This past weekend saw the conclusion of the Vuelta a España. This closes the door on the section leg of the cycling season. The first section, Spring Classics, seem so long ago. Now the hard men of the Spring return to close out our season with the Fall Classics and the World Championships.
All in all, I think this season is shaping up to be a success. Most of the press reports have focused on the races and riders actions within those races. The only detours have occurred when personality clashes found their way into the headlines.
I’d rather read about ego clashes between two great riders vying for control of a team than two organizations vying for control of cycling. So in summary, cycling’s glass is half full. That’s not to say that everything is just great in cycling. The Vuelta presented us with a glimpse of why constant vigilance is needed.
First, you have the return of AlexanderVinokourov to the peloton. Getting absolution from his home country/team to ride again, he came back to top level racing. It also seems that two years as a cycling’s outcast did nothing to humble the Kazak rider. Fortunately, he was never a factor before exiting due to fatigue. Hmm. How ironic.
The winner was, until recently, Spain’s favorite son. On one hand it was good to see Alejandro Valverde fulfill his potential as a Grand Tour rider. It was looking clear that a three week race is a bit too long for a man that was once labeled invincible. On the other hand, I’ve stopped wishing for Valverde to fulfill his potential after CONI released their information.
Between the two extremes, I loved watching the next generation have at it. As most of the top names are beginning to wind their season down, those who labored in their shadows are getting some time in the sun. Men such as Lars Boom, Philip Deignan, and Anthony Roux. This is what cycling is all about.