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2010 Vuelta a España – Stage 12 News and Notes

| by Sports Nickel
Stage 12 – Andorra la Vella to Lleida – 172.5 km (107.0 mi)

Thursday/09 September 2010 


It is funny to think about just how tough it has been for Mark Cavendish to win his first career Vuelta stage this year. After taking the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France by storm the past few years, the wins were supposed to flow like wine for him as the peloton traversed Spanish soil. But after watching Alessandro Petacchi and Tyler Farrar (and even Yauheni Hutarovich!) upstage him in the first half of the three-week tour, I was starting to wonder if the Manx Missile had overextended himself in coming to Spain.

Cavendish finally cracked the Vuelta curse, winning with enough time to zip up his jersey and celebrate like Usain Bolt to the finish line...

Of course, we’ve been in this very position before. In this year’s Tour, for instance, two straight Petacchi victories on Stages 2 and 3 coupled with zero Cavendish wins in the first week had everyone questioning his form. Of course, by the end of the race he had won four stages and broken the record for most career sprint victories in the event’s hundred-year history. Far from being discouraging, the near-misses seem to light a brighter fire under his saddle.

He has held the points leader’s jersey for large swaths of the race so far, riding consistently yet still lacking that decisive victory which was Cavendish’s real goal in coming to this year’s Vuelta. That finish-line glory had eluded him over the first week and a half of racing, leading to many of those questions from the Tour being rehashed two months later. But today everything conspired for Columbia to launch their young sprinting sensation to the line and allow him to break his streak of futility.

The stage started where it ended yesterday, in the Pyrenean principality of Andorra. The peloton — down another rider after Milram’s Roy Sentjens was sent home after test results discovered EPO in his system last night and he was suspended by his team — set out on a breezy afternoon and headed back down in elevation toward Catalonia. Gustavo Rodríguez and David García, two Xacobeo-Galicia riders, set the day’s early breakaway into motion soon after the neutral zone had passed. They were quickly joined by a half dozen others — Lars Bak (HTC-Columbia), Antonio Piedra (Andalucia-CajaSur), Markus Eichler (Milram), Biel Kadri (Ag2r), Perrig Quemeneur (BBox) and Marco Marzano (Lampre).

They would gain a maximum advantage of five minutes on the route, but a combination of nasty headwinds and the hard-charging field behind ultimately doomed the lead group’s chances of staying clear all the way to Lleida. Garmin and Quick Step led the chase, massing its riders at the front and reducing the gap steadily with each passing kilometer. The breakaway continued its futile fight valiantly if in vain, the winds and disparity in numbers dooming them to an eventual catch. With 23 km left in the stage, the breakaway succumbed to the pressures and was reintegrated into the pack.

As the remnants of the breakaway settled back into the main field, the Garmin squad led the peloton into Lleida hoping to set Tyler Farrar up for the stage win. But it was Columbia, setting up a textbook-perfect lead-out train for Cavendish, that got the well-timed jump in the final kilometer. Matthew Goss, last in line driving Cavendish to the line, pulled so hard and opened up such a gap that the British speedster was able to coast over the line for his inaugural Vuelta victory.

It was such a dominant finish, in fact, that it seemed destined to finish 1-2 for Columbia. But in the final few hundred meters, Farrar was able to recover from Garmin’s poor setup and surge in past Goss to take second. Still the lead-out man easily managed to take third on the day, presaging the inevitable showdown which is sure to come once again tomorrow. After a few days in the mountains, the sprinters’ time to shine has returned again — and now that he has a taste of Spanish success, who really wants to bet against Cavendish moving forward?

STAGE 12 RESULTS

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC-Columbia 4:00:30  
2 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions    
3 Matthew Goss (Aus) Team HTC-Columbia    
4 Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Team Katusha    
5 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo Test Team    
6 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank    
7 Allan Davis (Aus) Astana    
8 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step    
9 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) FDJ    
10 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

1 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 51:37:45  
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:45  
3 Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:01:04  
4 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:17  
5 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:01:29  
6 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Caisse d’Epargne 0:01:57  
7 Ruben Plaza (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:02:07  
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d’Epargne 0:02:13  
9 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:02:30  
10 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank  

POINTS CLASSIFICATION

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC-Columbia 85 pts
2 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions 76  
3 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 75  
4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 67  
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 54  
6 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne 53  
7 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 48  
8 Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Team Katusha 39  
9(t) Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo Test Team 37  
9(t) Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 37  
9(t) Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 37

KING OF THE MOUNTAINS

1 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne 41 pts
2 Serafin Martinez (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 36  
3 Gonzalo Rabunal (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 25  
4 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 15  
5 Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 11  
6 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) FDJ 10  
7 Oscar Pujol (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 10  
8 Johann Tschopp (Swi) BBOX Bouygues Telecom 10  
9 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 10  
10 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step 8  

TEAM CLASSIFICATION

1 Caisse d’Epargne 154:21:22  
2 Team Katusha 0:06:46  
3 Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:08:49  
4 Cervelo Test Team 0:10:46  
5 Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:12:50  
6 AG2R La Mondiale 0:13:51  
7 Xacobeo Galicia 0:15:06  
8 Liquigas-Doimo 0:25:27  
9 Astana 0:29:16  
10 Lampre-Farnese Vini 0:31:52

2010 Vuelta a España – Stage 12 News and Notes is a post originally from: SportsNickel.com - In Sports We Trust

 

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