Vuelta a España 7th Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta, 2. - 5. September 2021.

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My suspicion following Plouay has been proved right; Van der Breggen isn't on good form right now.
She finished around 50 seconds slower than Leah Thomas, who's currently in the lead.
Yeah, I thought she was trying to smash the last races in her life, but either it just didn't work out or she isn't motivated to get a good result for herself anymore.
 
Yeah, I thought she was trying to smash the last races in her life, but either it just didn't work out or she isn't motivated to get a good result for herself anymore.
SD Worx doesn't seem to be flying as a team either here. I guess she might have had her focus elsewhere after the Giro and the Olympics, which was her main targets for the season, but she will probably be building up to the WCs now.

Thomas' has done pretty well here though, cause Van Vleuten is also behind her at the intermediate.
But it looks like she will beat her at the finish.
 
Reusser faster than Van Vleuten at the intermediate, but the final section suits Van Vleuten more, so I doubt she'll win, cause Van Vleuten paced it perfectly unlike the SD Worx riders.

Now they show she's already 10 seconds behind, so she'll probably lose 30 seconds to a minute.
 
You can't really blame her, can you?
Kennedy getting dropped from the breakway wasn't great for BEX either.

Also a bad day for Ceratizit-WNT with Magnaldi who wasn't able to stay out front either, and Brennauer apparently coming back from a cold and losing 13 minutes. And on top of that they also had to start the race with only four riders.
The worry is that Spratt is supposed to be the marquee rider who in fact took AVV's wage when she moved to MoviStar - Her form has been awful for two years.
 
The worry is that Spratt is supposed to be the marquee rider who in fact took AVV's wage when she moved to MoviStar - Her form has been awful for two years.
Yeah this year she's only really been up there in Amstel, and though she did crash in the Giro, she didn't show that much in the race prior to that. And with a team in decline it won't be easy for her to get the results she'll need to defend her current salary.
 
Now, Pauliena Rooijakkers has a tough choice to make for the next couple of days. Does she take the risk of riding up near the front, which she has always hated and struggled with, or does she play safe and stick with what she's comfortable with but risk being out of position and throwing away what could be her career best WT result?
 
The Reusser group also includes Vas (great debut SD Worx debut for her), Cavalli, Niewiadoma, Chabbey, Longo Borghini, Mackaij and Lippert. They are keeping the gap at around 2:45, but they are also descending right now. The peloton is at 4:05.
 
Marty seems to think Kata Blanka Vas can podium here. She needs 1'42 + time bonuses in the last 3 kilometres on Elise Chabbey to manage that.

And she has to catch Elise Chabbey first, as the two Canyon girls have gone away with Reusser and obviously Kasia has gone straight to the front as it will secure the podium for Elise. DSM have two riders but almost nothing to gain (although Lippert only has 5" on Niewiadoma, so it depends how keen she is to protect 5th on GC) and Cavalli in 4th has about a minute.

Complete breakdown of the group after Cavalli pulls it back, so now DSM are in the best position with them, ELB and Niewiadoma at the front, and Vas, Reusser, Chabbey and Cavalli behind, so now Chabbey is the one on the defensive, however she has about a minute over Lippert so that seems unlikely to be overturned.

ELB tries to sprint with predictable consequences: she goes way too early and Liane Lippert rides around her comfortably, and holds off Niewiadoma in what was probably not the hardest three-way sprint she's ever taken. The other half of the group kept the losses to a few seconds so all will be well, Reusser drops to 2nd on GC, everybody else should be more or less as you were in the top 5.
 
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Vleuty does a Merckx/Froome/Remco/VanVleuten. :laughing: She's got to start thinking: "Paris isn't that far away (3 years, not 4) . . . I'll still be just 41."
On the latest episode of the Bunnyhop show she did mention that she was tired of people thinking she had to continue until Paris, because she's the defending champion, but she can of course change her mind again many times in the meantime.
 
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