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What we know almost halfway through the Vuelta

The Vuelta is more exciting

In the first week of racing, there were more attacks, more thrills and more suspense than three weeks combined at the Tour de France. Shorter stages, finish-line time bonuses and a varied parcours, which packed four summit finishes in the first nine stages, all added up for some gripping action. The Tour has become so big, so important and so traditionalist that the race has become controlled and almost predictable. That’s largely due to the stakes involved at the Tour and its importance for teams, riders and sponsors alike. All the best teams bring their top hitters and everyone on biggest squads is hitting their season peak in July.

One reason the Vuelta is wildly less predictable is that riders’ form is all over the place. Some are preparing for the worlds, others are winding down their season. Young riders get thrown into the mix with no tether holding them back while others are trying to salvage what might have been disappointment earlier in the year. The Tour will always remain the most prestigious, but the Vuelta has come a long way in the past half decade toward making it a race on par with its grand tour brethren. And the best is yet to come.