60th Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, August 27-September 18, 2005
Results & report
Stage 11 - Tuesday, September 6: Andorra-Cerler, 192.6 km
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Hernan Alvarez
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews' temporary
tax haven in Andorra, from where we are bringing you the 11th stage of the Vuelta
a España live, complete with a 15 percent tax-free bonus. Today marks the second
and final Pyrenean stage in this year's Vuelta, and it's also the last stage
before the first rest day. After a longer than usual 11 days on the trot for
the riders, Wednesday's extended siesta will be a welcome relief.
Today is every bit as tough as yesterday, with four big climbs are on the menu:
the Port del Canto (Category 1, 1730 m. above sea level, km 41), Coll de la
Creu de Perves (Cat. 2, 1350 m., km 107.3), and Coll de la Espina (Cat. 2, 1410
m., km 140.3) before finishing at the ski station of Aramon Cerler (Cat. special,
1920 m.). What was to be the second climb, the Coll de Bretui (Cat. 2, 1040
m., km 83), has been abandoned because of a landslide.
sprints are also on the cards: Sort (km 61), Castejon de Sos (km 158.8) and
Cerler (km 178). Expect to see Heras on the attack. But after yesterday, Russian
golden jersey wearer Denis Menchov seems well prepared for war in the mountains.
After yesterday's stage did plenty
of damage to the peloton, there were only 166 riders signing on for stage 11.
Benoît Poilvet (CA), who crashed yesterday but finished, did not start today.
The weather at the start in Andorra was beautiful: 20 degrees and sunny. The
riders had a 9.5 km neutral zone before the stage started at 12:09. Unfortunately
for Anthony Geslin (Bouygues), he crashed in the neutral zone. But he wasn't
too badly hurt and was able to continue.
Once the flag dropped on
the Andorran/Spanish border, the attacks started right away. Staf Scheirlinckx
(Cofidis), and Bernhard Kohl (T-Mobile) went in the first kilometre, and were
joined by Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues), Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner), and Rafael
Casero (Saunier Duval). By kilometre six, the break had grown to 13 riders,
with David Bernabeu (Comunidad Valenciana), Paolo Bettini (Quick Step), Ignacio
Gutierrez (Phonak), Xavier Florencio (Relax), Pedro Horrillo Muñoz (Rabobank),
José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears), Frédéric Finot (Française des Jeux)
and Giovanni Lombardi (CSC) joining in the fun.
After 16 km, the
gap was 1'05 as the leaders started the 26 km long Cat. 1 Porto del Canto. As
the climb started, Haselbacher lost contact with the front group. A chasing
group of 17 including Oscar Pereiro, Joaquin Rodriguez, and Gilberto Simoni,
among others, tried to get clear of the peloton, but no dice. After 19 km, the
12 leaders still had a 1 minute gap, but then things got very messy as the climb
By km 23, the group had reduced to David Bernabeu (Comunidad
Valenciana), Joaquin Rodriguez (Saunier Duval), Adolfo Garcia Quesada (Comunidad
Valenciana), Paolo Bettini (Quick Step), José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears),
and Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), while Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) managed to bridge
up. Meanwhile, Markel Irizar (Euskaltel) and Christophe Edaleine (Cofidis) abandoned.
The average speed for the first hour was 33.8 km/h.
and Rabobank were keeping the peloton under control, riding a minute behind
the break. After 35 km, former golden jersey wearer Brad McGee abandoned, followed
a few kilometres later by Mathew Hayman (Rabobank). The break was joined by
more riders and at the top of the climb, it was Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Saunier
Duval), first ahead of Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), Adolfo Garcia Quesada (Comunidad
Valenciana), Bernhard Kohl (T-Mobile), Oscar Pereiro Sio (Phonak), Victor Hugo
Peña (Phonak), David Bernabeu (Comunidad Valenciana), José Vicente Garcia Acosta
(Illes Balears), Bingen Fernandez (Cofidis), and Paolo Bettini (Quick Step).
On the descent, the break upped its
advantage to 2'26, and pushed it further through the first sprint at Sort (km
61). Adolfo Garcia Quesada was first ahead of Bingen Fernandez and Victor Peña,
with the peloton at 3'00. Santiago Botero (Phonak) and Fred Guesdon (FDJ) became
the next riders to abandon. That leaves FDJ with just four riders.
The leaders bypassed the Coll de Bretui (landslide) and pushed the average speed
up to 41.3 km/h after two hours. At the 92 km point, it has started to rain
and the gap is up to 3'52.
The best placed rider in the break
is Bernabeu, who sits in 19th at 12'43. Joaquin Rodriguez is 24th at 13'58,
but is more here for mountains points. Thus, the break doesn't present a huge
threat to any of the top GC riders yet.
