PG - La Vuelta Stage 16


The Favourites

With some time today and actually making an effort to be serious on the last couple of stages in this section, (though not my actual PG picks of course!) I’ve decided to play ‘properly’ for the last week. I’ll still be wrong most of the time but I’ll have put more thought into it and won’t ignore picking favoured riders for once!

Before the race started, I had a quick look at all the profiles and decided this is probably the hardest stage to predict. Firstly it comes after a rest day which can sometimes see a GC rider experiencing an off day. If that happens, the others will want to take time. Secondly it will be seen as a good chance to win from a break so there’ll be a fight to make it. Thirdly, the start isn’t difficult so the likes of Remco shooting up the road and not being chased down by Jumbo is far fetched to say the least. He doesn’t have a tough climb to use to do so like Sunday. Fourthly, if the break takes a long time to be established, the stage is only 120k and therefore Jumbo might decide to keep it close and go for yet another stage win with Roglic. The final climb isn’t really an MTF. It’s like the organisers have seen the ToB naming a steep hill a mountain and thought, we might as well do the same. So it suits Rog very well.

So I think this stage is down to what Remco chooses to do. If he’s adamant about making the break, Jumbo won’t be happy to let him gain more minutes and I think we get a GC stage. If he’s thinking about Dots and the following two days, then a break stands a good chance but as I alluded to before, the longer it takes to form, the more chance it never gets enough rope from Jumbo. If it turns into a GC day then it’s perfect for Rog. Vingegaard will also stand a good chance as he can attack and others maybe reticent to follow. Of course Remco has the choice to bide his time and show the top 3 that bar one bad day, he’s still a serious GT contender and what better way to show that than to keep racking up wins and do it from the GC group. Outside of those 3, it’s hard to see anyone else being a threat. Most will be marked by Jumbo though the time difference won’t be big so it’s possible they don’t chase someone down straight away like Mas, who won’t mind this sort of climb, but unlikely as they’ll want the stage for themselves.

If it’s a break then it’s a wide cast of possibilities. Obviously you need to be a good climber but the lightweight guys, Juanpe Lopez for example, will struggle to get into the break on the flattish roads. There’s plenty of up and down but it suits those with power more. So my guess it will be similar to the stage Herrada won. Heavier Ardennes types who have the power to go with attacks by the rouleurs. The likes of Ganna, Tiberi, Janssens and Hirt are very good chances to make the break but will need to be surrounded by similar riders to win on this final climb. I think on the stage Jesus won, Ineos messed up by not having Ganna try to attack earlier and build up a lead. If he’s there I think that’s exactly what he will do this time. Same goes for the other heavier riders and as we’ve seen before, the tactical game can often lead to a solo victory. The problem is that I believe if a break does get established with a group that Jumbo is happy to let sail and occurs early enough to not give Jumbo ideas about riding for the win, there’ll be at least a couple of riders who have the power and the climbing chops to take the win.

So we’re left with the same suspects. Riders who are good at getting into breaks and can climb. I’d love to know who Bahrain give freedom to. They’ll want to keep Landa company but they have a range of options still. Buitrago would be my best bet to win followed by Caruso, Tiberi and then Poels. Kämna, Rui Costa, Herrada, Lenny VE, Bardet, Kron and Storer have all consistently made the break when they’ve wanted to and can all finish it off. Castro, Lazkano and Catteneo are all very good at making breaks and especially the latter looks in good form. If Remco is happy to take a day off, he’s my dark horse for the stage.

Outside of that there’s a host of possibles headed by Poole and Grégoire but I think the rest will need to either get away alone or need the perfect makeup of the break to stand a chance. If I do go for a literal 200/1 shot, it will be Remy Rochas. A rider that can look like he’s got no form and then suddenly surprise. If I’d rather 400/1, then it’s Reuben Fernandez, who like Rochas can look terrible one day and great the next. They’re both in a similar vein to Herrada in that respect and all 3 ride for Cofidis. Spooky huh!

Here endeth the novella.

Good luck with your picks.

Here's the startlist.

The Rules

In this game, only the race results matter. You're not committed to keeping the same riders throughout the series, you make fresh picks before every race. Our overall competition is just the sum of individual race scores. You're eligible for the overall even if you miss some races.

Pick 4 riders for the upcoming race. The order of your picks doesn't matter. All of your riders can score.

Riders score points down to 10th place. Less popular riders score more points than heavily-picked favourites. See below for scoring details.

The strict entry deadline is the official start time of the race, the neutralized roll-out or Départ Fictif. Be warned - if your post is timestamped one minute late your entry won't count! So do remember that there's no disadvantage to getting an entry in early, even the day before, because you may always change your picks up until the deadline. Feel free to rethink your picks when it emerges which riders are more or less popular with other players. If you make changes, post your revised 4 picks in a reply to your original post.

The Scoring


The last 3 races will be secret entry between the top contenders… To avoid defensive picking.

When we say top contenders we leave the number open because who knows how many will be within striking distance...

We will notify you by email if we need you to do a secret entry.

The Results

Head over to msbee‘s spreadsheet to check how you fared. Any issues, please email us on...