63rd Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, August 30 - September 21, 2008
Results & report
Stage 10 - September 9: Sabiñánigo - Zaragoza, 151.3km
Complete live report
Live commentary by Hedwig Kröner
Live coverage starts: 15:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST
Holá and welcome back to the great
loop around Spain, the Vuelta a España. Today's stage from Sabiñánigo to Zaragoza
will see the riders on a relatively flat journey, save for the Alto de Monrepós,
a Cat. 2 climb to be mastered during the first part of the day. A breakaway
could get underway there, but some of the fast men's teams might be interested
to bring it back before the finish...
The peloton started out at
2pm in Sabiñánigo. At the moment, the riders are on their way up the climb,
after an earlier escape attempt made of Alessandro Ballan (Lampre), Manuel Quinziato
(Liquigas), Juan Manuel Garate (Quickstep), Yaroslav Popovych (Silence-Lotto),
Philippe Gilbert and Gianni Meersman (Francaise des Jeux), as well as Andriy
Grivko (Milram) was neutralized at the foot of the mountain.
are trying to get away one by one; we shall see if anyone succeeds. Team Cofidis
is currently in charge of the pace to consolidate David Moncoutié's lead in
the mountains classification.
A happy Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
with his precious baby at the start
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
15:09 CEST 35km/116.3km to go
The bunch has come
over the summit of the Alto de Monrepós. Juan Miguel Garate was the first on
the line, with Nikity Eskov (Tinkoff), David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Alessandro
Vanotti (Liquigas), Cyclingnews diarist Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) and
Walter Fernando Pedraza Morales (Tinkoff) following in that order. There is
light wind and a drizzle now, which will make the descent a bit tricky.
One rider managed to drive off the
front on the way down the climb: Matej Jurco from Team Milram. He already has
nearly one minute on the rest of the peloton.
The first hour of the race was ridden
at an average speed of 42,9 km/h.
Until now, we have a two abandons:
Anthony Geslin and Alexandre Pichot, both from Bouygues Telecom. Not a good
day for the French squad, it seems.
Fortunately, the rain has stopped
now. It is still a nice 26° Celsius today in northern Spain, and Matej Jurco
(Team Milram) seems to have gotten the lucky number. Euskaltel, who are protecting
Martinez' golden jersey, are letting him extend his advantage to two minutes.
The poor Slovakian is on his own,
though, and it's still a looong way to go to Expo town Zaragoza. What's more,
the weather is kind of unstable with more rain coming down on the riders now.
Jurco now has 3'20 over the bunch.
15:30 CEST 61km/90.3km to go
Jurco is driving
it hard and as he passes through Huesca, the gap has grown to 4'35.
One man to watch out for today is
definitely Tom Boonen (Quick Step). If all goes to plan, the stage will see
a bunch sprint finish, and the Belgian still needs another win over Daniele
Bennati (Liquigas) to equal the score with him at this race. Still, Boonen will
not risk everything for his second Vuelta stage win.
"We will see
how it goes," he told Cyclingnews' Bjorn Haake this morning at the start.
"I am still a little sore from my injuries. If there is not a big break today
we will try something. The most important thing now is to finish in one piece.
If there is a sprint in the upcoming stages I will try, but it is not the most
important thing. The Worlds are a big goal, that is why it is important not
Jurco's lead is up to six minutes.
The wind is now coming from the left hand side and has blown away those nasty
grey rain clouds for the moment.
After yesterday's medium mountain
stage, the GC lead went from Astana's Levi Leipheimer to Egoi Martinez from
team Euskaltel. Astana leaders Leipheimer and Alberto Contador are of course
still very much in contention for the overall victory, only 11 and 32 seconds
back respectively. Andreas Klöden of Astana offered his point of view from the
last stage in the Pyrenees to Cyclingnews this morning.
it was hard at the beginning, but afterwards it was OK," said the German. "Losing
the jersey? Yeah, playing a little tactics is never bad. There are still very
difficult stages. I hope we can win the Vuelta. After that we'll see. I don't
know yet what races I will do for the remainder of the season."
All is calm and smooth mid-way through
today's stage. Jurco has a considerable lead but it will be easy for sprinter's
teams Quickstep and Liquigas to reel him in again on the flat route down south
to Zaragoza, where the International Expo on water and sustainable development
is held this summer.
A short recap for all of those who
are just joining us: Today's stage had only one ranked climb and it was a tough
one. Not very steep, but a wide road and the lack of switchbacks made it mentally
harder to ride. With 11km it was fairly long, too. The peloton passed it complete
and Jurco, the race's current breakaway, escaped on the descent.
The "Elephant race" of the Cofidis
and Astana team buses was decided by the blue Astana machine without no problems,
reported Cyclingnews Bjorn Haake from the ground. The Astana bus went
out of the draft at the bottom of the climb, passed both the Cofidis team bus
and a team car and never looked back.
A construction zone at the
bottom of the descent left the surface rather rough, with several perpendicular
gaps in the road. That was a good spot to catch a flat tyre...
16:00 CEST 80km/71.3km to go
Jurco has passed
the intermediate sprint of Almudévar and has grabbed some food from his assistant
in the feed zone. The bunch will be getting to this point in approximately seven
Astana has now started to help out
Euskaltel in front of the bunch. The sky is still grey but it doesn't look like
Armstrong ready to face the media scrum
one more time around?
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
The Spanish media cornered Astana
manager Johan Bruyneel today, as everybody wanted to know about the Lance Armstrong
come-back rumours. Even in Spanish, Bruyneel said the same thing he told Cyclingnews
yesterday. "I was surprised as anybody when I heard that. He doesn't need to
prove anything to anybody, he is OK financially."
