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62nd Vuelta a España - GT

Spain, September 1-23, 2007

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Stage 12 - September 13: Algemesí - Hellín, 176km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown

Live coverage starts: 15:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:20 CEST

The sign of the Vuelta
Photo ©: Unipublic
(Click for larger image)

15:04 CEST   
Hola! Welcome to stage 12 of the Vuelta a España. Today's stage from Algemesí to Hellín, 176 kilometres, will not feature one categorized climb and should produce a bunch sprint. The sprinters' teams may be forced to work slightly harder than normal if the cross winds kick up during the southwest run.

15:05 CEST    67km/109km to go
There is currently a five-man group on the loose in Spain! We will get you those names, as well as some other important news, shortly.

15:06 CEST    70km/106km to go
Cyrille Monnerais (Française Des Jeux) has abandoned the race just now.

15:10 CEST   
Are five man move is Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2r Prévoyance), José Ruiz (Andalucia-Cayasur), Sébastien Minard (Cofidis), Philippe Gilbert (Française Des Jeux) and Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner). They have about 3'30" over the peloton.

The five fugitives formed their pact at kilometre 13. José Ruiz (Andalucia-Cayasur) was the late-comer, but once united, the crew set about upping the time between them and the pack.

We can report pleasant conditions here, south of Valencia. It is 25°C, with no wind! We have the windows rolled down on the Seat Ibiza 1.2.

Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

15:12 CEST   
And here's a sobering reminder that this is only a bike race, and it not all that important as compared to other life issues. Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir) dedicated his stage win on Sunday to his unborn son. That son has now been born, but his wife suffered internal bleeding during the birth and her life is now in danger. The Italian cyclist didn't hesitate, and flew home as quickly as possible. Piepoli said it was "what a husband and father must do." Cyclingnews sends all its best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery to the family.

15:15 CEST   
Here is an update of our DNFs and DNSs for the 62nd Vuelta:
Stage 1 DNF - Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel
Stage 3 DNF - Mathieu Claude (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
Stage 4 DNS - Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) T-Mobile
Stage 5 DNS - Sergio Paulinho (Por) Discovery Channel
Stage 5 DNF - Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
Stage 5 DNF - Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Crédit Agricole
Stage 7 DNF - Alberto Fernández De La Puebla (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir
Stage 7 DNF - Bert Roesems (Bel) Predictor-Lotto
Stage 9 DNF - Arkaitz Durán (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir
Stage 9 DNF - Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas
Stage 9 DNF - Bradley McGee (Aus) Française Des Jeux
Stage 9 DNF - Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
Stage 10 DNS - Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
Stage 10 DNF - Ian McLeod (RSA) Française Des Jeux
Stage 10 DNF - Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Discovery Channel
Stage 10 DNF - Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
Stage 12 DNS - Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
Stage 12 DNF - Cyrille Monnerais (Fra) Française Des Jeux

15:16 CEST   
Anybody remember Jan Ullrich, Eufemiano Fuentes and Operación Puerto? German investigators in Bonn announced today that their review of Ullrich's bank records shows that he transferred 25,000 euros to the Spanish doctor in early 2004. In addition there was more money moved in early 2006, but no details were available on that.

15:18 CEST    78km/98km to go
Thanks for all of your e-mails! We try to get to all of them as we have time.

Oh no! Juan Olmo (Andalucia-Cayasur) suffers a flat tire. He is being serviced (tires rotated and balanced, plus an oil change), and gets going again.

15:28 CEST   
An update, also Egoi Martínez (Discovery Channel) did not take to the start today. We will update you if we find out why.

15:30 CEST    88km/88km to go
Now Tom Boonen (Quick.Step - Innergetic) stops for service. He has a flat. He is also having his bike serviced: tires rotated, windshield cleaned, etc. (We are joking about the bumper to bumper servicing. But, you know that? - ed.)

Luckily the 2005 World Champion is in the feed-zone. The pack is going just that little bit slower.

15:32 CEST   
The race enters Castilla la Mancha. The riders are being pushed along by Mother Nature. She is breathing on the backsides of these riders. No one seems to mind.

Our five men up front are dedicated to this move. Today, with most of the sprinters having achieved a stage, could a good chance for a successful escape.

15:38 CEST   
That being said. A certain Spaniard, Koldo Fernández (Euskaltel-Euskadi), is celebrating his birthday, and a street romp in Hellín would be the best present he could gift himself. The, now, 26 year-old rider from the Basque country marked his name in the book of big sprint guns when he fired down the Adriatico seaside this last march. He stomped on the likes of O'Grady, McEwen, Davis, Napolitano and Petacchi during the stage 7 arrival of the Tirreno-Adriatico in San Benedetto del Tronto.

