Velominati Super Prestige: Vuelta a Espana Stage 20 (Bola del Mundo)

The station at Bola del Mundo

This year’s Vuelta, while it never seems to really capture my attention, has done a good job of demonstrating how the Giro and Vuelta seem to be fought out more closely than the Tour; the jersey has bounced around between Anton, Nibbles, and J-Rod like a hot potato.  Leading into the final mountain stage on Saturday, Nibbles has a fight on his hands to hold off a charging Mosquera, while a stellar ride from anyone in the top 5 overall could see them snatch the victory in Madrid.

I did some research into the final climb, and it appears to be something less than what I would normally call a “nice climb”.  The final stretch includes ramps of up to 20%, and from what I’m gathering, the road goes up a poorly paved goatpath to the top of the mountain, which I have a feeling will become Spain’s Ventoux.  Banged and Felled on the final climb:

I have not seen it, but my neighbor did and he said it was crazy. He showed me photos and it looked they drove a truck up there and just dumped concrete out the back of it. It’s going to be insane.

And, from Galego Cycling Foundation’s description of the climb (translated by Google):

The climb consists of 2.5 kilometers from the summit of high Navacerrada, through a narrow track with a strong cluster of concrete and gravel, which can not be paved because it is nestled in a natural park. The cars can not go, unless a special permit.

This is something I admire about the organizers of the Giro and Vuelta: they’re not afraid of anything.  The Tour sending the riders over the Pave of France is one thing, but the Vuelta with this climb, and the Giro with the Strada and the Cojones is something else entirely. I’m half expecting next year’s Giro to involve a mountain stage where the riders have to jumar to the finish.

So, without further ado, we toss out the only Velominati Super Prestige’s Vuelta VSP Sub-Competition for Stage 20.  Usual game; contestants have the opportunity to win bonus points in the VSP Vuelta a Espana by choosing the top three finishers of the final time trial for a chance to win 3 points for first place, 2 for second, and 1 for third.

And for this competition: An additional bonus point goes to anyone who identifies the most egregious Rule Violation of the day.

Make your picks by the time the stage starts, regular VSP Rules apply.  Good luck!

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22 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Vuelta a Espana Stage 20 (Bola del Mundo)”

  1. 1. Grimp Sr.
    2. Nibali
    3. Moncoutie

    I’ll get back to you on the Rules violation…

  2. 1. Frank Couldweextendthevueltaonemoreweekbecausenowimpeakingschleck
    2. J-Rod
    3. Mosquera

  3. 1. I too will go with the elder Grimp in this spot
    2. And in this spot I will choose Mosquera
    3. This’n here, none other than Nibali

  4. JRod by about 4 minutes over Nibbles. For my VSP’s sake!
    Ashtray for the same reason.
    Schluck, ditto.

  5. @Marko
    “You’re all murderers!” revisited. But how cool is it to finish the Vuelta on this? Kudos to the organizers for pulling this out of their hats. Must ride this before I die…

  6. Mark my words, this is the last time I put Sastre down in ANY VSP:

    1. Papa Tiempo “today was not steep enough for me” Sastre
    2. LL Coolchez (who actually starts the attack, but is gobbled up by Sastre)
    …and then a reasonable gap to…
    3. EXPLOSIVO! (J-Rod on a hill, or a TT)

    I still love you J-Rod and your ridiculous sideburns.

  7. I’ve been stung by voting with my heart before, but I think Grimpelder is going to peak Saturday.

    1. Grimpelder – he’s aliiiiiiiiveeeee and he climbs!!
    2. Mosque of Zoro – goes for it and gets the time he needs, but not enough to win the stage. The man who has never won a stage will win the Vuelta.
    3. J-Rod, makes up just enough time to not get on the podium.

  8. @Marko

    Shit looks rad.

    There are a lot of Rule breakages going on in that video (including, based on the swerving, a healthy avoidance of Rule #5). That aside, is there something wrong with me that I really feel like that looks like a nice climb?

  9. frank :@Marko

    Shit looks rad.

    There are a lot of Rule breakages going on in that video (including, based on the swerving, a healthy avoidance of Rule #5). That aside, is there something wrong with me that I really feel like that looks like a nice climb?

    I wasn’t even going to comment on the Rule breakages given they were riding mountain bikes, but I did notice the swerving and the high cadence, which had me wondering why he was swerving…

  10. J Rod to rip it to bits
    Mosquera to frantically try to find the time but failing
    Nibbles to serenely ride his tempo and finish 20s down on the Mozzie

    Other tips – Danielson to blow his load 2km too early, and be reduced to nothing but a charcoal outline of himself somewhere on that final section
    Moncoutie to go into the climb with a two minute lead, two other break compatriots, who he will drop early, and will be caught by the hitters in the final 5km

  11. J-Rod
    Mozzie (because he never has a bad day

    Rule-breaking: I imagine a few compacts will be seen, but I can’t think of anything else.

    However I have realised the need for a new rule: Thou shalt never run anything other than a short-cage rear mech

    if you’re riding a really low gear with a high cadence it means you don’t have much forward momentum and so the gyroscopic effect of your front wheel is magnified.

  12. @Jarvis
    I get that: but he was all over the place on what seemed a pretty steep section while the cadence looked almost too comfortable. Given he was riding a heavier bike, I would have thought the lower gear was necessary, but maybe he needed to dial it up a bit. Judging by the sound, our cameraman seemed to be really suffering.

  13. It’s Jens’s birthday today. Not quite sure what the proper salute would be…

  14. @Steampunk
    From Geof:

    Actually, while I have seen a lot of electric fences and a lot of rabbits, I have never seen them in contact. But I know what it feels like to contact an electric fence, and I am pretty confident it would make a rabbit jump more than it has made me. It would probably make the Grimplet jump, too. But not Spartacus. He’d just use it to recharge his batteries. Unless Jens had got there first and scared the fence away.

    I think that’s pretty good as far as Interwebs birthday salutes go.

  15. Because it hasn’t been said: today’s finale was some of the most incredible cycling I’ve seen this season. Gilbert is an absolute beast! “Farrar’s on my wheel? Pffft!” I think Jarvis said it earlier in the Vuelta: who’s betting against this guy in Geelong?

  16. @all
    Pretty meek performance by the Velominati here on this one:

    1 KitCarson 3 points
    2 Sgt 2 points
    3 Frank 1 point

    The rest were donuts.

  17. The climb to the Bola del Mundo is like nothing I have seen before… That is one incredibly steep and very roughly done strip of concrete.

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