62nd Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, September 1-23, 2007
Results & report
Stage 9 - September 9: Huesca - Estación de esquí Cerler (Grupo Aramón), 167.6km
Complete live report
Live commentary by Susan Westemeyer
Live coverage starts: 15:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST
Hola amigos de Cyclingnews and welcome back to another day of
exciting racing at the 2007 Vuelta a España. Yesterday's time trial saw
a little shakeup in the overall and Stijn Devolder is heading towards a big
victory. But before he can celebrate the organisers threw in a few more uphills
and today the Belgian can prove that he can keep up in the mountains. We have
a mountain top finish today, at the ski station of Cerler, over 1800 metres
high. The riders will come from Huesca and cover 167 kilometres.
Saturday was the day for the time
trialists and other "flatlanders", and today it is the turn of the climbers.
There are very few flat sections on the course which features two Cat. 2 climbs
followed by a cat. 3. And then comes the fun part at the end: Cerler.
At the end of the stage the riders can look forward to a 12.5 km long climb,
with an average gradient of 5.5%. But there are sections with 10 percent, and
a one-km section of 11 percent.
15:07 CEST 92km/75.6km to go
It's a hot one today,
with temperatures of 28° at the start. All 181 riders were at the start. Blood
tests were carried out, although we don't know on whom, and all tested riders
were declared fit to start.
A lot of riders thought the best way
to survive the stage was to take off in an early break, so lots of them tried
it. None of them was able to get away, though, as Discovery Channel kept a tight
hold on things.
A group finally established itself at km 27, and
got away. It contains:
Stéphane Goubert (Ag2r), Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta
(Caisse d'Epargne), David Lopez Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Kern (Credit
Agricole), Igor Anton Hernandez (Euskaltel), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner),
Serafin Martinez (Karpin Galicia), Morris Possoni (Lampre), Sylvester Szmyd
(Lampre), Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas), Wim Van Huffel (Predictor-Lotto) Jose
Angel Marchante (Saunier Duval), and Christian Vande Velde (CSC).
They have gotten away and stayed away, but their lead has never gotten much
above about 1'50 they now have. Right now it has dropped to 1'14.
Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne),
who is not feeling well, got dropped early on. He was very nearly a DNS yesterday,
saying that in the morning, "At 8 this morning, I didn't think I was going to
be able to start. My whole body ached and I had a fever. The doctor gave me
a medication and I slept the whole morning. I woke up at 12 noon and little
by little, I started feeling better. I was five minutes behind at the finish,
but I saved the day and I'm feeling better all the time".
to continue until the end. I'm part of a team and you have to set an example.
There are people like Efimkin and Karpets who are high up in the standings and
I can't let myself go away because I'm convinced that I'll be much better in
two or three days." He added, "The one thing that is quite clear is I'm going
to fight on to Madrid".
The leading group came over the first
mountain, Mon Repos, in this order: Rebellin, Possoni, Martinez Acevedo, Kern,
Goubert, and Garcia Acosta.
We have the day's first drop out, too.
Brad McGee (FdJ) abandoned at km 48.
Serafin Martinez was first over the
Serrablo, and had first mechanical problems on the descent, and then crashed.
He was able to bet back to the escape group, though.
for Pereiro looks quite dreary, as he already 10'18 behind the breakaway group.
15:15 CEST 99km/68.6km to go
And even as we posted
that, we got word that Pereiro has given up the fight and dropped out of the
rest. He took advantage of the feeding zone to make his exit, as did Arkaitz
Duran Daroca ( Saunier Duval).
The results of the mountain ranking
at the Puerto del Serrablo were: Martinez , Gomez Marchante, Garcia Acosta,
Kern, Vande Velde and Szmyd.
There was an intermediate sprint at
km 89, which Van Huffel won ahead of Possoni and Vanotti.
15:21 CEST 108km/59.6km to go
of Liquigas has decided to stop racing too. Meanwhile, the gap has gotten all
the way up to 2'20 as they all start up the Puerto de Foradada, a Cat. 3 climb.
15:24 CEST 111km/56.6km to go
The lead is up
to 2'30, as they escape group flies up the mountain.
appeared as a stage finish in 1987, and has been used 10 times since. The most
recent appearances was 2005, when Roberto Laiseka won. The riders will be going
all the way up to the ski centre at 1882 meters.
The surprise, and surprised, winner
in yesterday's time trial was T-Mobile's Bert Grabsch, whose brother Ralf rides
for Team Milram. "I knew I was in good form after the Tour de France. I had
good legs, I rode well but the win still came as a surprise," the 32-year-old
said. "I've come fourth and fifth in time trials in the Vuelta before, so it's
nice that my time has come. There'll certainly be a glass of champagne with
the team tonight!"
