Winner Anacona lives up to his name
That’s ‘Winner Anacona,’ not ‘winner, Anacona’ – although on this occasion misuse of commas and capital letters doesn’t actually matter that much because Winner won and is therefore also a winner. Let’s just call him Anacona for clarity.
Anacona, who was only a couple of minutes down on the general classification, got himself into the day’s humungous 31-rider break and was the fastest of the 11 who finished ahead of the favourites. He didn’t do quite enough to take the red jersey, but vaults into fourth place, just nine seconds down on his fellow Colombian, Nairo Quintana.
Anacona, at 26, is two years older than Quintana. Here’s a picture of Anacona and here’s one of Quintana. I’d make a joke about the latter having had a tough paper round, but living in the mountains, he probably did. He cycled 16km downhill to school in the valley each day and then 16km uphill to get home again.
How did Quintana end up leading the race?
The final climb was a little more selective than I’d expected and with only a handful of top riders left, Alberto Contador attacked. I think we can stop talking about the broken leg now. It’s clearly no problem at all.
Contador’s motivation for attacking was because Chris Froome was lagging. Froome occasionally does this deliberately, when he’s feeling really, really good, but this wasn’t one of those times. So Contador went and if no-one managed to follow him immediately, they nevertheless upped the pace and very few could cope.
As it turned out, Joaquim Rodriguez caught Contador right on the line thanks to his fast finish and Nairo Quintana managed to sit behind Rodriguez so that all three finished with the same time. The next group of favourites finished 23 seconds later and included Alejandro Valverde, Fabio Aru, Rigoberto Uran, Dan Martin and Froome. I don’t think anyone who finished after this can win the Vuelta, so we now have a manageable cast list.
It’s actually a rest day first, so I hope you can keep yourselves busy for 24 hours. I’ll meet you back here for what is basically an up-then-down time trial.