Paolo Bettini is going to have a hard time going back to back to back. Bettini is on A+ form at the moment, but of all of his Worlds victories, this will be the one that will be the hardest to single him out as THE man to win. Why? This writer does not think that the course is hard enough, and the finish? Flat. He's still a top favorite, but I think there are a number of other very promising possibilities. Read on.
After so many, many close calls, podium appearances, and also-rans, everybody has to profess in some way to being a fan of Erik Zabel. You can't help pulling for the guy in every sprint - maybe today will be the day...no...maybe tomorrow? At long last, the dry spell came to an end in fantastic fashion in Stage 4 of the Vuelta!
Race Report: After a season best described as forgettable (so far), Philippe Gilbert showed that there's still some racing to go before the end of the year, and there's still plenty of time to make good on the sensation of 2011. Gilbert and race leader/hometown hero, Joaquim Rodriguez, throttled all comers on the tough final climb of Montjuic, just before plummeting into Barcelona. Let's take a closer look...
Race Report: At the end of a difficult stage into Andorra, it once again came down to the Fab Four of Valverde, Contador, Rodriguez, and Froome on the fan packed slopes of the Collada de la Gallina - let's take a closer look!
Race Report: One final showdown - 170 kilometers and one monster mountaintop finish to Bola del Mundo remain. Can Valverde or Rodriguez dislodge Contador from the top spot? Let's dive in...
It was supposed to be a relatively simple day - sure, there was a long climb to the finish, but at less than 4% average, it shouldn't have been selective. This was a day for the breakaway and a day to speculate about the showdown on Bola del Mundo…except it wasn't.
No rest for the weary for the Vuelta contenders. Yesterday was the first important date with destiny, and today, the second. While nowhere near as long as the climb to Sierra Nevada, the climb to Valdepeсas de Jaйn makes up for in wicked steepness - can you say 24%? Read on!
Tony Martin's string of stellar time trials continued today on a course that favored the absolute specialists around Salamanca. In the GC battle, however, the pundits' collective jaw fell wide open when Chris Froome donned the red leader's jersey and not his Team Sky leader, Bradley Wiggins. Froome put in the ride of his life, and behind, the GC carnage was impressive. Read on!
Race Report: After the arduous profiles of the last two days, the sprinters got their chance in Stage 5. Not to say that today was an easy one, but it didn't finish with a final kilometer where the top speed was wrought by the little ring. The big rings got a good workout today as we were treated to a beautiful sprint on the streets of Lorca.
Race Report: The narrow, technical, and well lit course through Sevilla provided the hoped for spectacle, but none of the feared for danger. In all, it was a resounding success. The atmosphere in the Spanish town of Sevilla was nothing short of extraordinary with thousands of spectators lining the streets, and the blazing fast time from one of the world's best in the team time trial discipline capped off a splendid evening.
Today's 208 kilometer stage from the coastal Catalonian city of Vilanova i la Geltru to the majestic heights of the Andorran ski town of Pal at 1900 meters was always set to be the first major test of this year's Vuelta. There have been a number of quizzes so far, but the beyond category final climb to Pal proved the perfect battleground to begin the whittling process of the favorites.
Race Report: The first day in the mountains was all we hoped for and more. The early break nearly pulled off the coup and made it to the line. If only it wasn't for a resurgent former Giro winner and umpteen victor at the Giro di Lombardia: Damiano Cunego. Cunego seems to have found his best at an ideal time: a strong Vuelta first, then it's on to Worlds and back to Como.
Race Report: I've said it before, and I'll say it again: nobody does it better than Fabian Cancellara on a time trial bike. It's just a fact folks. Fabu proved it for the umpteenth time today in a rain sodden Valencia. Behind, the GC took its first fledgling steps toward sorting itself out.
Race Report: Anthony Roux singlehandedly saved me from drooling from boredom today with a late race move that had even the most sedate of us out of our seats, cheering him on to victory over the mad dash sprint coming up from behind. It was a wonderful victory for the 22-year-old Frenchman. Read on!
Race Report: Tyler Farrar has been knocking on the door of a Grand Tour stage victory all season, and finally, in his third Grand Tour of the year - he got it. In a painfully long sprint, Farrar managed to hold on to take the top spot over Philippe Gilbert.
The Vuelta is only a few days off. The riders are converging on Granada and this year's climber's paradise of a race is set to roll on Saturday. Five mountaintop finishes and barely any time trialing - all climbers, please step forward!
Race Report: Levi Leipheimer was always going to be a rider to watch, and we've always known that he has the capacity to win a Grand Tour, but today was the first time he did something that really said: I'm here to win. Because he, well, won - in FINE fashion. The lead is his after a sterling time trial effort!
The 2007 Vuelta is set to begin this coming Saturday, the 1st, and if there was ever a Grand Tour in recent memory so up in the air, I can't think of it. Sure, the Tour lacked favorites this year, but going into the Vuelta, the question marks are so entirely large, it's nearly impossible to make any kind of guess. Of course we have to try though, and thus we shall. Read on...
10 days of La Vuelta in the books and we're in for our first pit stop. 11 days still remain, but there are only a couple of big days remaining - one mountaintop finish, one late mountain, and a 20k TT. The Vuelta overall could well be close to set as we sit here and look at how it all went down over the last week and a half.
Another tough day in the saddle for the riders with many a climb and a big ol mean thing at the end that will surely spell the doom for a few - will it be a break or a sprint or something altogether spectacular? I'm assuming you read the title, so you can probably guess the answer. Read on...