Sunday, July 25, 2021
HomeRaceRace ReviewsLa Vuelta a España 2014 - Stage 13; Belorado - Obregón, 182...

La Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 13; Belorado – Obregón, 182 km. Daniel Navarro for Spain and Cofidis


vuelta_espana_logo_2014We took a rest day for Stage 12; we said Bouhanni to win the ‘crit’ but also that Degenkolb might argue with us; the French dynamo got held up behind a stack whilst the 25 year-old German from Gera didn’t and duly took his third win of the race. Stage 13 took things back up a level with Daniel Navarro taking the honours but on a parcours which didn’t make for ‘The Bigs’ to do anything but mark each other.

Unlike the Tour de France where there have been years where the honour of France has been saved by a single stage win by the likes of Sandy Casar, the Vuelta has always inspired it’s children with Spaniards well to the fore.

Daniel Navarro
Luis-Leon Sanchez rode a crafty race in the break, ultimately to no avail. Photo©Unipublic

If the 2014 Tour de France was the first time since 1997 a Frenchman appeared on the podium, you have to go back to 1996 to find the last occasion there was no Spaniard on the Vuelta podium and that doesn’t look like changing.

Similarly, when it comes to stage wins the ‘Home Boys’ always reach deep into their top hats to find a rabbit with Dani Navarro at last giving Cofidis something to smile about.

The QuickStep machine may churn out the big wins; Tony Martin’s Vuelta ‘contra reloj’ victory was the 60th win for the Belgian team in three disciplines – road, six day and cyclocross – in 2014.

And the team has now won more than 60 races for three straight years and also won at least one stage of every Grand Tour this season and one stage of every Grand Tour for the last seven years.

But for Cofidis wins like Navarro’s don’t come every day and are a moment to savour.

Daniel Navarro
Daniel Navarro took a brave and well-executed victory. Photo©Unipublic

On the subject of QuickStep and harping back to our rest day crit it was telling to see Tom Boonen in second place in the finish line melee.

He’s serious about the Worlds.

Daniel Navarro
Degenkolb toook Stage 12, but look who’s up there in the sprint. Photo©Unipublic

And whilst Degenkolb was the man in the crit and Navarro was the local hero on Stage 13; a result which went unnoticed by many behind the Spaniard’s was Bouhanni’s fifth place.

A French world champion; that would be something, with the last time a Frenchman topped the podium being Laurent Brochard in 1997 in San Sebastian – enough said of ‘Broch,’ for me his hair was worse than his doping.

The last French rider to make the Worlds podium was Anthony Geslin in Madrid in 2005.

But with the Worlds in Spain again this year it just might be a good year for Spain, especially with ex-pro and one of the best amateurs in the world ‘when I were a lad,’ Bernard Bourreau at the helm of the Les Bleus.

Daniel Navarro
Katusha and Tinkoff work hard at the front for different reasons. Photo©Unipublic

Daniel Navarro
Froome gets a push after changing wheels. Photo©Unipublic

Stage 13 sadly saw the exit of 2013 Vuelta stage winner, Kenny Elissonde (F des J & France) and the man of whom Winston Churchill might have said; ‘never in the field of professional bicycle racing has so much hype been given to a rider with so few palmares,’ Jurgen Van De Broeck (Lotto & Belgium).

VeloVeritas sage, Ivan and I have decided that the Belgians have at least to pretend they have a GC rider – and Big Jurg is as close as they can get.

Daniel Navarro
Carlos Betancur at the finish of last year’s World Championships. He’s talented for sure, but just what is going on with him? Photo©Ed Hood

And on the subject of enigmas – languishing a remote 183rd on GC @ 2:36:22 in this Vuelta is a certain Carlos Betancur (AG2R & Colombia).

Still only 24, the man with the semi-mullet rode a brilliant Giro in 2013 and this spring won Haut Var and Paris-Nice – with two stage wins – before disappearing back to Colombia and ‘forgetting’ to come back to the ‘Old World’ and ride the Tour.

His best stage finish – TTT apart – in the race has been 141st but we can’t help but think there’s another reason for his letting himself be dragged round the Iberian Peninsula under a blazing sun other than AG2R stopping paying him.

Last year at the Worlds in Florence we were struck by the man’s sheer disappointment at the finish; he sat on the top tube of his bike for a good five minutes staring at his feet as if replaying the race in his mind and analysing where he’d gone wrong.

We think he’s serious about the Worlds and this Vuelta is just training – doing the kilometres but not going too deep, like Bradley Wiggins used to do in the Giro when preparing for the Worlds pursuit.

If he’s up there in Ponferrada then remember where you read it here first; if he’s not then it’s just us getting it wrong – again.

Daniel Navarro
Still only 21, Kazak rider Alexey Lutsenko showed his class by riding away from his four breakaway companions. Photo©Unipublic

Stage 14 tomorrow, Saturday, out of Santander is a beast; there’s the cat. 2 Collada de la Hoz at 77 K; the long, long cat. 1 Puerto de San Glorio at 129 K and the cat. 1 La Camperona with 24% ramps to the finish at 199 K.

The top ten will be distilled to an even higher proof on this tough day.

And there’s Covadonga on Sunday…

Vaya con Dios.

