It also seems like Angel Lopez has become much more of a diesel climber these days, he is always going at his own pace judging by his latest performances in Suisse and Burgos. I reckon he will do great on some of the MTFs in week 2 and ride himself into top-10. He could also do with some more race days. How is he going in heat - quite well I assume?
Soler is coming faster into form than what I'd expected, thats good to see. I didnt catch the stage unfortunately, but that camera work on the last climb was horrible and gosh Moscon is a beast.
This looks the by far best form Froome has come to the Vuelta in, if he can sustain it that is. I don't know if he can and if he can't especially Chaves will be ready to strike. The question is whether the two Yates' brothers actually want to sacrifice their utterly uninteresting wheel following strategy and help Chaves break up the race in week 2, for now its good to just follow on tho.
Froome has faded at the Vuelta in the past when peaking well at the Tour...He has historically gone strong at the start of the Tour then faded, though, whereas this year he got the form so he raced the Tour like he did the Vuelta in 2016, having a weaker stretch in the middle but coming strong again at the end. If he does the same he'll probably be fine, but he may also be thinking that since Contador and Nibali are both riders who tend to finish a GT strongly (Zakarin does as well, too) he will capitalize on his having form while they're still searching for theirs in this early phase of the race, and then worry about whether he can ship the red jersey to a breakaway at some point...
Riders sometimes make mistakes about the predictions of their fitness. Many times. The fact the these are the initial stages does not help the cause. Everybody is mostly fresh. look at the first mountain stage. The first places at the top of the mountains were filled with riders that at the Tour de France. A carry over of their fitness. maybe they will fade a little.
Let me start off by saying I believe Froome is the favourite to win the Vuelta. With that in mind, I don't buy the rhetoric that Froome wasn't peaking early in the Tour so he could still be in form for the Vuelta. Froome and Sky know the deal. They know if they prepared the same way they did from 2013-2016, they would win another Tour. So why would they change their prep so that they could go for the Tour/Vuelta double? I don't think Sky would be willing to take any risk if it meant possibly losing the Tour. The Tour is their singular goal.