maybe not in August though.
- I don’t know what’s more hilarious about the Eurosport broadcasts: Carlton Kirby’s unwavering frustration with shoddy camera work, or Sean Kelly’s monotone brogue as he describes lung-busting efforts and riveting racing with an startling lack of enthusiasm. They make a great pair.