Daniel Navarro
With his team riding well, Bert is happy to retain Red at this point. Photo©Unipublic

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

La Vuelta a España – Day 3: Stage 13, San Vicente de la B. – Alto de L´Angliru

Hola! It's 15.10 Saturday and we're two kilometres from the finishing line of the Angliru - it's cold, nippy hand, freezy feet cold. It's been glorious weather until now, but low cloud has descended and we're a wee bit panicky about photography, albeit there's around two hours 'til race time. Davie had us up early, we got lost trying to exit Oviedo in the correct direction, but on the second pass we picked up the A630, hung a right to El Foz and in no time were drinking café con leche in a café at the foot of the Angliru.

La Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 5; Priego de Cordoba – Ronda, 182.3 km. John Degenkolb Again

We have to start betting ‘each way’ – yesterday we said; ‘Michael Matthews’ and he was third, today we said; ‘Nacer Bouhanni’ and he was second. And much as we admire the wiry Frenchman, John Degenkolb was 100% correct when he said of Bouhanni’s complaint about the German shutting the door on him; ‘on the right side there was only the barriers.’

La Vuelta a España, Stage 15: Solares – Lagos de Covadonga Preview

'Why do you want to go further, nothing is there?' the cute park ranger asks us; she's guarding the last section of the fabled climb. We're beside Lago Enol, one of the beautiful Lagos de Covadonga and we need to drive the finale to complete our mission for the day. 'Two minutes?' we plead with her - 'you have ten and then I come looking for you!' she smiles. She's right, low cloud, grass, rock and no lightweight climbers - just a lone Asturian cow...

Michael Mørkøv – “Winning the Danish Champion’s Jersey Again was beautiful”

He’s a versatile man that Michael Mørkøv; world champion on the track, Grand Tour stage winner, Cobbled Classics breakaway specialist, Six Day vedette, Danish Elite Road Race Champion, Classic podium finisher – and now arguably the best lead-out man in the business; right hand man to the man with the most successes this year, QuickStep’s rapid Italian Elite Road Race Champion, Elia Viviani, with 17 winner’s bouquets in 2018.

La Vuelta a España 2012 – Stage 3: Faustino V – Eibar (Arrate) 155.3 km

Sprinters? As my old work buddy, Sam Johnston used to reply, when asked what had become of his ‘hot tip’ for the 3:45 at Kempton Park; ‘they’re still out looking for it – with lanterns!’ Stage three was no day for the sprinters; what VeloVeritas had failed to appreciate was that ‘Arrate’ was as in ‘Subida a Arrate’ mountain race – as won by Luis Ocana, Marino Lejarreta, Francisco Galdos, Johan de Muunck and Raymond Poulidor. No big, bulging thighs among those names.

La Vuelta a España 2012 – Stage 4: Barakaldo – Valdezcaray Station 160km

Echelons formed out of Barakaldo, Froome turned killer, Valverde was ambushed, the podium shook itself into shape early and a nice guy won. If that sounds exciting – it was.

At Random

Time For The Big Boys (Preview: TDF 2012 Stage 7)

Stage 7 finally sees the race leave the flatlands, and Time For The Big Boys to play. The race enters the Jura mountains on the German/Swiss border with France. The sprinters and those who are dealing with injuries from falls in the first week will ride small, attempting to save some energy in the hope that they can come good later in the race, while those with hopes of GC places will be planning how they will maximise advantages, or minimise losses.

Grant Ferguson and the Scottish Hill Climb Championships 2010 – ‘Une Erreur de Jeunesse’

The French have an expression for it; 'une erreur de jeunesse' - a mistake of youth. The youth in question being Grant Ferguson. When VeloVeritas saw Grant's bike at the top of the climb, we winced and advised that it disappear into the back of the family camper van, pronto - the back brake had been removed as an aid to weight saving.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019 – Zdeněk Štybar Solos In

It is pretty cool to watch the team wagons roll in for the start of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019, very military - but the diesel fumes aren’t so much fun. The teams do their best to keep saddos like us away from the bikes with those tapes they use outside night clubs – no creds for us for this race, we’re just fans – so you have to make do with the ‘B’ bikes on the team car roofs for...

Michael Nicholson – “I’m pretty low maintenance”

Scotland’s Michael Nicholson was in fine form for the four stage Tour of the North, held over the Easter weekend in Ireland. He took eighth in the stage one prologue, seventh on stage two, won stage three and was 11th on stage four to give him a final second on GC behind Velo Veritas regular, James Moss (Node4-Giordana).

Michael Mørkøv – “Flanders Was Nice, Wevelgem and Dwars Door were Hell!”

We thought it would be good to speak to a man who was in the thick of the action at the Tour of Flanders last Sunday, across those cruel cobbles and over the brutal bergs. Step forward Saxo-Tinkoff’s Michael Mørkøv; team pursuit flyer, Six Day star, polka dot jersey wearer in the Tour de France, and Classics escape artist.

Dan Bigham – Talking Aero; “Ponytails aren’t…”

If you watched Stage One of the Giro on Eurosport or GCN then you’ll have heard that someone had the great idea to recruit British professional rider, Dan Bigham to join the commentary team as a ‘chrono specialist.’ Here at VeloVeritas we thought it would be good to put to Dan all those sad questions that trouble bike obsessives like us.