Friday Group Ride #36

Alejandro Valverde, Roberto Heras and Isisdro Nozal at the 2004 Vuelta

The final Grand Tour of the season is upon us and that can mean only one thing: You’ve planned your Labor Day Weekend. Wait, no, that’s not it. Your kids are back in school. Hmm, maybe, but still not quite right.

Oh, right, your TV is about to get monopolized.

Frank Schleck says he can win the Vuelta, but to do so, he’s going to have to go chainring-to-chainring with all of Spain, including Giro second place David Arroyo and Joaquin Rodgriguez. We’ve got Carlos Sastre, Oscar Pereiro and Carlos Barredo. Garmin-Transitions has brought Christian Vande Velde, though their actual GC guy is Tom Danielson. After Schleck, Arroyo and Rodriguez, how many of those guys really look like anything other than dark horses?

Given the current, tarnished finish on Grand Tour podiums, the real question at stake may be how long it will be before this year’s Vuelta podium is ensnared in a doping scandal. For where the Tour goes in doping scandals, the Vuelta seems to lead by a year or two. When we ask, “Who will win the Vuelta?” we mean now … and after the dust settles.

Image: John Pierce, Photosport International

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5 comments

  1. SinglespeedJarv

    Well with Invisible Denis and the Schlecklette to add as possible podium contenders, you already have a nice bunch of doping “scandals” at large at this years Vuelta.
    Invisible Denis is still tagged by Humanplasma, Frankie S got his “training” plans from Fuentes, VDV might still be embroiled in Landis vs Armstrong. Then there are the Spanish riders…

    F Schleck for the win, although it will be interesting to see what Andy does. I might go for a Schleck 1-2.

  2. randomactsofcycling

    Wow, I am underwhelmed by the lack of ‘A’ list riders in that starting line up!
    Here’s a shot in the dark – Stijn Devolder. And please, for the sake of my health, don’t let anyone say Tom Danielson. I think I’ll puke.

  3. Robot

    I see this as a battle between Fränk Schleck and Joaquim Rodriguez. Obviously the Spaniards are motivated, but Schleck is looking to save his season, to a degree, and to bring some caché to his new team, so there’s a lot of motivation (and talent) there too, especially if his little brother can help him in the mountains. Duh.

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