The Vuelta a Espana and the Tour of Britain finished at the weekend both in their own way were grand.
The Vuelta turned out the be the Tour de France that wasn’t, with two of the favourites for the biggie, Froome & Contador, coming back after abandoning it for the final grand tour of the year. With the favourite for the Vuelta, Quintana, also present along with Valverde and Rodriguez it was strong on GC contenders.
That’s if those two injured had recovered.
Well by the time of the last stage the time trial into Santiago de Compostela itw as obvious that they had. While the latter two of the above had dropped off to be the also rans of the race and the Columbian had departed after one of the few major crashes that was actually caught on camera in the last two GTs.
That was a hell of a smack Quintana had into the armco on the first time trial while in red.
To get up and race on from that was top stuff. To be knocked over the next day and have to abandon with a broken shoulder bone was unbelievably unlucky as the curse of the GT favourites claimed another victim.
There was some good stage in Spain but the top really livened up in the last week, as Chris Froome looked to be really back on track. It was just a shame he couldn’t dislodge Contador from his back wheel the way he did the other two Spaniards. With all that dancing the eventual winner did up those Spanish slopes you can see why some are questioning a rider coming back from a supposed broken legs just a few weeks previous.
The racing in Britain was equally exciting. At the start of every stage you didn’t know really who was going to win each stage and who at the end of each day would be wearing yellow or who would be the overall winner.
Garmin Sharp’s Dylan van Baarle certainly wasn’t a named many mentioned at the start. He took his chance on stage 7 into Brighton. It was cruel on Alex Dowsett who had taken the yellow jersey the previous day in a brilliant breakaway move to finish the stage into Hemel Hempstead second. A cracking ride that made up for his disappointed earlier in the week – stage 4 to Bristol – when a double puncture scuppered his chances in another breakaway.
It wasn’t all out excitement on the roads of England and Wales. The races coming alive in the last few kilometres really. And it was almost completely ruined by the the not so dulcet tones of Hugh Porter, screeching his way through getting everything wrong.
The BBC don’t do much right but binning the excruciatingly awful Porter was the correct move by the corporation. God alone knows why ITV employ him. He is clueless. Hasn’t a clue about any foreign rider who isn’t a big name, or most of the foreign teams. Clueless about what other people are seeing with their own eyes.
Going into the final bend into Brighton, Tao Geoghegan Hart zoomed ahead of the pack but took the corner far too fast and slammed into the crowded barriers. Everyone saw it, it weren’t half dramatic. What did Porter say? Nothing. Didn’t mention it until much later. At the time his partner in crimes against commentating Brian Smith – the dullest of dullards who makes dull ditch water seem bright and interesting – was droning on in that dull way of his and didn’t break stride.
The pair of them are a blight on the sport. As said before I know a huge cycling fan who is ready to call it a day when she hears either of their voices.