Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) received the award for most combative rider in the peloton in Stage 9 of La Vuelta a Espana, but could have well taken it on Stage 10 as well after being involved in an early crash and having to nurse his arm into the top of one of the toughest summit finishes of the race.

Clarke has been on some good form so far this race, getting close to a stage win when he was in a late break with Luis Leon Sanchez on Stage 7 and being very active in trying to force moves off the front of the peloton.

The confirmation of Clarke's fears after the fall with the diagnosis seem likely to rule Clarke out of the rest of the Vuelta, at best he will be cycling with a lot of pain, at worst there will be a significant chance of exacerbating the injury.

Team-mate and last year's National Road Series overall winner Patrick Bevin also hit the deck, going down onto an already injured hand in the early stages of the race.

Wednesday 31 Aug 2016

Contador's a real badass
Alberto Contador may not be made of bionic parts but he sure rides like he does after crashes. We look at some of the key moments that prove the Spaniard is one of the toughest, badass riders around.

Alberto Contador has suffered his ups and downs at this year's edition of the Vuelta. He started of with a bad day on the first uphill finish of the race and when he crashed on his side after that, many thought that he would abandon, including Contador himself.

But the plucky Spanish star climbed very well in the next few stages, before over-extending himself trying to attack Quintana in Stage 10 and cracking in the final kilometres.

“I’m fine, I’m going to enjoy what the race holds ahead of me and I’m happy there are lots of hard days left in the Vuelta," said Contador.

“There are lots more opportunities. I have to remember I’m a long way down on Nairo and his team is very strong. That makes things a lot more difficult.”

“But if I’m here in the Vuelta, I’m not here just to make up the numbers.”

“I’ve got a lot of very different sensations, but I think I’m going to be more cautious from now on,” he observed.

“At times I’m too impulsive, I went all out when it’d have been more intelligent to try and sit up, but that’s my style. Now I’m a long way off on the overall and my options on victory are very scant.

Contador took one of his most memorable Grand Tour victories in the 2012 Vuelta, where a long-range attack on a stage to Fuente De netted him over a two and a half minute swing on previous race leader Joaquim Rodriguez. 

“I will have to go on this day by day, take advantage of what opportunities I can. There are lots of stages which end in a single climb and that’s not so good for me.”

“If I go out with an abandon in the Tour and a bad result in the Vuelta, I wouldn’t have wanted this to be my last year,” he said, after a question where he was asked if he would have preferred to retire now after a season where his results haven't been as good as the past.

“This year’s Vuelta could be good, also next year I’ve got lots of plans, so in that sense I’m happy, there’s things to look forward to. The level of support I’ve got is also incredible, in every kilometre of this race, people are cheering me on. So it wouldn’t have been a good decision to go out now.”

Some, like Chris Froome and Ian Boswell, slipped into their 'comfy' pants.

Others didn't want to lose their acclimatisation to racing conditions and preferred to recreate what they had been getting out on the roads of Spain.

Rory Sutherland also decided to sample some local cuisine...?

But most were simply out for a good time with their team-mates.