Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

62nd Vuelta a España - GT

Spain, September 1-23, 2007

Main Page    Results & report      Stage Details      Previous Stage   Next Stage

Stage 8 - September 8: D. O. Cariñena - Zaragoza (ITT), 52.2km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Susan Westemeyer

Live coverage starts: 15:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST

Welcome back the Cyclingnews live coverage of the 2007 Vuelta, where the riders will face the race of the truth today. 52 kilometres racing against one-self and the clock. No drafting. No hiding. May the best man win.

15:05 CEST   
It's all downhill today in the time trial -- but don't expect to see the mountain specialists excelling in flying down the mountain. It is more of a gradual thing, dropping from 560 metres at the start in Carinena to 210 metres in Zaragoza.

So who's going to have the best legs for the long course? Cadel Evans, Stefan Schumacher, Denis Menchov, Stijn Devolder?

15:07 CEST   
Vincent Jerome of Bouygues Telecom was the first to leave the starting blocks today promptly at 12:49. Looks like the riders will have a sunny and warm day to cover their 52.2 km. But they will also have to fight the wind, as they are facing a strong head- and cross wind on all those nasty little climbs.

Laszlo Bodrogi of Credit Agricole has the best time so far, 57'39, and his time may hold up for quite a long time. He is more than a minute faster than Magnus Backstedt, who is in second place. And the good news is that the riders report that the wind is not as strong as feared.

15:10 CEST   
The 181 riders still in the race will go off at one minute intervals, until we get to the top 30. They will have a two-minute interval. It looks like everybody came out of that huge stage-ending crash with no problems, we have not yet heard of anyone not starting today.

15:12 CEST   
Did we say that Backstedt's time might hold for a while? We were just joking, of course. Bert Grabsch of T-Mobile, who also happens to be the German national Time Trial champion, just busted through with a new best time of 57'05.

15:14 CEST   
Current race leader Vladimir Efimkin of Caisse d'Epargne is hoping that the leader's jersey will lend him wings. "I know that it will not be easy, but I will start very motivated thanks to the golden jersey. Time-trials are not my specialty and until now, I disputed only once such a long one, last year during the Giro d'Italia.

"Earlier this year I lost the Tour of Switzerland on the occasion of the final time trial, but the conditions are different and I feel much better now than I felt then," he added. "The riders which follow me in the general classification are all more or less specialists, to begin with [Denis] Menchov and [Cadel] Evans, and I know that it will be difficult to fight with equal chance, but I will certainly not give up."

15:18 CEST   
CSC's Carlos Sastre, who is third going into the time trial, 1'06 down, isn't real thrilled with the stage today. "It is maybe the longest in the history of Vuelta a España. It is what we [have] got to ride," said Sastre to TVE. "It doesn't matter whether it is that long or shorter. For me, it is a time trial that needs too much power; it is not the most favourable for me."

15:23 CEST   
The start today is in Cariñena, which is hosting the start of a Vuelta stage for the first time. We parked our Seat outside one of the city's famous "wine bodegas" last night and paid it a visit -- all in the name of scientific research, of course.

José Gómez Marchante (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

15:27 CEST   
José Ángel Gómez Marchante (Saunier Duval - Prodir) is 16th going into the day, 2'23 down. He is hoping for some help from Mother Nature. "It would be great if we had a tailwind ... - and it seems we will - because there'll be smaller differences this way. I don't like the route at all - it's a fully flat course for time trialists only. We, climbers, will find it difficult."

15:30 CEST   
The stage ends in Zaragoza, which should look familiar to the riders, as yesterday's stage also finished here. The city, which is the capital of the Aragon region, has hosted seven Vuelta time trials in the past, most recently in 2003.

15:34 CEST   
Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher is underway, and he may be a good pick for the stage. "Schumi" isn't related to German speedsters Michael and Ralf Schumacher, but he's no slowpoke, either. This year's Amstel Gold winner will probably be captain of the German team at the Worlds, and is one of the big favourites for Stuttgart. His form has been improving in nearly every Vuelta stage and he has already spread the word that he "would like to try something" today.

15:38 CEST   
Schumacher wasn't happy with his Tour de France. He went into it with great hopes, all of which were dashed. He started out with a cold and then came down with intestinal problems. He felt better by the third week, but could never get into the right escape group. His biggest chance came in the final time trial where he was looking to finish in the top ten, but a crash brought him down to 15th. We hope that he -- and all of the riders --stay upright today.

15:42 CEST   
Jason McCartney of Discovery Channel has finished fourth behind Grabsch, 1'55 down.

His team-mate Tom Danielson is looking at surgery this coming Wednesday to repair the damage done in his crash in the first stage. He not only has torn tendons, but also a badly broken "Glenoid cavity." As we understand it -- and we are the first to admit our Dr. titles are strictly honorary -- that is the socket in the shoulder blade, where the top of the arm bone goes to form the shoulder joint.

Or to put it another way, the arm bone connected to the shoulder bone.....

Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) suffers from sickness
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

15:47 CEST   
Things aren't looking good for Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) at the moment. He is currently 13th overall, not quite two minutes behind leader Efimkin. He has been hit by an intestinal virus, as has team-mate Xabier Zandio. The apparent 2006 TdF winner suffered dreadfully from vomiting, diarrhea and fever Thursday night, and was unable to keep any food down until just before Friday's stage started.

