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Vuelta a España 2017

Stage Four Re-cap:

Not a remarkable stage. Quick-Step is having another good start to a GT with now two stage wins (good win by Trentin over Lobato) and a man in 2nd on GC. There were a few crashes and but no major change in the GC. Pretty standard Sprinter's stage in a GT.

The next stage should prove more interesting.

General Classification (Top Ten) after Stage Four:
1) Christopher Froome (Sky) 08:53:44
2) David de la Cruz (Quick-Step) 00:00:02
3) Nicolas Roche (BMC) 00:00:02
4) Tejay van Garderen (BMC) 00:00:02
5) Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) 00:00:10
6) Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Orica-Scott) 00:00:11
7) Fabio Aru (Astana) 00:00:38
8) Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) 00:00:39
9) Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) 00:00:48
10) Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) 00:00:48

The Jersey's after Stage Four:
Leader: Chris Froome (Sky)
Points: Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step)
Mountains: Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac)

Stage Five: Benicàssim - Alcossebre, 175.7 km

Five categorized climbs and a mountain-top finish - one for the grinders.
I suspect Sky will be eyeing Nibali here, whom I believe is the most threatening to Froome right now, which might present someone lower on the pecking order a chance to run.

Sky will try to keep this one under control of course, but I'd not be surprised to see Chaves or Aru attempt to take a flyer on the last ascent to gain some seconds on Froomie.

Stage Five Map:
Blue Yellow Red Line Pink

Stage Five Profile:
Font Carmine Colorfulness Screenshot Coquelicot
 

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So we know the relative pecking order on form with Froome and Chaves the most consistent so far, with a bunch of question marks in the top 10. But, (and I hope i don't jinx the man), am i the only one thinking that TJ may be on for a podium?
 

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So we know the relative pecking order on form with Froome and Chaves the most consistent so far, with a bunch of question marks in the top 10. But, (and I hope i don't jinx the man), am i the only one thinking that TJ may be on for a podium?
Froome will tough to beat. His team is just so strong and he rarely throws in the towel. You can't let that guy go into the ITT with any kind of lead or it's almost impossible to beat him. I think Dumoulin is the only guy right now that has all of the skills to truly challenge Froome one on one when he is at his best on most courses, but I don't know if his team is strong enough to put him into that position.

Tejay is looking the best I have seen him look since the last time he finished top 5 in the TdF. The problem for Tejay is that he tends to be a great one week stage racer, but can wear down after that or get discouraged at some point (at least lately). If he looks this good heading into weeks two and three, he's definitely in the mix because he can time trial as well.
 

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Tejay has to get through both rest days in good form before I will even talk about him being a contender.

Movistar was extremely happy with their two youngsters today being in the break and Soler finishing in 3rd. They said this is a huge learning experience for both of them and they are really happy with what they saw today.

Oh the other news from Movistar today, was Valverde is NOT racing this year regardless of what he says. They said he doesn't get the screws in his knee out until January and he's not allowed to race until those are out. They also said apparently he needs to learn some patience, but that he won't be racing in Oct of this year. They think part of his comment about wanting to race at the end of Oct is more just Valverde's love of the sport and the fact he can't live without it.
 

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An interesting set of time gaps on Stage 5 but IMO, it is still very early days and the real climbs have still to come. I guess Froome, Chavez etc want to build up as much time in reserve for some of the more brutal gradients. They might well need it
 
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