La Vuelta 2023* - the moral victor?

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Who is the moral victor?

  • Sepp Kuss

    Votes: 16 23.9%
  • Jonas Vingegaard

    Votes: 14 20.9%
  • Primoz Roglic

    Votes: 10 14.9%
  • Juan Ayuso

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Mikel Landa

    Votes: 4 6.0%
  • Marc Soler

    Votes: 4 6.0%
  • Kaden Groves

    Votes: 1 1.5%
  • Remco Evenepoel

    Votes: 9 13.4%
  • Pavel Sivakov

    Votes: 6 9.0%
  • Other/VIno

    Votes: 3 4.5%

  • Total voters
No victors at all?? You didn’t check very hard or are being unnecessarily cryptic. The official victor is Sepp Kuss. The moral victor is whoever we prefer in the poll - I picked Kuss because he has worked hard for both Roglic and Vingegaard and it’s nice to see that hard work repaid.

There were no Victors in the race. Feel free to check the startlist to see if you can find any.
Neither Lotto, nor Total brought their Victors.

BTW, I do think Kuss is a perfectly moral winner.
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That’s your opinion. Facts say Sepp Kuss won the 2023 Vuelta - you have a different definition of victor? Glad you concede he is a moral victor.

Facts say that his name is Sepp.

Here are the two Victors, who could have been at the race, but weren't:

Facts say that his name is Sepp.

Here are the two Victors, who could have been at the race, but weren't:

Oh yes, indeed Moral Victor's :)

Seriously, I don't know if I should stick my nose in the hornet's nest here. Explosive material with loads of emotions :p

On the other hand, this edition has thrown me completely off course several times, as if I had gone 21 rounds against alternately George Foreman and Mike Tyson.

Unknowns are left in form of the TJV trefoil.

When joined at same team, we didn't witness their full potential over 3 weeks.

After the Tourmalet, I was convinced it tipped to Sepp being the strongest, with the possible exception of Primoz, and was stronger than his teammates and a wing-shooting Jonas, who himself declared just post Tourmalet that the Tour shape was not there, while I had reverse impressions in Week 3, with Jonas appearing stronger than Primoz
So therefore the question of "deserved victory" is on several levels and stands in limbo when the three musketeers did not race against each other on their respective teams.

But I consider Sepp being the stronger over the 3 weeks over Mas, Ayuso, Almeida and other non-TJV GC riders.

A month ago, I had very few hopes for Nature Boy, but because he was spoken so much up, I was carried away to lose my impression that he would have a bad day against the determined mountain riders in the real mountains.
Last year was a bit atypical with Roglic's unfortune (once again battling himself as per standard).

If nothing else, I'll give Remco the Vuelta Diligence Award for making this version very watchable.
And I still haven't had the opportunity to see the Madrid stage, but I can understand that he couldn't completely control his desires there either. Great to have a guy like him to open the race.

And then the whole polemic regarding what Kuss has "deserved". He is well paid for the job he likes the most and which he has expressed many times that he is most comfortable in that position and at the same time expressed discomfort in the role of a leader.

But as I mentioned - if the three had been battling against each other, then Kuss probably wouldn't be left such a long wire on stage 6, on the other hand, I think that in week 2 he showed that he was among the very strongest on the important Tourmalet stage.

Jonas mentioned to several media that in the 3rd week he felt that he was back on Tour form and that is exactly what he can do. But I doubt it a bit, it seems "only" he was at max 90-95% when he was at his best. On the Bejes stage he also seemed to suffer in the last 500m just as he suffered in the last km at the Tourmalet. We didn't see that in his prime during the Tour (perhaps on the very last ramp up Courchevel after the Loze passage, where you could see his batteries had run flat).

And if we are finally over the palaver about who has "deserved", then I think that the one who least got the opportunity to show his full potential was Roglic. Seemed to me he had quite a lot more in the bag.

But the answer will IMO be left in limbo forever when Plugge decided to stalmate the TJV game.
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Some moral victors:

  • Soupe. Winning your first race in Europe at 35 with such a beard... A perfect memory near the end of any helper's career.
  • Landa. He seemed to wane a bit the last couple of years, but he showed he is still a solid climber, and shouldn't just be a helper for Remco but rather a GC guy in some races.
  • Groves. He was the strongest sprinter but by surviving pretty decent climbs and taking turns in a Ganna / Remco breakaway and finishing it off showed he is the real deal.
  • Vingegaard. Losing 9 seconds on purpose because he was afraid he might win the Vuelta by accident.

Moral losers:
  • SQS. More than Remco himself, SQS should learn how to manage Remco. Remco is too ambitious / present for his own good, both in the race as pre/post race. He needs a more stealthy profile and should adjust his interviews (e.g. give away less in terms of tactics).
  • Roglic. For all kinds of reasons, he couldn't show his full potential in this race.
  • UAE and especially Almeida and Soler. I didn't see any cohesion between Ayuso / Almeida / Soler. You can say all you want about Remco and 'only' getting stage wins, but what did (especially) Almeida and Soler achieve? No stage wins and 9th / 14th in GC.
Remco won the most mountain stages and is therefore the best climber . He also won the mountains jersey which acts as further proof that he was the best mountain goat of this race. He was also the second best timed trialist, only ganna better, and ganna is not a climber. Therefore we have to conclude that remco is the winner of the race overall by being the best at overall combined climbing and time trialing . He was also the only guy who attacked the race like a champion (Marc soler honorable mention)

My moral podium:

1. Remco Evenpeol
2. Geffrey Soupe
3. Jonas Vingeggard (showed poor roglic who is boss. I feel bad for roglic).
4. Mikel Landa
Wow that sounds almost as fair as t-boning a rider in a reduced sprint. At least he finished this Vuelta which is one up on last year.

Obviously I was exaggerating for dramatic purposes (although "peegate" in the women's Vuelta did set a precedent...) but the point remains: a GT isn't just about who the strongest is, it's also about who can stay fit & healthy as well.

If Vingegaard (no matter how strong he is) enters a GT feeling sick, unwell & washed, then in a 'fair duel' his adversaries should be able to take advantage of that.

Basically Vingegaard & Rog neutered each other in this race because Jumbo never once had them fight each other, not properly. So their finishing position on the podium (i.e. second or third) is almost anecdotal.
Could Cofidis not have brought their Victor? It‘s not like he‘s unknown.

I completely missed him when I went and checked for current Victors. I was also convinced he's a Viktor.

Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, Kuss is the moral winner. He won, and I'm pretty sure he didn't do anything immoral in order to win, neither did Jumbo do anything immoral by ultimately - after stage 17 deciding to ride for him.
As Vinjebo speculated during the broadcast of stage 18; it's quite possible that Angliru was the "final test" for Kuss, and - unlike what some people might think - he passed it. He was able to defend the jersey, and you could even argue that the fact that he sprinted for bonus seconds showed a winning mentality.