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.
Quintana to me is an old style racer who cant deal with modern train tactics but anytime he is out on his own with other isolated GC guys he is full of life and just like on the road to Annecy all those years ago we see The Condor fly
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Maybe so! One thing is for sure, he's off to a great start with today's fantastic victory.
Really smart race from Nairo, paying close attention at every key point:
  1. Stayed close to the front without going into red on the climb
  2. After Bala’s surge brought them over the top (teamwork?), 3 riders went off the front and he quickly bridged across (this is where Astana lost it)
  3. After Uran’s pull he saw that Roglic had left a gap and immediately sprinted away (seemed like Uran could have followed but left it to Roglic, then it was too late?)
- So Astana was exposed. I know Fuglsang is preparing for the worlds but he can at least try to help his teammates. And I thought from the rest of the team that someone would make the front group with Lopez.

- Lopez again with his tactical ineptitude. When he realized that nobody was pulling is was too late. LOL. He should have been told that every important rider in the group had a teammate in front.

- Easier to read the races and do tactical moves for Movistar when there are 2 leaders and not three. Valverde has worked with Quintana many times in the past. Easier with two as I said.
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I wonder if the team were telling Quintana to not push too much with Valverde chasing? And same with Nieve, he has Chaves chasing.
Anyway the biggest surprise was Fabio Aru, is the the old Aru we are now seeing?
As Quintana is known for not working in groups I doubt the team said anything to him anyway. Plus he's had a habit in the past of not following directions if he's supposed to be helping a teammate until the team has yelled at him in over the radio.