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Vuelta 2019, Stage 20: Arenas de San Pedro - Plataforma de Gredos > 190.4 km

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Why be so down on Quintana? He's helped give us a serious show in the last week that we mightn't have had because he was suddenly an active player again. Sure, it's not been the strongest GC field (a bit like 2009 there's a sharp drop off from the very best to the next level, the star power is comparable to 2011 in terms of the look of the GC, albeit there were a few bigger guns who started but failed in that race), but everybody in that group has played their part in why the race has been enjoyable.

Roglič worked hard in week 1 to win back the time lost in the TTT, animated the early parts, then did absolutely what he had to after that - win the ITT to take the jersey and then be Menchov in the Giro 2009 level ironman, responding to everybody while his team disintegrated around him.

Valverde used his smarts to keep from losing time anywhere he didn't have to, courted a bit of controversy here and there, and attacked at the base of Los Machucos to set that stage into action.

Pogačar added the impetuousness of youth, attacking in places that weren't expected and lighting up the race with fearless moves on the climbs, profiting from Movistar's tactical blunder in Andorra, then working with his compatriot on Los Machucos and, despite a bad day in the Sierra de Guadarrama, responding with agutsy all-or-nothing ride to the podium.

Quintana for all the criticism he attracts animated the race from the word go, making up for his lack of mountain form by gaining time in hitherto-unexpected places, winning an early hilly stage by attacking on the flat, and returning to the GC mix in the crosswinds.

López added to the race by virtue of his multiple stints in and out of the maillot rojo in the first half of the race, and while he was less visible or prominent through the middle third of the week, his constant animation of the week 3 mountain stages to fight for the podium and the white jersey has really added to the battle.

Majka had been distanced quite a bit early in the race which rendered him a relatively minor point, but his continued presence in the leader's group as his form returned into week 3 meant he could be a strong ally or add an extra dynamic to the race.

Everybody's had a part to play here.
 
Why be so down on Quintana? He's helped give us a serious show in the last week that we mightn't have had because he was suddenly an active player again. Sure, it's not been the strongest GC field (a bit like 2009 there's a sharp drop off from the very best to the next level, the star power is comparable to 2011 in terms of the look of the GC, albeit there were a few bigger guns who started but failed in that race), but everybody in that group has played their part in why the race has been enjoyable.

Roglič worked hard in week 1 to win back the time lost in the TTT, animated the early parts, then did absolutely what he had to after that - win the ITT to take the jersey and then be Menchov in the Giro 2009 level ironman, responding to everybody while his team disintegrated around him.

Valverde used his smarts to keep from losing time anywhere he didn't have to, courted a bit of controversy here and there, and attacked at the base of Los Machucos to set that stage into action.

Pogačar added the impetuousness of youth, attacking in places that weren't expected and lighting up the race with fearless moves on the climbs, profiting from Movistar's tactical blunder in Andorra, then working with his compatriot on Los Machucos and, despite a bad day in the Sierra de Guadarrama, responding with agutsy all-or-nothing ride to the podium.

Quintana for all the criticism he attracts animated the race from the word go, making up for his lack of mountain form by gaining time in hitherto-unexpected places, winning an early hilly stage by attacking on the flat, and returning to the GC mix in the crosswinds.

López added to the race by virtue of his multiple stints in and out of the maillot rojo in the first half of the race, and while he was less visible or prominent through the middle third of the week, his constant animation of the week 3 mountain stages to fight for the podium and the white jersey has really added to the battle.

Majka had been distanced quite a bit early in the race which rendered him a relatively minor point, but his continued presence in the leader's group as his form returned into week 3 meant he could be a strong ally or add an extra dynamic to the race.

Everybody's had a part to play here.
So Libertine

Is this the best GT since the Giro 2015? Even better?
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
What an amazing ride by Pogacar! His 3rd mountain stage, podium finish at the Vuelta and a white jersey. He was so strong today and gained his advantage so quickly. I'm glad that he passed Quintana in the GC (who gained his position due to winds). Before the stage I counted on Lopez more (thinking that Pogacar is more gassed in the third week) but the young Slovenian surprised me again. He's the youngest GT podium finisher since...? I don't know. if not his early losses he actually would be the only threat to the leader (in his first ever GT). The guy is the future of cycling,
Cograts to Roglic as well, fantastic race! Slovenians are celebrating today. I can't forget about Valverde - he's 39 yo and for the first time was on the Vuelta podium 16 years ago! Legend. Is this a record? BTW difference between two guys on podium will be more than 18 years.
 
Maybe Dumoulin at 100%, but dont underestimate Valverde in his usual Vuelta stage or Lopez' climbing. The depth was weak, but the top level was here.
I think there were a few really high level performances after stages that were done very slowly.

Overall it's nearly impossible to judge. Lopez, Quintana and Valverde are all too inconsistent at this point to consider top 5 GT riders in the world. Roglic crashed 3 times and not once got dropped mano a mano when it mattered.

Overall the supposed best in the world have managed to miss peaks or dodge each other the entire year.

I'm reasonably confident Thomas wouldn't bring Tour level to the Vuelta and he'd get Schleckond. or something.

