It was perhaps hard to believe that the talking points from the opening week would be tough to beat. The ‘sticky bottle’ incidents took a back seat as the motorbikes took centre stage.
No, it has not turned into a motorbike race. You will recall that Peter Sagan was the victim of an over zealous motorcyclist getting to close. It forced the talented Slovakian to exit the race due to his injuries and a fine for reaction to boot.
Talk about kick a rider when he is down. Or more to the point, Sagan kicked the living daylights out of his bike being held upright by a bewildered spectator simply trying to help.
It is somewhat surprising that it does not happen more often, in fact it did in a race a week or so ago and when you hear something happen once it all so often happens again not long after. The Sagan accident springs to mind and his team Tinkoff-Saxo considered legal action before releasing a statement suggesting that changes have to be made to avoid reckless motorbike riders in and around the peloton.
Incidentally, the television coverage was severely effected the following day after the motorbike riders over reacted to their agreed staying away distance of 15 metres which looked more like twenty metres. That left it hard for commentators and viewers to correctly name the riders from distance.
The clip below provides a real insight into the world of cycling with highlights of stage 8 from the first week of La Vuelta but the worrying news is that Lotto Soudal rider Kris Boeckmans is in an induced coma. The Belgian suffered severe facial trauma and several fractures. All the team at StalkSport wish him a full and speedy recovery.
All of that talk has overshadowed the racing which has been very good indeed. The standings going into the rest day confirm that. Anything could happen with just five stages left to go but you are unlikely to bet against Spaniard Rodriguez or Italian Aru to take the title this year.
Taking the stage wins were Mikel Landa (Astana), Danny van Poppel (Trek), Nelson Oliveira (Lampre), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Joachim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Frank Schleck (Trek).
It was a real return from the wilderness for one of the Schleck brothers after a return from the cycling wilderness with a worthy breakaway win for the rider from Luxembourg. Aru had led the race throughout the week until Rodriguez attacked in Stage 16 to take the red jersey. It will be interesting to see how the Astana rider will respond after the break but it promises to be intruguing.
|1.||ESP RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin||TEAM KATUSHA||67h 52′ 44”|
|2.||ITA ARU Fabio||ASTANA PRO TEAM||67h 52′ 45”||+ 00′ 01”|
|3.||POL MAJKA Rafal||TINKOFF – SAXO||67h 54′ 19”||+ 01′ 35”|
|4.||NED DUMOULIN Tom||TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN||67h 54′ 35”||+ 01′ 51”|
|5.||ESP NIEVE ITURRALDE Mikel||TEAM SKY||67h 55′ 16”||+ 02′ 32”|
|6.||COL CHAVES RUBIO Johan Esteban||ORICA GreenEDGE||67h 55′ 22”||+ 02′ 38”|
|7.||ESP MORENO FERNANDEZ Daniel||TEAM KATUSHA||67h 55′ 33”||+ 02′ 49”|
|8.||COL QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander||MOVISTAR TEAM||67h 55′ 55”||+ 03′ 11”|
|9.||ESP VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro||MOVISTAR TEAM||67h 56′ 42”||+ 03′ 58”|
|10.||RSA MEINTJES Louis||MTN – QHUBEKA||67h 58′ 06”||+ 05′ 22”|
The final week of La Vuelta winds its way to the final stage in Madrid and it simply could not be tighter. I will be back next week to look back on the racing and hopefully without any more talking points.