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63rd Vuelta a España - GT

Spain, August 30 - September 21, 2008

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Stage 14 - September 14: Oviedo - E. E. Fuentes de Invierno, 158.4km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown

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

15:04 CEST    79km/79.4km to go
Hola and welcome to the coverage of stage 14 of the Vuelta a España. Today is another mountainous romp in Asturias.

Alberto Contador (Astana) holds the maillot oro following his dominate ride yesterday up the Alto de l'Angliru. There is currently a group of 11 riders off the front, climbing the fourth categorised climb of the day.

Spain's Alberto Contador took the maillot oro yesterday with a dominating ride up the Alto de l'Angliru
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

15:06 CEST   
By the peak of the second climb, Santo Tirso, a move of eight men had 25 seconds over the peloton: Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank), Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Martin Velits (Team Milram) and Ivan Mayoz (Xacobeo Galicia).

A group of three – Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Dmitry Kozontchouk (Rabobank) and David Garcia (Xacobeo Galicia) – joined to make 11 before the third of the three category three climbs, Alto de San Emiliano.

The 11 currently have 4:15 in hand.

15:13 CEST   
Colladona: Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) is doing the dirty work for teammate Moncoutié, who did not make the break and is in the mountains lead. Chavanel, stage winner in this Vuelta a España, has been grabbing all the mountain points to secure that they don't go to any of the other escapees in this move of 11.

David Moncoutié (Cofidis) has a 33-point lead over Christophe Kern (Crédit Agricole). Third is Alberto Contador (Astana). The highest placed rider in the mountains competition in this move is Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who is in 15th at around 90 points back.

15:14 CEST    83km/75.4km to go
The order over la Colladona was Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank), Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems), Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom), Martin Velits (Team Milram), David Garcia (Xacobeo Galicia), Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne)...

The break is now in the feed zone.

15:15 CEST   
The riders face their the ascent of the Alto de la Colladiella before the day's finale.

15:17 CEST   
The break stands a good chance of making the Alto de la Colladiella intact, but the finale of Puerto de San Isidro will be touch and go. Certainly, its chances are better than the trio's of yesterday.

Italian Damiano Cunego of Team Lampre tries his luck in today's escape
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

15:19 CEST   
Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was set to be one of the toughest rivals for Alberto Contador in stage 13. However, a crash in Fresnedo, where the final intermediate sprint took place yesterday, ended his 2008 Vuelta a España. His team explained to Cyclingnews after the race that it was Antón's left collarbone that took the brunt of the crash, which was later confirmed broken.

Franco Ballerini visited the Vuelta for a few days
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

15:25 CEST   
Italian Damiano Cunego of Team Lampre tries his luck in today's escape. He was in the move that made it clear in stage nine. In the group was Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto); the latter went on to take the stage win and the former took the maillot oro for four stages.

Cunego will want to make a mark here, giving Franco Ballerini good reason to select him tomorrow, when he announces the nine men that will contest the World Championships in two weeks time.

Can you guess which nine men Ballerini might select tomorrow? You can also name one reserve, which we think Ballerini will do. E-mail the commentator e-mail below.

15:27 CEST    92km/66.4km to go
The gap is now 3:34

15:32 CEST   
Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) will lead the team.

Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Alessandro Ballan (Lampre), Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) and Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) are solid picks.

Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre), Andrea Tonti (Quick Step), Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld), Luca Paolini (Acqua Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) are possible picks.

15:36 CEST   
Recent rankings of Italians are as follows
1 Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner)
2 Damiano Cunego (Lampre)
3 Paolo Bettini (Quick Step)
4 Riccardo Riccò
5 Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld)
6 Daniele Bennati (Liquigas)
7 Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas)
8 Alessandro Ballan (Lampre)
9 Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes)
10 Emanuele Sella
(We can ignore 4 and 10, they won't be selected because they doped.)

15:40 CEST   
The Worlds course in Varese is 17.35km and will be completed 15 times – 260.25km – by the men on September 28. The climbs of Montello and Ronchi will make a difference and suit riders like Cunego and Rebellin. This will be the same circuit the closed stage 18 of this year's Giro d'Italia. Jens Voigt (CSC-Saxo Bank) won that day.

