61st Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, August 26-September 17, 2006
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Stage 10 - September 5: Avilés - Museo de Altamira (Santillana del Mar), 199.3
Live Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Shane Stokes
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST
The parcours for stage 10 will test
the rested legs of the peloton, as the terrain is rolling with a third category
climb to negotiate in the final phase. A breakaway group may be hard to reel
in by the sprinter's teams, although on the two previous finishes in Museo de
Altamira sprinters have won the stage - Barry Hoban in 1964 and Guido Bontempi
Welcome back to the Vuelta for the
second week of racing, an interesting middle phase where the favourites will
eye each other off before the tough final week.
Today's stage between
Avilés and Museo de Altamira is 199 km long and contains two sprints at Gijón
(km 17.7) and Llanes (km 120.4) and one climb, the Alto del Mirador de Cildad
(Cat. 3, km 187.7). It's a pretty lumpy day, although there are no major climbs,
and quite suitable for a breakaway.
14:45 CEST 90km/109.3km to go
The story so far...
170 riders signed on in Avilés, with Gerolsteiner's Swiss rider Marcel Strauss
the only non-starter. The stage kicked off at 12:30 with Nicki Sorensen (Team
CSC), Raúl García De Mateo (Relax-Gam), José Antonio Redondo (Astana Team) and
Olivier Kaisen (Davitamon-Lotto) opening the hostilities right away. Lampre
sprinter Danilo Napolitano crashed in the opening kilometres, but was able to
rejoin the bunch. He even made it into a 19 man breakaway after 26 km, but the
group was brought back.
The key escape started at km 32 when David
Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel),
Dario David Cioni (Liquigas), Sébastien Joly (Française des Jeux), Kurt-Asle
Arvesen (Team CSC) and Ángel Gómez Gómez (Saunier Duval-Prodir) attacked. The
group grew to 24 riders, then reduced to the following 15 by km 43:
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), Xavier
Florencio (Bouygues Telecom).
With Karpets up front, race leader
Valverde's team didn't have to ride, and the gap has gone up to 7'40, which
means Karpets is the virtual leader. The average after two hours is 44 km/h.
Rony Martias (Bouygues Telecom) and Anthony Charteau (Credit Agricole) have
15:00 CEST 106km/93.3km to go
The leaders have
reached the feed zone with a handy advantage of 8'07. Astana won't be chasing
either, because they have Paulinho in the break, and he is also quite well placed
on GC. So it's looking likely that this group of 15 could stay clear.
15:13 CEST 115km/84.3km to go
As the break hammers
along towards the final two hours of this stage, its gap is continuing to increase.
The last time check was 8'57 at km 108, which will make a few teams nervous
with someone like Vladimir Karpets up front. It's unlikely that the break will
be caught now, but it could happen with a concerted chase.
15:22 CEST 120km/79.3km to go
Although Team CSC
has Nicki Sorensen in the break, he is not well placed on GC. Thus, the boys
in red, white and black have started to work in the peloton in order to protect
Carlos Sastre from the ravages of Caisse d'Epargne's very own Vlad the Impala
(oh deer). The gap is reduced from 9'07 to just under nine minutes.
15:25 CEST 125km/74.3km to go
The results of
the second intermediate sprint at Llanes: 1 Francisco Ventoso (Saunier Duval),
2. Sébastien Joly (FDJ), 3. Dario David Cioni (Liquigas).
a crash in the peloton, and Matteo Tosatto and Uros Murn are down.
15:32 CEST 129km/70.3km to go
Murn and Tosatto
are OK after the crash, and are back in the bunch after visiting the race medico.
Meanwhile, CSC is working hard to reduce the gap, and succeeding. The leaders
are now 6'57 ahead, and Karpets' time in virtual gold is limited.
15:39 CEST 134km/65.3km to go
and Paulinho, there are plenty of interesting names in this break. Iban Mayo
(Euskaltel) is up here, as are Petrov (Lampre), Rasmussen (Rabobank), Rebellin
(Gerolsteiner) and Millar, whose teammate Ventoso would be favoured if it came
down to a group sprint. There's also the Clasica San Sebastian winner Xavier
Florencio (Bouygues Telecom), who can certainly sprint.
15:42 CEST 139km/60.3km to go
After the third
hour, the average has dropped to 43.3 km/h, and the advantage has dropped to
5'33. Karpets is no longer "threatening" the maillot oro of his teammate Valverde.
Now it remains to be seen whether the sprinters' teams will finish off the work
of CSC, who have no particular desire to completely reel in this break. Today's
stage could suit the sprinters if they all get over the last climb, and Hushovd
probably doesn't want to see Ventoso taking lots of points if the break stays
15:51 CEST 144km/55.3km to go
The 15 front riders
are working a little harder now in order to preserve their lead. It's 5'20 as
they enter Cantabria.
