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Vuelta Stage 19 Preview: Ávila - La Granja de San Ildefonso

Stage 19 :: Friday September 18, 2009
179.8km :: Ávila - La Granja de San Ildefonso

One more stage before the denoument of this tour, and it's a nice one. Several rated climbs including two trips up the Puerto de Nevacerrada. Now maybe it's just because I'm listening to The Rite of Spring in the background, but this has a feel of a highnoon showdown to it. I'm not saying someone looked at Samu and decided to make the last stage with climbs tailor made for him, because they didn't; it doesn't actually descend all the way to the finish line. Just most of the way.

When Caisse d'Espargne reached the new world, Valverde burned their bikes, as a result, his men were well motivated. It is also my understanding that Robert Gesink would have liked to have seen Montana.

Gavia's concentrating on finding the next Northwest Swell... so she's turned things over to "man on the scene, Juan" who, as far as I know, may or may not actually be a PdC member.

The last mountain stage in this year’s Vuelta a España starts where we left off. Ávila says goodbye to the race and the bunch heads east to get closer to Madrid. After almost 180 kilometers of really tough racing we will hit the finish line in the small town of San Ildefonso. The course includes three major climbs, and interestingly two of them are the same mountain climbed twice. It is truly the very last opportunity for the riders who are not good at flat time trials, so we expect to see the climbers struggling to drop their rivals in the steepest sections. The only difference between today and a mountain-top finish are a few kilometers of fast descent at the end of the stage.

Everything that could be said about the start town of Ávila has been said in last stage’s preview, so let’s skip to the end in…La Granja Fabrica de cristales? A glass factory? What’s that?... Let me explain: La Granja is the historical name for San Ildefonso, a town near Segovia created in the Middle Ages when a king decided it was the perfect place to stay on vacation. When the French Bourbons became the ruling dynasty in Spain (1700) they built a French style palace to be used as the summer residence for the Royal Family. This palace, and its beautiful gardens, is now an important tourist attraction in the region of Segovia. La Real Fábrica de Cristales (Royal Glass Factory) was a factory created personally by the King of Spain in the 18th century to provide Madrid with high quality glass. The winner today will surely be able to decorate his house with a fine crystal trophy.

Courtesy of Gavia's Juan's Stage 19 Preview at

Frinky carries twenty-three great wounds, all got in battle. Seventy-five men has he killed with his own hands in battle. He scatters, he burns his enemies' tents. He takes away their flocks and herds. The Turks pay him a golden treasure, yet he is poor!  Because he is a river to his people!  Also, Bubble Boy fans might want to skip this next bit...

Nice to see the breakaway has his chance one's more this Vuelta. Strange acting of Euskaltel, VacansOleil and Astana but the fart of yesterday, I'm sorry that wasn't gentle, was Tom Danielson. How can you quit when you are in the top 10 of a freaking GC and have absolutely no chance on the World Champion. I'm sorry for this bashing but c'mon.. I would kick his ass when I had supported him this Vuelta.

Thank God there are real mans in cycling.... Gesink made it to the finish with a 1 sec lose! Chapeau Meneer Gesink. With that injury Danielson would have cried and screamed for his mommy, who is going to sell his teddy if he's not going to win the WC, or so I heard.

So nice day was it.. Tomorrow's day are the real mountains. The real and last mountains which only can lead to one option. The GC man are going to drive like madness to get the boni's and descending like daredevils, roadrunners and brainiacs to get them and frighten Valverde to dead,  pure metaphorical. If Gesink can retain his position tomorrow it would be a miracle. There is going to be a, wrong, orange flash tomorrow. Samuel Sanchez.. And you've read it here first.. It's going to be a triple. Stage 19, 20 and the Amarillo, who's GOLD!

Greetings Monsieur Frinking.

It was my pleasure.