15:41 CEST    98km/60.4km to go
The gap is 3:19 to our 11 leaders in stage 14.

15:42 CEST   
The peloton is making a dent into their advantage here on the run up Alto de la Colladiella, the fifth of six categorised climbs today.

15:49 CEST   
Matteo wrote in to say that the nine men will be Bettini, Rebellin, Ballan, Cunego, Tonti, Tosatto, Paolini, Bosisio, Bruseghin. Reserve Bertagnolli.

15:56 CEST   
Paolini had a good result yesterday – third in Paris-Bruxelles – and won the Coppa Placci. But, can he handle the climbs of Varese? We saw how Gasparotto in the Giro della Romagna dropped him last weekend. Gasparotto won there and a stage and overall of the Ster Elektrotoer this fall.

15:57 CEST   
Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) takes top points over the Colladiella, with Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank) and Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) in second and third.

15:58 CEST    108km/50.4km to go
The gap is at 3:34 in this long run from the Colladiella to the Puerto de San Isidro. Caisse is doing the work for Valverde.

16:09 CEST   
Judith Arndt of Team Columbia wins the Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt in Germany.

16:10 CEST    112km/46.4km to go
Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) flats coming down the Colladiella and Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank) is taking it easy, so the escape has split a little.

16:12 CEST    114km/44.4km to go
The race is now David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi), David Garcia (Xacobeo Galicia), Ivan Mayoz (Xacobeo Galicia), Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and Martin Velits (Team Milram) leading Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank), Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), Dmitry Kozontchouk (Rabobank) and Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems).

16:13 CEST   
The two groups come together now and hold 3:38 on the peloton.

Those asking about the weather here, it is 26°C.

16:19 CEST   
Swiss rider Oliver Zaugg climbed his way up the Vuelta's overall classification yesterday on the Alto de L'Angliru. The Gerolsteiner rider moved from 15th to 10th after he was able to end the day in the top 10, less then two and a half minutes after new overall leader Alberto Contador (Astana). "At the next to last mountain it started to get really fast. They went into the penultimate climb full speed and the group splintered," he said to Cyclingnews.

Look out for Zaugg today. We are certain Ivan Basso will be watching as the two will be teammates at Liquigas next year.

Fans watched the riders yesterday on the Alto de l'Angliru
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

16:23 CEST   
Bjorn Haake of Cyclingnews writes in to say that the final climb of Puerto de San Isidro is not too steep and very regular. He notes there are lots of fans lining the slopes, similar to Alto de l'Angliru. The people are making a nice weekend out of this race.

16:26 CEST    131km/27.4km to go
Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) throws down the hammer...

16:28 CEST   
Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) hit when the gap was down to near two minutes. Ivan Mayoz (Xacobeo Galicia) and Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank) are giving chase.

Caisse is still driving hard for Valverde behind.

16:29 CEST   
Read Sylvain Chavanel's diaries for more information.

16:32 CEST   
Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) is joined by Belgian Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank), Spaniard Ivan Mayoz (Xacobeo Galicia) and Slovakian Martin Velits (Team Milram). They have 15 seconds on the rest with the peloton at two minutes.

16:32 CEST    137km/21.4km to go
Make that about 1:48 on the peloton.

16:40 CEST    140km/18.4km to go
The four are making a difference. They have 45 seconds in hand and 1:36 over the Caisse d'Epargne-led peloton. The race is in the final 20 kilometres now and will start the Puerto de San Isidro soon.

16:42 CEST    144km/14.4km to go
Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank) counters this move...

16:43 CEST   
The riders are nervous ahead of the 14-kilometre climb.

Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

16:45 CEST   
Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank) is holding this move. He has about 15 seconds on Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) and Martin Velits (Team Milram), 30 to Ivan Mayoz (Xacobeo Galicia) and 1:28 to the peloton.

Can anyone guess the stage winner today?

16:52 CEST    149.4km/9km to go
Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis is caught by the peloton.

16:52 CEST   
Only Jurgen Van Goolen remains.

