Tuesday, September 01, 2015

It's Yer Ultra-Compact (for racejunkie) Vuelta a Espana Rest Day Roundup 'n' Mountain-Hell Preview! #LV2015

Whew, that went by quick, especially if yer a moto driver runnin' like the wind ahead of a fire-spittin' Tinkov! So what'd'ja miss, and what're we in for tomorrow (today, whatever) as the race *really* gets underway? This!

Stage 1: Surfin' safari! Riders enjoy GC-neutralized party in the dunes as enraged Nibali blames sand up his hoo-ha for lackluster team Astana performance. It only gets better from here, Vincenzo!

Stage 2: Rocket man: in an extraordinary display of common sense, 2014 Tour de France champ Nibali is ejected from the race after Alexander Vinokourov launches him to the finish line from a trebuchet. Jaysus, didn't they teach you in cheat school to pull that !@#$ when the cameras are somewhere *else*?

Stage 3: The prodigal son returns! Bouncing back from a disastrous Classics season, Peter Sagan finally takes first--that's even better than second!--in a sprint. Guess who's Oleg's little favorite *now*, Alberto?

Stage 4: Cue the Boris Karloff music, honey--Valverde creeps us all out again with his first win o' the race. You got like *one* day to pull this guy back before you end up being his water-bottle beeyotch, Nairo!

Stage 5: He's off--Orica-Greenedge's young Caleb Ewan bags his first Grand Tour victory over John Degenkolb. Didja notice Greenedge was already wiping the floor with everyone so far this race?

Stage 6: Remember when Orica rammed its team bus under the finish-line banner at the Tour de France, causing hours of chaos and an eternity's worth of humiliation on YouTube? Well ram this, haters, because it's wee Esteban Chaves' *second* stage of the race, *and* he's back in red. How do you say "woot woot!" in Spanish again?

Stage 7: Dutch treat! A nice win for Lotto's Jan Lindeman, and, even more satisfying, Fabio Aru put the hurt on the infernally annoying Chris Froome as Tinkov breathes a sigh of relief that Sky hasn't totally humiliated him with a Grand Tour back-to-back win just yet. Take *that* Landa, who's team leader now?

Stage 8: Carnage, and there's no dressing this one up, so speedy recovery and sincere best wishes to all involved. Best off of the day, with just a pile o' skin 'n' shorts ripped off and a DNS the next morning--Peter Sagan, fined 300 euros for kicking the crap out of a medical support van and his own bike after being knocked off it by an eejit moto. And just when his curse seemed to be lifting!

Stage 9: Puritooooooooooooo! No, he didn't win, but again, Chris Froome didn't, and, as some small comfort for Rodriguez fans, at least a deceptively cooked Tom Dumoulin came back from the dead and took the win. Hey, isn't this guy like two feet too tall for a climber?

Stage 10: Calm before the storm! The sprinters get one last chance to play before the mountains really kick in, and while most of 'em have already either crashed or bailed out already, Rojas and even Degenkolb were caught out short by a smashing surge from we love MTN-Qhubeka's Sbaragli. So nice to see the unexpected grab the day!

Rest Day: I don't know what-all's been involved for the riders, except maybe staying locked in their hotel rooms studying the Stage 11 race profile and sobbing uncontrollably. What gears do you need for "totally !@#$ed", again?

Stage 11: you've seen the pic, you've read the previews, you've heard the screams from the team bus--it's 6 peaks o' Cat-1 and Hors Categorie agony, and with almost everybody still at least professing to be whacked out from the Tour, a comparatively well-rested Aru might yet have the legs to take some GC time on this one--if Mikel Landa, who had a surprisingly crap stage 9, has either the legs or the mindset to protect him. Oh, dammit, that freak Froomey's gonna get this, right? Dammit!

Well, riders, the GC officially starts now--first one who cracks gets a pony for a consolation prize!

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