Joaquim Rodriguez, Alejandro Valverde and the relationship between their wheels
It’s not like I haven’t written about Dan Moreno and uphill finishes before. He went up the final climb like a cockroach up a wall – which is intended to be descriptive, rather than insulting – and secured a second stage win as well as the race lead.
Thus far, Moreno’s been doing what his team-mate Joaquim Rodriguez does, only he’s been doing it better. There was a four second gap today, although Rodriguez perhaps didn’t think it worth the effort to come past Alejandro Valverde with only second place on offer. At times in this race, it has seemed like his front wheel is engaged in an intimate relationship with Valverde’s rear wheel. Front wheels and rear wheels are fundamentally different, however. It’ll never work out.
Maybe at some point Rodriguez and Valverde will have to acknowledge that there are other riders in the race. The latter could start by looking at Moreno.
The new one-two
The Team Sky Columbians, Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran, have been practising an odd version of the old one-two at this year’s Vuelta, taking it in turns to lose time. The new one-two hasn’t yet meant that they are completely out of contention, but they aren’t inspiring confidence. Uran lost 49 seconds yesterday.
We’ve had short, punchy climbs and long, shallow climbs so far, but stage 10 is mountainous. The general classification will be stripped back to its essentials afterwards. Here’s the profile.
Average gradients are less meaningful in the Vuelta, where the roads are rarely steady. For example, the final climb is supposed to be five per cent, which is hugely misleading if you look at the detail – the main part of it is closer to 10 per cent. I’d imagine that my man Domenico Pozzovivo might be there or thereabouts at the finish, so try and catch the highlights.