15:58 CEST 150km/49.3km to go
The break continues
to work well, as does CSC in the peloton. O'Grady does his turn, then Ljunqvist
16:01 CEST 154.3km/45km to go
the wheel of a teammate behind the CSC train at the front of the peloton. This
is a good move by Caisse d'Epargne to put Karpets in the break. It means that
they don't have to work much today.
Nicki Sorensen is obviously not
working with the rest of the break, which is now 4'54 ahead of the bunch and
heading into San Vicente De La Barquera on the Spanish coast.
16:04 CEST 157.3km/42km to go
Millar is riding
with his jersey tucked up underneath itself to keep him cool. He and Ventoso
could combine to win this stage today, but there are plenty of other guys in
the break who could.
O'Grady leads the CSC train through
San Vicente De La Barquera, 4'34 behind the break. The peloton is stretched,
but not lined out yet. Vinokourov looks pretty comfy in the middle of the bunch.
16:10 CEST 160.3km/39km to go
The gap comes down
to 4'09 as the leaders go past 40 km to go. It's going to be one of the quicker
In front, Ventoso pulls off after doing another turn,
then Joly, Millar, Cioni, then no-one. Hate it when that happens. Millar goes
through again from second wheel.
16:14 CEST 162.3km/37km to go
Petrov and Karpets
do their turns now as the break flies down a short descent. Cioni is hanging
off the break, maybe after visiting the team car.
CSC have five men
leading Sastre, who is clad in the white combination jersey.
16:18 CEST 165.3km/34km to go
Millar and Ventoso
have a tete-a-tete to discuss tactics. Something like, "Stay away from the peloton
and cross the line first."
CSC knows its tactic: chase. The gap continues
to fall as the peloton passes through a very green area.
16:22 CEST 167.3km/32km to go
CSC's work is relentless,
with Ljungqvist, Cancellara, Arvesen and O'Grady doing a lot of it. Up front,
Sorensen is taking it easy at the back of the break.
16:23 CEST 169.3km/30km to go
The leaders are
under 30 km to go, riding through La Rabia. Today's stage has taken the riders
from west to east along the coast at the top of Spain.
16:26 CEST 172.3km/27km to go
The peloton races
through the same town, getting closer and closer to the break. The last time
check was 3'06 and it's falling. The bunch rides across another bridge, quite
lined out now. The break is working pretty well, but there doesn't seem to be
enough urgency. They still have a bit of time to play with.
16:29 CEST 174.3km/25km to go
The temps are warm
today are pleasant enough - 28-30 degrees or so, and there is a hazy cloud overhead.
The peloton races past the rather grand Universidad de Comillas.
16:30 CEST 176.3km/23km to go
The bunch sweeps
through another seaside town. The last part of the stage turns inland.
16:32 CEST 177.3km/22km to go
Up front, Sorensen
is having a free ride in the break as his team is chasing behind. He's a good
finisher, and already has a Vuelta stage win to his credit.
16:34 CEST 178.3km/21km to go
Di Luca comes up
to the front to probably ask the CSC guys whether they're going to chase down
the break. Di Luca has a teammate up there anyway, so Liquigas shouldn't chase
unless they have great faith in their sprinter.
Sorensen is working
in the lead group now.
16:36 CEST 179.3km/20km to go
Ventoso and Millar
guide the break under 20 km to go. They are definitely interested in staying
16:38 CEST 181.3km/18km to go
It looks like CSC
has eased up a bit, as the gap is stable at 3'11. Credit Agricole has a man
in front, so they haven't been chasing. It'll be up to Milram, but it's probably
a bit late to bring it back now.
16:40 CEST 183.3km/16km to go
The average is
43.9 km/h after four hours, as Ventoso wins the second intermediate sprint ahead
of Millar and Petrov. The stage profile indicated a sprint after only 18 km,
but it seems to be with 18 km to go. No matter.
16:42 CEST 184.3km/15km to go
Hushovd is taking
it easy at the back of the bunch. He's obviously not too concerned about sprinting
for points today, despite Ventoso's presence up front. He has a big advantage
The leaders commence the Alto del
Mirador de Cildad, the day's only climb. Millar sets a strong tempo up front.
16:44 CEST 185.3km/14km to go
is in last wheel, just behind Karpets. The gradient is not so savage - about
4-5%. Millar's work is very good, and he has Ventoso on his wheel.
