VUELTA’20 2nd Rest Day Round Up: L’Angliru Bites!


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Vuelta Rest Day Rant: The second week of the Spanish Grand Tour and the monster of the Alto de l’Angrilu are behind us, but the final week is no ‘walk in the park’. Ed Hood has been tied to the TV to give us his ‘different’ view on stages seven to twelve of the 2020 Vuelta a España.

You can see Ed Hood’s ‘1st Rest Day Round Up’ HERE.

Primoz Roglič lost the red jersey and a little time on Carapaz thanks to l’Angliru – What about Tuesday’s time trial?

Stage Seven:
‘Turnaround artist’ of the day has to be former runner, Michael Woods [EF & Canada]. On Stage One he was a crash victim finishing 157th @ 18:29; Stage Two wasn’t much better, 143rd at 18:44. But. Stage Six saw him second to Izagirre and then today, Stage Seven – Vitoria-Gasteiz to Villanueva de Valgovia – saw him grab the ‘victoria’.

Woods took stage 7

Stage wins in the Dauphine, Tirreno, Tour de France, Giro and now the Vuelta means it’s been a good year for the men in pink. Sadly for Mr. Vaughters he loses Woods to Israel Start-Up Nation and Tour de France stage winner, Dani Martinez to INEOS Grenadiers for 2021. Both riders go from a 44% salary cut in 2020 with EF to teams with billionaires in the background. Monaco-based chemicals magnate, James Ratcliffe in the case of Ineos and Canadian/Israeli property tycoon, Sylvan Adams. Word is that the Israeli team’s budget is somewhere between 14 and 20 million Euros, whilst the British team’s budget at last estimate was 55 to 60 million Euros.

Bourg-de-Péage - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Michael WOODS (Canada / Cannondale Drapac Professsional Cycling Team) pictured during stage 5 of Paris - Nice UCI World Tour from Quincié-en-Beaujolais to Bourg-de-Péage, 199.50 km - foto: LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017
Michael Woods has been with SlipStream for a long time

Woods and Martinez are professional athletes with relatively short careers – especially Woods, who is now 34 years-old – and they have to make the most of their brief years on the bike. And Woods must be especially happy with a three year deal, not easy to negotiate at his age.

Tour stage winner – Dani Martinez

Martinez is on a one year deal with Ineos but the last we heard, the lowest salary with Team Sky was 120,000 Sterling per annum, so even if he’s only there for one year it’s a nice boost for the man from Soacha. There’s that word, ‘Alto’ I tomorrow’s finish – it’s gonna be any other tough day at the coal face. . .

Stage 7 highlights

Stage Eight:
Roglič responds and closes the gap on Carapaz, who looks almost but not quite as strong as the Slovenian whilst Martin ‘hangs in there’.

Roglič and Carapaz – The Vuelta two top men

Carthy slips a little, Mas no longer looks like a podium contender, Großschartner is solid whilst Valverde and Chaves claw their way up the standings. Poels and Vlasov must be rueing their slow start to their campaigns as they begin to find their legs.

Roglič and his Bianchi – No disks

And ‘bike of the day’ has to be Roglic’s Bianchi as he gives us another display of his power. His Oltre XR4 is available in a disc brake version with fully internal cable routing but the Jumbo-Visma man’s success has come on the rim brake model. For all the trumpeting about the advantages of disc brakes, the fact is that in the weight-obsessed WorldTour, they’re heavy. And have you wondered why the teams on Shimano discs fit MTB front discs? Because on long, long, descents the Dura Ace ones are prone to warping due to heat build-up. There’s a long way to go before disc braking is properly ‘sorted’ – there are reasons that perfectionist outfit INEOS-Grenadiers don’t ride them.

No disks for INEOS-Grenadiers

But back to Bianchi. It was 1885 when Edoardo Bianchi began to build bicycles in Milan, he was just 21 year-old and had trained as a medical instrument maker. Sen. Bianchi said that the best way to test a product was to race it. That’s how their Reparto Corse or Racing Department was born. The company sponsored Giovanni Tommasello, the winner of the Grand Prix de Paris sprint competition in 1899 and gained huge publicity from the experience. In 1935 Bianchi sponsored Campionissimo Constante Girardengo and sales rose to 70,000 a year.

Coppi on his Bianchi

In 1950 Fausto Coppi won the Paris–Roubaix on a Bianchi; the Campione Del Mondo model followed Coppi’s win in the 1953 world championship.

Felice Gimondi was famous for riding a Bianchi

Felice Gimondi rode a Bianchi to glory in the 70’s as did the late Marco Pantani who was obsessive about his machines; at his zenith the company was building him 30 frames in a season. Roglic continues to fly the flag for the world’s oldest bicycle company – and before we get too nostalgic about that lovely ‘celeste’ colour, the Slovenian star sometimes rides a black frame and anyway, ‘celeste’ was originally a mixture of surplus military paints. Next year Bianchi head ‘Down Under,’ to the ‘New World’ having inked a long term deal with Aussie team, Mitchelton-Scott; a new chapter begins for the world’s oldest bike builder.

