Mohoric- CA- Cauldrons
Like all good things, Matej Mohoric has taken some time to reach a level required of delivering on the big stage. Winning yesterday’s stage into Cuenca, he no doubt assuaged the possible concerns of his new employers Bahrain-Merida, who has singed the underperforming prodigy for next year on just a one year deal. Sure, he has won u19 and u23 world championships on the road and some stage of a race in Asia last year, but a Grand Tour stage victory is another kettle of fish. After only spending one year in the u23 ranks, the Slovenian signed a pro contract with the Cannondale team in 2014 at the tender age of just 19! The earliest you normally see riders turn pro is after spending two years in the underage ranks, even then they are still too young. Although there are some exceptions to this, it normally takes riders until they are the age of Mohoric (22-24) for them to mature into athletes who can win on the biggest stage. Jack Haig being another example of a rider who is now really finding his feet in the professional ranks at the age of 23.
As expected, a large group of 14 riders went clear and were never seen again by the peloton. Team Sky learnt from their mistakes of yesterday and let the escapes roam at 7-8 minutes. I’m sure the presence of Jetse Bol in the breakaway, who was 8 minutes 55 seconds off the lead of Froome, provided some concern to Sky, but in the end Froome would keep the leaders red jersey. The 14 riders were thinned to just four over the last climb of the day, which was cobbled; I’m sure to the great pleasure of all the riders! With De Gendt in the final selection of four, I began getting my resume ready to email off to Cricket Australia. Luckily, Mohoric would slip clear on the downhill after clearly being the strongest man in the break. The GC favourites had a relative quiet day with no action to write home about.
Today seems to be a more predictable stage with the GC favourites likely to be challenging for the win. A 5km Cat 1 climb @ 9%, which tops out at 3km to go, will be the arena for the bloodbath in the finale of today’s stage. A small break will be let go by team Sky, but surely the boys in black and blue will be chasing hard all day to setup Froome for his first victory on the road for the season. Chaves and Contador will be other favourites for the stage, but the likes of Bardet, who are no longer a threat to the GC boys, may be given slack if he attacks at the right time. This is a traditional Vuelta finish, a steep hot cauldron that will no doubt result in the race reaching boiling point. For mine, Froome for the win.
See you back at the social club