La Vuelta – Stage 15 Preview

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 00.03.33We continue in the mountains and the riders travel 224.9km from Andorra to Peyragudes,the longest stage in the Vuelta.

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 00.04.52It’s another very hard day in the saddle with 4 cat 1 climbs.

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 00.06.23The 1st climb happens at the very beginning of the stage and is 24.4km at 4.2%.This is bad news for a lot of the riders.

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 00.07.36Then we have 20km at 5.5%.

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 00.08.20Then 19.2km at 6.2%.

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 00.09.05Before the final climb of 16.7km at 4.7%,which includes downhill sections.

This is one of the toughest days a rider will ever have to face.It is expected to rain heavily and the temperature up the mountains will get down to 5 degrees.

After the brutal stage 14,this will be a battle of the fittest and having a strong team will be a massive help.

Astana have the strongest team and rider.Nibali was awesome on stage 14 and he will continue to do well in the bad weather.

Chris Horner continues to look very strong,but his team aren’t that good.Kiserlovski did a strong turn on the final mountain in stage 14 but they are short of good climbers.

As I’ve predicted Valverde and Rodriguez are not on top form.A long,hard Tour has taken it out of them and after a massive effort today I’m concerned about their recovery before this stage.

Nico Roche also falls into this category.On the plus side,Pozzovivo and Pinot looked very good and should be encouraged for the week ahead.

I think a big break of 20-25 riders will go away and Astana won’t be too concerned.Movistar and Katusha may even put a rider into the break,to try and get a bit of stage glory.It would be very foolish for them to chase the break(as Katusha did today) as Nibali will beat them on the final climb.

Txurruka picked up some crucial mountains points today and he must be in the break,probably with a teammate.If you want to win the jersey you simply have to be in this break.

Some riders did well today and they are low enough done on GC to get in the break.I’m thinking of Valls,Landa,Kiryienka and De Greef.

It looks like being another brilliant day of racing.

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