Vuelta a España Cycling News for September 6, 2006
Edited by John Stevenson with reporting by Shane Stokes & Hernan Alvarez
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Vuelta stage 10 wrap-up
Three in a row for Astana
Sergio Paulinho (Astana)
Photo ©: AFP
The Astana team has notched up its third stage win in a row, with Sergio
Paulinho taking out today's 10th stage between Avilés and the Museo de
Altamira in Santillana del Mar. Paulinho attacked the 15 man breakaway
in the final kilometre, which was mostly uphill, to beat Davide Rebellin
(Gerolsteiner) and Xavier Florencio (Bouygues) by a couple of seconds.
The peloton finished 3'54 behind and there were no major changes to the
The 199 km stage was run from west to east across the top part of the
Spanish coastline. Everyone had fresh legs after the rest day, and following
a number of attacks, a 15 man break had established itself at the front
after 40 km. The group contained Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes
Balears - best on GC at 6'50), Sergio Paulinho (Astana Team), Iban Mayo
(Euskaltel-Euskadi), Evgeni Petrov (Lampre-Fondital), Vladimir Gusev (Discovery
Channel), Dario David Cioni (Liquigas), Nicki Sorensen (Team CSC), Michael
Rasmussen (Rabobank), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), David Millar and
Francisco José Ventoso (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Sébastien Minard (Cofidis),
Sébastien Joly (Française des Jeux), Dmitriy Fofonov (Credit Agricole),
and Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom).
With Karpets up there, Caisse d'Epargne didn't have to chase and the
lead went out to 9'07 - putting Karpets into the virtual overall lead
- until CSC worked to reduce the gap to a more manageable 3'54 in the
final 80 km. The finale saw David Millar doing a lot of work for his sprinter
teammate Francisco Ventoso, but the Saunier team couldn't finish it off
with the continuous attacks in the final kilometres. Eventually Paulinho
made his move inside 1 km to go, and that proved to be the successful
Click here for the full
results, report & photos and live
report of stage 10.
Mood high in Astana camp
By Shane Stokes
Andrey Kashechkin (Astana)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Today was the third stage running where an Astana rider triumphed in
this year's Vuelta a Espana. As might be expected, the team were very
happy with Sergio Paulinho's win, not least the rider himself.
"This is probably the most important victory achieved since the silver
medal in the Athens Olympics," stated the Portuguese rider. "I am very
happy with this win, it is also a victory for the team. Astana are very
happy. I am going to try to get more stage victories now."
Directeur sportif Neil Stephens was in a similar mood. "That's three
in a row now, so far!" he told Cyclingnews, clearly delighted. "It was
a bit of a surprise today. He went in the break to cover it and make sure
we had some sort of representation there. He started to ride but then
when we realised that Karpets was there and up on GC, I told him he wasn't
allowed to do any more, although he wanted to.
"When it got below four minutes again I let him ride because he wanted
to participate in the breakaway. And then he showed his strength in the
"The plan for now is just to wait until the time trial. That was the
situation today, there was no real big objective other than covering the
break and making sure we had some sort of representation there. After
Sergio Paulinho did his work as a domestique earlier on, it paid off for
him today with a victory."
Stephens was then asked who he thought the leader would ultimately be
in the team, given that Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin are
second and fifth overall.
Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)
Photo ©: Sirotti
"It is impossible to say at this point. It doesn't really matter who
it is, actually. Both have their good points and their bad points; the
bad point about Vinokourov is that he is a minute and a half down, but
the good thing is that he has shown before that he is a real proven rider
for three-week stage races. Kashechkin is in a better position in the
general classification but he has yet to prove that he is capable of riding
for GC in a three week stage race."
As regards who is likely to do a better time trial in the race against
the clock later this week, Stephens wouldn't be drawn as to a prediction.
"Alex was better in Germany, but Kash is no slouch. We will see."
Paulinho hinted that the successes may have been motivated by the team
missing out on the Tour de France. "For me the decision [to exclude some
riders from the Tour team and thus leave them with too small a squad to
start – ed.] was a little tough and was hard for us. We prepared very
well to win the Tour with Vinokourov but in the end we could not take
part. But we kept working, thinking of the future and now we will try
to win the Vuelta. We arrived at the start here very motivated and now
Vinokourov and Kashechkin are very well placed. We will try to win and
also get more stages."
He was asked how the two team leaders compared to rivals such as Valverde
and Sastre. "Well, Vinokourov has proved that he is getting stronger day
by day. Valverde and Sastre are two very good riders and we know it will
be tough to win the race. We will do everything we can to take the jersey
and win overall, though."
Next year, Paulinho will ride for the Discovery Channel team. "[Johan]
Bruyneel offered me a very good deal, so I have signed a contract for
one season, because I did not think that it was possible that the Astana
team would continue," he explained.
By Shane Stokes
Australian Aaron Kemps is in his first year of a pro contract with the
Astana team and said that morale was very strong as a result of what has
been happening thus far in the Vuelta. "Obviously things have been going
really well for us," he told Cyclingnews. "Three stage wins in a row and
two guys in the top five – you can't ask for much more. And I think we
have got three in the top ten now.
