2022 Vuelta a España Stage 17 Preview

Aracena > Monasterio de Tentudia 162km

Today’s crash will likely have a big impact on this stage, as Jumbo-Visma would have controlled it for a Roglič stage win. His crash today was a bad one, it’s very unlikely he’ll have fully recovered, Jumbo-Visma will go into damage limitation mode. That frees the stage up for another breakaway win, something I’m getting bored of.

Weather

Cloudier than today, but it should still be warm.

Finale

10.2km at 5.1% doesn’t sound too hard, but that’s because the flat section in the middle distorts the numbers. The climb starts with 2.92km at 6.6%, and it finishes with 4.23km at 7.5%. Make no mistake, this is a hard climb and one that should suit the GC riders, not the puncheurs.

Tactics

The opening 20km is downhill, so the break won’t go there, then there are lots of little kickers which should help the move start to shape. The battle for the break will again be crazy, picking the right time to make a move will require skill, luck, and legs. Once it does establish, I doubt anyone will chase from the peloton, unless Roglič is feeling good.

So, the break will take the stage, then the GC group will hit the climb. The attitude of the riders will depend on Roglič, if Evenepoel senses he’s not 100%, he’ll push on and try to take some time. It’s not something he’ll feel particularly good about, but this is professional sport, not a garden party.

Contenders

Sergio Higuita – he’s not shown much in this race, but this is a perfect finish for him. Bora will be keen on getting the little Colombian in the break, he’d be very hard to beat on that final climb.

Clément Champoussin – his form seems to be improving, and this is the type of finish he can win. Making the move will be hard, but the same goes for everyone, we’ll have to wait and see if he’s got the luck to get up the road. 

Richard Carapaz – two stage wins already in the race; he’s got a great chance to take a third before the race finishes. He’s not had too much difficulty making breaks, and this finish is good for his punchy style. Ineos will want to be in the break, he’d be their best option.

Jan Polanc – he’s sitting 13th on GC, which is an excellent result for him. UAE have a firm grip on the team classification, this is a good opportunity for Polanc to challenge for a win and maybe sneak into the top 10.

Fred Wright – I’ve made a deal with myself; I’m going to include him in this section until he takes his first win. This is another stage that suits him well, I think he all agree he’s due a win.

Alejandro Valverde – one last win for the old man? He’s not shown any interest in going for the breaks, but that should change in the final week of his last grand tour.

Brandon McNulty – it’s not been his race, but he’s still got the quality required to win a stage like this.

Alexey Lutsenko – he’s been in many breaks but hasn’t challenged for a win, which is unlike him. A couple of crashes along the way hasn’t helped, but he’ll keep trying.

Jay Vine – now that the KOM jersey is just about sealed, he can look to win his third stage. Sunday showed that he’s managed to maintain his form, and he’ll like this punchy finish. 

Primož Roglič – he looked shaken at the line, and no wonder, he hit the ground hard. The worst of the damage looked to be his arm, which is relatively good news as a big gash in his leg would have been very bad news. Normally, this would be a perfect finish for Roglič, but it’s all to do with how he recovers from his crash. I think we all hope to see him on the start line and with no lasting injuries.

Remco Evenepoel – he responded very well on Sunday after losing time the day before. His lead is still a healthy one, 1:26 is a lot considering the stages we have this week. This is a day where he’ll stick to the wheel of Roglič and see if he’s got the power to beat him in the sprint. It wouldn’t surprise me if he did.

Prediction Time

I’ll take a breakaway win for Sergio Higuita, and I hope Roglič is okay.

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