It’s the Helta Skelta Vuelta. Unpredictable, uncontrollable, damn hot and spicy. You never know what’s going to happen, only that there will be a good story, tapas and a glass of Rioja.
Today’s stage ten time trial was filled with head head-snap surprises so let’s hit the ground running like a drunk dodging bulls in Pamplona.
First up ….
Chris Froome does a brilliant Bradley Wiggins impression. The bold talk was Wiggins fantastic ride in the mountains yesterday and his impending smack-down in the time trail. Ohh, he was fast all right but faded to third. Meanwhile his Sky teammate Froome shocks everyone including himself by finishing second to Tony Martin (HTC-Lastroad) and taking the red jersey of race leader.
“I wasn’t really expecting that,” Froome said after his amazing ride. “I was just trying to stay in contention and be there along with Bradley Wiggins, the team leader. I just had a fantastic day and somehow I’ve ended up in the leader’s jersey. It’s a dream come true.” Sky know has two guys in the top three, with WIggins moving up to third. What will Uncle Fester do now?
Second shocker ….
While it’s not a new finger in the electrical socket, the fact that Tony Marin again beat time trial superstar Fabian Cancellara this close to next month’s Worlds, have some folks worried. Not in Germany, but the fans back in Switzerland.
In the Tour de France this year, Martin had whomped Cancellara by 1:42 in a long time trial. Now, he’c clearly confident and blazing fast and looking to end Fabian’s dominance against the clock. The Swiss time machine has won four world titles but the clock is ticking down to Copenhagen fast and he’ll need to find more speed. Don’t count the man out because he’s a champion and extra pressure only makes him more motivated.
Numero three …
Jacob Fuglsang, who has one of the most beautiful and feminine faces in the peloton continues to turn the pedals fast. RIght now the man from Leopard Trek sits in second place on GC. He looks to be one of the big surprised of the Helta Skelta Vuelta. Can he hang on with so many nasty mountains to come?
A fourth head scratcher …
Coming into the Vuelta, Euskatel Euskadi’s Igor Anton was one of the top contenders. Well, he’s not in the top ten or even the top twenty — keep scrolling because he’s down in 32nd, almost nine minutes back. Mucho bad news. You know things are bad when even Carlos “chronic fatigue” Sastre is ahead of him on GC. There is no dancing in the Pays Basque or imbibing of the kalimotxo. Orange DS Igor Gonzales de Galdeano had high hopes for Anton, based on his impressive showing in last year’s Vuelta — before his crash while wearing red. Not good, senor.
And finally ….
Vincenzo Nibali is fourth and GC and the Shark looked as poised and calm as ever. Okay, that’s no shocker but we like anybody named Vincenzo. As cyclingnews points out, he’s the only guy in the top 10 who has won a grand tour. The Liquigas-Cannondale caption won last year’s Helta Skelta Vuelta by showing plenty of guts but also a steady, calm focus that served him well when guys like Mosquiera and Rodriguez were constantly attacking. While he had his bad moments in the Giro, it feels like the Shark might be ready to bite.