Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Froome - Cobo, Cobo - Froome, who's it going to be (spoiler)...

When your top two guys battle for race supremacy like that, completely unexpected, it just does not get any better. And the winner is ......................................................................... (sorry for all that, I just need some way to keep the surprise intact for those who still want to watch). But really, the winner is, Froome! As in Chris Froome. The young Kenyan-born, South African, and now British citizen showed a hell of a lot of composure and fight to capture today's summit finish at Pena Cabarga. If you missed it live, find the final kilometer battle between Froome and Cobo, the Vuelta's first and second placed riders; one of the most exciting, hard-fought, back and forth finishes of all time. The earlier attacks further down on the final climb weren't without drama either. Moves by Dan Martin and Jurgen Van Den Broeck, in particular looked promising, but neither built a big enough lead, and ultimately served only as prelude to what would come at the end.

As race leader, Cobo should have been expected to mark his closest competitors up the final climb; strategically speaking, common race wisdom would hold that he erred by going on the move. I can only guess that he felt good, and thought that Froome would, at best, only be able to match him up the increasingly steep slope. But Froome, as he has done all Tour, surpassed expectations. The back and forth battle that followed had me on the edge of my seat all the way to the line, and resulted in a finish surprise equal to the organizer's flubbing of the stage 16 finish. Opening up such a big gap on the race leader following an energy sapping attack, only to have the leader recoup and take back the lead might have demoralized many young riders; indeed it seemed for a moment that this is what happened to Froome. But then he found the will and the strength to go out of the saddle one more time, pass Cobo, and take the win. Wow. Thirteen seconds separates Cobo from Froome with four stages still to race. With two mountainous days and two flat still to go, anything can happen - these will be four days to watch.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...