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62nd Vuelta a España - GT

Spain, September 1-23, 2007

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Stage 15 - September 16: Villacarrillo - Granada, 201.4km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown

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

15:03 CEST    128km/73.4km to go
Hola! Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the Vuelta a España. Today will be a demanding day for the GC riders. It is a leg-buster of a stage coming on the eve of rest day number two. The 201 kilometres from Villacarrillo and to Granada presents two category three climbs and the final alto, the category one Alto de Monachil. Even though it is not a mountain-top finish day the GC guns will likely be firing as the complexity ranks high.

The legs will be weakened over the first two smaller climbs and the decent of the Monachil is tricky and dangerous. Alejandro Valverde lost the race lead in 2006 in this spot. The first kilometres down from Monachil comes "with a very long and dangerous slope" down to Granada, noted Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) to Cyclingnews.

We currently have an escape with 3'40" in hand. We will get you the names on those riders.

15:07 CEST   
Our escape riders were Iñigo Cuesta (Team CSC), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), David López García (Caisse d'Epargne), Sylvester Szmyd (Lampre-Fondital), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) and Jurgen Van Goolen (Discovery Channel). The group went away at earlier, but then was caught...

15:14 CEST   
Ángel Gómez Gómez (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Johannes Fröhlinger (Gerolsteiner), Laszlo Bodrogi (Crédit Agricole), Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Joan Horrach (Caisse d'Epargne), Andrea Tonti (Quick.Step - Innergetic), Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step - Innergetic), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r Prévoyance), Mario Aerts (Predictor-Lotto), Chris Anker Sørensen (Team CSC), Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital), Marco Marzano (Lampre-Fondital), Koos Moerenhout (Rabobank) and Stef Clement (Bouygues Telecom) form the new escape group.

The caught the previous group at kilometre 50.

15:19 CEST    135km/66.4km to go
We are in the third hour of racing, with the pace so far at 43km/h. The boys are working up the second climb of the day, the third category Puerto de Blancares. The gap is at 3'38".

Winner of stage one, Bennati, will likely not win today's stage, but there are a few strong men in this move that could do it. Ángel Gómez Gómez (Saunier Duval-Prodir) is one of them. The Spaniard is punchy and can look out for himself when the race heats up.

15:23 CEST   
We can confirm that 'Il Piccolo Principe' is in this move. Bennati will be helping his Lampre team-mate, Cunego. Iñigo Cuesta (Team CSC), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), David López García (Caisse d'Epargne), Sylvester Szmyd (Lampre-Fondital), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) and Jurgen Van Goolen (Discovery Channel) were caught by the 14 men, and we have what we think is a 20-man move. We will get confirmation on this as the race goes on.

15:27 CEST   
Ezequiel Mosquera (Karpin-Galicia) has dropped out of the race. That is a real shame. The 31 year-old Spaniard was fifth in the overall classification, at 4'35" back on overall leader Denis Menchov (Rabobank). [See correction below, at 16:54 - ed.]

15:28 CEST    137km/64.4km to go
The gap for the 20-man group remains at 3'32".

15:33 CEST   
Mickaël Delage (Française Des Jeux) did not start with the 157 riders this morning. Aurélien Clerc (Bouygues Telecom) retired at kilometre 59, leaving his team with only three riders. AG2R Prévoyance, Andalucia-Cayasur, Cofidis, Euskaltel, Milram and T-Mobile are the only teams with nine riders left.