"Luckily I have gotten better," he said. "I can eat again and I trust that I can rest and recover well."

15:51 CEST   
Luis Leon Sanchez of Caisse d'Epargne was hoping to recommend himself for the Spanish national team for the time trial at the Worlds later this month -- but he won't do that if he keeps on as he is. At km 27 he is already 1'42 off the best time.

15:55 CEST   
This is the Vuelta a España as we usually think of it: riding on a turnpike, lots of brown scenery, and of course, a lack of on-lookers.

15:58 CEST   
Schumacher has gone through both intermediate timing points as fourth fastest.

16:01 CEST   
Jose Angel Gomez Marchante may get a ticket for going too slowly. He just passed a sign announcing a speed limit of 120 km/h. We doubt he has picked up quite that much speed.

16:03 CEST   
Anybody notice that three-time stage winner Oscar Freire was nowhere to be seen in yesterday's finale? It's because he is not only an outstanding sprinter, he can also foretell the future. He took a look at Friday's closing kilometres, and yesterday morning at the breakfast table told his team-mates they could take the day off from pulling a sprint for him. They are going to fall in the finale; I am not taking any risks," the speedy Spaniard accurately predicted.

Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

16:07 CEST   
Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) is on his way now. He has to be one of the top favourites today to win the stage and possibly take over the leader's jersey.

16:12 CEST   
Vladimir Karpets of Caisse d'Epargne is a disappointing ninth at the first time check, 44 seconds behind Grabsch. A lot of fans had picked the Russian to win today.

16:17 CEST   
Number two Denis Menchov has now started. Rabobank will take its attention away from "three-peater" Freire today and look towards 2005 Vuelta winner Menchov, who will try to protect his second place overall. Directeur Sportif Adri Van Houwelingen said that the mostly straight course "is not really to Denis's advantage. A more difficult time trial would have been better for him."

16:19 CEST   
And now Efimkin is on the course. Will he still be wearing the golden jersey tomorrow?

16:22 CEST   
Evans is seventh at the first time check, a bit slower than expected.

Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) currently in fourth
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

16:25 CEST   
Schumacher was fourth fastest at the intermediate time checks and he carries through with the theme: he is fourth fastest at the finish. He is 1'52 down, but that could still be enough for a top ten finish on the day.

16:26 CEST   
Stijn Devolder of Discovery comes through the first time check as fifth.

16:28 CEST   
We think we can safely say that Pereiro won't win today. He hit the second intermediate time check 2'57 down, which is 46th place.

16:30 CEST   
Sastre is riding smoothly down the equally smooth highway -- looks like it was recently freshly paved. He is 32d at the first time check.

16:32 CEST   
Menchov is flying today and he may well pass Sastre eventually. He flew through the time check only 9 seconds slower that Grabsch, putting him in second place there.

16:35 CEST   
Efimkin is 17th at the time check, 46 seconds down. It would be enough to keep him in the golden jersey, though, ahead of Menchov and Devolder.

16:40 CEST   
There don't seem to be any birthdays in the Vuelta today that we know of, but outside the Vuelta, Koen de Kort of Astana is turning 25, Alessandro Maserati of Team LPR is 28, Marcos Antonio Serrano Rodriques (Karpin Galicia) is 35, and Frederik Willems of Liquigas is also 28 today.

16:41 CEST   
At the 27,7 km time check, Devolder is 3d, at 28 seconds down.

Stijn Devolder (Discovery) is not in the Belgian Champ kit in today's TT
Photo ©: Unipublic
(Click for larger image)

16:47 CEST   
Menchov has made up the two minutes and caught Sastre at the 27,7 km time check. The Rabobank rider is third through the check, and goes on by Sastre.

Sammy Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

16:50 CEST   
Samuel Sanchez crosses the finish line as 13th, in just over one hour.

16:57 CEST   
Karpets is seventh best at the 27 km check, 1'12 behind Grabsch.

16:58 CEST   
Pereiro has survived his tummy troubles to come in 36th at the finish.

17:02 CEST   
Only 6 km to go for Devolder.

17:07 CEST   
Cadel Evans is over the finish line. He comes in as ninth in 59'25. That is 2'20 slower than Grabsch.

17:09 CEST   
Stijn Devolder gets up out of the saddle to get maximum power as he crosses the finish line 48 seconds down, in third place.

17:13 CEST   
Monfort is in now, too, in 13th place, exactly 3 minutes down. There are only three riders left on the course.

17:16 CEST   
And now Menchov has crossed the finish line. He is fourth fastest, 1'18 down. He is followed by Sastre, who comes in 4'03 behind Grabsch, in 24th place. Now we only have Efimkin underway.

17:18 CEST   
1 km to go for Efimkin.

17:20 CEST   
Efimkin is 18th fastest on the day, 3'22 behind surprise winner Bert Grabsch.

17:22 CEST   
It's a surprise win and a big day for Grabsch and his magenta-clad team-mates. The team came here in search of stage wins, and probably hadn't expected this one -- but they will be glad to take it!

17:24 CEST   
Stijn Devolder has taken over the leader's golden jersey, while Menchov remains in second place.

17:25 CEST   
Things will get difficult again tomorrow for the riders. The Pyrenees are on the agenda, and Sunday's stage features two cat. 2 and one cat. 3 climbs, before ending up with an hors catégorie mountaintop finish. Adios until then!

Back to top