16:56 CEST    150.4km/8km to go
The favourites group is down to 20 or so riders with 8km to race.

16:58 CEST   
Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank) has 35 seconds on the Puerto de San Isidro over the Caisse charge.

In Britain, Petacchi wins the last stage. In Poland, CSC takes the first stage.

16:59 CEST    151.4km/7km to go
Only seven kilometres to race for Van Goolen. There is less to climb as the Puerto de San Isidro tops out right before the finish.

16:59 CEST   
Valverde is really gunning for today's stage. Will he pull it off?

17:01 CEST   
Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank) is going for his first career win. However, it might not happen...

17:01 CEST    152.4km/6km to go
Juan Manuel Gárate (Quick Step) shoots out of the chase to bridge to the Belgian.

17:01 CEST   
Gárate, a former Spanish Champion, continues on solo.

17:02 CEST   
Iban Velasco Murillo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) passes Jurgen Van Goolen (CSC-Saxo Bank) too.

17:03 CEST   
Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank) hits the front. Valverde marks him.

17:03 CEST    153.4km/5km to go
Juan Manuel Gárate (Quick Step) and Iban Velasco Murillo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) are joined by Sergio Paulinho (Astana).

17:04 CEST   
The trio is being pulled back though by this Sastre surge.

17:04 CEST   
Alberto Contador (Astana) looks cool. This is a fast climb, as Haake reported earlier.

17:04 CEST   
Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) hits the front.

17:05 CEST   
Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) are there on his wheel. Sastre is back at the back of this group. Is he in trouble?

17:06 CEST   
Elite group of five takes over: It is Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Alberto Contador (Astana), Levi Leipheimer (Astana) and Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank).

17:06 CEST   
Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) looks good. Valverde is out of the saddle a lot, as too is Contador, but is that to protect his yellow shorts?

17:06 CEST    154.4km/4km to go
4000 metres to race for the front five.

17:07 CEST   
Valverde is knocked out.

17:07 CEST   
Sastre is next to feel the deathblow of Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia).

17:07 CEST   
He will try to join with Valverde.

17:08 CEST   
Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) keeps his drive for the stage win. Astana's Leipheimer and Contador follow.

17:09 CEST   
David Moncoutié (Cofidis) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) pick up Valverde.

17:09 CEST    155.4km/3km to go
Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) still leads.

17:09 CEST   
Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) has Contador and Leipheimer for company.

17:10 CEST   
Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and David Moncoutié (Cofidis) passes Sastre now. Sastre hitches on to the duo's train.

17:10 CEST   
Lyon's David Moncoutié (Cofidis) is locking in his red mountains top with an impressive ride.

17:10 CEST   
Contador out of the saddle again. Leipheimer is behind him in the white combination jersey.

17:11 CEST    156.4km/2km to go
"EZ" Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) leads under the two kilometres banner. Will he have enough to win the stage against the Astana duo?

Sastre hangs on to the duo.

17:12 CEST   
"EZ" Ezequiel Mosquera won the Clasica Internacional a Alcobendas y Collado Villalba in May. His trio has 14" over the Gesink trio.

17:13 CEST   
Contador attacks!

17:13 CEST    157.4km/1km to go
Contador solo with 1000 metres to go. This looks familiar.

17:14 CEST   
Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) tried but could not counter the Astana duo. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) has to mark Ezequiel Mosquera.

17:15 CEST   
Levi Leipheimer (Astana) will jump off of Ezequiel Mosquera's wheel soon...

17:15 CEST   
Contador takes the stage win.

17:15 CEST   
Leipheimer jumps clear...

17:15 CEST   
The USA rider gets second over Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia).

17:16 CEST   
Sastre came in with Gesink and Moncoutié.

17:17 CEST   
Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre) leads in the group with Valverde and Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne), John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale) and two others.

17:21 CEST   
The maillot oro wins his second stage in the 63rd Vuelta a España. Will he be the first Spaniard to win all three Grand Tours? He looks unstoppable at this point. Please join Cyclingnews for more live coverage. Gracias y Adios.

Provisional results

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
3 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia
General classification after stage 14
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana

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