Here is an update on our DNS and DNFs so far in 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
Stage 12 DNF - Egoi Martínez (Spa) Discovery Channel
Stage 12 DNF - Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
Stage 13 DNS - Xavier Florencio (Spa) Bouygues Telecom
Stage 13 DNS - Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step - Innergetic
Stage 13 DNS - Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
Stage 14 DNS - Carlos Castaño (Spa) Karpin-Galicia
Stage 14 DNF - Angelo Furlan (Ita) Crédit Agricole
Stage 14 DNF - Josep Jufré (Spa) Predictor-Lotto
Stage 14 DNF - Serafín Martínez (Spa) Karpin-Galicia
Stage 14 DNF - Dimitri Champion (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
Stage 14 DNF - Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Crédit Agricole
Stage 14 DNF - Jesús Hernández (Spa) Relax-GAM
Stage 15 DNS - Mickaël Delage (Fra) Française Des Jeux
Stage 15 DNF - Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Karpin-Galicia
Stage 15 DNF - Aurélien Clerc (Swi) Bouygues Telecom

15:38 CEST   
Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas) is celebrating his 27th birthday today. He is the only birthday boy in the Vuelta peloton today, while last year's winner and current top-of-the-scandal-charts rider, Alexander Vinokourov, turns 34 today. Massimiliano Gentili (Aurum Hotels) celebrates 36 years, Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) 25, and Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas) 27.

15:39 CEST    139km/62.4km to go
Jurgen Van Goolen (Discovery Channel) leads the group over the Puerto de los Blancares. He is followed by Chris Anker Sørensen (Team CSC), Joan Horrach (Caisse d'Epargne) and Ángel Gómez Gómez (Saunier Duval-Prodir).

15:41 CEST   
Luis Pérez Rodriguez (Andalucia-Cayasur) catches back on to the chase gruppo after suffering a puncture. Euskaltel has really been whipping up the pace today!

15:44 CEST   
Winner of the stage to Torre-Pacheco two days ago, Andreas Klier (T-Mobile), has retired. The 31 year-old German found the climbing too tough in today's stage.

15:45 CEST   
The main group split some what on the descent. Stijn Devolder (Discovery Channel) is really suffering... He is caught up in the second group.

15:46 CEST    153km/48.4km to go
The gap is at 2'43" as the two groups are coming back together.

15:48 CEST    159km/42.4km to go
Euskaltel is at the front of the chase. The Basque boys have shaved back the advantage to 2'32".

Looks like Dionisio Galparsoro is have some problems. The Euskaltel rider is back at the team car. He looks to bet getting mechanical assistance.

16:02 CEST    172km/29.4km to go
The gap is really dropping thanks to the efforts of orange outfit Euskaltel. The boys are putting their weight into the chase for Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). The gap is now below two minutes as the Alto de Monachil approaches. The crowds are huge here in this part of Spain. They are lined up both sides of the road, leading to the 1510-metre summit.

16:05 CEST    173km/28.4km to go
'Il Grillo Livornese' (Bettini) is suffering on this climb. Italian compatriots, Cunego and Pellizotti, lead the charge.

16:08 CEST   
David López García (Caisse d'Epargne) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) are off the front.

Back in the pack, CSC is working. Menchov is in about fourth wheel. Evans is there too.

16:09 CEST   
Stijn Devolder (Discovery Channel) attacks out of the chase group.

16:10 CEST   
Cunego looks to the Spaniard for help.

16:12 CEST   
Caisse is leading the charge. Menchov is behind two of the Caisse boys.

16:13 CEST   
Cunego pulls as the slopes are at 11% gradient.

16:15 CEST    178km/23.4km to go
A new group is chasing the front two leaders. Carlos Barredo (Quick.Step - Innergetic), Andrea Tonti (Quick.Step - Innergetic), Manuel Beltrán (Liquigas) and Luis Pérez Rodriguez (Andalucia-Cayasur). They are about a minute back. There is one rider between the two groups.

16:15 CEST   
Cunego is now solo!

16:15 CEST   
Sastre, Evans and Menchov lead the GC group.

16:18 CEST   
Beltrán is free... He is riding off the front of his small group.

Sastre leads Evans further back.

16:21 CEST    179km/22.4km to go
Manuel Beltrán (Liquigas) has caught David López García (Caisse d'Epargne).

Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto), Carlos Sastre (Team CSC), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d'Epargne), Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Carlos Barredo (Quick.Step - Innergetic) are in the chase.

16:22 CEST   
Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) attacks and Barredo joins.

