I’ve had interviews that have lasted a few hours. I thought they were rough. Normally the Vuelta provides little in terms of high drama as compared to the Giro and the Tour de France. I consider it a weaning off race as I prepare for the winter post Worlds. This year, I may pony up the 20 Euros to catch the race on cycling.tv.
There are a few sub-plots this year. First is Phonak. The embattled team is winding up it’s life at the Vuelta. They will send Aurélien Clerc, Ryder Hesjedal, Nicolas Jalabert, Steve Morabito, Uros Murn, Luis Oliveira, Miguel Angel Perdiguero, Florian Stalder, Steve Zampieri. Normally, this set of nine riders would not raise an eyebrow. In this case, I expect the kind of aggressiveness that only desperate men can show. My only concern is wondering if my interest is sporting or the kind of voyeurism saved for passing a car wreck.
The second draw is Astana and Alexandre Vinokourov. Vino claims that he is more interested in the World Championships. I believe that he believes that to be true. The course suits him. While on paper it looks like another course for sprinters, those who have reconnoitered the course say it is more difficult and prone to classics and breakaway riders like Bettini, Wesemann, and of course Vinokourov. My pick, Fränk Schleck.
The problem is I think once Alexandre gets the bit in his teeth, his blood will start running hot. Normally an aggressive rider, Vino now has motivation to fuel his innate aggressiveness. Let me ask you this, when has Vino ever showed an ability to show restraint in a race? Do you think with all that has gone on since late June, he can start now?
I thought so.