Cat & Mouse on a mountain top
Froome strikes psychological blow
What a curious state of affairs on the summit of Pena Cabarga during Stage 11 of what is turning into a classic edition of the Vuelta a Espana. You would never have thought two of the finest climbers in the cycling world were racing to the line of a mountain top finish having already fought each other up over 4km at an average gradient of 7%. In fact, it looked more like a sprint race in a velodrome with the two protagonists slowing to what looked like a crawl waiting to see who blinked first. Or as it turned out, who attacked first. Froome may have ended up with the same time as Nairo Quintana but he crossed the line first having outmanoeuvred his fiercest rival. In games of such small margins, that’s important.
The happiest people (other than Chris Froome and Team Sky of course) must be the organisers of the Vuelta. Over the Atlantic in New York, the organisers of the US Open are no doubt praying for a Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray final. In cycling, it’s Froome v Quintana and it’s a while since we saw the best two in the business fighting like this. And it was great. More of the same please in the days (and years) ahead.
Media fun and games
Froome is also getting better and far more relaxed at dealing with the media. When asked what he thought of Quintana’s suggestion of banning power meters, he replied “What, just mine?” before pointing out that technological improvements were an unstoppable force. “Maybe we should return to fixed wheels as well” (or something along those lines) he suggested.
However, the prize for ‘most bizarre quote of day’ though goes to Alejandro Valverde. When asked whether he was concerned at Froome clearly growing stronger, he said no, of course not. Froome may have been quicker, he said, but Quintana was better. No, we can’t work than one out either.
Bring on Stage 12.