I am usually jaded after a whole spring of classics and two three week tours but for some reason I cannot quantify, the upcoming Vuelta is pressing all the right buttons.
Maybe it has been the quality of the racing so far in 2010.
Despite being somewhat overshadowed by the whole 'mechanical doping' row, the month of April had all you could have wanted and more. I am getting used to better weather for the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix and it was really great viewing.
The Giro D'Italia was a superb experience in everyway. From the mountains to the rain soaked white roads, there was something for everyone. Great racing and beautfiul terrain.
It was my first experience of HD cycling on television and the difference was astounding. I loved it. I wont spoil my end of season postings by talking about the individual performances in the Giro but rest assured there will be some in my 2010 awards !
Even the recent Tour de France which is (whisper it), usually a poor relation in terms of the actual racing, produced wonderful drama and it is with that fresh in my memory bank that my aniticpation of the Vuelta grows. I am even willing to allow that Vino stage win on the grounds the rest of the race was so good.
There is a usually a feel to the race that transmits the Spanish culture to the viewer. It is more laid back, lense busy and noisy and more about the cycling.
You only have to look back at the solo mountain top stage win by Damiano Cuengo last year to see the sort of excitement and endeavour we can look forward to. And this year there is an added bit of British interest with Mark Cavendish going for some early spints against many of his Tour rivals.
Couple that with Tom Boonen in contention for the points competition after an injury plagued summer so far and a motivated Frank Schleck aiming for the overall and it all adds up to a cracker (without the need to mention Alessandro Valverde's enforced absence).
The route has some devilish climbs and potentially long hot attritional days in the saddle... I am confident we could have all three grand tours providing drama and excitement his year, bring it on!