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Photo ©: Sirotti

60th Vuelta a España - GT

Spain, August 27-September 18, 2005

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Stage 2 - Sunday, August 28: Granada-Córdoba, 189.3 km

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Shane Stokes and Hernan Alvarez

Live report

Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST

14:32 CEST   
Welcome back to sunny Spain for our live coverage of the 60th Vuelta a España. After yesterday's opening 7 km time trial in Granada, today we'll head northwest to Cordoba over an undulating 189 km route. It's mostly downhill, but there is a Cat. 2 Alto de San Jeronimo with 13 km to go to make life interesting for the sprinters.

Speaking of sprints, there are three intermediate sprints today, at Venta de la Algarra (km 20), Espejo (km 120) and Córdoba (km 153.5).

Rabobank's Denis Menchov has the gold leader's jersey by a second over Rik Verbrugghe, with FDJ's Brad McGee in third at three seconds. We might see McGee go for a few bonus sprints to try and pick up the lead, but it won't be easy for him.

14:48 CEST   
The stage started at 12:45 with all 197 riders signing on. After a 7.5 km neutral section out of Granada, the flag dropped at 13:00. The bunch stayed together for the first intermediate sprint at km 20, where Bernhard Eisel (FDJ) took out ahead of Rik Verbrugghe and Tom Boonen. That puts Verbrugghe in the virtual golden jersey.

The first break of the day started at km 24 when David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval) attacked with Herve Duclos Lassalle (Cofidis). The move was a good one and the pair built up a 3 minute lead by km 31. After an hour of racing, the average speed was a surprisingly slow 36.5 km/h. The break had 4'40 at this stage, but by the time the bunch reached Manuel Beltran's home town of Jaén, the lead was already 9'50!

It went up even further, to 10'58, before Quick.Step has started to work for Boonen and Verbrugghe.

14:51 CEST    64km/125.3km to go
Of the two leaders, De la Fuente is slightly better placed on GC, starting the day in 121st at 58 seconds behind Menchov. Duclos Lassalle is in 140th at 1'02.

Quick.Step has cranked it up a bit and reduced the gap to 8'36.

14:57 CEST    67km/122.3km to go
We've had our first abandonment of the race: Lampre's Giuliano Figueras has pulled the pin after 67 km. He was already having problems in the early part of the stage, and the pace wasn't that high.

15:08 CEST    76km/113.3km to go
The pace has picked up in the last hour, with the average speed now up to 38.15 km/h after two hours of racing. The break still has 8'00 lead, but with Quick.Step working, it's not going to get any further away. Fassa Bortolo will probably want to join in the fun later too.

15:22 CEST    87km/102.3km to go
A small correction: Herve Duclos-Lassalle rides for Cofidis, not Credit Agricole. He is currently leading the race with David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval) after the pair escaped at the 24 km mark.

15:32 CEST    90km/99.3km to go
After passing through the feed zone at km 85, the chasing peloton has tightened the screws a little, and has knocked another minute off the lead of De la Fuente and Duclos-Lassalle. Their advantage stands at 7'02 at the halfway point.

There's about 30 km to go until the next bonus sprint.

15:46 CEST    102km/87.3km to go
The leaders pass the 100 km point with their seven minute lead still intact, and Quick.Step still controlling the peloton. Although Tom Boonen is a chance for a stage win today, it's also possible that Verbrugghe will take the gold jersey thanks to his netting an early time bonus. We shall see soon enough.

15:52 CEST    108km/81.3km to go
One of Quick.Step's important riders, Paolo Bettini, has had to pay a visit to the medical car. He's hit his knee or something and needs an ice pack. He also did this during the World's last year, and that forced him to retire from the race.

15:54 CEST    116km/73.3km to go
It's 36 degrees at the finish in Cordoba.

De La Fuente has attacked and dropped Herve Duclos-Lassalle. The Saunier Duval rider is alone, but the French rider is coming back and is at 15 seconds.

