This year’s Vuelta a España has been Epic

Last month, I put my neck on the line claiming the Vuelta was a far better race to watch than the Tour de France.

With still a week to go, this year’s edition has already surpassed le Tour and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.

Already, we’ve had six different leaders not even counting Nairo Quintana assuming the maillot rojo twice.

The race started off with the team time trial where minor mistakes in executing had early implications on the GC.

Day 3 went straight into battle mode with an amazingly difficult finish where riders faced grades reaching 30%.

The stage saw lead contenders Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Esteban Chaves all bunch themselves towards the top of the leaderboard.

Darwin Atapuma’s 2nd place finish the next day as riders faced another uphill finish put him in the leader’s jersey for the next four days.

The race took a big turn on stage 8 when Nairo Quintana made the move we’ve been waiting for back since the Tour de France finishing nearly a minute ahead of Froome and assuming the maillot rojo.

David de la Cruz’s breakaway move the following day gave him the stage’s win and leader’s jersey, but then on the third straight day of mountain top finishes, Quintana won the stage and expanded his lead on Froome.

After a rest day, we had…you guessed it. Another mountain top finish!

Sitting in fourth place overall, Esteban Chaves made a valiant effort to take the stage win, but Froome took the final initiative in taking the stage’s win.

Quintana stuck to Froome’s wheel the entire way, but the defending Tour de France champ felt like he was sending a message.

The great part is there is still a lot of fantastic racing ahead of us.

This weekend, the action will be tight again as Saturday and Sunday face long uphill finishes that’ll will probably add to the race’s unpredictability.

They come back after a rest day on Wednesday to another long climb, then the remaining stages that will have impact on the GC are the time trial next Friday and an uncategorized climb on the race’s penultimate day.

As it stands now, Quintana has a 54 second lead on Froome. With his time trial skills, this deficit may seem manageable to make up later in the week.

Then again, Quintana’s teammate, Alejandro Valverde sits just 11 seconds behind Froome, so there’s a lot of ways Movistar can play this.

Labor day weekend, I’ll be getting up early to watch these big stages. You should too!