60th Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, August 27-September 18, 2005
Results & report
Stage 20 - Saturday, September 17: Guadalajara-Alcala de Henares TT, 38.9
Commentary by Shane Stokes and Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST
Alcala de Henares
Photo ©: Hernan Alvarez
Welcome to the final individual time
trial in this year's Vuelta a España, the last real chance for the general classification
to be changed. Today's stage measures 38.9 km between Guadalajara and Alcala
de Henares. The course is fairly flat and it has intermediate time checks at
km 15.8 and km 26.
Second overall, Denis Menchov (Rabobank), has
a chance to cut the advantage Roberto Heras has over him, but the Liberty Seguros
race leader has a big buffer. Heras will take the stage seriously in order to
leave nothing to chance tomorrow. He's not a bad time trialist either, and a
top five finish today wouldn't be out of the question.
Top 10 on
1 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 78.06.39
2 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 4.30
3 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 4.50
4 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 5.48
Garcia Quesada (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 6.22
6 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) T-Mobile
7 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 11.36
Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa) Quick Step - Innergetic 15.28
9 Tom Danielson
(USA) Discovery Channel 15.50
10 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Davitamon
- Lotto 15.53
A look at the top 10 on GC reveals that the top five
is pretty much wrapped up, although Paco Mancebo is an outside chance of moving
into third overall, if Carlos Sastre has a slightly bad day. But if Sastre has
a really, really good day, he might challenge Menchov for second, as only 20
seconds separates the pair.
Oscar Sevilla will probably lose sixth
place to Ruben Plaza, who is the better time trialist, while Tom Danielson should
be able to move into eighth overall ahead of Juan Miguel Mercado. All will be
The first rider to set off was Yohann
Gène (Bouygues) at 14:02, and he was followed by compatriots Benoît Vaugrenard
(Française des Jeux) and Jimmy Casper (Cofidis). Vaugrenard has the quickest
time after 15.8 km with 20.25.
The last 20 rider on GC will leave
at 2 minute intervals, with Heras the last to go at 16:27. He should finish
at around 17:15.
Vaugrenard has now gone through km
26 in a decent time of 30.23, on track to setting a good time at the end of
39 km. Meanwhile, Magnus Bäckstedt (Liquigas) has clocked 20'20 after 15.8 km,
the fastest to date.
Although Heras is an excellent climber
(and a flyweight, in terms of kilos), he's not bad at all at time trials. The
equivalent stage last year, for example, saw him finish fourth, just 13 seconds
behind Santi Perez of Phonak. The stage had been seen as a showdown between
the two, but Heras fended off Perez's charge with few problems.
If he's on the same sort of form
today and providing he avoids a crash/series of mechanicals/alien abduction,
he looks set to take what would be a record fourth Vuelta win. Menchov's a pretty
mean time trialist, but he'll need to use a motorbike to erase his 4'30 deficit.
Bäckstedt came into this racing hoping
to build form after having to withdraw ill from the Tour de France. He's talking
about a bid for the world hour derny record later this year, and also would
like to do a ride in the worlds.
Speaking of worlds, a rider who usually
performs well there has just posted a good intermediate check. Uwe Peschel (Gerolsteiner)
was seven seconds ahead of Bäckstedt at km 15.8. Both moved above Vaugrenard
at the next checkpoint, where the advantage had swung back in Bäckstedt's favour.
He's two seconds up on Peschel with Vaugrenard 18 seconds further back.
It will be interesting to see how
the two fare at the finish. Vaugrenard is fastest there.
to the Heras-Menchov duel today, the Russian may be a bit too far back to challenge
for the overall win. However, he's taken the two other time trials in the race
and so he'll aim to add another victory today to his haul from this year's Vuelta.
He's certainly made an impressive return from his disappointing Tour de France.
As expected, Bäckstedt takes the
provisional best..he's 24 seconds up on Vaugrenard.
The start times of some of the ‘names’
in the race are as follows:
15:19: Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita)
15.30: Joseba Beloki (Liberty Seguros-Wurth)
15.41: Oscar Pereiro (Phonak
15.45: Victor Hugo Peña (Phonak Hearing Systems)
15.57: Unai Osa (Illes Balears – Caisse D’Epargne)
The first rider
from the top ten, 2004 Tour of Britain winner Mauricio Ardila (Davitamon – Lotto)
starts at 16.09. He will be followed by the others at two minute intervals.
Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel) goes at 16.11, Juan Miguel Mercado (QuickStep
– Innergetic) at 16.13 and Ruben Plaza (Comunidad Valenciana) at 16.15. T-Mobile’s
Oscar Sevilla (16.17), Carlos Garcia Quesada (Comunidad Valenciana, 16.19) Francisco
Mancebo (Illes Balears – Caisse D’Epargne, 16.21) and Carlos Sastre (Team CSC,
16.23) follow, before the big two of Denis Menchov (Rabobank, 16.25) and Roberto
Heras (Liberty Seguros, 16.27) get underway.
Now Rik Verbrugghe (QuickStep) shows
his class, racing to first in both those intermediate checkpoints. He was second
to Menchov in the prologue and should be motivated today.
finish, Bäckstedt leads Peschel by 13 seconds. Verbrugghe was 38 seconds up
on the Liquigas rider at km 26, though, so he should take over at the top.
Victor Hugo Peña told Cyclingnews
a few days ago that he was aiming for a big ride today. He was seventh in the
last TT but hopes to go six places better this time round : )
And Verbrugghe does it, going 17
seconds quicker. That time of 43.16 could stand for a while today.
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Liberty
Seguros) is known as a good time trialist and sure enough, he's third fastest
at the two intermediate tests. He is 38 seconds back from Verbrugghe at the
second of those, though, so he'll need to accelerate if he's going to top the
The weather conditions today: It's
19 degrees and overcast. The wind will blow light northeasterly in the morning
but increasing to some high northeasterly winds later, i.e. for all the riders.
The wind will be strongest for the last riders in the TT.
tailwind at the start. It will be from right side from the exit up to Torrejon
del Rey and favourable from there down to the arrival in Alcala de Henares.
Liberty's Angel Vicioso is in good
shape, going 13 seconds quicker than Verbrugghe at checkpoint one..not bad going...
He was back in 62nd in the stage 9 time trial.
Beside Menchov, another
to watch today is Ruben Plaza Molina (Comunidad Valenciana). He was second on
stage 9, 9 seconds down. The top six from that race against the clock was:
1 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1.00.54 (47.29 km/h)
2 Ruben Plaza Molina
(Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 0.09
3 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 0.41
5 Roberto Heras
Hernandez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 0.59
6 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery
Vicioso fades somewhat, dropping
to second at the next time check. He went through 30 seconds slower than Verbrugghe.
Of note is Joseba Beloki's fifth place at the first intermediate point. That's
not bad at all. He started today 29th overall so while he's nowhere near the
level he was at before his bad fall in the 2003 Tour de France, he'll be hoping
that the block of racing he did this year will help him to come back in top
shape next season. He's certainly shown a lot of determination in soldiering
on through some tough times.
But Vicioso rallies, posting the
fastest time at the finish! That's a great ride, going ten seconds quicker than
the QuickStep rider.
It looks like Verbrugghe lost pace
in the final third of his TT. He was 38 seconds up on Bäckstedt at km 26 but
then just 17 seconds quicker than the Swede at the finish.
Tom Danielson is underway now, racing
to what he hopes will be eighth place overall. He's had a great Tour of Spain,
looking set for a top ten finish in his first complete Grand Tour. Of course,
he also started the Giro this year but had to pull out with a knee problem.
Danielson will update Cyclingnews this evening with his Vuelta diary. For him,
2005 is all about building experience as while he is 27 years of age, he hasn't
done much racing at the top level yet. The Discovery Channel team are hoping
that his strong climbing and time trialling will see him develop into a future
winner of three week Tours.
Mercado and Plaza have also left
the start house, so we are well into the top ten now.
Victor Hugo Peña is doing a pretty
fine ride out there... He was second behind CSC's Christian Vandevelde at the
first check, but then moves into the lead at km 26. Stijn Devolder (Discovery)
is on the same time, with Phonak's Oscar Pereiro third and Verbrugghe now fourth.
Vandevelde goes best at the finish,
doing a time 28 seconds quicker than Vicioso and a further ten up on Verbrugghe.
That's a nice ride...
Mancebo is about to start, crossing himself
for luck/strength/salvation. He accelerates out of the start house and gets
his TT underway.
Sastre is next to go, looking pretty
determined. He's into a nice aero tuck straight away and should do a decent
Pereiro finishes, going best! He does a 42'04... Then Devolder
does a 42.01.9! It's all go now...
Now Menchov prepares for his start.
He's out of the start house and underway. Can he take TT win number three this
Victor Hugo Peña was on the same
time as Devolder at that second time check, so it will be interesting to see
if he can take the lead at the finish.