The Spaniards then
wanted to know if Bruyneel thought Armstrong could still be a factor in the
races. "I can't see that right now. He has been out of the sport for three years,
even though it is true that he has kept in shape and ran marathons."
What do you think? Will the Texan cowboy riding back into action? Read Cyclingnews'
The bunch rode at 44,8km/h during
the second hour of racing.
Matej Jurco, the Slovakian from Poprad,
is still almost seven minutes ahead of the peloton. His left cheek bears a big
band-aid but he powers on.
Jurco's lead is dropping slowly,
though, now a 'mere' 4'55 minutes.
Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) recapped
his glory days in yellow for Cyclingnews' Bjorn Haake before today's
stage. "I feel good, but I still feel my legs from the stage to Andorra. Yesterday
was a bit better. Today we hope for another break. I never had the leader's
jersey in a Grand Tour. It is something new for me, but it is a really nice
feeling. It was a great satisfaction to win the stage and take the jersey."
Liquigas riders are spotted at the
front of the bunch now, too. The field is a bit more strung out, a clear sign
that a certain pace is being put on to catch the Slovakian Road and Time Trial
Race leader Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
also talked to Cyclingnews' Bjorn Haake before the stage. "For me this
is like a dream. I never hoped to take the leader's jersey in the Vuelta. This
is a really great moment for me," he said, adding that he knew the precious
jersey would not last him until Madrid.
"The final overall result
is not important to me. I know I will lose several minutes in the Angliru. But
I am hoping to keep the jersey until the rest day [Friday - ed.]. It would be
really nice to leave the stage after the rest day with the yellow jersey."
Along with Liquigas, it's also Rabobank
and Gerolsteiner who are driving to bunch down to stage finish Zaragoza. They
have worked the breakaway's lead down to 3'35.
Sorry - contrary to what we have
reported, Bennati is not riding the Vuelta anymore! We were just informed that
the Italian abandoned the race this morning. Sorry about the confusion this
may have caused.
16:33 CEST 106.3km/45km to go
Jurco's lead is
dropping rapidly, under three minutes now.
It's still pretty warm here in Spain,
but there is always some rain in-between today. It was nicer just before the
start, but now it is well overcast.
Lone escapist Jurco is riding
just two minutes ahead of the Rabobank-led field now.
The Dutch team is pf course working
for triple World champion Oscar Freire, who still has to score at this year's
Vuelta. The Spaniard is sitting comfortably inside the bunch at the moment,
waiting for the finish.
16:49 CEST 122km/29.3km to go
Jurco is now riding
through the town of Zuera. Some spectators line up along the road. But the Slovakian
knows his game is soon over. The bunch is closing in, 58 seconds away now.
16:56 CEST 126.3km/25km to go
Rabobank and Euskaltel
are in charge of the bunch as they have taken out the pace a bit before catching
the breakaway rider. Freire is riding towards the end of the field, now being
dragged back to the a better position by a team-mate.
Matej Jurco marks stage 10
Photo ©: Jean-François Quénet
Another sprinter to watch out for
today's finish - except Boonen and Freire - is Erik Zabel (Milram), whom you
can never count out and who won last year's stage to Zaragoza. Danilo Napolitano
(Lampre), Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel) and Nicolas Roche (Crédit Agricole) are
also good bets.
José Antonio Lopez Gil from Andalucía-Cajasur
has bridged up to Jurco. But they only have a few seconds left over the bunch
with less than 17 kilometres to go.
20 seconds at the 15km-banner - a
sprint finish was programmed all along for today, and now it is happening. Riders
are getting into position as the fight for a good placing will begin soon.
They are on a motorway on the outskirts of Zaragoza now.
Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas) just
crashed. He's getting up now from the road but seems in shock... he's getting
his bike to continue.
17:14 CEST 141.3km/10km to go
Two French riders,
Yannick Talabardon (Crédit Agricole) and Mickael Delage (FDJ) have used the
moment to bridge up to the leaders. Further counter-attacks go. But the bunch
is watching, just a few hundred metres behind.
The Tour of Britain's stage 3 has
just finished. Emilien Berges (Agritubel) won the stage ahead of his team-mate
17:18 CEST 144.3km/7km to go
The peloton is strung
out single-file, with attackers going as soon as the pace comes down a bit -
but none succeed. A Cofidis and a Silence rider are taking turns trying to hold
the field together. The four breakaway riders are now caught.
17:19 CEST 146.3km/5km to go
World champ Paolo
Bettini is riding at the back end as it is getting nervous in front. They are
on long, straight and wide open roads. No chance of getting away.
A Liquigas rider is giving it all
at the front before Quickstep takes over. Boonen in fifth position, followed
by Milram with Zabel in tow and Napolitano.
17:23 CEST 149.3km/2km to go
They wind over a
huge roundabout. Crédit Agricole also works for Roche, but Quickstep is still
Flamme rouge. A Liquigas rider has
made up a small gap, but Milram is closing in.
The sprint lead-out disintegrates.
Boonen is trapped on the left. It's Sebastien Hinault (Crédit Agricole) who
AG2R's Lloyd Mondory takes second,
followed by Greg Van Avermaet (Silence). Freire fourth, Boonen fifth.
General classification is unchanged,
of course. Egoi Martinez will again start tomorrow's stage wearing gold.
Vanotti also just came in, shaking his head. But he made it.
us again tomorrow - same time, same place or almost. Until then, Hasta la vista!
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