Vuelta a España Vuelta a España 2020: Stage 17 (Sequeros > Alto de la Covatilla , 178.2 km)

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No one is the new Merckx, so it seems to be in the bag...but there's a tough stretch, hard enough, to create separation and shoot for the stars.

When it happens, Roglic can be the new Trump and call for the stage to be stopped. Froome may take off and win the whole thing by an insane margin. Carthy needs to attack and hope that Roglic is Roglic and Carapaz is the new Nibali.

3 km at roughly 10%, even for those guys, that's punishing. On Angliru, Kuss saved Roglic like Poels did with Geraint on Prat d'Albis. This climb is harder.

Don't let JV be fresh, ride hard, attack early, let Kuss be the last one, Roglic is the Black Album, see what happens.
 
The question is: which race are We going to see?

Roglic showed His intensions on 16 by taking 2nd and those extra points. -He's not day dreaming or sleeping: He's likely still pissed from HIs last Grand 2nd.

It's close enough where a battle between Carthy and Carapaz may create excitement and close enough where Carthy is not going to remain comfortable with 3rd, ??? -or will He simply fight to protect His podium?

a tired Jumbo makes for more room to open up the finish but who's going to wear them down?

Martin has heart and as far back as He is, He's the likely guy to stir the pot.

If they look at each other and don't see weakness or smell fatigue racers may get comfortable with where they stand. -And may not be able to do anything about it.

My wish? EF to gather around Hugh the whole race and make Roglic and His team work too hard.
 
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Sep 15, 2020
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Could Roglic get a cherry on his cake today? It's not Angliru, and he has done well on hills like this before. Plus I haven't seen anything that would suggest that Carapaz or Carthy have that much more in their tank than Roggie. But who knows...

I'd love to see Dan Martin on the podium, unlikely though it is. And might Enric Mas finally surprise us?

Can't wait.
 
We can but hope for fireworks. Again Movistar need to actually do something major to salvage anything on GC so I'd hope to actually see it materialise and that could animate the day from a long way out.

I think we can probably rely on EF to animate the final climb early as they did on Moncalvillo (if we get there with nothing much happening). Carthy likes long wearing climbing efforts and he's got enough margin to Martin that he can probably safely try riding for more rather than nursing home (a very well deserved) podium.

Ineos - I don't know what to expect. While the climb's never been a huge difference maker it's at the end of the race and everyone has gone deep. 45 seconds is a big ask in a H2H vs a stronger team but who knows, maybe one final Froome effort to kill the Jumbots and launch Carapaz.
 
Movistar are literally the only team who should have any real chance of doing something audacious unless Roglič has a Dumoulin 2015 level collapse and even then, he has a much stronger team around him than Dumoulin had back then to help him out. Carapaz and Carthy are close enough to use La Covatilla as their platform to attack on, while Martin hasn't got a strong enough team around him to do anything wild unless guys like Kuss and Vingegaard disintegrate on the early climbs which would seem unlikely.

There's a three minute gap from Mas down to 6th place, he is far enough down that he can't just leave it to La Covatilla, and he has over 5 minutes over Vlasov to play with to keep the white jersey coast to coast, and Movistar have some very useful strong climbing domestiques like Verona and, now, Soler, who has been losing time the last couple of days which suggests they might want him to have some spare energy for today. The big question is how he himself feels at this stage in what aren't back to back GTs but are close enough to one another to be akin to doing them in a normal season.
 
If crux today is any team like Ineos or Movistar which sets a tempo far out will effectively allow Jumbo to put their feet up & not do any work (just like yesterday), whereas if they make Jumbo do the work, Roglic is going to probably allow a breakaway group a huge lead to take those 10 seconds for the stage winner.

Decisions, decisions. It'll be exciting though.
 
Movistar are literally the only team who should have any real chance of doing something audacious unless Roglič has a Dumoulin 2015 level collapse and even then, he has a much stronger team around him than Dumoulin had back then to help him out. Carapaz and Carthy are close enough to use La Covatilla as their platform to attack on, while Martin hasn't got a strong enough team around him to do anything wild unless guys like Kuss and Vingegaard disintegrate on the early climbs which would seem unlikely.

There's a three minute gap from Mas down to 6th place, he is far enough down that he can't just leave it to La Covatilla, and he has over 5 minutes over Vlasov to play with to keep the white jersey coast to coast, and Movistar have some very useful strong climbing domestiques like Verona and, now, Soler, who has been losing time the last couple of days which suggests they might want him to have some spare energy for today. The big question is how he himself feels at this stage in what aren't back to back GTs but are close enough to one another to be akin to doing them in a normal season.
Hey now, don't get carried away in shitting on legendary mountain domestique John Degenkolb
 
I'm now coming to the conclusion that I really do not like this final week. We've had soft final weeks in the Vuelta multiple times in the last few years, and it's not a bad idea in general. In fact I'd argue both in 2015 and in 2019 that soft final week absolutely made the race, but those two were structured very differently. They had no hard mtf's in the final week yet a lot of medium mountain stages with relatively hard climbs close to the finish or relatively easy uphill finishes. That lead to some great racing and even a leader change on stage 20 in 2015. Now, if you swap the 2015 last week with the one from this year you would probably also get your lead change on stage 20 but it would be a rather unspectacular attack by Aru or the Astana train 5 km from the finish. On the actual 2015 route they had to attack with something like 40 or 50 km to go.

This route made the medium mountain stages too soft to make an all out attack likely to work while putting a mtf at the end to discourage attacks even more and always giving guys like Carapaz an option B as they could always wait for that final climb. Adding to that La Covatilla is also a bit of an overrated mtf. It's category ESP but it really shouldn't be or at least one really shouldn't look at that ESP sign and think this would be a HC climb in the Tour. It's quite steep but way too short to make a big difference. Moreover there aren't any properly hard passes near it to enable long range attacks. It's just not the sort of stage that encourages one final all or nothing attack and that's a pity. I feel like Roglic might be beatable on a different route, but I can't see anyone coming close his jersey here.
 
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