"Personally, I felt a bit ordinary today…I was a little tired after the
rest day. I also seem to have one bad day a week – last week it was the
fifth day – but the intentions now are to try to keep our two main guys
Vinokourov and Kashechkin up there until the time trial and see what happens
"We came into this race with high expectations but I don't think we envisaged
getting three stage wins already. I think the morale is pretty high at
the moment, especially with two guys up on GC. Everyone wants to work
hard and keep them up there. Everyone is fighting to be in the moves,
there is always at least one of us up there in each break that goes. That
makes it easier for everyone else. And for those that are left in the
peloton, they are grabbing water from the car or keeping Vino and Kashechkin
out of the wind all day. Having three up there now in the top ten makes
it even better."
With the possibility existing that one of the team's riders can win the
race, Kemps knows he will be doing a lot of domestique work. However he
is hoping to be allowed a bit of freedom later on. "For myself, I am looking
to get up there on stage 15. I want to have a go then; it is also my birthday,
so I will try to get up on that stage. Until then, I will be working every
day for the team, keeping the guys out of the wind."
Mission accomplished for Karpets
Vladimir Karpets and Iban Mayo
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
Caisse d'Epargne's long haired Russian rider Vladimir Karpets was for
a while the virtual race leader of the Vuelta in stage 10, but his role
was to ensure an easy day for his team and the maillot oro Alejandro Valverde.
"I felt very well and I am happy because thanks to my presence in the
breakaway, our team had not to take the responsibility of the pursuit,"
he said. "I think I helped on my part. In the final I tried to attack
to see if I had a chance to go for the stage win but I knew it would be
very difficult. On the final climb I could not cope with the continuous
changes of rhythm."
Directeur sportif Eusebio Unzue was pleased afterwards. "The team was
perfect today. We knew we had to be very attentive to avoid having to
work too much if a break went with nobody in it. It was a very hard stage
and the fact that we were represented in all the breakaways permitted
us spare the team, our main aim today."
Saunier Duval DS satisfied with team's efforts
The Saunier Duval-Prodir team had two riders in the break today, namely
stage 3 winner Francisco Ventoso and David Millar. The latter sacrificed
his chances to try to help the sprinter win but in the end the tough run
in to the line and numerous attacks meant that Ventoso was fifth.
Despite that, team manager Mauro Gianetti said he was happy with their
performance. "I think that our team is performing very well in this Vuelta,"
he stated. "Millar´s progress is really impressive, Ventoso has proved
to be an out-and-out sprinter, and Gómez Marchante has great chances to
keep his standing in the GC or even improve a little. All the other riders
are in very good shape, including Piepoli, who will rise to the challenge
in stages to come."
Millar said he realised early on that he was better to help Ventoso in
his challenge. "I was on the limit most of the day," he told Cyclingnews
a couple of minutes after the end of the stage. "I was really strong,
but also on the limit. I knew I wasn't going well enough to win, so I
had to make a decision. I figured it would be easier to try to keep it
together for as long as possible to help Fran. He is a sprinter, he can't
handle repeated accelerations, but if we go at one speed that helps him.
"We tried, anyway. Those are the sort of days that bring you form…well,
they either bring you form or destroy you! I haven't done that in a long
time, I had forgotten how hard it was. We were going very fast out there.
"It was also very humid, too. I really suffered for about 50 kilometres
and I couldn't work out what was happening…I was like a hot dog, I was
just panting. Then I put my hand on my jersey and worked out what it was
– I was soaked from the humidity. So I just rolled up my jersey and kept
Ventoso told Spain's Onda Cero radio that he did all he could. "I rode
with all the strengths that I had left at the finale; Paulinho came from
behind and beat us.
"All the riders were good in the finale. You never knew which is the
strongest. Paulinho, who went on others' wheels during the breakaway,
showed he was the strongest at the finish line."
Mayo tries but no luck
Iban Mayo (Euskaltel)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Iban Mayo came into this Vuelta as a possible GC contender but lost time
in the mountains, starting stage 10 back in 21st place, over 12 minutes
adrift of the maillot oro. He gained a little time today but his fans
must be scratching their heads in puzzlement and frustration as to his
erratic form since 2003.
The Basque rider launched an attack on an uphill section in the final
run in to the line, but wasn't able to distance the others.
"We were a lot in the breakaway a long time," he told Onda Cero. "I tried
it [to get a gap] in the climb and also in the last little uphill. Ventoso
followed my wheel and then things went wrong. It's clear I couldn't compete
in the bunch sprint with my breakaway companions. It was a shame not to
be able to finish off my attacks."
Pereiro happy in support role
Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Unipublic
Tour de France star Oscar Pereiro also spoke to Onda Cero, saying that
he had no problems in riding for his Caisse d'Epargne team-mate Alejandro
Valverde. "I feel great with that. It's a job I love to do. Let's not
forget that my team contracted me last year to work for Alejandro and
my win in the Tour [de France] or my second place in the Tour don't mean
I feel bad working for others.
"This was a day when we rode extremely fast. I don't know what happens
with cycling currently, but with the ProTour classification and the ProTour
team classification it seems there has never a successful breakaway [until
today]. Today there were two hours with attack after attack. We were able
to put Vladimir Karpets in the breakaway and we saved our team from a
Pereiro vowed the team will do everything it can to help Valverde triumph.
"We don't put pressure on him; we will take things day by day. The whole
team has faith in him and will do its best to try to win the Vuelta with
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