Each stage, the Rouleur panel of ‘experts’ will give their picks for the following day’s race.
David Hunter, AKA Cycling Mole, is a top tipster who spends far more time studying the odds than we do. In a daily battle of wits, Team Rouleur will give their predictions for the next day’s stage before Moley runs his scathing eye over them and comes up with his own. Who will win?
Stage 14: Cistierna to Les Praeres. Nava, 171km
Dylan Teuns – BMC
This is a day for the breakaway I think. Dylan Teuns has shown his face a few times already and may well like the steep finishing ascent.
Rafal Majka – Bora-Hangrohe
I’m guessing the GC riders might take a day off and Majka is looking well out of that. He can easily make it over the big bumps before the Alto les Praeres and has a good track record on short, steep finishes like this one.
Michael Woods – EF Education First
The latecomer to pro cycling is dead-set on leaving this Vuelta with a stage and seems to be bouncing back from an early crash. Just a matter of picking the right breakaway.
David de la Cruz – Team Sky
As Sky’s GC position has weakened continuously over the last week, I think it’s time for some more action from them. With de la Cruz being far enough down on the classification I’m going to hedge bets on him trying to take something and show everyone there was a reason he came in as joint leader.
Enric Mas – Quick Step
I’ve been really impressed by this young Spaniard at the Vuelta. It’s rare to see a GC contender in Quick Step colours, but he looks like the real deal. Whether he can bag a stage or not is another matter, but this is a team of winners.
Stage 14 is the second of three big mountain days, but will the peloton chase the break? Cofidis are in control of the red jersey, but will probably lose it in this stage, so don’t expect them to chase. If the break is to be brought back, we’ll need to see co-operation between Movistar, Astana and Mitchelton-Scott. We shall see if that happens.
Hugo – Dylan Teuns is certainly in fine form, but after being in three consecutive breaks, he’ll be close to breaking point.
Nick – Majka was in fine form today, but is now only 4:45 behind the race lead. No way he’s allowed in this break.
Andy – nice to see Andy going with one of the worst tactical brains in the peloton! Michael Woods is highly rated by a number of observers, but not me. The Canadian gets in wonderful positions, but never finishes them off.
Hannah – I’m scratching my head here! De la Cruz has struggled through the mountain stages, hanging on by his fingertips. No way he wins this stage, I’ll eat my hat if he does.
Ian – after today’s stage, the pick of Mas looks a good one. He struggled in the previous mountain stages, but was up there with the very best today. The Spaniard likes the steep slopes, but it’s hard to see him getting any freedom from the main riders.
My pick – I’m simply amazed that no one has selected Quintana, López or Simon Yates. Maybe these guys have been too busy writing and not watching! I’ll once again predict that the break will be caught and Nairo Quintana will take the win.