61st Vuelta a Espańa - GT
Spain, August 26-September 17, 2006
Results & report
Stage 20 - September 16: Rivas Vaciamadrid - Rivas Vaciamadrid ITT, 28 km
Complete live report
Stage 20 will be an individual time
trial near the capital city of Madrid. It’s a 27.5 km long test over quite a
difficult parcours, with winding roads, bends and roundabouts. Alexandre Vinokourov
shouldn't have problems maintaining his gap over Valverde and the others. The
Spaniard will have to give it all if he wants to recover the leader's jersey.
It could be another opportunity for David Millar to win a stage, but the tall
Scot might be saving himself for the World Championship next week.
Hola and welcome back to the penultimate
stage of La Vuelta, coming to you from Rivas Vaciamadrid, a suburb of the Spanish
capital. Today will see the riders take on 27.5 kilometres against the clock,
and while this might be the favourites' last chance to retain their placing,
or climb up the classification, many riders are just happy to have arrived in
Madrid and will tackle the course without too much ambition. Since the Vuelta
started in Malaga three weeks ago, 135 of 189 athletes have made it to the finish
here, which means that nearly 30 percent of the peloton abandoned throughout
The first rider to have started today
was Cyril Lemoine (Credit Agricole), who is 3:17:18 hours off the current leader,
Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana Team) on the overall classification. The Frenchman
was counted down at 11.33 this morning, and arrived in the finish after 36.08
minutes. David Millar (Saunier Duval-Prodir), one of the favourites for the
victory in this TT, will depart at 12.41, and shouldn't take "that long"...
At the moment, Sébastien Rosseler
(Quick Step-Innergetic) has put up the best time in the finish: 34.39 minutes,
that's an average speed of 47.62 km/h.
Millar has started! Now, we'll
see if he has a second stage win at the Vuelta on his mind...
Temperatures today are mild, variable
between 17 and 23° at the finish for the last riders who will come in. The sky
is sunny, and there's a very light North-East wind blowing, but the parcours
changes direction all the time, anyway.
Our Vuelta diarist Chris Horner (Davitamon-Lotto)
was happy to preserve his 20th placing on GC yesterday. He will be looking to
remain in that position, or even move up, but the American is mostly happy about
having survived the race until Madrid.
"Now there's only two more
days to go - a TT, which is mostly a rest day and then the final parade and
we are out of here! Wahoo! I'm a tired boy and ready for a few days away from
bike racing," he wrote last night. Horner will be off the ramp at 13.28.
The parcours of this time trial is
pretty flat, but complicated in the sense that there are many roundabouts, curves
and corners to speed out of again. The winner today will have to be very concentrated
to always find the perfect line, and have enough energy left to make the difference
after three weeks of racing.
The question is: Will maillot oro
wearer Alexandre Vinokourov have recuperated enough after constant attacking
on the mountains, to be able to take the stage win today?
Australian Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC),
who started just before Millar, is 10 seconds faster than Rosseler after 11.3
kilometres - he will be motivated to do well today, too.
For the record, this is what happened
1 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC 14.30
2 Torsten Hiekmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.02
3 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole 0.08
4 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic 0.10
5 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.19
1 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole 26.41
2 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC 0.05
3 Torsten Hiekmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.20
4 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic 0.22
5 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.26
Finish - km 27.5
1 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole 34.05
2 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC 0.06
3 Torsten Hiekmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.29
4 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic 0.34
5 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.39
6 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Liquigas 1.18
7 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic 1.38
8 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic 1.59
9 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Team Milram 2.02
10 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Credit Agricole 2.03
Evgeni Petrov (Lampre-Fondital) chose
a big gear for this TT and pushes it down powerfully. His teammate Sylvester
Szmyd is now also out of the start block.
Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel)
beats O'Grady's time at the first check by three seconds. He looks very fluid,
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir) has started. Stijn Devolder
(Discovery Channel) is next up.
Devolder slipped a bit in a crack
on the road in a roundabout and mis-steered. But he got into the perfect line
pretty quick again after that.
Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes
Balears) looks as serious as always at the start... he's out now.
Triki Beltran has also started now,
while his teammate Janez Brajkovic finished seventh - a solid performance of
the young Discovery Channel rider.
Gusev gets to the next time check
after 20.5 kilometres, 17 seconds off Laszlo Bodrogi.
Devolder looks smooth, barely moving
his upper body and in perfect aero position. Tom Danielson gets counted down
Carlos Sastre (Team CSC) got his
bike weighed and measured - all good. The UCI checks the TT bikes thoroughly
on norm parameters.
Gusev powers along the final straight,
and finishes third at 34.28.
Sastre rolls down the ramp! Will he
be able to move up past Kashechkin again on GC? He's rather careful in the first
roundabout - the gaps between the pavers here are dangerous.
Our man on the spot, Shane Stokes,
says that the course is tougher than it looks. In the last 10 kilometres, there's
a 3 km climb that's fairly steep.
Valverde is out, all in white as
he still leads the ProTour. Vino is all in yellow, of course, looking proud.
Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana Team)
is out on the course now - everybody has started. Now let's see some times...
Vino has his arms bent to the limit
on his TT handlebars - his position is very low.
Danielson is eighth
at the first time check.
Valverde comes out of a curve and
gets out of his saddle straight away. He doesn't look as steady as Vino.
Gomez Marchante (Saunier Duval) gets to the first time check and points 11th,
at 14.55., while Sastre is sixth there, at 14.36 minutes.
Kashechkin is tenth after 11.3 kilometres.
Valverde seems to have found a better rhythm now, and sets a new best time:
Vino gets to that check point after
14.21 minutes, three seconds behind Valverde. The Spaniard is determined! But
will he be able to hold his pace to the finish? Even that wouldn't be much use
for the overall victory...
Karpets is second-best at the finish
behind Bodrogi, at 34.09 minutes - that's impressive!
We got a hold of Egoi Martinez and
Stijn Devolder in the finish, who both said that the course was very hard. "It
was really difficult," added Devolder. "My legs are tired so I'm happy to get
this over with. I should hold on to my 11th placing; I'm happy with my race.
I go to the World's with no pressure, as my result here is already very good."
Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) sets a new best at the finish: an incredible
Danielson has made it, eighth at
the moment with a time of 34.43 minutes. Pretty good!
Now, Vino leads
Valverde by about 11 seconds. Maybe the Spaniard started out too quickly.
And Vino sets a new best time after
20 kilometres: 26.18! Will he be able to win this race?
Sastre comes in after 34.23, fifth
place at the moment.
Here comes Kashechkin: he's only
22 seconds slower than Sastre.
Vino comes in, and sprints to the
line: 33.39 - he's won the stage! Very powerful riding by the Kazakhstani, especially
seeing that he only took the jersey a couple of days ago!
No changes thus on the Top 5 in GC
- Sastre wasn't able to take Kashechkin's spot on the podium. Vinokourov won
this stage on his 33rd birthday - what a birthday present! - and will win his
first Grand Tour tomorrow in Madrid.
We'll be here again for Vino's
parade on Sunday, which will probably be decided in a bunch sprint in the Spanish
capital. Hasta luego!
km 11.3 (all riders through)
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 14.18
2 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 0.03
3 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.09
4 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC 0.12
5 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears
km 20.5 (all riders through)
1 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 26.18
2 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0.09
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0.12
4 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole 0.23
5 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 0.25
6 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC 0.28
Finish - km 27.5
1 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 33.39
2 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0.06
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 0.19
4 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole 0.26
5 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 0.30
6 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC 0.32
7 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 0.44
8 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.49
9 Torsten Hiekmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.55
10 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic 1.00
11 Thomas Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 1.04
12 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval-Prodir 1.05
13 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Team 1.06
General classification after stage 20
1 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Team 77.42.17
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 1.12
3 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Team 3.12
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 3.35
5 José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 6.51
6 Thomas Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 8.09
7 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 8.29
8 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 10.35
9 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 10.47
10 Luis Pérez (Spa) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone 11.32
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