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2010 Vuelta a España – Stage 17 News and Notes

| by Sports Nickel
Stage 17 - Peñafiel TT - 46.0 km (28.5 mi)

Wednesday/15 September 2010

 

Well, that dream of winning the Vuelta a España didn’t last long for Joaquin Rodriguez. I mused in my last briefing that he may not have done enough in the mountains to secure his victory in the race given that the time trial was still to come… and verily it came to pass that Rodriguez would barely be clinging to top-five status by the time he’d completed the 46 kilometers around Peñafiel. The Spaniard would put his country’s hopes of completing its run of good form in the sports world — which continued on Monday with Rafael Nadal’s U.S. Open championship — in serious jeopardy after losing four minutes on the circular time-trial course. In his place jumped Vincenzo Nibali once again, taking right back the red jersey he’d lost before the rest day.

Ezequiel Mosquera held his position in the standings aptly, now 39 seconds out of the lead and the last best hope of Spain to keep their national tour’s crown on a domestic pate. The Xacobeo-Galicia rider was nowhere amongst the winners of the day’s stage, but in keeping himself marked right on Nibali’s tail in the general classification he has at least a puncher’s chance given the penultimate stage finish up the Bola del Mundo in Madrid. The two riders are now the class of the 2010 Vuelta, the remaining two riders with the last best chance at taking the title this Sunday.

Peter Velits knocked off all the usual suspects to win the Peñafiel TT and sneak onto the podium in third place overall...

But we were given our biggest revelatory showing of the 2010 Vuelta in this stage by the Slovak rider Peter Velits. The Columbia rider enjoyed better wind conditions than the later riders out on course, but there was no way to deny his superiority on the day regardless of the weather. The three-time junior national time-trial champion in Slovakia, Velits had first burst onto the scene two years ago in the Tour de France when he was part of the breakaway that stayed away until Alpe d’Huez — also coincidentally on Stage 17. This time, unlike on the slopes of the legendary Alpine climb, Velits was not caught by the finish. He sat in Peñafiel watching as one after another competitor failed to match or exceed his time; only three other riders would even come within a minute of his mark of 52:43 (an impressive pace of 52.4 kilometers/32.5 miles per hour over the flat course).

Denis Menchov, the two-time Vuelta champion in 2005 and 2007, came closest to Velits, stopping the clock just 12 seconds slower. World time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara, one of the strongest riders ever in the discipline, was a full 37 seconds off the pace. And Gustav Larsson, the time-trial silver medalist at both the Beijing Olympics and last year’s worlds, was 50 seconds behind Velits’ time. It was truly a masterful performance by the 25-year-old from Bratislava. With the form he’s shown and the ability to show up in big-pressure situations, he could be a candidate to unseat Cancellara as the rainbow jersey in the time trial next month in Australia. The Vuelta has definitely been a launch pad for other assaults on the worlds before, and Velits is coming on strong at just the right time in the racing calendar.

The real question, though, is whether Velits can keep his hold on his newfound podium position all the way to Madrid. If he can, he’ll become the first-ever Slovak to stand atop a grand-tour podium at the race’s finish. It’ll be tough, given that he has just 1:44 on Schleck and there is one more climbing stage left to go. But if he can hang with the other contenders on the steeps of the Bola del Mundo, he’ll write his own little piece of history. It could come down to which he values more, though, the podium or the rainbow. Neither is a guarantee, but if he pushes too hard for the former it might tax his fitness too much heading to Australia. Or he could surprise once again, snag both and really cement his place as a darkhorse in future events.

That’s the beauty of the sport. A relative unknown can spring up and become a titan at any given time — just look at how Alberto Contador came out of the obscurity of regional victories to win the Tour in 2007 with Discovery Channel. I’m not saying that Velits is going to be the next grand-tour dynamo, but he’s showing true glimpses of greatness in whichever direction he deigns to take it…

STAGE 17 RESULTS

1 Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia 0:52:43  
2 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:00:12  
3 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:37  
4 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:50  
5 Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:01:03  
6 Leif Hoste (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:01:07  
7 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Transitions 0:01:10  
8 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quick Step 0:01:14  
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:01:24  
10 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Transitions 0:01:27

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 71:19:49  
2 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:00:39  
3 Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia 0:02:00  
4 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:03:44  
5 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:03:45  
6 Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team    
7 Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Transitions 0:03:55  
8 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:04:03  
9 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:04:13  
10 Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:05:43

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 89  
5 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 75  
6 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne 72  
7 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 72  
8 Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia 68  
9(t) Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 53  
9(t) 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(t) Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 11  
10(t) Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 11  
10(t) Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 11

TEAM CLASSIFICATION

1 Team Katusha 213:44:51  
2 Caisse d’Epargne 0:00:20  
3 Xacobeo Galicia 0:11:45  
4 Cervelo Test Team 0:19:32  
5 AG2R La Mondiale 0:35:07  
6 Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:49:25  
7 Liquigas-Doimo 0:52:00  
8 Team HTC – Columbia 1:02:07  
9 Française Des Jeux 1:10:08  
10 Euskaltel – Euskadi 1:11:30

2010 Vuelta a España – Stage 17 News and Notes is a post originally from: SportsNickel.com - In Sports We Trust

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