Saturday, April 20, 2024
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That was La Vuelta 2009 – What’s Next?


La Vuelta 2009 has finished, so has the Tour of Britain, the Worlds are this weekend, the crosses have started and there’s a nip in the air in the mornings – autumn is here.

My favourite time of the year in Scotland it rains less, the skies are blue, the air is fresh and leaves are so beautiful as they turn.

La Vuelta 2009
Valverde pulls on his winners jersey.

The Vuelta – a Grand Tour for Valverde, at last. And Operacion Puerto? It’s all too long ago, there’s too much water under the bridge – who cares?

Most of the peloton was kitted up, if he was too, then it’s no surprise. If a rider is daft enough – like Di Luca – then hammer them, but I fail to see the point of digging up the past – move on.

Valverde passed on the Giro and Tour [yes, we know, he had no choice] and that probably won him the Vuelta. As Dirty Harry says; “man’s gotta know his limitations.”

Alejandro has proven he can win the Vuelta, but he could never win the Tour or Giro. But as a proud man and a winner, that’s hard to accept – maybe he should thank them for digging the Puerto dirt, after all.

His team was brilliant, Adam Hansen said; “they had him bubble-wrapped,” and that’s how it should be – unless you come from Plano, of course.

* * *

The Tour of Britain – Viktor reckons it wasn’t a hard race; Dan Fleeman and Ben Swift would argue with that. Some of my hardcore amigos – don’t rate the race, but you have to start somewhere.

Entries were hugely over-subscribed; QuickStep were desperate to get in, but told where to go – Boonen’s ‘strike’ a couple of years ago hasn’t been forgotten. The safety issue has been resolved, the finales made good TV and it’s up to eight stages – ideal preparation for the Worlds.

If I was the organiser, I’d have much shorter daily transfers and one long one – start in the South, race North then one long transfer back to the “Big Smoke.

Great rides from Dan Fleeman and Ben Swift, I was lucky with my choice of guys to talk to during the race – pity I didn’t bell Geraint too!

* * *

The Worlds – I’d love to have gone but Pez has Ale and Matt on the patch, so there’s no point in shipping me out too.

I’m at Lombardy though; I can’t wait, but you have to be careful because “civilian” life can become simply stretches of time you, “get through” in between races.

La Vuelta 2009
Dave Millar won the Time Trial in the Vuelta – just superb.

The TT course has only one 120 metre climb on the lap, which is covered three times. Rubens Bertogliati reckons it’s made for Cancellara – it is promoted by the Swiss Federation, after all. I’d love to see David Millar follow up his Vuelta triumph with a Worlds medal.

Millar puts in the races, does his job and has appears to have matured into a good pro – no longer the diletante.

Wiggins? Call me old fashioned, but all this talk of “projects” makes me shake my head – if you’re a pro then that’s your job, for better or worse. You do your job, you get round, you don’t decide that there are only three or four races each year which you can be bothered with – or maybe you do?

The road race isn’t made for Fab though; Ben Swift sums it up thus; “up, down, up, down !” The lap is under 14 kilometres and they cover it 19 times – that’s 38 climbs. As Rubens said; “a man who can climb but who still has a strong sprint at the end.” Sounds like Valverde or Cunego to me.

* * *

And one last rant; much as I respect Roger Hammond, he’s no climber –  Dan Fleeman is, so shouldn’t it be Roge watching on TV and not Dan?

Nurse!  Where’s my medication?