And now the peloton hits the climb,
still a good three minutes behind the break, where Millar has not moved from
the front. His pace is hard, but he looks as though he has a bit more in the
But now he will be tested, as Mayo
and Rebellin attack. Karpets can also react, and Millar does too, checking back
The gap is only small, and the others
come back, one by one.
16:47 CEST 186.3km/13km to go
Seb Joly counter
attacks, and no-one reacts immediately. Cioni is driving it behind the Frenchman.
Joly gets out of the saddle and continues
to press his advantage. He looks back and sees he has a gap over the rest.
16:49 CEST 187.3km/12km to go
that enough is enough, and leads the group back to Joly. Ventoso is in trouble
at the back. Petrov is the next to counter, and Rebellin marks him with Karpets
16:49 CEST 187.8km/11.5km to go
the points at the summit ahead of Karpets, Petrov and Paulinho. Then a little
gap to the rest of the break.
16:52 CEST 190.3km/9km to go
The peloton is on
the climb, with Hushovd in about last wheel.
Meanwhile, the break
has regrouped on the descent. Millar counter attacks, or maybe just is keeping
the tempo up.
16:53 CEST 191.3km/8km to go
It certainly looks
like Millar is working for Ventoso today, but he could end up going for it himself
at the end. He has a fierce final kilometre.
The bunch is over the
top of the climb 3'20 behind the break.
16:54 CEST 192.3km/7km to go
Millar stays on
the front on the descent, with the break sitting on his wheel. The kilometres
are ticking down quickly.
16:56 CEST 193.3km/6km to go
Millar is still
on the front and Rebellin and Rasmussen are right behind him. Surely someone
will try to attack. He eases off a bit, but stays on the front.
16:57 CEST 194.3km/5km to go
The road climbs
again and Millar grits his teeth as he continues on the front.
16:58 CEST 195.3km/4km to go
And there is an
attack. Cioni and Minard go before 4 km to go, marked by Rebellin.
Karpets counters. Now it's on for young and old. Ventoso is still there, but...
Sorensen tries next, then Paulinho. Millar has dropped off a bit.
16:59 CEST 196.3km/3km to go
Gusev is the next
to have a go, with Petrov and Paulinho easily able to mark him. Petrov rolls
through but the whole break is there. Sorensen counters again with Rebellin.
Ventoso marks them.
Rebellin rolls through easy and Ventoso
swings off as Sorensen attacks again.
17:00 CEST 197.3km/2km to go
Nice move by Nicki
Sorensen. There is reaction behind, and he's caught. And Rasmussen attacks!
17:01 CEST 197.8km/1.5km to go
This has been
the best attack so far. Fofonov is in pursuit with Cioni, then the rest of the
break not far behind. Rasmussen keeps looking back and he's blown.
Cioni on the front with 1.5 km to
go with Joly and Petrov on his wheel. Gusev is there too. Time for one more
17:02 CEST 198.3km/1km to go
Cioni tries to ride
away but he can't. Mayo attacks on an uphill and Ventoso gets his wheel. Rebellin
is third with Florencio and Karpets behind. 1 km to go.
The next attack could win it. Paulinho
tries and Karpets marks him.
Paulinho opens it up a bit more as
Karpets goes past a moto, 20m behind the Portuguese rider. The break is in bits.
Florencio and Rebellin are there with Karpets.
Ventoso won't win this, that's for
17:04 CEST 199.3km/0km to go
it to the line, over the little climb and wins the stage ahead of Rebellin,
Florencio and Karpets. That was quite a tough finish actually. Three in a row
Millar rolls across in 15th place
at 2'40, a bit disappointed that Ventoso couldn't finish it off. The peloton
is now led by Pereiro and Valverde for the final 500m. It finishes 3'54 behind
the break, which means that Karpets will move up to 9th on GC and Paulinho to
And that will do us from stage 10.
A well timed attack by Sergio Paulinho to take his first win in two years. Winning
a race from a break is always a chess game, and although you have to be strong,
you've got to make your move at the right time.
There were no big
changes to GC. Tomorrow's stage will take us from Torrelavega (Oscar Freire
Velodrome) to Burgos - a difficult course in parts and one that could suit another
1 Sergio Paulinho (Por) Astana Team 4.33.44
2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.02
3 Xavier Florencio (Spa) Bouygues Telecom
4 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 0.06
5 Francisco José Ventoso (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.07
6 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
7 Sébastien Joly (Fra) Française des Jeux
8 Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone
9 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Credit Agricole
10 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Lampre-Fondital
11 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC
General classification after stage 10
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 41.19.09
2 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Team 0.27
3 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 0.44
4 José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.56
5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Team 1.38
6 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.05
7 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 2.21
8 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.28
9 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 3.02
10 Sergio Paulinho (Por) Astana Team 3.42
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