Stage 8 highlights

Stage Nine:
‘Decaffeinated declasse of the day’, sadly goes to Sam Bennett for. . . not very much. “I felt good today and was optimistic that we could be successful. The guys supported me throughout the stage and so I still had good legs at the finish. In the finalé I was head butted by Sam and I finished second. The jury then relegated him after an objection. It’s not exactly the way I wanted to win, but I think the decision was right. We still have a long way to go to Madrid, there are a couple more chances for the fast men, so I hope we can be successful there.”Pascal Ackermann.

Ackermann was the stage 9 winner

The official line is that Bennett, ‘made forceful contact with Emils Liepins’ then head butted Ackermann as they fought for position. I had a look again at the videos and could see little that would have raised an eyebrow a year of two ago; it’s a sprint for goodness sake. We used to get up to much worse in our sprints for road signs on our club runs. But as Tassie cycling pundit, Allan Knight said, the product of; ‘we want to be seen’ referees. Yeah. It got me to thinking about sprints in days gone by.

rik van linden
Rik Van Linden – Tour stage winner

I spoke to Rik Van Linden, aka Rik 111, a demon in his 70’s day with 110 professional wins – and before that 182 wins as a junior with 74 in the one season. He reckoned Patrick Sercu r.i.p. was the fastest man around at the time but the ‘Flemish Arrow’ was no kamikaze.

Sercu could win on his own

So I asked Van linden; ‘Who was most your most dangerous rival – in terms of being most liable to knock you off?’ “The Italian Marino Basso, who was World Champion in 1972, was one of the sprinters who you didn’t move easily out of the way in the sprint. He wasn’t frightened of much!” If Rik Van Linden found it hard to move him out of the way, that says it all. Basso’s nickname was, ‘Mr. 10,000 volts’ as well as the Worlds he won 15 Giro stages, six Tour de France stages and six Vuelta stages.

Marino Basso

Then there was the Sean Kelly v. Eric Vanderaerden duel which would have today’s commissars requiring smelling salts. It was hard to get DQ-ed for ‘irregular sprinting’ back in the 70’s and 80’s but they both managed to do it. And what about Cipo v. Abdou in the 90’s where their main goal seemed to be to kill each other?

abu cipo
Cipo and Abdu

Journalist to Cipo; ‘wouldn’t it be better if you sat down with Abdou and tried to sort out your differences, Mario?’ Cipo; ‘I never plead with a woman.’ After the undoubtedly horrific Fabio Jakobsen Tour of Poland crash this year, I saw one suggestion that the finishing straight be marked out in lanes. Oh dear. . .

Stage 9

Stage 10:
Roglič makes ROJO his ‘colour of the day’ and that’s three stage wins out of 10, that’s a Merckx-esque ratio; can he keep it going until Madrid or will he fluff Tuesday’s Belle Filles-esque contrarreloj?

Roglič swapped green for red

I don’t think so, that lesson is learned and besides, Tadej is back home right now. . .

We thought it might interest you to look at Roglič’s last dozen stage race results:
# 2020 Tour de France: 2nd
# 2020 Dauphine – DNS after crash, was leading when retired
# 2020 Tour de l’Ain: 1st
# 2019 Vuelta: 1st
# 2019 Giro: 3rd
# 2019 Romandie: 1st
# 2019 Tirreno: 1st
# 2019 UAE Tour: 1st
# 2018 Tour of Britain: 3rd
# 2018 Tour de France: 4th
# 2018 Tour of Slovenia 1st
# 2018 Romandie 1st

Impressive by any measure.

Saturday and Sunday see the race back in the mountains with the latter finishing atop the mighty Angliru. The mechanics will be fitting those 34 rings as I write.

Stage 10

Stage 11:
‘The Bigs’, were holding back for the Angliru and today’s ramblings are about the ’24 year-olds of the day.’ The Stage Winner, David Gaudu is one of those French, ‘Great White Hopes,’ the ‘Clark Kent lookalike’ from Landivigen in Brittany won the u23 ‘Course de la Paix’ in 2016 and more importantly from the French perspective, the Tour de l’Avenir. French winners of their home, ‘Tour of the Future’ who go on to professional success are rare, names like Charly Mottet, Marc Madiot and the late, great Laurent Fignon. Or, they never quite deliver on their promise; names like Sylvain Calzati, Roman Sicard and the enigma that is Warren Barguil.

French hope – David Gaugu

What Gaudu has going for him in this era is Julian Alaphilippe, the French Media don’t need to live in hope and heap pressure on young riders who show promise; they have Julian who actually walks the walk. Gaudu turned pro with FDJ for 2017 and took a stage and best young rider in the Tour de l’Ain; also delivering some nice single day results like fifth in Milano-Torino and top 10 in the Flèche Wallone.

m pantani20
David Gaugu second in the Memorial Pantani

Season 2018 saw him ride the Tour and produce some strong one day rides; second in the Memorial Pantani and fifth in the Classic Sud Ardeche. Last season saw his development progress nicely, the podium and best young rider in the UAE Tour, a stage and fifth on GC in Romandie, sixth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and 13th on GC in le Tour. This year his Tour end prematurely, suffering from the after effects of an early crash – at 1.73m. and just 53 kilos he’s not what could be called a ‘robust’ rider, a real climbing waif of a man. His Vuelta stage win gives FDJ a great boost and moves him up from 14th to 12th on GC, if he hasn’t burned too many matches today he could go top 10 on GC tomorrow.

