Stage 12 Preview
Well Stage 11 was the time trial and it did in the end suit the time trial specialists as Cancellera got one over Tony Martin in impressive fashion. That was good for us I fancied Martin might be bit short with that solo time trial he did earlier in the Vuelta and probably paid a little for it. Nibali was solid and should have taken third spot but for what is pretty much a ride that left me scratching my head as Pozzovivo took the 3rd sport. Cataldo of Sky was their best man on day as he took 5th on the way. Both Valverde and Roche has good rides with 6th and 7th on the day.
Mollem showed he had no hopes for GC now as he came home outside the top 100 riders after a decent first week. Henao was 87th and is looking less and less like the sky leader with his questionable form. The same could be said of Scarponi. Zubeldia fell off also as he was over 5 minutes down on the days winner. My pick Arroyo continued to disappoint as he lost 5mins also. Konig looked much healthier today while Coppel and Brajkovic showed good signs to push on in the coming days.
Moving onto Stage 12 now, abortion the Stage is unlike most days in Spain so far. Their is some climbing early before they head down to near sea level to start a climb to 560 metres. This climb should not be enough to break anyone but the ill and lazy. The fact the feed zone is on the only climb of the day indicates that it will not be ridden all that hard. For the bunch I expect the pace to be upped when it goes over the top and the two late sprints may tempt some teams to bring it back early.
Astana will surely play dumb here and do little or no work in the second half of the day as the right break going away will ensure they have no reason to do so. Again the finish appears tricky. With 1.5km to go theirs a u turn as such. With km to go theirs sharp left before a right inside the 500 metres to go and its key again to be near the pace here. Its an uphill drag so some riders are bound to test the commitment of the trains to the chase. Its been a common team of this Vuelta of the late attacks winning.
Eyes will be on Orica Greenedge who have the fastest man at the moment in Matthews. I expect OPQS will continue to show support for Meersman who should really like this finish. Richeze is fighting well for himself without the help from his team and on day like this he may well need the luck of grabbing on to one of the main contenders wheels. Again Farrar is high in the market 2nd favourite and he has been their but not threatened to justify near the same price as Matthews. Boassen Hagen held back today but some seemed think he had been bit ill so may not be up for today which is pity as it would really suit.
Meersman strieks me as value as his talent is undoubted and he is capable of beating Matthews. Petit on the two days he got to contest the sprint was impressive enough he could well grab him a place.
.25pts Meersman 12/1 hills
.05pt e/wA.Petit 50/1 various
4pts A.Petit to beat G,Henderson 1.73 pinnacle
3pts M.Richeze to beat T.Farrar 11/10 ladbrokes
3pts Meersman to beat Boassen Hagen 11/10 hills
1pt Pinot to beat Pozzovivo 3.35 pinnacle