61st Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, August 26-September 17, 2006
Results & report
Stage 11 - September 6: Torrelavega (Oscar Freire Velodrome) - Burgos, 165 km
Complete live report
Welcome back to Cyclingnews' live
coverage of the Vuelta! Today, we will see stage 11 depart in Torrelavega' Oscar
Freire velodroma, and take on three mountains on its way to Burgos, a city that
has hosted so many Vuelta finishes. The climbs are Puerto de la Braguia (Cat.
1 - 720 m. above sea level - km 39), Puerto del Escudo (Cat. 1 - 1,011 m. -
km 72.5) and Puerto de Carrales (Cat. 3 - 1,030 m. - km 86.7). The finale will
be in an ideal place for the sprinters, as the finishing straight is 1.5 km
and flat. Despite the mountains, it should be a day for the sprinters, and a
calm day for Valverde and the other favourites.
The big news this
morning was that Denis Menchov (Rabobank) did not start today’s stage. Physically
and mentally speaking, Menchov is running on empty, his team said, and preferred
to quit the race. The Vuelta winner of last year was far behind current leader
Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) anyway: 67th at 47:34. Still, he will
It was a fast start as the flag was
waved for the official departure of the stage at 13.45pm. The first breakaway
attempt saw Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel), David George (Relax-Gam) and
David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval) jump away, but the trio didn't get too far
before Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel), Luca Paolini (Liquigas) and Paolo
Bettini (Quick Step) joined them... which in turn made the peloton react. After
three kilometres, they were caught.
The next attack came from dangerous
GC contenders: Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrej Kashechkin (both Astana) as well
as Carlos Sastre (CSC) tried to get away, which resulted in immediate reaction
from Caisse d'Epargne, of course, who reeled them in again.
The next breakaway, started at km
27, saw Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) get a gap, joined by Iñigo Landaluze
(Euskaltel-Euskadi), Eric Leblacher (Française des Jeux), Alexandre Usov (AG2R
Prevoyance), Volodymir Gustov (Team CSC), Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel),
Andrea Moletta (Gerolsteiner), Scott Davis (T-Mobile Team), Dario David Cioni
(Liquigas), David Loosli (Lampre-Fondital), Joaquin Rodriguez (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes
Balears), Theo Eltink (Rabobank), Serguei Yakovlev (Astana Team). This group
of 13 riders quickly managed to get away, and one rider missed the train: David
Cañada (Saunier Duval-Prodir), who then tried to bridge up to the leaders.
At the first intermediate sprint at km 34, won by Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole),
the breakaway had close to 2 minutes on the bunch, with Cañada sandwiched in
between them at 55 seconds behind the leaders.
Christophe Kern (Bouygues Telecom)
In the back, the peloton saw no need
for any haste and the break's lead grew rapidly to 3.40 minutes as they took
on the first climb of the day, the Puerto de la Braguia (Cat. 1). And even though
the 13 leaders were climbing, the gap still increased... which meant those behind
were really taking their time!!
As the first hour of racing was through,
the riders had accomplished 38,3 km, and the top of the first mountain was reached.
Again, Hushovd was in front of the breakaway group as the passed the summit,
and it was him also who scored the most points again at the last intermediate
sprint of the day, at km 46. The Norwegian clearly wants to consolidate the
points jersey he's wearing...
14:58 CEST 68km/105.6km to go
So, the race situation
at the moment is stable: the 13 leaders have a nice advantage of about 8.30
(!) minutes over the bunch, and our unfortunate Spaniard Cañada follows them
all alone at 4.30 minutes, as he missed the moment when the break was going.
The front group is now at the foot of the Puerto del Escudo, another Cat. 1
If this break goes through all the
way to the finish in Burgos and it came down to a sprint, Hushovd and Usov (AG2R)
would be the fastest men in the group. The break does have a nice advantage
there, and the bunch doesn't seem interested to chase.
the stage profile, reeling them in could be hard even for the sprinter's teams:
in fact, there are only 30 kilometres of flat/downhill terrain towards the finish
after the last mountain, the Puerto del Paramo de Massa (not categorized).
Meanwhile, during the ascent of the
Puerto del Escudo, Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel) broke off the front of
the leaders and now has a gap of 13 seconds. Unless the Spaniard can increase
his advantage, they will get him again in the descent.