Heras is in the start house
now, still wearing that knee bandage after his crash earlier in the race. The
Maillot Oro gets underway, pedaling quickly as he gets up to speed.
Peña does it! His time of 41.54 is
a full seven seconds quicker...he'll be pleased by that.
Heras goes through a big roundabout,
cutting the corners perfectly. He's looking both aero and fast, riding well.
He's really shaving the curbs, looking for every second. Of course that got
him into a bit of trouble in the stage 9 tt, the Spaniard's practice of cutting
inside the traffic cones along the route leading to a time penalty of ten seconds.
Of course, he could pick up a few of those today if he really wanted...he's
got a nice buffer now.
Ruben Plaza goes 3 seconds faster
than Peña at the first time check. Ardila goes through that point, not looking
particularly fast. Now Danielson...he's 7th quickest here, so Ardila's chance
of taking back the three seconds between himself and the American and moving
up to ninth overall looks slim, to say the least.
Mancebo now goes
quickest at the 15.8 km point with a time of 19.13! His position on the TT bike
looks pretty brutal, but he's going fast nonetheless.
On the road, Mancebo is 5 seconds
quicker than Sastre. The CSC rider started today third overall, some 58 seconds
up on Mancebo, so it looks like he should hold onto that today.
There seems to be a strong wind out there, pushing the riders along and leading
to some very fast times today.
Sastre goes through the second check
marginally quicker than Mancebo. Plaza is still best, but Sastre is just fractions
of a second slower. It will be interesting to see how Menchov does here.
And here he comes...he's looking
fast. Yes, five seconds quicker than Plaza! Is he on his way to a third win
against the clock?
Or maybe not! Heras goes one second
Plaza finishes the TT with a new
best time. He's 26 seconds quicker than Victor Hugo Peña.
Heras' form in this year's Vuelta
is a complete contrast to his anonymous showing in the Tour de France. There's
suggestions next year that he might ride the Giro before the Tour in order to
come into the latter event in full form. His team DS Manolo Saiz feels that
he needs two Grand Tours to get going. Heras has been a bit ambiguous about
his plans for 2006, however, even suggesting after this year's Tour that he
might miss the race altogether. So we will see.
now, taking tenth on the stage. Now Mancebo hurtles in, taking a provisional
second place. He was ten seconds off the time of Plaza.
Sastre is next, racing in to pip
Mancebo for provisional second. He's six seconds quicker in the end.
Menchov is really driving it, looking for the stage win. He's got a great TT
position on the bike.
And now Menchov hits the line...41:37.6.
So he's really faded towards the end, slipping to third. So can Heras take the
Heras goes under the kite about 1'15
quicker than Plaza's time...so if he really floors it, he should do it..
Here he comes! Looking good...ooohhh...he
just misses out, going .5 slower than Plaza! So the Comunidad Valenciana rider
wins the stage.
Superb ride by Heras, though, defending his jersey
in real style. That's a great TT from a climbing specialist.
Danielson finishes ninth on the stage,
so he should hold onto his ninth place overall. Heras, Menchov and Sastre should
take top three tomorrow (barring any problems).
Correction..Danielson overtakes Mercado
for eighth...very good performance by the Discovery Channel rider. This and
his Tour de Georgia win has shown Fassa Bortolo that they should have had more
faith in him last season, rather than leaving him on the sidelines.
That TT was scorchingly fast, due
to a strong tailwind. Sean Kelly won a TT with an average of 54.88 km/h in 1988,
but this is quicker..
1 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 19.13
2 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0.06
3 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 0.07
4 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 0.14
5 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 0.23
6 Christian Vandevelde (USA) Team CSC 0.25
7 Victor Hugo Peña (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.26
8 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Discovery Channel 0.27
9 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.30
10 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 0.36
1 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 28.56
2 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0.01
3 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 0.06
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC
5 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 0.07
6 Victor Hugo Peña (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.10
7 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Discovery Channel
8 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.16
9 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic 0.29
10 Christian Vandevelde (USA) Team CSC 0.31
Finish - km 38.9
1 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 41.31
2 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team
3 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 0.04
4 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0.06
5 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 0.10
6 Victor Hugo Peña (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.23
7 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Discovery Channel 0.30
8 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.33
9 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 0.48
10 Christian Vandevelde (USA) Team CSC 1.07
General classification after stage 20
1 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 78.48.10
2 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 4.36
3 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 4.54
4 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 5.58
5 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 8.06
6 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 11.36
7 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) T-Mobile Team 13.22
8 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 16.38
9 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Davitamon - Lotto
10 Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa) Quick Step - Innergetic
Back to top