Be honest it has always been the poor relation to the bigger boys. An upstart, a chance to save your season or warm up for the worlds. But hold on what’s been going on in Spain? What a proper grown up bike race with actual racing and a route and schedule so innovative it finishes with the Prologue. You know everyone loves le Tour these days and those of us with a discerning love of this little film from 1974 then the Giro was always Numero Uno. But you have to hand it to the Vuelta – it has been amazing. Starts on a ship, finishing up more mountains than Chris Bonnington, proper time trials, a fight, five riders going at each other day after day and that doesn’t include Degenkolb his tache and sore leg. Quintana falls over his shoes riding on his own.(Note to Bradley those straps are fiddly no wonder you’ve got laces these days) Froome takes intermediate sprint seconds and then falls off again, Hesjedal apparently has a motor bike and falls off again, Rodrigues, Valverde and Contador spend hours watching each other but secretly are just confused about the tall blond guy who keeps going backwards and forwards in his own world. And then there was Stage 16. I haven’t enjoyed a day’s grand tour like that since July 2006 and Stage 17. But we know that wasn’t real now and this time I think/hope it is real. Chapeau to the Vuelta ! Brilliant.