15:32 CEST 112km/55.6km to go
Kern is having
trouble keeping up the blistering pace up the mountain, and has dropped off
the back of the escape group.
Stijn Devolder parleyed a third-place
stage finish into a first-place overall. The 28-year-old Discovery Channel rider
said, "It was a tough time trial, so exposed and empty there was nowhere to
hide, no chance for a moment's recovery." He sees his closest rival as Denis
Menchov, who he described as "an excellent climber as well as good in the time
Devolder is one of the lucky Discovery riders who knows
where he will be next year. He has already signed with Quick.Step Innergetic.
Devolder was thrilled to get the
leader's golden jersey from his idol, Miguel Indurain, calling it "a completely
beautiful moment." Does he think he can win the Vuelta? "Yes, but it's still
a long way to Madrid."
15:42 CEST 112km/55.6km to go
The escape group
is almost at the top of the day's third climb, and it has definitely dropped
Kern, who is now 1'09 behind them. Their lead over the peloton has climbed to
The escape group came over the top
with Martinez before Gomez Marchante, Rebellin and Possoni. Kern has now been
absorbed back into the peloton. Despite the best efforts of Discovery and Rabobank
to keep a hold on things, the gap has grown to 2'55.
15:50 CEST 123km/44.6km to go
And the gap is
falling rapidly and is now down to 1'49. Meanwhile, Luis Perez Rodriguez of
Andalucia-Cayasur visits his team mechanic and Iker Camaño Ortuzar of Saunier
Duval visits the race doctor.
Menchov and his Directeur Sportif
Erik Breukink will be looking to the two days in the Pyrenees to see how strong
the new leader is. Devolder "was not a favourite beforehand, but I must admit
that he is making a very strong impression. We will have to find a way to bridge
that gap. But, Denis is in a much better position after the time trial, which
gives a lot of hope," Breukink said.
15:54 CEST 127km/40.6km to go
The lead continues
to shrink and is now down to 1'04.
CSC was philosophical in light of
Carlos Sastre's 25th place finish, 4'03 down, which dropped him to 7th overall.
"We'd hoped to lose slightly less time today, but when we checked out the route
this morning we knew it would be extremely hard for Carlos. It couldn't have
been a worse route for him. There was nothing resembling any kind of hill on
it and there were no technically difficult bits either, but still – it's the
same for everyone. Madrid is still a long way off and there are many battles
to be fought and lots of excitement left yet," said DS Kim Andersen.
Carlos Sastre was realistic before the
Photo ©: Sirotti
16:02 CEST 135.6km/32km to go
It looks like it
won't be much longer before the peloton catches the escape group.
Today's birthday boy is Gerolsteiner's
Markus Fothen, who doesn't really have a lot to celebrate. He finished 12th
in the Giro d'Italia and 15th in the Tour de France in 2005, but has never really
been able to live up to those results. A hand injury earlier this season hindered
his preparations for the Tour de France, where he finished 34th. He is currently
languishing back in 154th in the Vuelta. Nevertheless, we wish him all the best
on his 26th birthday, and congratulate him as well on his recent wedding.
16:06 CEST 136km/31.6km to go
The escape group
seems to be falling apart in disunity, but the peloton is not. Rabobank and
Discovery not only have things well in hand, but are working well together.
They are holding the gap steady at 1'05.
16:13 CEST 142.8km/24.8km to go
The peloton can
see the escapees now.
T-Mobile had the unusual -- or dubious
-- honour of having both the fastest and slowest riders in the time trial. Bert
Grabsch sped his way along the course to take the stage win, but his team-mate
Adam Hansen finished dead last, 12'47 down. What happened to the "Crocodile
Man"? Two punctures and no spares on the neutral car that was accompanying him......
"The sun shines bright on my old
Kentucky home" ---- well, we don't know about Kentucky, but the sun is surely
shining brightly on the peloton. A number of riders have their jerseys totally
unzipped in an effort to stay cool.
No sunshine right now, though --
the peloton has disappeared into a tunnel! Let's hope they find their way out.....
16:22 CEST 147.6km/20km to go
Vanotti is trying
his luck and has taken off in front.
And the peloton -- which found its
way out of the tunnel,thank goodness -- goes under the 20 km banner only 45
Vanotti looks back to see where the
rest of the gang is. He doesn't have time to see the all the lovely green in
the landscape. That's too bad, because the days will come when there won't be
anything green around -- except the Liquigas and Credit Agricole jerseys.
