The UCI WorldTour Chronicle
– What happened? –
With less than a week’s racing to go, Chris Froome (Team Sky) goes from strength to strength in the Vuelta Ciclista a España. The four-time Tour de France winner reached the race’s second rest day with a 61 second advantage over Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), whilst Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha Alpecin) is lying third at two minutes and eight seconds.
The leader of the Vuelta Ciclista a España since stage three, Froome has finished in the top five of all three of the most difficult mountain stages, taking second at Calar Alto, fourth in the Alto de la Pandera and concluding with a fifth place at Sierra Nevada’s summit finish on Sunday. His only important setback was crashing twice on the stage to Antequera, but he minimized his losses to 20 seconds on Nibali.
The three toughest stages to come are Tuesday’s individual time trial to Logroño and the ascents to two tough summit finishes, at Los Machucos and the Angliru on Wednesday and Saturday.
Should Froome win the Vuelta Ciclista a España outright, he would be the first Briton to do so, and the first rider to win the Spanish Grand Tour and the Tour de France in the same year since Bernard Hinault in 1978.
– What’s next? –
La Vuelta Ciclista a España: Saturday August 19th - Sunday September 10th
Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (CAN): Friday September 8th
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (CAN): Sunday September 10th
Photo of the week
– Focus on Dylan Van Baarle –
Dylan Van Baarle forms an important part of a new generation of top Classics racers.The Netherlands-born rider turned pro in 2014, having won the legendarily tough Dutch amateur stage race, the Olympia Tour in 2012 and 2013 when he was a part of the Rabobank UCI Continental and Developmental Teams.
Van Baarle scored an impressive early win in the Tour of Britain, as a rookie pro, but since then the Cannondale Drapac racer has impacted the most in the northern Classics. A promising fourth place in the Ronde Van Vlaanderen for the 25-year-old this April was preceded by a sixth place in Belgium’s biggest cobbled Classic the year before. More great results will surely come soon.
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