BMC - The King of Colombia - Week 3
The second week has been ticked off for Froome and Team Sky has everything under control. Like in all good sporting teams, every rider has been pulling their weight and in the key moments, different riders have been popping up. Most notably Moscon, Nieve and Poels in the crunch moments on the climbs. Everyone always forgets about the kilometres and kilometres of riding on the front that happens before the live pictures come to our screens. For those wondering that’s what Stannard and Knees have been doing for the past week in the scorching heat and also pissing rain.
As expected the two BMC hopes have been dwindled out of the top 10 with Kelderman, Lopez and Contador all making good progress in the second week. With Dennis having to withdraw on the 2nd rest day due to illness, their success is going to have to come from a breakaway victory. You don’t have to be a cycling wizard to say that Lopez has been the man of the second week. Jumping from 16th to 6th, taking back 1.30min on Froome and claiming two mountain top stage victories. He is the best climber in the race and has shown that he is getting better as the race goes on - a scary thought for Froomey and his boys. His performances against the clock are also decent with a 2nd place in last year’s TT at the Tour of Suisse, a race he went on to win. A genuine danger for the third week if he can get through today with minimal wounds to lick.
History suggested that Nibali would get better as the race wears on and that is what has happened again. Nothing sizzling yet, but you can tell the Shark is circling for a big attack in the third week. Always a consistent performer against the clock, he will have to be at his very best again today if he wants to chomp into Froome's advantage in the final few stages. Like Contador, he will fight all the way to Madrid and will risk a spot on the podium for a shot at the title.
Is Wilco Kelderman in the Vuelta??? He sits 4th after two weeks of racing. Maybe if Barguil had obeyed orders he could be even higher. Maybe Sunweb might regret that decision to send the Tour de France superstar home. All “if buts and maybes”, but what is sure is that Kelderman will put in a solid performance in the race of truth today. The only GC rider I can see seriously challenge Froome in the time trial. A good performance today and if we don’t hear about him till Madrid (like we haven’t all Vuelta) he will be on the podium on Sunday.
With a tricky third week to come, I’m still thinking that several Team Sky men are going to have an off day on the same time, or Froome will have a shocker himself; that’s what his rivals are hoping will happen. However, with a long TT today, Froome is going to build himself a bigger buffer heading into the last days of battle. Every stage until Madrid is tricky. A long time trial, a hilltop finish, two stages (18,19) which have the potential to be hard to defend and go awfully pear shaped for Team Sky and of course the final battle of stage 20. Regardless of its distance at only 117 km, stage 20 has to be the queen stage of this years Vuelta. 3 climbs in the last 50km, the last being the infamous L’Angliru, 12.5km @ 9.8%. An absolute doozey of a stage to finish of this spaghetti western. Time for some predictions for the third week. 1st- Froome, 2nd Nibali, 3rd Lopez
See you back at the social club