The peloton still hasn't reached
the escape group, but the time difference can't be much more than 20 seconds
or so. And Vanotti is still somewhere up in front.
- Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas)
- Stéphane Goubert (Ag2r Prévoyance), José Vicente Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne),
David Garcia (Karpin-Galicia), Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Davide Rebellin
(Gerolsteiner), Serafín Martínez (Karpin-Galicia), Morris Possoni and Sylvester
Szmyd (Lampre-Fondital), , Wim Van Huffel (Predictor-Lotto), José Angel Gomez
Marchante (Saunier Duval-Prodir) and Christian Vande Velde (Team CSC)
- Peloton at 0'45"
The green landscape has disappeared
momentarily, but that is because there is a big construction area next to the
road. A new street or a bypass around the next village, perhaps?
Alessandro Vanotti is now with Liquigas
Photo ©: Emmanuel Isnard
16:32 CEST 153.6km/14km to go
Vanotti is about
ready to take on the climb. He is now passing all the team buses, patiently
waiting at the bottom. The buses are laughing at our Seat, because it has to
go up the mountain and they don't.
Vanotti is currently 80th in GC,
over 22 minutes back, so it is unlikely he is a threat to the golden jersey.
16:35 CEST 154.6km/13km to go
The peloton finally
tires of the chase and overtakes the now-former escapees. Vanotti's lead is
about 20 seconds.
CSC and Saunter Duval lead the peloton
as they hit the first 10 percent gradient.
At the back of the peloton, the non-climbers
are gathering to make their slower trip up the mountain. The peloton has splintered
on its way up. Cuesta and Piepoli lead the way, with Karpets not far behind.
Devolder has fallen back from the
lead group and is making his way alone.
The golden jersey is now 20 seconds
Carlos Castaño of Karpin Galicia
has taken a 20 second lead over the first group which contains Menchov and Sastre.
16:45 CEST 158.6km/9km to go
Devolder is no longer
alone but now in a group about 30 seconds behind the Menchov group, which is
about 14 seconds behind Castaño.
And Devolder is losing ground again,
as he falls off the back of the group. And yes, we apologize, of course it is
Castaño and not Castaño.
16:48 CEST 159.6km/8km to go
has a helper, as one of his team-mates has fallen back to him.
16:49 CEST 160.6km/7km to go
Daniel Moreno has
moved into the lead, about 15 seconds ahead of the peloton. Not real sure what
happened to Castaño.
The Menchov group is falling apart
as it moves up the mountain.
Piepoli leads the ever-smaller group
past Moreno. Menchov is right behind him. Will he take over the golden jersey
16:52 CEST 161.6km/6km to go
Menchov takes over
the lead work.
Menchov and Piepoli have distanced
Sastre now and are moving on alone.
Another favourite, Cadel Evans, has
also been dropped. His team-mate Jufré is by him to help.
Menchov and Piepoli are 10 seconds
ahead of Sastre, who is 21 seconds ahead of the Evans group. Devolder is nowhere
to be seen.
16:57 CEST 163.6km/4km to go
10 seconds for the
leaders ahead of Sastre.
16:59 CEST 164.6km/3km to go
12 seconds for Sastre,
who is accompanied by Mosquetera.
Oliver Zaugg of Gerolsteiner has
jumped out of the Evans group and is making his way to Sastre.
17:02 CEST 165.6km/2km to go
The gap is down
to 10 seconds for Sastre and Mosquera of Karpin Galicia.
17:03 CEST 166.6km/1km to go
The green is slowly
disappearing from the landscape, as the two leaders pass under the 1 km mark.
Will Menchov let Piepoli take the stage, while he takes over the race lead?
And that's exactly what happens.
Menchov obediently follows Piepoli over the finish line.
Mosquera follow about 14 seconds later, and Zaugg comes in as fifth, 50 seconds
behind the leaders.
Devolder finally crosses the finish
line, 4'58 behind Piepoli. The Belgian had surely hoped to wear the golden jersey
more than one day.
Denis Menchov of Rabobank will take
over that golden jersey and wear it tomorrow as the peloton spends its second
day in the Pyrenees. We look forward to it and hope you will join us again!
1 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 4.28.22
2 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
3 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Karpin-Galicia 0.16
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC
5 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 0.50
6 Luis Pérez Rodriguez (Spa) Andalucia-Cayasur
7 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto
9 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne
10 Manuel Beltrán (Spa) Liquigas
General classification after stage 9
1 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne 2.01
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto 2.22
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC
5 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Karpin-Galicia
6 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Discovery Channel
7 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne
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