Got a quickie poll for you below on the KOM race. But first, I'm finding this little three week race delightful. Real competition for all the jerseys. New blood in all the competitions. Just feels refreshing to me. Hope it does to you as well.
To give some perspective on the KOM race, here are the top three of the last few editions with the points they earned with the GC winner bolded:
2008: 1. Moncoutie (149 points), 2. Kern (106), 3. Contador (99)
2007: 1. Menchov (90), 2. Van Goolen (78), 3. Sastre (69)
2006: 1. Martinez (129), 2. Caucchioli (117), 3. Valverde (98)
2005: 1. Rodriguez (200), 2. Jiminez (166), 3. Menchov (72)*
* Of course this was the race where Heras was disqualified after the fact. He would have come in 3rd in the KOM.
So after that you should be asking me for an estimate of how many points will it take to win the KOM this year. My answer to you is: I haven't the faintest! Actually that's not true; I expect the winner this year to need more than 110. That's conservative.
Here are the (so far) main contenders this year.
1A. David De la Fuente (64 points so far)
1B. David Moncoutie (60 points)
Two evenly matched climby guys who have histories of gunning for KOM shirts. Moncoutie of course won this jersey last year. De La Fuente hasn't won a KOM jersey in a Grand Tour yet but it's just a matter of time. I don't think of either of these guys as the best climbers in the race-GC guys like Evans or Gesink or Basso are-but they don't have the GC distraction to bother them so unless they are in an accident they should be in this race to the end. Expect Moncoutie to call De La Fuente's points from today by being in tomorrow's break.
Other non-GC guys:
2A. Peter Weening (48)
2B. Julian Sanchez (37)
If these guys or any others (Hoogerland, Ramirez, Cesar Velasco) are serious they should do some attacking tomorrow as the stage is made for a break.
3A, B. Cadel Evans and Bobo Gesink ( tied at 22)
3C. Alejandro Valverde (20)
These are the other KOM contenders and as you see above, the GC winner has won the KOM once in the last 4 times. I'm guessing that the three mountain stages just after this upcoming rest day will say a lot as to which (if any) GC contenders might be serious about the KOM as well. Note: Damiano Cunego (30 points) is also in this-but seriously is he gonna stay in the Vuelta to the end?