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VUELTA’22 Rest Day #1: Paint Drying Racing – Albeit at 47kph Plus

Ed Hood's view of la Vuelta'22 so far

Vuelta Rest Day Round Up: So far the 2022 Vuelta a España has been all Jumbo-Visma and Sam Bennett. But we are only three stages in and there is a long road to Madrid. Ed Hood has his Grand Tour eye on the precedings in Holland to give us his first ‘Rest Day Round Up’.

* You can see the ‘PEZ Vuelta’22 Preview’ HERE. *

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So far Jumbo-Visma has dominated the red jersey after their TTT ride

Stage One TTT:
Who says there’s no sentiment in WorldTour cycling? As Jumbo Visma let veteran Home Boy, Robert Gesink cross the line first and take ‘Rojo.’ But then, Dutch team, Dutch parcours; what’s best for the media – that would be a Dutchman in red.

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Gesink the Dutchman in red in Holland

Gesink is a stalwart of the team, with it through every incarnation since 2007 and even the continental team before that; Oomen is only in his second year with the team and Teunissen is jumping ship to Intermarché Wanty for 2023 so Gesink was the obvious choice – ‘a dream come true,’ said the man himself.

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It was bound to be Jumbo’s TTT

The team’s win was no surprise, Roglič, Dennis, Affini and Teunissen are all strong men and highly proficient time trial riders; 56.676 kph, wow!

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INEOS Grenadiers took second… just

Carapaz and INEOS won’t be too disappointed at dropping 13 seconds and Remco will feel the same with Quick-Step just one tick of the second hand further back. Of the other rides the Kern Pharma ProTeam produced a good ride, just behind AG2R Citroën, but ahead of Alpecin.
Any dreams Merlier had of ‘Rojo’ from potential sprint success on Stages Two and Three disappeared with the team’s 1:03 deficit.

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Not a great day for the Irael-Premier Tech boys

It wasn’t a good day for Chris Froome, his Israel squad lost 1:04 but he was dropped and ceded another 1:18; a far cry from Olympic time trial bronze in 2012. And a bit of a ‘shocker’ for EF, ‘Rigo’ Uran’s days as a podium contender may be over but not Hugh Carthy’s; 1:19 isn’t a disaster but it’s not a good start. Last team was Burgos BH @ 1:58 and still averaging 52.491 kph, illustrating the general standard across the professional peloton.

Well, we’re off and running; sprinter stage tomorrow – Tim Merlier?

Stage 1 TTT on-board cameras:

 

Stage Two:
Nnnnnnhhhh. . . What’s that?

I nodded off, oh yeah, ‘sprinter stage;’ EF did a ‘Magnus in Denmark’ as their Dutchman, Julius Van Den Berg grabbed the only KoM points of the day – all two of them – and Sam Bennett won his first race since Frankfurt in May in the inevitable mass charge.

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Bennett is back?

Teunissen now in red, despite his departing the fold at the end of the year, and, em. . .
Let’s talk about Movistar; PEZ mentor and soothsayer in chief isn’t a fan – and to be fair their TTT rather summed the team up; ‘all over the place,’ losing three men along the way.

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Teunissen turn for red

Respected Spanish cycling journo, Fran Reyes recently gave his views on why Spain’s only World Tour team never seem to get it right – his comments were inspired by a group of young fans around the Movistar team bus at a recent race chanting; ‘You’re going down! Division Two!’

  • General manager, Eusebio Unzué had a fall out with ‘super riders agent’ Giuseppe Acquadro which meant that the Italian wheeler, dealer did all he could to get the riders – like Carapaz – who he managed, off the team. He also made it his business to ensure that no young Spanish talent went to the team.
  • Movistar has no ‘feeder’ team, unlike Groupama, DSM, Jumbo, Israel, EF or Lotto to bring young talent through.
  • The team has fallen behind with training methods, including altitude camps which are so dear to the likes of INEOS, Jumbo and UAE.
  • Riders are never given enough advance notice of their programmes and consequently cannot best prepare.
  • The average age of their recent Grand Tour teams has been 30 plus, they’re loathe to follow recent trends and put youngsters into big races at an early age.
  • They haven’t invested in good management, they have six DS listed, many teams have 10 in the role.
  • They let two of the biggest recent young Spanish talents slip through their fingers, Juan Ayuso is with UAE until 2028 and Carlos Rodriguez is with INEOS until the end of 2023, albeit the rumour mill says he will join Movistar in 2024?
  • Alejandro Valverde; the team has for too many years relied upon the remarkable Murcian for results without thinking of the future. . .
  • vuelta22 presentation
    The end for Alejandro Valverde… and Movistar on a rocky boat?

    We could recommend that Vik goes in as a consultant but we’re not sure that he and Eusebio would get along. . .

    Tomorrow?

    Another sprinter stage, this time I just hope Tim doesn’t try to push Dan McLay out of the way again, he’s a ‘big unit.’ But those fast guys sprint with their heads as much as their legs and Sam’s head is GOOD. . .

    On-board cameras stage 2:

     

    Stage Three:
    It was ‘déjà vu all over again’ or should that be ‘Denmark and le Tour all over again?’ – great scenery, great crowds, great vibe but ‘paint drying’ racing – albeit @ 47 plus kph.

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    The Dutch fans were happy

    It’s as if the peloton is just going through the motions until the race starts ‘properly’ on Tuesday in the Basque Nation?

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    Two out of two for Sam Bennett

    Sam Bennett wasn’t going through the motions though, taking his second stage win – under scoring that old adage that sprinters need a good head as well as good legs. And it was nice to see old friend of PEZ, Dan McLay [Arkéa-Samsic] right there in the drag race.

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    Good to see Dan McLay at the front in the sprints

    The Irishman is unlikely to make it three wins on the bounce though, Stage Four is for the ‘puncheurs’ with a very tough finale – Alaphilippe? Remco? Ayuso? or even Roglič?
    The tough finish means that a new man in ‘Rojo’ is inevitable, Jumbo let their strongman, Eduardo Affini take ownership but his 1.92 metre, 80 kg. frame isn’t designed for steep finish ramps.

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    Stage 4 on ‘home’ soil should change everything

    It’s also unlikely that EF’s Van Den Berg will hang on to the blue polka dots of mountains leadership with the ‘proper’ climbs starting, a second and a third cat. en route Laguardia. But as the race heads south to the Homeland – nearly, you’ll never hear a real Basque call himself ‘Spanish,’ the shape of the GC is still dominated by the TTT result with ‘super favourites’ Roglič [Jumbo] and Carapaz [INEOS] well up the standings.

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    Wood out

    Stage Three saw a potential top six finisher and favourite for a stage win, Mike Wood [Israel-Premier Tech] out of the race; it’s not 1970 anymore and ‘concussion protocols’ have to be observed. Monday is rest day – but not if you’re team personnel, it’s a long way from The Netherlands to the Basque Nation. . .

    The final kilometre of stage 3:

     

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    Adiós Holanda

    # Stay PEZ for all the Vuelta a España news: The daily ‘Stage Reports’, ‘Rest Day Round Up’ and ‘EUROTRASH’ Monday and Thursday. #

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