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2010 Vuelta a España – Stage 16 News and Updates

| by Sports Nickel
Stage 16 - Gijón to Cotobello – 181.4 km (112.5 mi)

Monday/13 September 2010

 

With Igor Anton gone, it almost seemed inevitable that Joaquin Rodriguez would eventually take over the race lead prior to the time trial coming out of the rest day. But after marking Vincenzo Nibali on the previous stage, there was only one opportunity left to shave away that minimal four-second deficit and reclaim the leader’s jersey — which he’d worn for a day earlier in the week, following his time bonus in the intermediate sprint on Stage 10 that ended his deadlock with Anton in the GC at that point – before Peñafiel yielded its race against the clock.

And so it was that he danced on the pedals as the road ascended the Alto de Cotobello, the Vuelta sending the riders up the third consecutive mountaintop finish of the race before that one day of respite. He wouldn’t be the winner of the day’s stage… that honor fell instead to Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Mikel Nieve, who brought the team that had lost its best shot at the general classification when they lost Anton and Martinez to their crash-related injuries at least a prestigious stage victory to celebrate. It would be the best consolation possible, the 26-year-old climbing specialist getting the first Vuelta stage win of his burgeoning career in his third season as a pro and staying a minute clear of the fast-charging Frank Schleck.

Schleck, too, had a great stage, finding that extra gear in the mountains that had been largely missing up to this point of the race. Sure, it was tough not having his brother Andy over the past week as the roads started ramping upward. But even had the younger Schleck not been sent home along with Stuart O’Grady for staying out longer than team director Bjarne Riis would’ve liked, Frank was simply in no position to attack the other contenders up until this stage. It was a shrewd move, one that he had hoped would also yield a stage victory but ultimately just ran out of road for the catch. He would cross the line second, just over a minute back, taking time out of every GC contender ahead of him in the process and vaulting himself into fourth in the overall standings. The tactic put him in prime position to vault his way onto the podium in the final week.

It was Rodriguez, though, who gained the most from the moves. Only Quick Step’s Kevin De Weert, a former Belgian national junior time-trial champion, separated Rodriguez from Schleck on the road. The Spaniard would cross the line 1:22 after Nieve’s winning time, losing just 16 seconds to Saxo Bank’s leader in the process and putting more time into his rivals. Vincenzo Nibali, riding in the red jersey, ceded 37 seconds and the lead with a 10th place on the day. Ezequiel Mosquera remained in third place but dropped 18 more seconds to Rodriguez to finish the day 53 seconds behind on GC. Schleck, in fourth, was still 2:16 out of the lead. And then there’s really no one else who is in a spot to challenge for the title in Madrid – every other rider is at least three minutes off the pace.

Of course, with a 46-kilometer moment of truth looming less than 48 hours later, everything is still up in the air. There is still ample time for some huge time gaps to open up and render this race’s results a little more conclusive. We’ll just have to see what happens during the final five stages. And it may still stand that Rodriguez didn’t attack enough in the mountains; he is the weakest amongst the GC contenders in the time-trial discipline. So Rodriguez won the day, but he still has a long way to go before he can claim the jersey as anything more than a temporary loan… 

STAGE 15 RESULTS

1 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 4:51:59  
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:01:06  
3 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick Step 0:01:08  
4 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:22  
5 Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:01:32  
6 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:01:40  
7 David Garcia Dapena (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:01:42  
8 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:01:44  
9 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:01:50  
10 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:01:59

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 70:24:39  
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:33  
3 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:00:53  
4 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:02:16  
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:03:01  
6 Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia 0:04:27  
7 Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Transitions 0:04:29  
8 Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:04:43  
9 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:04:53  
10 David Garcia Dapena (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:06:23

POINTS CLASSIFICATION

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC-Columbia 111 pts
2 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 93  
3 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions 90  
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 88  
5 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne 72  
6 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 72  
7 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 68  
8 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo Test Team 57  
9 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 53  
10 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 53

KING OF THE MOUNTAINS

1 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne 48 pts
2 Serafin Martinez (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 38  
3 Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 25  
4 Gonzalo Rabunal (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 25  
5 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 21  
6 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 19  
7 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 16  
8 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quick Step 15  
9 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram 14  
10 Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 11

TEAM CLASSIFICATION

1 Team Katusha 210:59:44  
2 Caisse d’Epargne 0:01:33  
3 Xacobeo Galicia 0:11:18  
4 Cervelo Test Team 0:20:36  
5 AG2R – La Mondiale 0:28:37  
6 Liquigas – Doimo 0:47:51  
7 Omega Pharma – Lotto 0:50:48  
8 FDJ 1:02:10  
9 Team HTC – Columbia 1:03:30  
10 Euskaltel – Euskadi 1:04:36

2010 Vuelta a España – Stage 16 News and Notes is a post originally from: SportsNickel.com - In Sports We Trust

 

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