Meanwhile, in Spain: The Sword is Drawn...

photo as seen here

Sometimes, without even seeing, you can sense the sword of Damocles mere inches from your neck. Vincenzo Nibali must be sensing it now. The race leader lost another 25 seconds to his primary challenger, 2nd placed Chris Horner, who is now a mere 3 seconds behind. Once again, for a second consecutive day an end of race attack, this time on the steeps of Pena Cabarga, saw Horner pull away from Nibali, as well as third placed Alejandro Valverde, in the final two kilometers. Fridays stage will include some more climbing, but if the sword is going to fall it will be more likely to do so during Saturdays penultimate stage ending atop the Alto de l'Angliru, with an average grade of 10.2% and a maximum of 23.5%. Those three seconds could disappear in a heartbeat. While Vincenzo is a respectable climber, Horner loves the steepest sections most of all. I expect there will be some tense moments the next couple days.

Horner's teammate Markel Irizar has said that "Chris believes he's going to win this Vuelta". That confidence has been shared with the team: "So we believe in him, too. We're going to ride to win these next three days" said Irizar.