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Vuelta a España: from rest day to finish line

By Christopher Ashley

Now that Froome’s name has been added to the list of those retired from 2015’s punishing Vuelta, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the tour of Spain would see fewer headlines and less media interest – but the unpredictable chaos has been seized upon by a Spaniard, and Rodriguez has captured the imagination of race fans everywhere.

Another one bites the dust

Each year there’s a tour that claims a few high profile victims, and it’s usually the race that most teams think they can win. With Froome aggressively pursuing a historic double, it was sad to see him join the abandoned list, but it’s good to see the race open up to an outside bet.

Chris Froome on Tour of Spain - Stage 11

The shifting battle ground

Everyone was hoping to see Froome and Quintana go head to head, but instead we’ve been treated to a duel between Dumoulin and Rodriguez. Dumoulin has been consistently putting the Giant-Alpecin name on the podium, and Katusha will be pleased with Rodriguez’s heroic effort to make the most of the climbs, taking a one second lead into the rest day.

Climber versus time trialist?

Dumoulin has surprised everyone by gaining time on the climbs, despite being better known for his consistency on the flat. Even Rodriguez has conceded that Wednesday’s time trial is better suited to Dumoulin. With the mountain stages over, Rodriguez is relying on his Katusha team mates to keep him in sight of Dumoulin on the flatter stages.

Tom Dumoulin on 70th Tour of Spain 2015 / Stage 11

There’s nothing stupid about the Vuelta

Spain is blessed (or cursed) with diverse mountain ranges that must make Le Tour organisers a little jealous. Although the Vuelta isn’t steeped in the tradition of Le Tour it isn’t, as Mark Cavendish said this week, “stupid”.

Mr Cavendish believes the 11 mountain stage finishes are too much for serious riders, and only those who crash out of the French Tour seriously consider the Spanish Tour. I think Froome would beg to differ.

Mark Cavendish on Tour of Britain 2015/ Team Presentation

A flatter Tour of Britain will provide excitement for Cavendish in the run up to the World Championships – providing he can stay on his bike this year.