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Photo ©: Bettini

63rd Vuelta a España - GT

Spain, August 30 - September 21, 2008

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Stage 1 - August 30: Granada - Granada (TTT), 7.7 km

Liquigas surprise over time trialling favourites

Filippo Pozzato in gold ahead of challenging stages

The Liquigas team scorched the 7.7km course
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Team Liquigas posted an early time of 8'21" on the 7.7-kilometre team time trial parcours that marked the opening day of the 63rd Vuelta a España. The time stuck – and the team held off Euskaltel-Euskadi at eight seconds and Caisse d'Epargne at nine seconds to put the Italian team's ace, Italian Filippo Pozzato, in the leaders golden jersey.

Belgium's Quick Step finished in fourth at 10 seconds and favourite CSC-Saxo Bank, with Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre, finished in fifth at 11 seconds.

Overall favourite Alberto Contador (Astana) wasn't too concerned with the 14 seconds he lost to Pozzato, as he was more concerned with the time lost to his strongest competitors, Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Carlos Sastre (CSC). "This first stage has been a beautiful show and the team gave everything. I am happy to see that. Everything has gone well, because regarding to the other favourites, Sastre and Valverde, the differences are so small that we don't have to give them importance."

CSC's Carlos Sastre, the winner of the Tour de France, was unsure of his form coming into the Vuelta, but said that he felt the team time trial showed he was going well. "The truth is that already have been wanting to get into competition to know how I will feel. And although the team time trial was short, we have drawn conclusions that I am good. The team is highly motivated and eager, and except for two small mistakes that we made, we are satisfied with how we came out in the time trial."

Alejandro Valverde's Caisse d'Epargne director Eusebio Unzúe said that the team took care to not lose time to a crash. "We were quite careful during the time trial because, with the course, it was best not to take unnecessary risks," he said . "The general performance of the team was good, but the riders of Liquigas were definitely the best and we have to consider our third place a good result. Moreover we are happy to be ahead of the great favourites even if we know the seconds we won today will very soon have no importance at all."

Gerolsteiner's director agreed with the assessment of the course. "The roads were very slippery. And on the winding course we wanted to simply have no unnecessary risks."

The little Spanish Professional Continental team of Andalucía-Cajasur was the first to go, and ran into bad luck in its Vuelta debut, as two riders touched wheels and went down. As a result, their time was the slowest of the day.

Tinkoff and Milram put in some good times, and then Quick Step came in with a new best time, which it held for only a few minutes. Liquigas blasted its way through 10 seconds faster than the Belgians in a time which was to prove unbeatable.

Some of the teams expected to do well did not. Gerolsteiner finished a rather dismal tenth, and Astana only eighth. Thankfully for their GC contenders, the time losses in such a short stage were minimal. (SW)

Stage 2 - August 31: Granada - Jaén, 167 km

The first road stage and the first mountain is awaiting. But it is only in the form of the category three Las Encebras. Its early location – after only 45 kilometres in the 167-kilometre stage – will make it meaningless for the outcome of the stage. But it will determine the wearer of the mountains jersey, so expect riders like David De La Fuente ahead of the bunch early on.

Jaén is back as a stage town for the first time since 1991. The 116,000 citizens will be rewarded for their long wait with seeing the riders three times. A 26-kilometre loop has to be completed twice and the third time across the line will be for the stage victory. Stage Map


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti


Teams classification
1 Liquigas                                                          8.21 (55.33 km/h)
2 Euskaltel - Euskadi                                               0.08
3 Caisse D'Epargne                                                  0.09
4 Quick Step                                                        0.10
5 Team CSC - Saxo Bank                                              0.11
6 Tinkoff Credit Systems                                            0.12
7 Rabobank                                                          0.13
8 Astana                                                            0.14
9 Team Milram                                                       0.15
10 Gerolsteiner                                                     0.18
11 Lampre                                                           0.19
12 Cofidis, le credit par telephone                                 0.20
13 AG2R - La Mondiale                                                   
14 Silence - Lotto                                                      
15 Xacobeo - Galicia                                                0.21
16 Credit Agricole                                                  0.23
17 Française Des Jeux                                               0.27
18 Bouygues Telecom                                                 0.28
19 Andalucia - Cajasur                                              0.35
DNS Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Cofidis