14:59 CEST 102km/90.6km to go
The gap has come
down to 2'52 as we reach the 100 km point. There have been two more abandons:
Luis Perez (Cofidis) and points classification leader Thor Hushovd (CA). That
means the points jersey defaults to Menchov, or (probably) Heras if Menchov
holds the golden jersey at the end of the day. Heras is tied on points with
Petacchi, but with a mountaintop finish, there's no prizes for guessing who
will take more points.
The number of abandons is not really
surprising. This is the third really hard day in a row and it comes at the end
of a tough 11 days of racing. In recent times, the first rest day of a typical
grand tour has come on the second Monday or Tuesday. Extending it to Wednesday
is just a bit too much for many of these riders, especially with a stage like
this to finish off with. On the flip side, there are only four stages to get
through before the second rest day next Monday, then another six until the finish
15:09 CEST 111km/77.6km to go
With 75 km to go,
the break's advantage has crept up to 3'30 again. Liberty and Rabobank are keeping
them in check. There have been no more abandons in the last few minutes.
riders in the break again: David Bernabeu and Adolfo Garcia Quesada (Comunidad
Valenciana), Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Saunier Duval), Victor Hugo Peña and
Oscar Pereiro Sio (Phonak), Bingen Fernandez and Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis),
Bernhard Kohl (T-Mobile), José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears), and Paolo
Bettini (Quick Step)
15:23 CEST 125km/63.6km to go
The leaders have
now crossed the second climb of the day, the Cat. 2 Coll de la Creu de Perves.
Staf Scheirlinckx was first, ahead of Rodriguez, Adolfo Garcia Quesada, Garcia
Acosta, Peña and Pereiro. They fly down the descent and after three hours of
racing, the average speed is still 39.9 km/h.
A small correction: today's stage
is actually 192 km instead of 186, as the removal of the second climb necessitated
a slightly longer route.
The leading group is now on the Cat.
2 Coll de la Espina, a 1410m climb. Three teams are represented by two riders
in the break: Comunidad Valenciana, Cofidis, and Phonak. Saunier Duval, T-Mobile,
Quick.Step and Illes Balears have one rider each up front.
15:43 CEST 132km/60.6km to go
The gap is quite
stable at 3'34 at the moment as the Rabobank orange ploeg works at the front
of the peloton. Menchov is their guy, and he must have inspired them a bit with
his riding yesterday.
15:49 CEST 139km/53.6km to go
Near the top of
the Espina, the 10 leaders are hovering 3'04 in front of the peloton. Again,
none of them are any particular threat on GC, so Rabobank won't be at all interested
in bringing them back. In any case, the race will be really on on the final
16:01 CEST 145km/47.6km to go
Over the top of
the climb Coll de la Espina, Bernhard Kohl is tailed off a bit. He's chasing
back on on the descent, at 20 seconds.
The rain that was falling at the
finish earlier seems to have eased, although the roads are still wet. It's 12
degrees at the finish.
16:05 CEST 150km/42.6km to go
The leaders are
now nine: David Bernabeu and Adolfo Garcia Quesada (Comunidad Valenciana), Joaquin
Rodriguez Oliver (Saunier Duval), Victor Hugo Peña and Oscar Pereiro Sio (Phonak),
Bingen Fernandez and Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), José Vicente Garcia Acosta
(Illes Balears), and Paolo Bettini (Quick Step).
Bernhard Kohl has
been dropped for good, and is 2'25 behind. The peloton is another minute back.
Kohl is about to be caught by the
peloton, which is being led by Rabobank and Liberty, 3'04 behind the break.
The results of the Col de la Espina: 1. Rodriguez, 2. A. Garcia Quesada, 3.
Scheirlinckx, 4. Pereiro, 5. Peña, and 6. Bernabeu.
16:10 CEST 152km/38.6km to go
is leading the bunch for Rabobank, with an Euskaltel rider coming through for
his turn. Then a whole pack of Liberty riders. The bunch is a good 80-90 riders
strong, single file on the wet roads.
16:14 CEST 154km/38.6km to go
The leaders are
now going up over the Coll de Fadas, an uncategorised climb. The roads are slightly
damp here and the peloton is just 2'14 back.
16:16 CEST 156km/36.6km to go
Menchov is sitting
a bit further back in the peloton, behind most of the other GC riders. He has
a long sleeved jacket on, disguising his gold jersey.
de Galdeano does a strong turn on the front. Heras sits in fourth wheel.
The leaders are on the descent, and the roads are dry with the appearance of
Joaquin Rodriguez has moved himself
back into the lead in the mountains classification with his strong riding today.
Bettini has opened up a bit of a
gap on the descent, trying to keep the pace up as the bunch is just 2 minutes
16:19 CEST 159km/33.6km to go
The others come
back to Bettini, taking care on the occasionally wet roads.
average speed after four hours has dropped to a still very respectable 37.7
16:22 CEST 160km/32.6km to go
The roads aren't
in great condition on the descent - wide enough, but quite bumpy with a lot
of patches in them. It's Liberty doing most of the work with a token bit of
help from Euskaltel.
