Valverde is one of those guys who seems to never suck. And he looks great on a bike; he doesn’t spin too much, he doesn’t grind too much. He likes to stomp a big gear uphill in the drops, 90’s-style, when the mood strikes. What’s not to like? I’m not sure, but I can’t find myself liking him, must be the Piti Principle nonsense that spoiled him for me.
In any case, I can’t believe the guy is still an active Pro, let alone still winning. This race always comes down to who can go uphill like he stole something at the end of a long, lumpy race, and have the patience to wait until the right moment – go too early and you’ll burn out. Go too late and you’ll have missed the move from the guy who timed it right. And don’t get tempted into it by that skinny climber who goes well in the Alps; if he hasn’t done this climb yet, he’s likely to get it wrong.
Dan Martin is due to win this race, and my money is on him, assuming he’s starting, and I haven’t checked that he is. (Update: He is.) That’s a free tip, the rest I leave to you. Contemplate the start list (which I can’t find), peruse those pesky tea leaves, and get your picks in before the timer goes to zero.