Monday, August 27, 2012

Vuelta Preview - Stage 10

I guess it won’t come as a chock for you but I had Ben Swift put down for this stage on my pre-Vuelta stage winner paper. A lot have changed in the first 9 days though and I must admit that my statement about Swifty being the fastest guy in the race hasn’t really been as accurate as expected. That being said, don’t be surprised if he ends up winning in Sanxenxo!

It’s a classic transition stage getting to the mountains and even though it’s alongside the sea with a good chance of cross wind I think it’s safe to say it will end up in a bunch sprint. The last kilometer kicks a little bit uphill but not more than a few percentages and it seems perfect for John Degenkolb to take his 4th stage win in this Vuelta España. Argos-Shimano have been outstanding in their way of setting up Degenkolb in the finals - even when Team Sky seemed to have gotten the better of them on the Motorbike circuit - and it will take something very special to beat Degenkolb this time.

Picking a joker for a stage like this is nearly impossible. A joker should be a guy no one expects winning (Swift?...) but in a sprint like this it will be the same 4-5 names we have already seen in action. I have to pick one so I’ll try Lloyd Mondory. The French sprinter is always up there around top10 and I have a feeling it won’t take long before he gets into Top3. He surprised me on Sunday’s stage in Barcelona where he managed to hang on to the front over Montjuic and took 15th place and according to Mondory himself he feels better and better every day. I doubt he can beat Degekolb but if the cross wind splits up the peloton and Mondory manages to stay in front I think he could have a decent chance of top3 – which in this case you give me some much needed points in my duel with Felix!

Winner pick: John Degenkolb
Joker: Lloyd Mondory

To make this Vuelta a little bit more interesting I’ve challenged Eurosport blogger Blazin' Saddles to a winner pick duel during the race. You have my winner and joker picks above, here you have Felix':

Winner pick: John Degenkolb
Joker: Thomas Dekker

Explanation: The stage is likely to end in a bunch sprint and there's no evidence to suggest that anyone is good enough to beat Degenkolb and his Argos Shimano train in that kind of finish. Ben Swift's performances have been so off-key that I was almost tempted to throw him in as my joker - although Mikkel probably wouldn't have allowed that one (he clearly has a soft spot for Swift, having stuck with him on three - three! - occasions so far). Given the early Cat.3 climb, the likely crosswinds coming off the Galician coast and the prospect of Wednesday's time trial, a break could well stay out. Thomas Dekker, riding his first major tour since coming back from suspension, has been quiet so far. This could be the chance to remind the world of his talent.

Overall score:

Felix 6 points
Mikkel 3 points 

Right winner pick gives 3 points, if the joker wins it's 5 points while it's 1 points if the joker makes top3 on the stage.

1 comment:

  1. @Blazin Wrong joker this time cause Dekker has got a cold. Good luck