Vuelta a España 2019 stage 2: Benidorm > Calpe 199,6 km

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Nairo gets so much negative press for his poor racing that people write the many occasions where he actually did light the race up and make attacks out of history. Am I surprised he pulled this off? Yes. I thought he, Roglič, Roche and Urán would ride all the way to the sprint to maximise time gain, and Quintana would inevitably lose out from that, but you can't fault his tactics here. He's got into an attack move by being among the strongest on a climb, then in a move that's gone at the end of a downhill, and then attacked that group on the flat to win the stage. When he's in form, he absolutely can ride like a champion, but because he is really negative when he isn't feeling good, people just act like he's never done anything aggressive in his racing career, which is just preposterous when you consider how he got those two GT wins, those Tour podiums and that polka dot jersey. Yes, he often rides conservatively and then picks one or two stages in advance to go for broke from far out on, meaning he rides quietly for the vast majority of the race - but there are other riders who use a similar strategy who get praised for what they bring to races. Quintana may have failed to take advantage of his climbing strength and cost himself significantly on a number of occasions, but he really doesn't deserve to be cast onto the same pyre as Levi Leipheimer, Simon Gerrans or Louis Meintjes.
just like the descent that won him that giro ;)
Do not pretend that he wouldn't have won that race anyway. He absolutely obliterated everybody on the Monte Grappa TT, and he sat idly by defending happily on Monte Zoncolan when he was clearly the strongest climber in that race. I'd have expected him, had he needed time still, to have lit up Monte Zoncolan that year.


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