16:25 CEST 165.6km/27km to go
The leaders go
over a narrow bridge as Garcia Acosta takes off his wind vest and stuffs it
in his pocket. Some of them are up here in front for a possible stage win, while
others will be trying to help their teammates behind on the final climb, by
providing them with a little bit of a tow when they come past.
16:28 CEST 164km/28.6km to go
It's Igor Gonzalez
back on the front of the bunch, keeping the tempo quite high. Serrano and Beloki
are also up there. Heras is in fifth or sixth wheel, clad in the combination
jersey and being tailed by Juan Miguel Mercado (Quick.Step).
16:32 CEST 169km/23.6km to go
a bit of a go on the flat, but the others come back to him. However, the peloton
is hungry behind, at 1'45.
The results of the sprint at Castejón:
1. Paolo Bettini, 2. Adolfo Garcia Quesada, 3. OScar Pereiro.
16:37 CEST 171km/21.6km to go
The riders are
on the approach to the final climb to the ski station in Cerler. The main part
of the climb is 11.6 km at 6% average gradient, with a maximum of 12%. The summit
is at 1920m above sea level.
Euskaltel's Egoi Martinez is helping
out the Liberty boys in the chase, and the gap is 1'35.
16:41 CEST 174km/18.6km to go
Igor, Egoi, and
Joseba are the three riders leading the peloton at the moment. It's mostly been
Igor and Egoi, who have done a good job to haul back nine riders to within striking
distance. The pace is still fairly high, although the road is gradually uphill.
16:44 CEST 175km/17.6km to go
The CSC jerseys
have moved up now, with Carlos Sastre well placed. He lost a little bit of time
yesterday. Tom Danielson is also being moved up by his Discovery Channel teammates.
Scarponi (Liberty) tells Gerdemann (CSC) to get behind the Liberty train, not
in the middle of it.
16:44 CEST 177.6km/15km to go
Beloki is now driving
the tempo in the peloton, really stringing it out.
The nine leaders
go under 15 km to go.
The peloton is now at the 15 km to
go banner, only 43 seconds behind the break. Beloki's work is having a big effect.
16:46 CEST 178.6km/14km to go
The leaders are
just about through Benasque now. The two Phonaks are working hard to keep the
gap, as are the Cofidis boys. But it's not enough to hold off the bunch.
16:47 CEST 179.6km/13km to go
Preben van Hecke
(Davitamon-Lotto) is the first to attack the peloton. He's no threat so he gets
a gap. But then he blows, and the peloton motors past.
16:49 CEST 180.6km/12km to go
Beloki drops off
the pace, reasonably satisfied with his work. He'll do the climb at his own
The break is caught at last, with some riders spending the
best part of 180 km in front.
Now it starts to get hard - nicely
16:50 CEST 181.6km/11km to go
at the foot of the climb and creates plenty of holes in the peloton. He starts
to die, but gives it everything until SCarponi takes over with Heras and Mercado
on his wheel. Menchov and Sastre get up.
Scarponi is out of the saddle with
Heras on his wheel, looking back to check the damage.
16:51 CEST 182.1km/10.5km to go
The lead group
is reduced quickly, with Menchov, Mercado, Scarponi, Heras, Sastre, Mancebo,
Ardila, Danielson, and C. Garcia Quesada all surviving the Liberty assault.
There's one Phonak there too - that must be Santos Gonzalez.
16:53 CEST 182.6km/10km to go
Sevilla gets up
to the group as Danielson lets a small gap open.
It's not Santos
Gonzalez, it's Miguel Martin Perdiguero in the front group. He attacks!
Perdiguero gets a bit of a gap but
Scarponi brings the group back to him. Well he will, once this motorbike gets
out of the way.
David Blanco (Comunidad Valenciana) is trying to
get onto the group. Sevilla drops off as it gets steeper. Aitor Gonzalez is
16:56 CEST 183.1km/9.5km to go
The leaders: Menchov,
Mercado, Scarponi, Heras, Sastre, Danielson, Beltran, C. Garcia Quesada, S.
Gonzalez, Perdiguero, Mancebo, Laiseka
16:57 CEST 183.6km/9km to go
but goes nowhere. Scarponi's pace is even, but very hard. Heras sits on his
wheel, waiting, with Menchov also there. The roads are quite good here, and
the sun is still out.
Under 9 km to go and Perdiguero and
Mercado are suffering on the back. A little further behind are Sevilla, Blanco
Perdi and Mercado are now 20m off
the back, with the Phonak rider working hard to try to get on. Mercado comes
round, bobbing up and down, and tries to close the gap on his own. But they're
17:01 CEST 184.6km/8km to go
on the front, riding quite hard but not blowing himself up yet. Still, it's
been enough to get rid of quite a few riders. Finally, the road flattens and
Mercado and Perdi get back on as Laiseka attacks.