15:18 CEST 72km/101.6km to go
The race has now
passed the summit of today's second climb. Martinez has gained 35 seconds over
his former breakaway mates. Cañada is 5.15 minutes behind, and the bunch follows
at over 9 minutes.
15:22 CEST 78km/95.6km to go
In the descent,
Martinez is powering away and manages to increase his lead. The Spaniard of
Team Discovery Channel now has 1.40 minutes over his 12 chasers, while the bunch
in the back is already nearly 10 minutes down.
by Martinez - will he be able to hold off his chasers even though there still
are almost 100 clicks to go until Burgos?
Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) now
has trouble hanging on to the chase group. He gets dropped... but he has probably
accomplished his mission for today: with now 123 points, he extended his lead
in the points classification further on Erik Zabel (Milram), who has 77 points.
Average speed on the second hour
of racing today was 36,3 km/h.
And Martinez still increases his
lead over his chasers, as he takes on the next climb: Cat. 3 Puerto de Carrales.
He now has 2.42 minutes over the chase group, 6.32 over Canada and 10.33 over
15:39 CEST 85km/88.6km to go
Hushovd made it
back to the chase group, but he's yoyo-ing a bit. Martinez, in front, is now
leading with three minutes over the 12-men group. Impressive!
The peloton is 11 minutes behind.
If it goes on like this, there will be no bunch sprint finish in Burgos, as
many observers had foreseen. Race leader Valverde is having a cool day at the
office, that's for sure.
Lone rider David Cañada (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
now looks like he's finally got enough of his senseless position in between
the pack and the breakaway and is waiting for the bunch to come back on him.
The order of passage on the summit
of the Puerto de Carrales was: Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel), followed by
Dario David Cioni (Liquigas) and Eric Leblacher (Française des Jeux). That was
the last categorized climb today, although there still are about 300 vertical
metres ahead of the riders on the Puerto de Paramo (total length approx. 30
kilometres - that's more like a false flat for the pros, isn't it!)
15:54 CEST 92km/81.6km to go
Luis León Sánchez
(Astana Team) has abandoned according to Radio Vuelta.
Hushovd is still riding in last position
in the chase group, but now that the course is getting flatter, he should be
able to hold on. The 12 riders are working well together, but they're not making
up significant time on Martinez at the moment, who is in aero position.
The bunch is led by Caisse d'Epargne, taking it easy. they're 11.50 minutes
But the way things are, the chasers
should be very interested in catching Martinez again, and will probably do so
in this second half of the stage, definitely much easier than the first. Already,
Martinez' pedal stroke is getting heavier.
16:10 CEST 109.6km/64km to go
Martinez gets another
bottle from his team car, as well as instructions. The chasers are still 2.13
minutes away, but it is doubtful he will last until the finish.
16:16 CEST 114.6km/59km to go
The next 20 kilometres
are continuously ascending, taking more power out of everyone. Hushovd has perfectly
integrated the chase group again, and looks like he's feeling better now.
Martinez' lead is melting away: only 1.50 minutes left now, and he looks like
his legs are hurting a lot.
A word on the countryside: Spain's
Northern part is definitely a lot greener than what we saw last week when the
race started. Rolling hills all around...
Valverde is sitting comfortably
in fifth position in his Caisse d'Epargne train, which leads the bunch out,
followed by the Saunier Duval riders.
Martinez takes another drink
out of a small red can with a white trademark - will that help?
16:25 CEST 119.6km/54km to go
Now, Iñigo Landaluze
(Euskaltel-Euskadi) plays his card. The Spaniard wants to bridge up to Martinez,
as a light rain starts to refresh the riders. He has a gap.
Landaluze has company: Volodymir
Gustov (Team CSC) has joined him to chase down Martinez. The main breakaway
is letting them go for now.
Well, these two are climbers, so
their move is understandable if they don't want to be beaten by Hushovd in a
sprint. It's still a long way to go, though...
Martinez is waiting
for the duo. Maybe they can make a difference as a trio.
Now, things start moving in the chase
group. Yakovlev attacks, but gets caught. They don't seem to get along anymore.
Loosli, Usov and Davis get a gap now.
Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues Telecom)
and Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis) have meanwhile abandoned La Vuelta. The
French have not been able to score until now, with AG2R's Stéphane Goubert the
first Frenchman on GC in 47th position.
16:44 CEST 132.6km/41km to go
Gustov and Landaluze
are meanwhile doing all the work for Martinez, and they're not happy about it.
Still, the three are together.
The other trio of Loosli, Davis and
Usov are back with the other chasers now - they realized their best chance was
staying inside a bigger group. They're still 1.44 minutes off the leaders though,
with the bunch more than 10 minutes behind - no worries there.
Weather update: It has stopped raining,
but a few clouds are still hanging in the sky. It's mostly sunny though on the
way to Burgos.
Now, Martinez is working again in the leader's trio.
Good on him, as that's the only way to go if they want to make it to the finish
16:55 CEST 139.6km/34km to go
The chasers have
lost a bit of time on the leading riders during their gambling and attacking:
2.42 minutes separate them from Gustov, Landaluze and Martinez. As of now, it's
all downhill or flat towards the finish.
The three in front are giving it
their very best, circling harmoniously, while the guys chasing start to discuss
their situation. We are just about to reach the decisive moment of this stage...
The leaders are definitely motivated to stay away!
And they're increasing their advantage
now! 2.42 minutes with 27 kilometres to go, that should be it! If they can hold
their current pace, that is.
Well, who of those three is going
to be today's winner? Landaluze is more known to be a climber than a sprinter,
but he has experience. Gustov is a good worker, but is he quick? And Martinez
should be tired from his long solo ride. Hmm.
Hard raindrops are hitting the riders
now, and there is some headwind going on, as well, as a summer storm comes down
on them. That hurts! Their lead, however, is stable at just less than 3 minutes.
The storm has passed more or less,
with the riders now headed towards a brighter horizon. The finale is all on
straight roads so this rain shower isn't actually dangerous.
Davis (T-Mobile) has a mechanical, and gets a wheel change.
17:19 CEST 161.6km/12km to go
The road has dried
real quick... and it's still 2.33 minutes for the three leaders as they have
about 12 kilometres to go.
The bunch now rides through the remains
of the storm, getting wet just like the others. Unchanged picture: Caisse d'Epargne
is leading, no pressure.
In front, Martinez has attacked!
He has 14 seconds over Gustov and Landaluze.
17:26 CEST 164.6km/9km to go
Martinez is powering
away now. Who would have known that he still had that much power left?
17:30 CEST 168.6km/5km to go
Landaluze is leading
Gustov now, chasing, but Martinez is gooone. He has 35 seconds, giving it all,
17:32 CEST 169.6km/4km to go
He's suffering now,
but he will pull it through it looks like. He's out of the saddle, biting his
teeth, and gets a bit of support from a few roadside fans.
Landaluze is trying to get rid of
Gustov, but can't shake him off his wheel. Martinez is 2.5 km off the finish
17:34 CEST 172.6km/1km to go
Martinez is on large
city boulevards, and there are a few spectators at last, cheering him on.
And Martinez zipps up his jersey
and wins, raising his arms! Here come the others...
Landaluze is sprinting off the front,
and Gustov can't get past him! Landaluze gets second.
And as the chasers get in, Usov starts
the sprint from a bit far and is then passed by Hushovd for the fourth place.
Here comes the bunch, still led by
Caisse d'Epargne. They took it easy today, getting in 15.04 behind today's winner.
Join us again tomorrow for another
Vuelta transition stage from Aranda de Duero to Guadalajara, which will probably
be decided in a bunch sprint looking at the profile... then again, the last
three kilometres before the line will be uphill, so a big break could well be
allowed to get through. Cya then! Adios!
1 Egoi Martinez (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 4.20.32
2 Iñigo Landaluze (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0.55
3 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team CSC
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole 3.35
5 Alexandre Usov (Blr) AG2R Prevoyance
6 David Loosli (Swi) Lampre-Fondital
7 Andrea Moletta (Ita) Gerolsteiner
8 Theo Eltink (Ned) Rabobank
9 Scott Davis (Aus) T-Mobile Team
10 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears
11 Eric Leblacher (Fra) Française des Jeux
12 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas
13 Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz) Astana Team
General classification after stage 11
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 45.54.45
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
Back to top