Monday, September 18, 2023

Thoughts on La Vuelta 2023

 A Cinderella story?

Stolen from HERE so maybe ASO won't get mad?

La Vuelta 2023 is in the record books though Zio guesses there's still some damp clothes soaked with cava today? BRAVO to the organizers for letting the spray of bubbly back into the ceremonies!

Back in 2021 our friends at BikeRaceInfo published Zio's Vuelta review. Click on the link to read it. In 2022 it was here.

For 2023 we had a post HERE after La Vuelta's rocky (or should it say soggy?) start but now it's time to review the whole thing.

Congratulations to Sepp Kuss! It's been a looong time since we've heard an anthem that starts with "Oh say can you see..." at the end of a big-time pro cycling race. Nobody can say he didn't deserve the win, especially as his only real challengers were teammates. Enjoy yourself Sepp! If your salary contract didn't include a big bonus for something like this, make 'em cough it up before you sign any new ones. You earned it! A real Cinderella story that looked for a few days like the ugly stepsisters were going to send you back into the kitchen, but instead you won.

But about those stepsisters - was it them or the management who flipped from "One for all, all for one" to what seemed like "every man for himself" once your Danish teammate recovered from his stomach issues? Lots of PR-speak kind of covered it all up, but on a team noted for team orders (ask WVA) the question is still out there.

Other questions remain unanswered as well: How does a team win all three Grand Tours in one year with three different riders? How does a team go 1-2-3 in the GC ((and a few stages) with the winners of the other two Grand Tours? How does a guy who raced in-service of those winners in both Giro and Tour still have what it takes to win the Vuelta?

And what is going-on in a team where a week prior to the Vuelta, one of their riders tested positive and was suspended?  A guy who raced the Giro along with Kuss and winner Roglic.  Meanwhile, during the Vuelta, another Jumbo-Visma rider (one who rode with Kuss and Vingegaard at the Tour) collapses behind the wheel of his car at a stoplight*

Zio doesn't think you need to wear a tinfoil hat to wonder what is going on. For now he thinks there's a scent of chicanery here. Will it become an odor like the one wafting around the last American winner of La Vuelta?
 Or worse, a stench like the one emanating to this day from BigTex or the last nice-guy, boy-next-door who seemed just-too-nice to cheat?

Sadly, all we can do is wait and see.

Another view here from David Stanley who is far less rah-rah than I expected.

* Update - a heart issue like Sonny Colbrelli so perhaps nothing to do with anything unseemly?

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