I sat down yesterday afternoon to watch the Vuelta Prologue from the Moto GP track in Assen. What a great idea, it put me in mind of a lot of the old photos in my cycling books where races often finished in stadia. The place was packed and the wall of sound was amazing everytime a Dutch rider or a rider on a Dutch team took to the track.
It was a real shame about the weather although most of the favourites benefitted from similar climatic conditions, a drying course, except David Millar who took to the track during the deluge. Probably just as well that bike handling maestro Denis Menchov had passed on the Vuelta this year, otherwise the bookies would have been taking bets on how long he would stay on his bike. I felt particularly sorry for Carlos Barredo whose bike slid down the start ramp ignominiously dumping him on his rump. Thereafter, the ramp was cloaked in what I assume was some sort of artificial grass to give the wheels some traction.
It was no great surprise that this man won yet another Prologue, it’s his forte. Next on GC were a whole host of sprinters. Again, no real shock on a short flat course. Then, there were a whole load of GC contenders, headed by Roman Kreuziger.
Personally, I was delighted to see this man in 7th place. Just look at the absolute
concentration on his face and doesn’t he look lean and mean? According to Nice Matin he was booed by some of the crowd. Why? Like Basso (and Millar), he’s done his time and is entitled to ride once again. He was the highest placed Astana man on GC and that’s where I expect him to remain. Don’t bet on him not getting on the podium.