Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Vuelta a España

It's easy to think, particularly if you don't live in Europe. That there is really only one bike race all year. But as you might imagine there's more to Cycling than just the Tour de France. There are in fact three so-called Grand Tours. The Giro d'Italia, the Tour and the Vuelta a España. Only four people have won all three (Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Merckx, Hinault, nope not Armstrong). Alberto Contador won the Tour last year and won the Giro this year, so if he can win the Vuelta he will become the fifth person to win all three and the youngest ever. Why do I mention all this? Well because, of course, the Vuelta is happening as we speak.

They started with a short team time trial, enough to establish rankings, but not long enough to shake things up very much. Today was the first long time trial. Levi Leipheimer who first came to the attention of the cycling world by coming third in the 2001 Vuelta, won the stage and took the leader's jersey (which they say is gold, but is really more of an Amber or maybe a Gamboge). So not a bad day for America, but of course the question is how did Contador do? Well as you know of course Leipheimer and Contador are on the same team, and as always when something like this happens questions arise as to who the real leader is...

Well Contador came in fourth today which for someone who's often described as "the best climber in the world" is really good. And this Vuelta is definitely about climbing, it includes the l'Angrilu a beast of a climb that includes ramps that are steeper than 20%. The last time the did it, it was raining and the team cars couldn't make it up. In any case it should be exciting to see if Contador can pull off the triple win, so I'll definitely be following the race. If he does I'll let you know, but you can follow it yourself if you want on Here's the write-up of today's stage.

Winded just thinking about the climbing


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