16:06 CEST    123km/66.3km to go
De la Fuente is still solo, with Duclos-Lassalle falling further behind to 3'30. The heat has taken its toll on him.

The peloton is now 6'10 behind the lone leader, who took the points/seconds at Espejo (km 120).

16:07 CEST   
The peloton is being led by three Quick.Steps through the barren and baking Spanish countryside.

The full results of the second sprint: 1. De La Fuente, 2. Duclos-Lassalle, 3. Boonen.

16:11 CEST    130km/59.3km to go
Race leader Menchov is sitting mid-pack at the moment, looking very relaxed. His team hasn't had to do much chasing today, as Quick.Step has taken the responsibility.

Duclos-Lassalle has been caught. Just one leader now: David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval).

16:13 CEST    132.3km/57km to go
The average speed after three hours is 38.3 km/h, an indication of how hot it's been. That can really kill your speed.

The leader has 5'14.

16:18 CEST    135.3km/54km to go
David de la Fuente is fighting with his rhythm, trying to maintain as much speed as possible despite the pain in his legs. He's doing OK, but the peloton has the odds in its favour. If another team starts to work, then it will be over very quickly for the Saunier rider. Quick.Step has done well with just three men on the front. Illes Balears is in the second "rank" of the peloton, while Menchov sits a fair way back.

16:22 CEST    138.3km/51km to go
Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) enjoys a joke with his teammate José Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna and a few others. There is much mirth.

The stages in the Vuelta are longer this year, and that will of course kill the average speed.

16:26 CEST    140.3km/49km to go
Jurgen Van Goolen is one of the Quick.Step riders working, but it seems as though they're getting tired. The gap is 5'05, coming down gradually but maybe not fast enough yet.

16:32 CEST    144.3km/45km to go
De la Fuente empties a bidon over his head as he wrestles with the bike on a false flat. He's really hurting a lot now, but he has 5 minutes, so he has to keep going. You can see the pain in his face though.

In the peloton, Scarponi goes back for bidons and takes them back to his Liberty teammates.

16:39 CEST    149.3km/40km to go
It's really baking out there on the roads today (it's even warm up in the Cyclingnews blimp). On the open road, with no shelter, it's closer to 40 than 30 degrees.

The plucky David de la Fuente has 4'41 of his lead intact.

16:45 CEST    153km/36.3km to go
David de la Fuente stretches his back as he enters Cordoba for the first time, with 4'03 to the peloton. This city has a a chance to become the European capital of culture in 2016, Spanish TV reports.

16:52 CEST    154.3km/35km to go
De la Fuente goes through the sprint in Cordoba with 35 km to go, as the peloton continues its hunt behind him. CSC has joined in the chase, as has Francaise des Jeux. Quick.Step has dropped off a bit.

16:54 CEST    157.3km/32km to go
CSC and FDJ drive it hard as McGee and Boonen go for the sprint. Boonen gets second (4 seconds), and McGee third (2 seconds). If McGee can have a good finish, he could take the gold jersey.

CSC resume in front of the peloton, which is now strung out. The gap is under 3 minutes.

16:56 CEST   
The bunch takes a corner and several go on the inside, requiring two trips over a median strip and no places gained. The pace is really on now. The San Jeronimo climb could be a bit tough for the sprinters.

16:58 CEST    160.3km/29km to go
David de la Fuente's director drives up and gives him some encouragement, but it looks to be a lost cause now with the pace in the peloton quite high. He has a headwind too.

17:00 CEST    164.3km/25km to go
De la Fuente turns right onto a smaller road and starts the Alto de San Jeronimo, a 12 km ascent. The peloton is about a minute behind him.

17:02 CEST    165.3km/24km to go
David de la Fuente's breakaway is about to come to an end on the Cat. 2 Alto de San Jeronimo. He had a chance while there were only three riders chasing in the peloton, but no longer. It's not a steep climb here, but he is losing time quickly.

17:04 CEST   
Now it is getting a little steeper and De La Fuente is extracting whatever he can out of his legs.