Dumoulin I don't know. I still think he's a better TTer than Roglic, and he's a better rider in stages like today when everyone's dead or dying, but he's probably not the best in the world when the climbs before the final one are climbed really slowly. In fact then it's better to just have a flat Unipuerto stage.

Anyone who you'd put in there hypothetically would have a lottery factor in what happens with the echelon stages
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
Missed the last couple of stages and only really caught the last few k today but great Vuelta as usual. Roglic wasn't terribly exciting but he was absolutely the strongest rider over the 3 weeks and his win is well-deserved. Happy he won by more than the time he got in the TT.

Pogacar was terrific this Vuelta. Rider of the race for me. I'm going to have to go back and watch the whole stage at some point.

It was great to see Bala finishing 2nd in the WC jersey at 39. I did not expect that. If he finally starts the expected decline next year, it's a great cap on his career. 16 years between podiums is just insane.

MAL is so up and down but he's fun to watch. You can't say he doesn't try.

The year of the young riders and newcomers continues.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
What a race for Pogacar and what a future. Was never convinced by Lopez or Quintana but they gave it their best. Solid ride also by Majka. Before the race I thought Quintana was a top five possibility but after the crashes and non starters I thought he could make the podium but once again he is struggling to be consistent. Not a classic year for grand tours but this one was the best because of the ups and downs for the podium spots and some surprise wins by the break. Roglic was never in real trouble except for the crosswind stage which could have been a lot worse. Jumbo will have some thinking to do next year with their team leaders. Valverde would have to be satisfied after his disappointment last year. Ineos won't be happy with their race but I expect them to be back to strength next year. Disaster of a race for Michelton, and EF who at least got a stage win.
 
Ride of the Vuelta today for Pogi.
Third stage win, gets on the final podium and the white jersey as a bonus.

What a year for the youngsters. We'll remember it for a long time.
This year really does have a changing of the guard feel to it.
Some great young GC guys some top new Belgian and Dutch youngsters and older guys like Ala and Bennett reaching the peak of their disciplines
 
Reactions: Koronin
Why be so down on Quintana? He's helped give us a serious show in the last week that we mightn't have had because he was suddenly an active player again. Sure, it's not been the strongest GC field (a bit like 2009 there's a sharp drop off from the very best to the next level, the star power is comparable to 2011 in terms of the look of the GC, albeit there were a few bigger guns who started but failed in that race), but everybody in that group has played their part in why the race has been enjoyable.

Roglič worked hard in week 1 to win back the time lost in the TTT, animated the early parts, then did absolutely what he had to after that - win the ITT to take the jersey and then be Menchov in the Giro 2009 level ironman, responding to everybody while his team disintegrated around him.

Valverde used his smarts to keep from losing time anywhere he didn't have to, courted a bit of controversy here and there, and attacked at the base of Los Machucos to set that stage into action.

Pogačar added the impetuousness of youth, attacking in places that weren't expected and lighting up the race with fearless moves on the climbs, profiting from Movistar's tactical blunder in Andorra, then working with his compatriot on Los Machucos and, despite a bad day in the Sierra de Guadarrama, responding with agutsy all-or-nothing ride to the podium.

Quintana for all the criticism he attracts animated the race from the word go, making up for his lack of mountain form by gaining time in hitherto-unexpected places, winning an early hilly stage by attacking on the flat, and returning to the GC mix in the crosswinds.

López added to the race by virtue of his multiple stints in and out of the maillot rojo in the first half of the race, and while he was less visible or prominent through the middle third of the week, his constant animation of the week 3 mountain stages to fight for the podium and the white jersey has really added to the battle.

Majka had been distanced quite a bit early in the race which rendered him a relatively minor point, but his continued presence in the leader's group as his form returned into week 3 meant he could be a strong ally or add an extra dynamic to the race.

Everybody's had a part to play here.
It was Quintana who attacked early on Los Muchachos. But other than that great post.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
How do you think Dumoulin or Geraint would have fared?
In their usual GC shape (for example GT 2019 Tour, TD 2018 Tour) they finish just behind Roglic or win. The biggest advantage for riders like Roglic and Valverde was the lack of altitude and really long climbs.
Valverde and Quintana aren´t among the elite GT riders anymore. They are still good but won´t beat Thomas, Dumoulin, Roglic, healthy Froome, Nibali or even their own teammates Carapaz and Landa.
 
What an amazing ride by Pogacar! His 3rd mountain stage, podium finish at the Vuelta and a white jersey. He was so strong today and gained his advantage so quickly. I'm glad that he passed Quintana in the GC (who gained his position due to winds). Before the stage I counted on Lopez more (thinking that Pogacar is more gassed in the third week) but the young Slovenian surprised me again. He's the youngest GT podium finisher since...? I don't know. if not his early losses he actually would be the only threat to the leader (in his first ever GT). The guy is the future of cycling,
Cograts to Roglic as well, fantastic race! Slovenians are celebrating today. I can't forget about Valverde - he's 39 yo and for the first time was on the Vuelta podium 16 years ago! Legend. Is this a record? BTW difference between two guys on podium will be more than 18 years.
This surely deserves further research, but if I'm not mistaken Bartali managed his last podium after 14 years from his first.
 

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