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Vuelta a España

timv's picture

The 2006 Vuelta a España, the third and last of the three-week tours, begins this weekend in Malaga with a dead-flat 7.2km team time trial on Saturday. The field looks pretty interesting too. Tom Danielson will be the designated team leader for Discovery, unlike the situation in the Tour de France this year where there was no clear number one for that team. Alexandre Vinokourov and his Kazakhstan-based Astana team (formerly the Spanish Liberty Seguros squad) will compete after being shut out in France at the last minute. TdF de facto winner Oscar Pereiro and hard-luck crash victim Alejandro Valverde will lead the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears team. And one of my favorite riders, Alessandro Petacchi, has recovered from the fractured kneecap suffered early in the Giro d'Italia and will be back to contest the sprints against Robby McEwen, Thor Hushovd, and others.

It's sad but probably worth noting that the defending champion, Dennis Menchov of Rabobank, didn't get to stand at the top of the podium last year. He was only named the winner after Roberto Heras's now-all-too-familiar positive drug test. I guess Basso is still technically considered the Giro champ, but we've now been through a full year where all three grand tour winners have either been put under grave suspicion or actually stripped of their titles. Kinda depressing...

Also, I see no evidence that OLN TV has any plans to cover this event at all. I guess I need to go back and look at Blake's postings about online sources for video coverage of cycling events. Or perhaps look again at subscribing to Cycling TV. There was actually a year--2003 if I'm not mistaken--when OLN broadcast every stage of all three grand tours. Man was that nice, but too good a thing to last I suppose.

 

Comments

roadskater's picture

Vuelta Musings

Ahh, yes, it is now time to change the TdF news section over to the Vuelta, now that Tim has introduced the topic for us. I had read some bits on this, noting that the Pinkboys are sending their minor leaguers so to speak, so T-Mobile may not have the power they had at the TdF.

I noticed that the Italian sprinter you mentioned, Petacchi, would be back, and that's a name I recognize from my vague following of the TdF and to a lesser degree the other tours. It'll be fun to see how the sprints go, and if McEwen will have the timing and quick power he exhibited in France. As I recall, Thor Hushovd's lead outs were not deep enough to launch him, or that was one thought, but McEwen seemed to make good use of them! Maybe I have this mixed up after weeks away from the obsession.

If anyone should have the fire in the belly it should be Vino! I hope he can have a strong showing if he's not a doper, and if he is, well I hope he has a strong showing so he'll get caught. I'd like to think Vino's clean, but he sure did run with a suspect pack. Let the testing begin!

It's awesome that Danielson will get what I guess is his preview of sorts. From what we saw at last year's Tour de Georgia, he has enormous potential, and we knew we were seeing the future of USA cycling (or we thought so).

It sounds like to begin with at least, Pereiro will be working for Valverde, from the source I read. I think all of my ideas came from one reading of one or two pages found in the left sidebar here, probably eurosport.com.

I hope we can find some live video, or at least some interviews. With cable television's promise of ever more segmented markets, it is a shame (from our view) that tractor pull and rodeo must draw better per penny invested than skinny men and women in bright tights on bikes (or skates).

roadskater's picture

Vuelta Stage 2 Plus Some Links

During the TdF I enjoyed Chris Horner's video diaries for VeloNews, and I remembered this when I noted his name in the left sidebar Vuelta section.

 

http://www.cyclingnews.com/riders/2006/diaries/chris_h/?id=chris_h062 

 

It's brief but sounds like his voice (to my brain ear) so I think he wrote it, and I like his approach. He's right about Robbie, modest about himself, and I liked that he called the guy that led almost all day "One guy," because the guy didn't lead all day! I also like that he said...

 

"That’s the nice thing about bike racing; there’s always another race."

 

I like that one better than the popular cliché, "That's racing!" I find that one is usually after rules have been broken and ignored!

 

It sounds like Bettini's win in Stage 2 was a mild surprise, but Hushovd leads overall despite not getting the sprint. I think Petacchi had a tough time of it perhaps.

 

Stage 3 looks like a long ride at just over 130 miles in the company of some of the world's best.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/cp/sports/060827/s082724.html 

 

Please share any links and other info so we can all learn a bit more.

 

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