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Rate the 2023 Vuelta a España!

How do you rate the Vuelta?


  • Total voters
    94
4. Some very good stages, but a few too many useless flat sprints and cancellations and farcical stuff going on in the first week. Much closer to 3 than 5 tbh. The absurd stuff then went from the organizational flaws to Jumbo dominating, and it was quite interesting for a while until it then wasn't.

Maybe I should rate it 3, but it still had something going on for it.
 
The GC in the last few days with one team getting the Giro and the Tour winner to ride for their superdomestique in his third Grand Tour while they lock out the podium was so painful and depressing from a competitive/ sporting point of view that I couldn‘t give it more than a 4. The breakaway and the drama earlier this week was good, but it also spawned mindnumbing discussions and made the overall experience possibly even worse.
 
Hugely entertaining.

I was not always sure if I was watching the Japan cup with all the big names at the end of the season, or a race that actually mattered for participants to win.

But as said, hugely entertaining.

In order of appearance:

Best helper: Sepp Kuss (the good)
Best skijumper: Primoz Roglic (the bad)
Best actor: Jonas Vingegaard (the ugly)
Best sprinter: Kaden Groves
Thomas De Gendt award: Remco Evenepoel
award for most race days this year: Luis Leon Sanchez, and this in his last season...!
 
I gave it a 3, liked some individual stage winners especially Geoffrey Soupe and two LBL winners fighting out the LBL stage, but the JV dominance, the Remco stuff, the ridiculousness of some of the first few stages rather took away from the event as a whole. Possibly still better than the Giro but only the Tour shone this year for me.
 
Feels like this Vuelta is poised to have a really good first 12 stages ignored just because Jumbo sealed the race on stage 13 and then locked it up after stage 17.
The GC race was already very tentative plus the neutralisations, road blocking; the first twelve days outside of Javalambre weren‘t that good, they were living on suspense, the rest just makes them look better.
 
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The GC race was already very tentative plus the neutralisations, road blocking; the first twelve days outside of Javalambre weren‘t that good, they were living on suspense, the rest just makes them look better.
Arinsal was mid.

Javalambre was a great stage, way better than anyone realistically could expect.

Xorret de Cati was okay

Caravaca de la Cruz was balls deep in echelons early on.

There's also more.
 
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Obviously the last few days sucked, but honestly I've seen worse. It was one mountain stage and one medium mountain stages with very few gc attacks (and it's not even like there weren't any attacks at all). That doesn't immediately make a gt horrible.

Aside from that I feel like this was basically the quintessential Vuelta, for better and for worse. It will be memorable for all the weirdness, the unexpected winner, and just how unusual it all was. No we didn't get to watch epic battles on huge mountain stages, but when do we ever at the Vuelta? The race had it's signature gc stage, the one to Javalambre, and that's about as much as one should expect. The comparison I've read most often is the 2015 Vuelta, and I think that's pretty spot on. I remember that race very fondly, for all the Dumoulin drama and all the question marks about whether he could really pull it off. But then you look back at the actual racing and you remember that quite often it was abysmal. Those 3 mtfs at the end of week 2 were incredibly bad.

I think this race is similar. Was the racing in the Pyrenees, or the mtf's in the final week great? Not really, but Remco blowing up, the Jumbo boys toying with the competition on the Tourmalet, Vingegaard and Roglic starting to attack their own teammate, those are stories way more memorable than those of your average gt. It wasn't enough to make this a great gt, but I don't think this was a truly bad race either.
 
Obviously the last few days sucked, but honestly I've seen worse. It was one mountain stage and one medium mountain stages with very few gc attacks (and it's not even like there weren't any attacks at all). That doesn't immediately make a gt horrible.

Aside from that I feel like this was basically the quintessential Vuelta, for better and for worse. It will be memorable for all the weirdness, the unexpected winner, and just how unusual it all was. No we didn't get to watch epic battles on huge mountain stages, but when do we ever at the Vuelta? The race had it's signature gc stage, the one to Javalambre, and that's about as much as one should expect. The comparison I've read most often is the 2015 Vuelta, and I think that's pretty spot on. I remember that race very fondly, for all the Dumoulin drama and all the question marks about whether he could really pull it off. But then you look back at the actual racing and you remember that quite often it was abysmal. Those 3 mtfs at the end of week 2 were incredibly bad.

I think this race is similar. Was the racing in the Pyrenees, or the mtf's in the final week great? Not really, but Remco blowing up, the Jumbo boys toying with the competition on the Tourmalet, Vingegaard and Roglic starting to attack their own teammate, those are stories way more memorable than those of your average gt. It wasn't enough to make this a great gt, but I don't think this was a truly bad race either.
Mate, have you really repressed StickyBottleGate?