Scarponi went through
the final sprint in first place ahead of Menchov, but no bonus seconds there.
Laiseka is using the moto and the descent to get a big gap.
17:02 CEST 185.6km/7km to go
The descent doesn't
last for long, and now the leaders are greeted with a 10 percent section. Laiseka
reaches 7 km to go with 8 seconds.
Sastre is the next to attack behind
Laiseka. That forces Heras and Menchov to react. They chase him down.
It's now four leaders: Laiseka, Heras,
Sastre, and Menchov. But Laiseka is suffering. A gap back to Garcia Quesada
and Mancebo, then the rest of the group: Mercado, Danielson, Beltran, S. Gonzalez,
17:06 CEST 186.6km/6km to go
Now Heras surges,
but Menchov and Sastre react. Laiseka is tailed off a bit. 10 seconds back,
Mancebo and Garcia Quesada are chasing.
We now have three leaders, being
towed by Roberto Heras. Laiseka is caught by Mancebo and Carlos Garcia Quesada,
who come back to the three front riders. As soon as they do, Sastre attacks
again. No-one reacts.
It's Mancebo who reacts first behind
Sastre, towing the other five back to the CSC rider. But it's not easy.
17:09 CEST 187.6km/5km to go
5 clicks to go and
Sastre is a 10 second gap as Mancebo can't really control it. Heras sits in
second wheel, looking back at Menchov, who's not going to do anything except
follow Heras today.
17:11 CEST 188.6km/4km to go
Sastre grits his
teeth but the others come back to him, helped by a tailwind and a short descent.
And Mancebo. Menchov does a turn on the downhill, without actually pedaling
17:11 CEST 189.6km/3km to go
Sastre still holds
a small advantage as the road goes up again in the final 3.5 km. But Mancebo
performs the coup de grace and Sastre is back in the group at 3 km to go.
17:13 CEST 190.1km/2.5km to go
The leading group
with less than 3 km to go: Roberto Heras (Liberty), Denis Menchov (Rabobank),
Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel), Paco Mancebo (Illes Balears), Carlos Garcia Quesada
(Comunidad Valenciana), and Carlos Sastre (CSC).
Mancebo is continuing
to set the pace. Heras sits on his wheel and then Laiseka, who has been in last
wheel for a while, attacks again.
17:14 CEST 190.6km/2km to go
isn't really a danger, Carlos Garcia Quesada is. His counter attack is jumped
on by the rest. Laiseka has 2 km to go and has 8 seconds!
Mancebo is back on the front. Can
Heras do anything today? Menchov looks very good.
17:16 CEST 191.6km/1km to go
Mancebo gets out
of the saddle but it looks like Laiseka might have this one in the bag. 18 seconds!!
17:17 CEST 191.6km/1km to go
(Euskaltel) is looking great for a stage win in the Pyrenees, while Denis Menchov
will certainly save his golden jersey. Laiseka hammers up to the 1 km to go
Laiseka gives it everything, as Mancebo
can't pull the others back to him. 16 seconds.
17:19 CEST 192.6km/0km to go
the final 500m, which are almost deserted of people. 100 metres and he starts
to celebrate, crossing himself has he wins the stage! Excellent ride.
Second place at 15 seconds goes to Sastre from Heras, Mancebo, Menchov and Garcia
Perdiguero wins the sprint for 7th
from Danielson, Beltran and S. Gonzalez at 55 seconds.
No changes at all to the top five
of the GC, which is somewhat surprising. Danielson and Beltran lost 40 seconds
to Menchov, and are sitting in 6th and 7th overall, while Mercado, Plaza and
Scarponi round out the top 10. Menchov takes over the points jersey from the
abandoned Hushovd, and he gets the combination jersey too. Joaquin Rodriguez
will take the mountains jersey.
Menchov looks very happy to have
survived another mountain stage. Three more to go, but one of those isn't much
of a mountaintop finish. His final victory is looking like a real chance now.
Thanks for following stage 11 with us. Tomorrow is a rest day, so we'll be back
on Thursday, European time, in Logroño for the relatively easy 12th stage.
1 Roberto Laiseka Jaio (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 5.09.38
2 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 0.15
3 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team
4 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana
7 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.55
8 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel
9 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Discovery Channel
10 Santos Gonzalez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems
General classification after stage 11
1 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 45.07.35
2 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 0.47
3 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 1.53
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 1.57
5 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 3.31
6 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 5.03
7 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Discovery Channel 5.09
8 Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa) Quick Step - Innergetic 5.45
9 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 5.58
10 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 6.37
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