Can I say first that if there is one thing that 2020 is getting right, although totally unintentionally for sure, is the part of the race calendar that has the Vuelta a Espana being the last race of the year. I think it works on all levels:
- It improves the stature of the race from, oh yeah there’s a third grand tour but I’m more interested in Worlds, to what a great way to send off the season: a big bang in a country where we don’t have to worry so much about snowfall. Fans will take this race more seriously if it normally had the honor of ending the season and at the same time letting the riders who are in it have the time to really prep for it as opposed to using it to salvage their season as an afterthought.
This year doesn’t quite do that as the fall is so compressed with races but imagine a Grand Tour at this time of year where a bunch of riders have the time to focus on preparing to ride it. Yes, those riders would not be competing in Australia in January but seriously so what? The peloton is a lot more riders they can use for those races.
- And of course for FSA-DS this is amazing: a boatload of points to be doled out on the last day of the year in a race that we all actually care about-as opposed to Guangxi. If you need to you can have Guangxi overlap with the Vuelta or have it right before. Bottom line is that the Vuelta has moved before, it can move again, and early November is the place it should move to.
Sigh. It makes total sense so of course the UCI, ASO, etc. won’t stand for it. We can’t have nice things, remember? But perhaps next year it might happen again since spring races are already looking to move back to the fall again with the UCI realizing that although they’ve announced next year’s calendar some months ago they are now saying they will have a revised race schedule “in early January”. Maybe we could have a proper full fall cobbles season including E3 and That Race In Far Northern France and then a few lesser races before the Vuelta kicks off.
Anyways, this year we have a tight race in VDS! And with a week to go the picture is coming into focus as to who will win come next Sunday. Hint: it is not the first place team. Below I have the standings of the teams within 1000 points of the current leader, Quincaillerie Garcia, who had a fantastic Giro and Flanders as they had Almeida, Kelderman, MvdP, Ganna, Bjerg, McNulty, and Merlier.
Note that Vlasov and Soler are on each team and Steimle (!) is on all but two of these teams. This they cancel each other in FSA-DS land and aren’t important unless they score points and stop other riders from scoring.
Second, pour one out for current #1 Quincaillerie Garcia,#3 The Peace Race Team, #5 2020 will be a better dick, #6 Loic Raison Cycling Academy, #8 AG2R Wiesenhof, #9 P U R E C L A S S. Your teams have done great this year and a top 10 finiosh (or top 12) is a great accomplishment. You just won’t win it all.
Now as you can see #2 JackyDurandal has the whip as the highest placed team with Roglic. Jacky also has the best bunch of potential non-GC stage winners too IMO.) If the race ended today they would win and #7 Kuss Kuss Royal would move up in the standings. But it is close.#4 Schief en vreemd with Hugh Carthy is only 387 points behind so if Roglic slips several places and Carthy wins the Vuelta then we are looking at a very close race that may depending on stage winners. And in that scenario I must say the most likely stage winner that isn’t a GC guy is Cavagna at the TT tomorrow. (I am saying either Cavagna or Roglic wins that stage.)
Kuss Kuss Royal could win if Carthy fades, Roglic fades and Mas continues his upward trend into winning the race (thereby also winning the young rider competition over Carapaz.) That is a wild scenario. (Let me say here that Kuss Kuss also has Pinot and might be in first place now if Pinot didn’t, you know, Pinot the race.)
Speaking of wild scenarios, 10th place Mr. Pickle and his Sweet Saddles would love chaos-especially for Roglic, Carapaz and Carthy, and D-Mart as they have Mas and Poels. Perhaps they would like all those other GC guys to crash out? Yeah that would work.
Of the other GC guys,
The highest placed team with Carapaz, Meandering fireflies., is in 53rd place.
The highest placed team with D-Mart is New Day Coop, who is in 11th place and stands to move into the top 10 but not win the whole thing unless all hell breaks loose everywhere but with D-Mart.
The highest placed team with Grosschartner is Pokey Pineapples in 90th place.
So there you go. Myself I’m aiming for keeping MOUA ahead of me, catching that evil Seattleite Chris… (probably won’t happen but he doesn’t even have Vlasov and Soler Ha! Portland rools Seattle drools!) and slipping into a top 200 position. (I hate the jerk who sets these prices.)