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Rate the 2023 Vuelta a España!

Page 2 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.

How do you rate the Vuelta?

  • Total voters
10/10. This story between Roglic, Vingegaard and Kuss is epic - it couldn’t have been any better. Perfect story.

When I saw Kuss laughing, the first time they rode Loze, circa two years ago, I knew this man had learned a thing or two about the essence of bike racing. He embraces the pain, just like Tyler Hamilton always did. Other than Hamilton, Kuss now won the Vuelta. Perfect.

You had Lance, Johan Bruyneel and Hincapie in the past, and they had this evil appearance. Dumped Landis‘ blood into the toilet in front of Landis.

Now you have Kuss, Vingegaard and Roglic. They are strong, or stronger, than Lance ever was. And everyone likes these three. It‘s like the Holy Trinity rode for Jumbo. Father, Son and Holy Ghost. What a contrast to Lance.

This story almost has religious dimension. All the way, from Rabofail to total triumph.

IMHO, when I see Kuss-Vinge-Roglic climb, I see Michael Rasmussen climb. As if Rasmussen is Spiritus Rector of this epic story. Very important figure for what we see now - in a very, very good way. I hope Rasmussen takes strength out of watching these young guns… :—)
Well, well, well...

Pluses (not many):
- Lenny wore the jersey for two days on his first GT.
- Remco did something that Eddy Merckx would never have done: chase stages and the KOM jersey.
- Some really good stages racing-wise, In the end, Ayuso>Mas>Almeida with Landa in the picture, Bravo Mikel!, if you followed that intrigue, the Vuelta was good.
- Remco took a big blow, he rebounded: he wants to win every race, every day: that, he has in common with Merckx...
- Sepp Kuss, you got what Porte couldn't get.
- And Wout Poels said his piece. He could have been that guy...

Minuses (more):
- Lenny ended up 24th overall, Bardet was the first Frenchman in the GC...21st.
- Remco vanished...
- No rider named Romain won a stage.
- Poor sprinters field. OMG! That was bad!
- The JV's dominance...it killed suspense and fueled other discussions. Not good...
- Caruso: I expected more.
- Meh...

I'll give it an 8...not too terrible but terrible...
the ridiculous scene of Fernando Escartín hanging from a gate trying to take the times past a random spot on the road.
i missed this... and oh my dear god it actually happened

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.
I mean if you wanna emphasize stage 9 as being only "shambolic neutralization" and ignore the echelons that were the majority of the stage than sure
Gave the Giro a 2 so I guess the Vuelta earns a 4. Even though a Jumbo win was obvious a long way from the finish. A few decent mountain stages, sprinter ranks were thin but the air seemed to go out of the race when Remco had his bad day. Even the breaks became predictable after that...................plus the organizers making some head scratching decisions with the route early in the race and the TTT debacle set a tone that seemed to stick with the race. Glad to see Poels get some wins and Kuss win a grand tour. Remco dominated the KOM and Groves was the deserved winner of the Green jersey with three stage wins. Reasonably entertaining if you remember the Giro...............
A 5. It was neither here nor there. I don't know why some people expected anything other than a Jumbo win. Even if Remco hadn't quit, he wouldn't have lasted against the 3 jumbots. He may have got rid of one, but up against the 3 of them, nah. Super last stage, Groves deserved his green jersey. Well done Kuss and the Jumbots, and suppose a well done to the KOM. The transfer market is gonna be interesting in the next months.
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Javalambre was good, the ITT was good, Tourmalet was good, and Angliru was good. Bejes was weird. That was it for the GC battle.

The best non-GC stages were Rui Costa's stage win and Madrid. I guess stage 9 belongs to this category as well.

The rest was not good.
May 14, 2023
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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.
This is the perfect summary of why this race will always stick in my craw (even if my favorite team won it): social media pressure decided the winner and that is so wrong. Also, horrible for the future.
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It was bad because the whole point of this sport is (for me) seeing the best riders do their best, no matter their qualities or limitations. The Giro was heavily criticized but what you saw there was two riders with their strength of the moment (Thomas & Rog) fighting properly. Was it boring? Maybe, but at least there was a battle, i.e. even if it was just a battle of attrition for most of the race.

This Vuelta meanwhile was stillborn the moment Kuss proved he was third best rider ahead of everyone who wasn't Jumbo. The only highlight was the Angliru (at least riders went hard there).

The moral of the story here is if the 3 best riders in GC are in the same team, it'll probably be a terrible race.

I gave it 2/10.
I gave it a 5/10.
Excellent and packed field but when the Remco hype came to a dead end (again), reality called: Jumbo is just much better, than other teams and UAE tactics were again in shambles: Almeida got sick, Soler did Soler things, Ayuso failed to deliver.

So besides fans concocting internet and forum stories about the roles of Roglic and Vingo, La Vuelta just became another boring fest despite a good route design.

All in all, GT organizers should learn by now to put Remco out of the GT equation while designing parcours and favour a way to other approaches that can hurt Jumbo. Stage 20 comes to mind, but by then it was already too late.
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1 point for Remco, 1 point for Groves, -0.5 points for Brian Holm calling him Grove during the whole race, 0.5 points for Landa, -0.5 points for UAE and Movistar, 1 point for 3rd week Pelayo Mayo, 0.5 points for blasts from the past winning stages, 1 point for Kuss winning the race, and -1 point for the way he did it.
So 3/10 in total.
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