At age 41 and riding his 17th Vuelta a Espana, you’re figure Cervelo’s Inigo Cuesta would have a pretty good assessment of who might win the Spanish grand Tour.
Then again, maybe not. Cuesta had this to say before stage three, the 183k run from Malaga to Valdepeñas de Jaén. “For now I remain focused on my job alongside Carlos Sastre. He was very satisfied with his race yesterday. I’m convinced that he can win this Vuelta.”
No crystal ball for Inigo because Carlos finished the stage 1:33 behind winner Igor Anton of Euskaltel-Euskadi. Little Igor shot up the last nasty climb to the finish, beating Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) and Peter Velits (Team HTC-Columbia) by a second.
Now maybe Carlos Sastre will pull that time back in the mountains but three grand tours in one year is enough to turn any man’s legs to mush, let alone a 35 year old riding in relentless heat. El vacation, Carlos, take one sometime, willya?
Philippe Gilbert of Omega Drugo-Lotto took 5th place and thus held onto the red leader’s jersey for another day. Late summer seems to be the favorite time of year, or at least the most successful, for the Belgian rider.
Despite the fact that the Jaén region produces 60% of the olive oil in Spain, there were no reports of olive oil induced crashes. Until further investigation, we’ll assume Garmin Big Transitions’ Christian Vande Velde managed to avoid hitting the pavement.
The TJ update is that Tejay Van Garderen of HTC-Columbia holds down the sixth place on GC. This reminds Twisted Spoke of Garmin’s results in the Tour de France the last few years. Bring a young talented guy in who has zero pressure and expectations and watch him fly. Will Tejay be the Vuelta’s Ryder Hesjedal?
Finally, we note that the man formerly known as “the next Lance Armstrong” Tom Danielson sits quietly in 17th position. El Tomas likes the Veulta, finishing 6th and 7th overall — can he string three strong weeks together? Will the magic finally happen? Don’t ask Jonathan Vaughters or Danielson himself — they have absolutely no idea.
And certainly don’t ask Inigo Cuesta. The man doesn’t have a clue.