I honestly think the 2015 Vuelta gets overhated, specifically because one block of mountain stages was bad somehow it's what most people decide to remember. Stages 1-9 had a lot of weird punchy finishes that all overdelivered, and the weak MTF still had action with Aru flying off and Froome dropping. The Andorra stage was good as well.
 
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Any GT where one team sweeps the podium is a bad GT by default, especially when said podium is basically locked on the first big mountain stage barely halfway through the race. And then the shambles of the TTT and the double neutralisation push it down further.

That being said, it could have been worse. Javalambre was really good, the final stage was a nice surprise (which I unfortunately missed) and Jumbo spared us of a holding-hands non-race on Bejes and Angliru, meaning the final third of the race wasn't the complete horror show it could have been.

That's a lot more positives than at the Giro, which had literally none, and so it deserves to be significantly higher than the 1 I gave that. At the same time, even the perfect scenario for a team locking down the podium on stage 13 really can't be more than a 5, and this definitely wasn't that scenario. In the end, I've met those two extremes in the middle at a 3/10. That being the median GT of the year quality-wise is dismal, let's hope Jumbo don't *** everything over again next year...
 
Feels like this Vuelta is poised to have a really good first 12 stages ignored just because Jumbo sealed the race on stage 13 and then locked it up after stage 17.
A really good first 12 stages? Let's go through them in order:
Shambolic TTT
Shambolic neutralisation #1
MTF with no gaps to anyone important #1
Sprint #1
Sprint #2
Great mountain stage
Sprint #3
MTF with no gaps to anyone important #2
Shambolic neutralisation #2
Run-of-the-mill ITT
Breakaway day with 15 minutes of breakaway action
Sprint #4

Yes, Javalambre was great, but aside from that, which stage was better than halfway decent? And doesn't it matter a lot that a quarter of these stages ended in farce? If this was a really good first 12 stages, then the bar is at ankle height.
 
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Mate, have you really repressed StickyBottleGate?

I honestly think the 2015 Vuelta gets overhated, specifically because one block of mountain stages was bad somehow it's what most people decide to remember. Stages 1-9 had a lot of weird punchy finishes that all overdelivered, and the weak MTF still had action with Aru flying off and Froome dropping. The Andorra stage was good as well.
Oh god how could I forget the sticky bottle. Also shout out to Cumbre del Sol, easily one of the most entertaining mtfs I've ever seen.
 
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The organisation embarrassed themselves with some awful course decisions. Then the péloton embarrassed themselves getting perfectly safe finishes neutralised only to place the finish somewhere more dangerous. Then there were some dreadful sprint finish plans that were probably only survived without worse accidents because the sprinting field was dreadful. The GC battle was neutralised pretty much until the end of week 1 except for the Javalambre stage, and the only really memorable things that we can take out of the whole thing were Remco crashing into the staffer after the line in Andorra and the GC men soft-pedalling their way in on stage 9 after the finish was moved halfway down the mountain and the ridiculous scene of Fernando Escartín hanging from a gate trying to take the times past a random spot on the road.

This all happened before the Jumbo show began. Once the Jumbo show began, it basically rendered everybody else entirely irrelevant. And then, as I've described many times already, the only possibility that remained for an actual race was between the teammates; and somehow they contrived to do something worse than provide no action: they gave us a little taste of action, then got scared of bad PR when it looked like the guy that the media wanted to win wouldn't, and took that action away, getting themselves into a catch 22 where they were damned if they did and damned if they didn't; they made it clear that Kuss wouldn't have won had they not imposed a ceasefire, but they also basically thereby ended the race four days early, leaving the rest of the race a miserable pseudo-neutralisation. The people that campaigned on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube etc. were happy to trade four days of racing (and would have been willing to trade more because they were upset about there being actual racing on Bejes and Angliru) for the feelgood moment at the end.

I can't vote higher than a zero for this, because even if the rider that benefitted from the popularity contest wasn't a rider I dislike so clearly, the way the race was settled is absolutely miserable and sets an awful precedent for the sport, both in terms of the one team dominating so easily that they could afford to hand out Grand Tour titles to their domestiques like consolation prizes, and in terms of the "we did it, Reddit!" way of the team allowing themselves to be pressured by PR into deciding who is and isn't allowed to win the race. And even before that, the fundamental organiser foul-ups and the péloton being able to dictate which parts of the course they would race on and which they wouldn't and the complete mess of those stages with the GC men riding in at tourist pace while racing was officially still on was just a complete farce.

From a racing point of view it was better than the Giro, but some of the things that have happened at this Vuelta have potential long-term repercussions that really concern me for the future of the sport.