15:39 CEST    92km/84km to go
The small sprint in Caudete is won by Philippe Gilbert (Française Des Jeux) over Sébastien Minard (Cofidis) and Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2r Prévoyance). The five-man escape crew is working with 3'17" in hand.

15:43 CEST   
There are there more non-Vuelta pro riders celebrating birthdays today: Florian Stalder (25 years-old, Volksbank), Dennis Haueisen (29 - Milram) and Alessandro Bertuola (28 - Tenax-Salmilano).

15:52 CEST   
We get a lot of e-mails asking how to we keep up with all the racing. Here in Spain we are only thinking about the Vuelta a España, but there are also the ProTour Tour of Poland, Tour of Britain and the newly-created Tour of Missouri races happening around the world.

The trick for us here in Spain is bananas and Nutella, and plenty of coffee to wash it down. The Nutella keeps well in the car. However, I have to wipe down my keyboard once ever day, and twice on the rest days!

15:55 CEST    109km/67km to go
We are here in Yecla now. The five men are rotating nicely, and their gap is holding, at 3'20". The peloton rushes by. Jesús Rosendo (Andalucia-Cayasur) is back at the doctor's car. We hope he is doing well.

16:00 CEST   
A reader asked about which teams will be ProTour in 2008. That is a good question. Discovery is leaving, Astana may get kicked out and Unibet.com will not continue. News on teams, like Barloworld, is expected soon. Stick with Cyclingnews, and we will keep you updated.

16:02 CEST    112km/64km to go
The uncategorized climb of Jumilla sees Quick.Step come to the fore. They will be working for Bettini or Boonen if the race comes down to a sprint.

The gap is three minutes.

16:14 CEST    130km/46km to go
The gap is now at 2'53". Tin-Tin Rebellin has that look on his face; he is going to try something.

16:15 CEST    133km/43km to go
We see American Vande Velde rolling along. He is all smiles. he is next to Team CSC team-mate Iñigo Cuesta.

16:17 CEST   
José Angel Gomez Marchante is at the back of the gruppo, stretching his legs. The peloton is in one LONG line. Streaming along this very brown-looking countryside.

Tom Boonen is up front, in about fourth wheel.

16:20 CEST   
Tom Boonen is talking in Flemish with Belgian Champion Stijn Devolder (Discovery Channel). For more on the 2005 World Champ, and all-around nice guy, read today's news article, Boonen still hurting.

16:24 CEST    138km/38km to go
The Milram boys are adding a lot of muscle to this chase. The five fugitives are making their way through Jumilla. This is a beautiful little town. The fans are lining the narrow roads, and cheering on their favourites.

16:26 CEST   
Behind the five hamming Milram men is Rabobank. The boys in Orange are keeping race leader Menchov free from harm. The small roads make for spectacular racing but they also spell danger with their numerous traffic islands and turns.

16:29 CEST   
José Luis Rubiera (Discovery Channel) humps it up to the front. He is chatting with Iñigo Cuesta (Team CSC).

Wow. Rebellin really has his game face on. What will he do here? The gap is down to 2'03". He has been around for years and has a few tricks up his sleeves. Maybe a move with Belgian Philippe Gilbert (Française Des Jeux).

We have an average of 44.6km/h after three hours of racing.

Petacchi at the end of yesterday's stage. He is going for Vuelta career win number 19 today.
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

16:35 CEST    142km/34km to go
Number 1, José Luis Arrieta (Ag2r Prévoyance), is passing out water bottles after visiting the team car for a jersey-full of bottles. He has been in the sport for years, like Zabel, and knows what it is like to be a domestique. Zabel will come to the fore only in the final five kilometres. He will be busting a move for Ale-Jet. They will be going for a back-to-back stage win.

16:39 CEST    146km/30km to go
We see José Ruiz (Andalucia-Cayasur) with his head down. He is drifting backwards, and has left the escape. The other four have upped the pace.

Philippe Gilbert (Française Des Jeux) is asking the team director if the pace is going up or down.

16:40 CEST   
Who will hit the accelerator first? One of the remaining four has to hit out and make a move.

16:44 CEST    148km/28km to go
The gap is now at 1'30". Martin Müller (Milram) just did a huge turn, and pops off the front. Where does he go? Not all the way back to the end of the gruppo, but behind the rest of Petacchi's lead out men. He wil rotate back through to do another acceleration to help stomp out the fire of the four escapees.