16:23 CEST   
Sastre is leading Menchov, Efimkin and Evans back to the small move of Sánchez.

16:23 CEST   
Cunego is on some 14% gradients, near the top.

16:24 CEST   
The crowds are amazing here. The sun is hammering down on the Italian's back, so is Beltrán! Cunego only has 14".

16:25 CEST   
The riders will face 20 kilometres to the finish once over the top.

16:26 CEST   
Evans attacks. Menchov immediately covers it.

16:26 CEST   
Evans attacks. Menchov immediately covers it.

16:26 CEST    181.4km/20km to go
Cunego goes over the top of the Alto de Monachil.

16:28 CEST   
Sastre blasts!

16:29 CEST   
Evans is out the back door. Sastre is marked by Menchov.

16:30 CEST   
Menchov and Sastre have moved forward on their won thanks to the blast by Sastre. They pass 42" after Cunego.

16:34 CEST    184km/17.4km to go
Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is chasing solo on this decent. He is going at 75km/h in an effort to close on Manuel Beltrán (Liquigas). He will go for the stage and for time in the GC.

16:35 CEST   
Daniel Moreno (Relax-GAM) is also there with Menchov, Evans, Efimkin, Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Carlos Barredo (Quick.Step - Innergetic), ...

16:37 CEST    189.4km/12km to go
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) has disappeared! Manuel Beltrán (Liquigas) now leads the race at 12 kilometres to go.

Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has caught 'Kid Cunego' on the descent.

16:39 CEST    192.4km/9km to go
Manuel Beltrán (Liquigas) has seven seconds on Cunego and Sánchez.

16:39 CEST   
The two Spaniards and Cunego will likely fight out for the stage win. The GC group of Menchov is back at 45 seconds.

16:41 CEST    194.4km/7km to go
Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) closes on Manuel Beltrán (Liquigas) but without Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital).

The two are together at seven kilometres to go.

16:41 CEST   
The group of Menchov is at 40"

16:42 CEST   
This could be touch-and-go for the two Spaniards.

16:43 CEST    196.4km/5km to go
They have 18" on Cunego. 'Samu' is driving the duo. He pulls off at five km to go...

16:44 CEST   
The duo passes through a tunnel. The stage will be won from one of the two, perhaps Cunego could catch!

16:45 CEST    198.4km/3km to go
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) is looking back. He is tiring.

16:46 CEST   
The front duo has 30 seconds.

16:46 CEST   
Sánchez leads Beltrán. The two are both gifted riders, but 'Samu' has a better sprint than Beltrán.

16:47 CEST    199.4km/2km to go
Two kilometres to go for the two Spaniards. The GC group of Menchov, around 15 riders, is at 33 seconds back. It is a great move by Sam Sánchez.

16:48 CEST    200.4km/1km to go
Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) continues to lead with one kilometre to go.

16:48 CEST   
Beltrán comes through for a pull.

16:49 CEST   
Samu has greater interests because he wants time on his GC rivals.

16:49 CEST   
Samu leads the sprint...

16:49 CEST   
He takes it!

16:50 CEST   
He rocks the cradle as he crosses the line. Samu is a new dad.

Barredo finishes in third, over Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

16:51 CEST   
Samu charged down the right with 200 metres to go. Beltrán did not stand a chance.

16:54 CEST   
Ezequiel Mosquera did finish the race! He did not abandon as we reported.

16:56 CEST   
Thanks for joining us today for the stage. It was an exciting day of racing. Please re-join us on Tuesday, after the second rest day.


Provisional results

1 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
2 Manuel Beltrán (Spa) Liquigas
3 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quick.Step - Innergetic
4 Igor Antón (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
5 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Relax-GAM
6 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
7 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
10 Luis Pérez Rodriguez (Spa) Andalucia-Cayasur
11 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC
12 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Karpin-Galicia
13 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Discovery Channel
14 Stéphane Goubert (Fra) Ag2r Prévoyance
15 David López García (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
16 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne
17 Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team CSC

General classification after stage 15

1 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC

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