La Vuelta; have you seen the parcours ? Brutal !
In my opinion, too hard; if it was Italy or Spain they’d engineer it to suit the characteristics of the ‘home boy,’ but in España it’s one for the mountain men – maybe they forgot that Alberto wasn’t riding; that we may have seen the best of Carlos; that Valverde will have a bad day and that José Manuel Fuente and Luis Ocaña have left us (God rest their souls).
Fuente and Ocaña would have loved this race route; back in the 70’s when Merckx ruled the Earth the Spaniards did things very differently to how we’re used to Grand Tours being ridden in this millenium.
Nowadays the first big shuffle of the pack leaves most happy with their hand and the race becomes a procession with most of the top ten happy to ‘hold.’
This has been the norm recently – Di Luca apart, but we won’t dwell on that though ! – but that wasn’t the way the Spaniards did it.
Merckx might have terrified most of his rivals, but not the Spaniards – Ocaña was proud and impulsive.
As a rabid young Merckx fan I didn’t like the Spaniard – I didn’t like any rider who challenged Eddy.
It wasn’t until I was a little older that I realised what a classy rider he really was, elegant and cool – a consumate climber and chrono man.
Fuente was no ‘tester’ but had the heart of a lion – a mountain lion that is – he and Ocaña were bitter rivals but united in a common goal – to send Merckx home to Belgium with his tail between his legs.
They never quite managed it, but Eddy was given many a hard time by the Fuente and his Kas companeros.
Maybe that’s why I like Mosquera, last year he was battling Alberto, Levi and Carlos Sastre; far from being over awed he battled hard against the Pro Tour guys.
Ocaña and Fuente would have approved; a place on the the podium for the Galician?
I hope so.