Joaquim Rodriguez can sprint uphill
If the finish is short and steep, look for a strong short-arse. Joaquim Rodriguez sprints uphill with precisely no respect for gravity. They said he’d win stage six and he did.
Sprinting uphill is a demented thing to do. On the flat, you push the pedals until it feels like someone’s doused your thighs in petrol and lit them. At this point, you can slow or stop your pedalling and let the pain subside a little without losing too much speed. On a steep hill, this is simply not an option. Your brain screams: “Jesus H BALLS! Stop! STOP!” But, if you so much as think of obeying it, you’ll come to a dead stop and keel over sideways.
Rodriguez has six top ten finishes in his last seven Grand Tours, including second in this year’s Giro. He looks good. A long, sapping climb is slightly different, but if you can do what he can on steep gradients, you’ve definitely got something to work with.
Chris Froome did pretty well to be there or thereabouts in second place. He gained time on Alberto Contador. Contador said he had been dehydrated, which sounds like the kind of excuse a child makes when his pride has been dented. Froome may or may not have later pointed at Contador and exclaimed: “Nyaaaaaah!”