General classification after stage 1

1 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas                                    8.21
2 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas                                         
3 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas                                       
4 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas                                        
5 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas                                     
6 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas                                         
7 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Liquigas                                    0.08
8 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                        
9 Koldo Fernandez De Larrea (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                   
10 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                  
11 Iñigo Landaluze Intxaurraga (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                
12 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                   
13 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                             
14 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                         
15 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne               0.09
16 Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                     
17 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                            
18 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                       
19 José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                    
20 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                             
21 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                            
22 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                       
23 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                         
24 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step                                      0.10
25 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step                                       
26 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Quick Step                                  
27 Andrea Tonti (Ita) Quick Step                                        
28 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Quick Step                           
29 Matti Breschel (Den) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                        0.11
30 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                          
31 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                         
32 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                             
33 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                         
34 Iñigo Cuesta Lopez De Castro (Spa) Team CSC - Saxo Bank              
35 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                      
36 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Tinkoff Credit Systems                    0.12
37 Ricardo Serrano González (Spa) Tinkoff Credit Systems                
38 Nikita Eskov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                            
39 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                        
40 Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                          
41 Walter Fernando Pedraza Morales (Col) Tinkoff Credit Systems         
42 Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                              
43 Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                           
44 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Rabobank                              0.13
45 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank                          
46 Marc De Maar (Ned) Rabobank                                          
47 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank                          
48 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank                                    
49 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank                                         
50 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank                                      
51 Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Rabobank                                     
52 Theo Eltink (Ned) Rabobank                                           
53 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana                            0.14
54 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana                                          
55 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Astana                                 
56 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana                                         
57 Sergio Miguel Paulinho Moreira (Por) Astana                          
58 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram                                     0.15
59 Matej Jurco (Svk) Team Milram                                        
60 Andry Grivko (Ukr) Team Milram                                       
61 Sebastian Schwager (Ger) Team Milram                                 
62 Christian Kux (Ger) Team Milram                                      
63 Martin Velits (Svk) Team Milram                                      
64 Volodymyr Diudia (Ukr) Team Milram                               0.18
65 Stephan Schreck (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                   
66 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                                   
67 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Gerolsteiner                                   
68 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                      
69 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                    
70 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                 
71 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Gerolsteiner                                       
72 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                 
73 Mathias Frank (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                     
74 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre                                     0.19
75 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre                                       
76 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre                                       
77 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre                                          
78 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre                                           
79 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre                                        
80 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step                                      
81 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone           0.20
82 Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Spa) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone    
83 Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone             
84 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone                  
85 Maryan Hary (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone                  
86 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone             
87 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone               
88 David Moncoutié (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone              
89 Alexandre Usov (Blr) AG2R La Mondiale                                
90 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                 
91 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale                             
92 José Luis Arrieta Lujambio (Spa) AG2R La Mondiale                    
93 Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                 
94 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                 
95 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                   
96 Dominique Cornu (Bel) Silence - Lotto                                
97 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Silence - Lotto                             
98 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Silence - Lotto                              
99 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto                              
100 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence - Lotto                                 
101 David Garcia Dapena (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia                       0.21
102 David Herrero Llorente (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia                        
103 Iban Mayoz (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia                                    
104 Gustavo Dominguez Lemos (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia                       
105 Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia                          
106 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Xacobeo Galicia                               
107 Cycril Lemoine (Fra) Crédit Agricole                            0.23
108 Jean-Marc Marino (Fra) Crédit Agricole                              
109 Christophe Kern (Fra) Crédit Agricole                               
110 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Crédit Agricole                             
111 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Crédit Agricole                                 
112 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Crédit Agricole                               
113 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Crédit Agricole                                   
114 Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Crédit Agricole                            
115 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Team Milram                                    
116 Serafin Martinez (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia                          0.24
117 Carlos Panadero Castano (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia                       
118 Ezequiel Mosquera Miguez (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia                      
119 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                        0.25
120 Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Lampre                                  0.26
121 Rémy Di Grégorio (Fra) Française des Jeux                       0.27
122 Mickael Delage (Fra) Française des Jeux                             
123 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux                           
124 Sébastien Joly (Fra) Française des Jeux                             
125 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux                                
126 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Française des Jeux                            
127 Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française des Jeux                          
128 Vincent Jérôme (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                           0.28
129 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                               
130 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Bouygues Telecom                       
131 Dimitri Champion (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                             
132 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                             
133 Stef Clement (Ned) Bouygues Telecom                                 
134 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                 
135 Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                     0.30
136 Benjamin Noval Gonzalez (Spa) Astana                            0.31
137 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana                                          
138 Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                             
139 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Liquigas                                 0.33
140 Claudio Corioni (Ita) Liquigas                                      
141 Francisco Jose Martinez Perez (Spa) Andalucía - Cajasur         0.35
142 Jose Ruiz Sanchez (Spa) Andalucía - Cajasur                         
143 Manuel Ortega Ocana (Spa) Andalucía - Cajasur                       
144 Juan Javier Estrada Ruiz (Spa) Andalucía - Cajasur                  
145 José Luis Carrasco Gamiz (Spa) Andalucía - Cajasur                  
146 Renaud Dion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                              0.41
147 Aurélien Clerc (Swi) Bouygues Telecom                           0.42
148 Michael Blaudzun (Den) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                     0.46
149 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                          
150 Artur Gajek (Ger) Team Milram                                       
151 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana                                   0.47
152 Davide Viganò (Ita) Quick Step                                  0.49
153 Jesus Rosendo Prado (Spa) Andalucía - Cajasur                   0.54
154 José Antonio Lopez Gil (Spa) Andalucía - Cajasur                    
155 Ivan Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                  0.55
156 Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                            
157 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Silence - Lotto                            0.58
158 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Silence - Lotto                             1.00
159 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Astana                                      1.10
160 Emanuele Bindi (Ita) Lampre                                     1.11
161 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre                                     
162 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quick Step                                 1.12
163 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step                                    
164 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Crédit Agricole                             1.16
165 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française des Jeux                         1.21
166 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Française des Jeux                            
167 Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Andalucía - Cajasur                   1.22
168 José Antonio Carrasco Ramirez (Spa) Andalucía - Cajasur             
169 Roy Sentjens (Bel) Silence - Lotto                              1.29
170 Bart Dockx (Bel) Silence - Lotto                                    

Teams classification
1 Liquigas                                                          8.21
2 Euskaltel - Euskadi                                               0.08
3 Caisse D'Epargne                                                  0.09
4 Quick Step                                                        0.10
5 Team CSC - Saxo Bank                                              0.11
6 Tinkoff Credit Systems                                            0.12
7 Rabobank                                                          0.13
8 Astana                                                            0.14
9 Team Milram                                                       0.15
10 Gerolsteiner                                                     0.18
11 Lampre                                                           0.19
12 Cofidis, le credit par telephone                                 0.20
13 AG2R - La Mondiale                                                   
14 Silence - Lotto                                                      
15 Xacobeo - Galicia                                                0.21
16 Credit Agricole                                                  0.23
17 Française Des Jeux                                               0.27
18 Bouygues Telecom                                                 0.28
19 Andalucia - Cajasur                                              0.35

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