There's a bit of a hold up at the back of the peloton, and some riders are dropped, including one-time breakaway Herve Duclos-Lassalle. There's an attack at the front, looks like a Euskaltel rider.

17:06 CEST    166.3km/23km to go
Gorka Gonzalez (Euskaltel) and Bernard Kohl (T-Mobile) are the two riders to reach De La Fuente first. They fly right by. He sees the peloton pass him, led by Aitor Osa, who bridges up to the two new leaders.

17:07 CEST    167.3km/22km to go
We have three leaders on the San Jeronimo, which is steepening now. This is the hardest part of the climb. Kohl accelerates, but Osa puts in a big attack and gets a gap.

17:09 CEST    168.3km/21km to go
Kohl chases Osa, but the Spaniard is flying. This is a good climb for him - not super hard, but not easy either.

Kohl and Gonzalez are caught by a Fassa/Cofidis led peloton. Petacchi might be feeling good...

17:10 CEST   
The pace is really breaking the bunch, although Joseba Beloki is still towards the front. Good on him, after his crash yesterday.

Osa has 15 seconds and is suffering as Luis Perez (Cofidis) sits behind in the peloton, ready to pounce.

17:12 CEST    169.3km/20km to go
Perez is now leading the peloton, but only with one hand on the bars. Another attack - Carlos Garcia Quesada (Comunidad Valenciana). He is joined by Perez and a Liberty rider, and they catch Aitor Osa.

17:13 CEST   
Botero, Scarponi, and Mercado are there, as are Bertagnolli and Danielson. This is a nice group forming.

17:15 CEST    170.3km/19km to go
In front, we now have: Carlos Garcia Quesada (Comunidad Valenciana), Luis Perez, Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis), Michele Scarponi, (Liberty Seguros), Aitor Osa (Illes Balears), Santiago Botero (Phonak), Juan Miguel Mercado (Quick.Step) and Tom Danielson (Discovery). The latter is the best placed on GC.

The cooperation disappears as Perez attacks, or is that Bertagnolli?

17:15 CEST   
It's Bertagnolli in front.

Unai Yus (Bouygues) has joined the rest of the break.

17:17 CEST    171.3km/18km to go
An Euskaltel rider is leading the bunch behind the leader and following break. Unai Yus has attacked in pursuit, as has Garcia Quesada.

17:18 CEST   
Yus is trying to catch Bertagnolli, who is on the up and down part of this climb. It's quite fast here. Garcia Quesada is third on the road.

17:19 CEST    172.3km/17km to go
Garcia Quesada is now with Unai Yus, and the pair are trying to close to Leonardo Bertagnolli, who has 22 seconds on them. But they are caught by the front bit of the peloton, which is breaking up.

17:21 CEST    174.3km/15km to go
Bertagnolli has 15 seconds on a group of four riders, with Garcia Quesada in it, as well as Vicioso, Vila, and a Phonak.

17:23 CEST    175.3km/14km to go
More riders are joining the chase group, including Horrach, Joaquin Rodriguez and a few more. There is a bigger group numbering 30 or so behind them.

Bertagnolli is nearly at the summit of the San Jeronimo, which has a tricky descent.

Crash! A T-Mobile rider has gone over the barriers. Andreas Klier. Jose Enrique Gutierrez is also down, and a Discovery rider.

17:25 CEST    176.3km/13km to go
Baranowski also came down. Klier's jersey is fairly destroyed. He is waited upon by his teammate Kohl.

Bertagnolli has 20 seconds on the first group, and 40 to the peloton. McGee is in the first chase group...

17:25 CEST   
More names in the chase group: Vila, Garcia Quesada, Vicioso, Rodriguez, Yus, Lastras, and McGee.

17:26 CEST    176.8km/12.5km to go
Bertagnolli crosses the summit of the San Jeronimo with 12.5 km to go. Behind him, Lastras attacks to take second at 20 seconds. He can go down this hill quite well, having won here three years ago.

The bunch is at 43 seconds.

17:28 CEST    178.3km/11km to go
Lastras is caught by the chase group. Still Bertagnolli leads by 20 seconds.

Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa) is in this chase group, as is Santos Gonzalez (Phonak).

17:29 CEST   
Bertagnolli is having a great ride, holding the chasers at 20 seconds. The peloton is another 20 seconds back, and it's going to be hard to close the gap on this tricky descent.

17:30 CEST    179.3km/10km to go
Garcia Quesada has a problem, maybe a mechanical or a steering error. He's chasing back on.

17:31 CEST    180.3km/9km to go
Garcia Quesada gives it full gas to try to get back to the chasers, which are splitting up on the descent. Some know it, others don't. McGee certainly doesn't.

17:32 CEST    181.3km/8km to go
Bertagnolli goes under 8 km to go, still with 13 seconds. They're coming back.

Lastras has crashed. His leg is bleeding and he's on his own now.

17:33 CEST    183.3km/6km to go
Bertagnolli is being pursued by five riders at 12 seconds. Not sure which of the chasers are left there.

17:34 CEST    183.3km/6km to go
Bertagnolli is caught by McGee, who is a good descender. McGee has a great chance to take the gold jersey today.

17:36 CEST    184.3km/5km to go
Bertagnolli and McGee are chased by five riders at 10 seconds. Not exactly sure who they are yet. Looks like Vila (Lampre), Flecha (Fassa), Rodriguez (Saunier), Vicioso? (Liberty) and Yus (Bouygues) are there.

McGee does a massive turn. Still 10 seconds to the next five.

17:37 CEST    186.3km/3km to go
12 seconds with some 3 km to go, and it's McGee and Bertagnolli with the advantage. McGee looks fairly relaxed. The five chasers: Vila (Lampre), Vicioso (Liberty), Flecha (Fassa), Rodriguez (Saunier), Yus (Bouygues).

17:37 CEST   
The peloton is at 34 seconds. Looks like gold for McGee today. But who will take the stage?

17:37 CEST    187.8km/1.5km to go
McGee looks back to see where the chasers are, then goes through for another turn. Bertagnolli suffers to get his wheel.

17:38 CEST    188.3km/1km to go
1 km to go and Bertagnolli leads. 11 seconds.

17:39 CEST   
Bertagnolli continues to lead, but then McGee comes through. Maybe he'll sacrifice the stage win for gold? No. He sits up. Bertagnolli comes past. McGee checks back and hits out. But not too hard. Flecha is coming.

17:39 CEST    189.3km/0km to go
200 m to go and Bertagnolli comes off McGee's wheel to win the stage, McGee second, Flecha third! McGee in gold!

17:47 CEST   
That was a great win by Bertagnolli, who used the fact that McGee wanted the jersey to make him lead out. Flecha and the chase group almost caught them, but not quite.

McGee is recovering on the ground now, as he went fairly deep. But he leads the Vuelta a España after the second day.

Bertagnolli takes the mountains and combination jersey while McGee will have the leader's and the points jerseys. They'll get hot if they wears all of them, so they'll to other riders tomorrow.

Join us then for the third stage of the Vuelta between Cordoba and Puertollano, over 153.3 km, which should suit the sprinters more than today.


1 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Cofidis, le credit par telephone       4.52.27
2 Bradley McGee (Aus) Française des Jeux                                
3 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Fassa Bortolo                         
4 Francisco Javier Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre - Caffita            
5 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                
6 Unai Yus Kerejeta (Spa) Bouygues Telecom                             
7 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir                 
8 Santiago Botero Echeverry (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems                
9 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana                       
10 Pablo Lastras (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne                     

General classification  after stage 2

1 Bradley McGee (Aus) Française des Jeux                            5.02.01
2 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Cofidis, le credit par telephone          0.22
3 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Fassa Bortolo                     0.31
4 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team   
5 Francisco Javier Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre - Caffita              0.32
6 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir                0.35
7 Unai Yus Kerejeta (Spa) Bouygues Telecom                             0.43
8 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic                         0.52
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank                                         0.55
10 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC                                        1.02


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