Vuelta Stage 18: Trouble Looms... And Today's Wrapup

Fotoreporter Sirotti

Mollema steals a win from the sprinters

Oh Bauke Bauke Bauke...


Good on you, lad, for punishing the sprinters' teams, all of whom seemed unwilling or unable to do anything besides monkey around near the front. The first step to team organization in a sprint is taking responsibility. Mollema filled that void and spanked the field. As to Belkin, first de Tour van Bauke, now this. My response?


Next year's VDS is going to be another disaster. Results:

  1. Bauke Mollema, Belkin
  2. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky, s.t.
  3. Maximiliano Richeze, Lampre, s.t.
  4. Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Sharp, s.t.
  5. Fabian Cancellara. de Pletwals, s.t.

As to the GC, the promised crosswinds did show up, but only the French teams seemed to forget the various lessons learned over and over in these circumstances, with Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) getting caught out and losing a precious 1.31 to the leaders. GC now stands at:

  1. Nibali
  2. Horner, at 0.28
  3. Valverde, at 1.14
  4. J-Rod, at 2.29
  5. Roche, at 3.43
  6. Pozzovivo, at 5.09
  7. Pinot, at 6.08

But while the GC was lightly shaken today, tomorrow it will get completely stirred...

Stage 18: Burgos - Peña Cabarga, 186km

To the mountains!

Stage Rating:

High mountains. Peñas, even. Literally that means rocks. Translation? This stage rocks!

Jerseys in Play:

Vuelta_red_mediumVuelta_green_mediumVuelta_kom_medium Vuelta_white_medium

Yes, the points jersey is still in play. Current standings: Valverde 119 points, Roche 111, Moreno 98, etc. All about the GC men this year. Not even close.

Grafix:

Mapa de la etapa:

Mapa18_medium

Your basic death march to the mountains. Fire up the DNS Machine!

18_perfil_medium

And once more, for posterity, here's the Peña Cabarga grafik:

18_puerto_medium

Buzz:

Here's how I described it in the Viewers' Guide:

Nightmares, shooting pain in the legs, mouth-drying flashbacks, and some major time gaps.

As I said Monday, it's a coin flip as to whether the race will be won here or on Saturday.

Vueltabecco Verdict:

Vueltabecco_head_medium

Well, if today was Chris's failed VDS team on parade, I say let's keep the fun going. David Arroyo for the win!

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