The 67th Tour of Spain is nine days old and one thing is for certain: Nothing is for certain

Purito might have a chance

Joaquim Rodríguez just might be in with a chance to win this Vuelta. Through nine days of racing, he’s by far been the most consistent and the most savvy. Not only has he won a stage and finished second in two others, he’s also picked up valuable time bonuses that will certainly play a decisive role in the final order of the podium and perhaps the overall winner.

Rodríguez admits he’s not going to drop Contador and take a minute on a climb, but he’s been riding astutely to create a rather sizeable lead going into Wednesday’s ever-important time trial. In Sunday’s stage, for example, he pounced with Gilbert and gained 12 seconds on Froome and Contador, not to mention an eight-second bonus. Twenty seconds in today’s ever-tightening GC battle is a lot of time to gain over a third-category climb. As always, time trials will be Rodríguez’s Achilles heel. If he can limit his losses to Contador and Froome to around two minutes, he will only be about one minute off the lead. And then he can start chipping away again, and perhaps finally win a grand tour.