Stevie Williams

The other man of two dozen summers who I want to mention didn’t start Stage 11, he did his 10 stages then headed home. Stevie Williams [Bahrain-McLaren & Wales] has come a long way from riding for JLT Condor in the UK in 2016. He joined top Dutch development squad SEG Racing for 2017 with his best result, second in the Flèche Ardennaise behind Belgian, Harm Vanhoucke who rode very strongly early in this year’s Giro. Williams took 11th in the hotly contested u23 stage race, the Ronde de l’Isard, a race he returned to in 2018 to win two stages and the GC. That season also saw a stage win in the Baby Giro, these results gained him a stagiaire place with Bahrain-Merida, moving up to join the team for 2019.

Stevie Williams
Stevie Williams had to turn his back on the Vuelta

Sadly, a persistent knee injury meant he was side lined for most of 2019 and early 2020. Bahrain management wisely decided that 10 days of a tough Grand Tour was enough of a test for his rehabilitation. The man himself said; ‘I am very disappointed not to finish the Vuelta, but I feel very privileged to have begun the race. If you look at where I came from the last couple of seasons — going from less than 15 race days in the last two years to 10 days in a row here. I am pleased, and I am taking a lot of positive from this going into the off season. I am over the moon, it’s all good.’ Welcome back, Stevie. Angliru tomorrow. . .

Stage 11

Stage 12:
‘Word of the day’, can only be ‘l’Angliru’ – no other. A massive ‘chapeau’ to Senor Hugh Carthy of EF and GB. It’s been some season for them boys in pink, with stage wins in all three Grand Tours; Tour de France, two in the Giro d’Italia and now two in the Vuelta Ciclista a Espana.

carthy vuelta20st12
Big ride for Carthy

Carthy joins an eclectic band of winners who have made it first to the top of this mad ascent. As my buddy, Davie and I drove up, we lost sight of the road ahead; then we saw it, zig-zagging across a cliff face. Davie could talk for Scotland but was lost for words, you have to see it – but better still, walk it, like we did on race day, to take it in.

L’Angliru – Steep!

The first man to win up on the moonscape atop this already legendary climb in 1999 was gifted climber, Jose Maria Jimenez – ‘El Chava’ they called him, such a shame that a likeable, talented man like him should die of a heart attack in a psychiatric hospital in Madrid at the age of just 32, in December 2003. Rest in peace, Amigo.

Jimenez on l’Angliru

The next winner was double Giro winner, Gilberto Simoni in 2000; as David Millar once told me; ‘all the special guys are a little bit crazy, Simoni is up there on Planet Gilbo.’ Thank you, David.

Roberto Heras, 16e. Etappe Vuelta van Gijon naar Alto de L´Angrilu Foto Cor Vos ©2000
Roberto Heras – Alto de l’Angrilu

Season 2002 saw Vuelta ‘recordman’ Roberto Heras – with wins in 2000/03/04 and 05; 10 stage wins and 34 days in the leader’s jersey – take the honours. In 2008, ‘we were those soldiers’ tramping up the long K’s to near the top to watch ‘Bert’ Contador take the first of two wins on a climb you really have to experience to understand.

Contador l’Angliru 2008

Three year later it was Juan Jose Cobo who tamed this Asturian Giant. BUT. His biological passport didn’t concur and victory went to Dutchman, Wout Poels who was second up there at the nothingness that is the top. Different times. In 2013 it was little French climber, Kenny Ellisonde who took the win of his life, one to tell the grandchildren about. . .

Kenny Ellisonde
Kenny Ellisonde – One to tell the grandchildren about

In 2017 ‘Bert’ closed the book on his career, I just wish I’d been there. And this year it was the slim man from Preston in the north of England who became part of the myth. Hugh Carthy, now and forever you are Legend, young man.

Stage 12

# Keep it PEZ all the way to Madrid – Covid-19 allowing. #

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 12:
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers in 48:29:27
2. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma at 0:10
3. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:32
4. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 0:35
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 1:50
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-McLaren at 5:13
7. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 5:30
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 6:22
9. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana at 6:41
10. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 6:42
11. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 7:40
12. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 8:27
13. David De la Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 8:34
14. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 10:49
15. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 11:15
16. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 12:25
17. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 15:14
18. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 15:35
19. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 17:01
20. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 25:36
21. Georg Zimmermann (Ger) CCC at 34:49
22. Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 39:55
23. Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 43:04
24. Gino Mäder (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling at 43:58
25. William Barta (USA) CCC at 44:20.

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