A pile of things breaks the slumber

A massive fall 12 kilometers from the finish interrupted a tedious day that Philipsen won at sprinting. Taaramäe, cut off, gave the jersey to Elissonde.


The Groundhog Day invaded the Vuelta a España this Wednesday for many kilometers. As if living 'Trapped in Time', with Bill Murray riding a bicycle, the platoon repeated the script from other days. You turn on the television at a reasonable hour and you run into the three usual escapees: one from Burgos-BH, one from Caja Rural and another from Euskaltel-Euskadi, the three invited teams. Grateful to the organization and morally obliged to comply. This time it was the turn of Pelayo Sánchez, Oier Lazkano and Xabier Azparren, respectively, but it could have been any other teammates. They rotate between them. Whoever they are, they already know that the end is written. They will be closely watched and cruelly caught to resolve the litigation at sprint.

A route of 184 kilometers through La Mancha roads, in this case between Tarancón and Albacete, can only have a different resolution if the wind blows. And it must be remembered that in these parts it blows often, there are historical examples that confirm it. If Eolo has the unruly day, with the right intensity and direction, the tension and the spectacle are guaranteed. But if you take the day off, as was the case this Wednesday, it is best to take a nap, because the tostón is just as assured as in the opposite case. The organization can do many things for the race, but it cannot put the wind where there is none. Nor push cyclists on quixotic missions.

Another different story is whether so many massive arrivals are really necessary. La Vuelta has been accused in recent years of lack of sensitivity with sprinters, by accumulating walls, traps and high ends that prevented the sprinter from taking center stage. This year the philosophy has been changed, with seven stages that can potentially be solved with a volata. A figure that, if met, would be equivalent to almost a third of the route. Now nobody complains about the unfair distribution. At the moment there are already three: one for Jasper Philipsen in Burgos, another for Fabio Jakobsen in Molina de Aragón and the latter again for Philipsen. There are fans and analysts, and it is their right, who applauded and applauded this type of goal. Well, here is the result. An endless yawn, only interrupted by misfortune.

Cycling is such an unpredictable sport, and many times so ungrateful, that even on such a tedious day as the one that took place this Wednesday, everything can be blown up in a breath. 30 kilometers from the finish line there was a timid attempt by Ineos to organize fans, just in a change of direction. Unsuccessfully. A little further on, 20 km away, the Deceuninck and Astana took the baton, with a little more insistence, but also without cuts. The wind was not very conducive to the battle, but the nervousness generated by the movements caused a tremendous fall in the front of the group with 12 km to go. The inopportune montonera broke the slumber. And he changed part of the script ... only part.

The main platoon, made up of only thirty cyclists, slowed down to wait for the injured, but the finish line was already very close, the race fairly launched, and not all of them could reach the vanguard positions. Among the laggards was the leader, Rein Taaramäe, who gave the pledge to Kenny Elissonde, his companion in the Picón Blanco adventure, who won the Angliru in 2013. And one of the favorites, Romain Bardet, who did a lot of damage and was says goodbye to the general ... and perhaps his participation in La Vuelta. Mikel Snow also came out badly. In cycling there are boring days, this stage is a good example, but never, never, of transition. At any moment, everything can go to hell.

Photos from as.com
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