Day 6 of this years Vuelta is over with and we saw some exciting last kilometers of this race. Alejandro Valverde, the spanish veteran really showed the young guns how to ride in the steep climbs today. He powered on so hard for the last part of the stage that even the favorite to win this year, Nairo Quintana had to drop off in the hill. He looked like someone who had done this all his life, and he basically has, when he parked both Froome and Contador behind himself.
This netted him not only the stage win, but also the red jersey with a solid lead. He might not hang on to it for too long as there is another time trial coming up where isn’t exactly the strongest rider, but this heightens his chances of a win here. Froome needed to keep up as he needs extra seconds to the trials, and Contador is also looking to get a win this year after bailing out of the Tour. As for our betting tips last night, let’s just say it wasn’t the best we’ve had 😛
Alhendín to Alcaudete – Stage 7 Preview
We are not done with the mountains, but there won’t be all that bad this day around. There is a steep climb at the start, but there is also placed some sprinting checkpoints throughout the race, so many riders will be looking to attack here. It starts out flat for 30km, then it goes on a steep climb and from then on it kinda slowly descends with several bumps until they ride uphill to the finish line in Alcaudete.
This is kind of a mixture stage that seems perfect for breaks to have their way. So far we haven’t seen any solid groups go on the offense, as today for example we only saw two riders go at it once the race got underway, but it is hard to take it all the way, which they almost did, but we saw that they wouldn’t last on the last climb. Here the field is more suited for breaks and riders are probably aware of that. I am surprised that we haven’t seen more riders take it away, maybe the end of the season is taking its toll on many of them? Most of the teams are probably trying to nab a win for their teams as many of the big guns sit without a big tour win this year, taking no chances as this is the last of the big 3 in 2014.
This seems to be a stage that the bookies can’t quite make their mind up whether they think it is a mountainous stage or a flat one. Obviously it is something in between, but it seems to be a tossup on who they think will win this as the odds vary wildly. We see that the odds at Pinnacle Sports has set the odds on another John Degenkolb win to 7.82. Adding on to this we like Nacer Bouhanni to take it at 13.00, found at both Bet365 and BetVictor. These are not posted plays though, but we have some money on these as we think the sprinters can keep up in the hills.
What we do like is the mistake that William Hill have done in thinking this is a stage for the climbers. Rodriguez is considered neck and neck with Kelderman, but Kelderman is the far better sprinter here. The same can be said for Martens over Mondory and Valverde over Martin. All of these seem to be based on the fact that they think this is a tough hilly stage, but we predict otherwise. A nice, relatively easy ride that will allow the sprinters to get to the front.
Match-Up: Alejandro Valverde to beat Daniel Martin, 1.67 @ William Hill
Match-Up: Wilco Kelderman to beat Joaquim Rodriguez, 1.85 @ William Hill
Match-Up: Paul Martens to beat Lloyd Mondory, 1.50 @ William Hill