16:47 CEST    156km/20km to go
The four are rotating in a clock-wise motion. They are passing through the 20-kilometre to go banner. Milram are working pretty hard to shut down this gap. The pace of the four was lifted, as evident by the shelling of José Ruiz (Andalucia-Cayasur). This is not just a publicity stunt for the four; these players are going for the stage win.

16:49 CEST   
This is a serious pace. 73 kilometre per hour!

Bettini is floating along in the pack, and stretching.

16:53 CEST    164km/12km to go
The Milram boys are rotating in a counter-clockwise motion with the Rabobank team. They are doing quick turns, about 10 seconds each on the front.

Tin-Tin and Gilbert are plotting how they can turn the screws on Sébastien Minard (Cofidis) and Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2r Prévoyance). Or is it the other way around? The four continue their clockwise rotation.

Rebellin has a 139 heart rate at the moment. He has his hands in the drops of the handlebars. He looks like a cat ready to pounce. In fact, all of the boys in this escape have their hands in the drops.

The gap is 42" at 12km to go.

16:54 CEST   
The leaders ride close to the highway, where our Seat 1.2 is parked, errr, driving.

16:56 CEST    166km/10km to go
The gap is down to 33 seconds with only ten kilometres to go. The four have their work cut out for them if they can keep this move going.

The bunch seems to be easing off the pace, to let the four escapees dangle out in front. They will want to catch the break right at the optimum moment.

16:57 CEST    167km/9km to go
31 seconds at nine kilometres to go. T-Mobile is adding to the chase.

17:00 CEST    168km/8km to go
At eight kilometres to go, we see Lampre adding to the chase as well.

Over in Poland Murilo Fischer (Liquigas) wins the stage. The other news is that French Champion Christophe Moreau Ag2r Prévoyance will ride for Agritubel in 2008.

17:00 CEST   
The finish today is a dead-straight affair. Not a good thing for our escapees.

17:01 CEST   
Gilbert and Rebellin have a go as the gap was only seven seconds.

17:01 CEST    170km/6km to go
The other two men are caught.

17:01 CEST   
T-Mobile has command.

17:01 CEST    171km/5km to go
Gilbert leads Rebellin under the five-km marker.

17:02 CEST   
Can Bennati do it today?

Gilbert is caught.

17:03 CEST    172km/4km to go
Giuseppe Guerini (T-Mobile) is hammering on the front. Rebellin is caught (we think) at four kilometres to go.

17:03 CEST   
The pace is at 48km/h. The Bergamasco leads the train in his last professional race.

17:04 CEST   
We see Milram men fading back to the end of the bunch following their muscle work. Boonen is in the back of the peloton.

17:05 CEST   
Koldo Fernández (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is towards the front. He will want to use birthday-power to see him over the line first.

17:05 CEST    174km/2km to go
Interesting that Bettini was also back with Boonen. He has been going well in the sprints, but he does not seem to want to contest the dash today.

17:06 CEST   
Adam Hansen (T-Mobile) is hammering on the front. He gets help from a Bouygues rider.

17:06 CEST   
The sun is coming from the left. We see 'Benna' about 15 men down. He is moving up the right side.

17:07 CEST    175km/1km to go
A left hand sweeper. Lampre has control.

17:07 CEST   
Lampre leads, then a T-Mobile man.

17:07 CEST   
Zabel moves up.

17:07 CEST   
Petacchi moves to the right.

17:07 CEST   
Bennati on the right. Head to head!

17:08 CEST   
The rider from Arezzo does not have the gas to stop Petacchi. Ale-Jet gets win number 19 in the Vuelta.

17:10 CEST   
Alexandre Usov (Ag2r Prévoyance) takes third over Davide Viganò (Quick.Step - Innergetic) and Aurélien Clerc (Bouygues Telecom).

17:16 CEST   
We were talking about Freire so much during the early part of the Vuelta, but now the man is Petacchi. Can the sprinter from La Spezia make it three in a row tomorrow, and Vuelta career win number 20?

Please join us tomorrow for our live coverage.


Provisional results
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Milram
2 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
3 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Ag2r Prévoyance
4 Davide Viganò (Ita) Quick.Step - Innergetic
5 Aurélien Clerc (Swi) Bouygues Telecom
6 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Liquigas
7 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner
9 Allan Davis (Aus) Discovery Channel
10 André Greipel (Ger) T-Mobile

General classification after stage 12

1 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC
5 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Karpin-Galicia
6 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
7 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne
8 Manuel Beltrán (Spa) Liquigas
9 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Discovery Channel
10 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quick.Step - Innergetic

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