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2010 Vuelta a España – Stage 18 News and Notes

| by Sports Nickel

Stage 18 – Valladolid to Salamanca – 148.9 km (92.3 mi)

Thursday/16 September 2010


2010 DNS 5 3
2009 3 6 DNS
2008 2 4 DNS
TOTAL 5 15 3

Tick, tock… three days remain in the Vuelta, and there are just three more opportunities for the leaders in the various classifications to try to fortify their lead or merely hold off the rest of their fellow competitors hot on their heels. Today’s ride from Valladolid to Salamanca set the sprinters of the peloton at center stage, leaving Vincenzo Nibali secure in his red GC leader’s jersey for at least one more day.

Of course, it didn’t help that his lead was shaved down by a second after race officials noted that he had jumped the gun heading down the starting ramp in yesterday’s time trial. Nibali is now just 38 seconds ahead of the current runner-up on the leaderboard, Ezequiel Mosquera, fighting to maintain his gap all the way to Madrid. For Mosquera, the veteran Spanish climber, his last chance to really steal away the title and keep the crown domestic will come on Saturday’s run up the Bola del Mundo; there’s no way that Xacobeo-Galicia would be able to snag back 38 seconds on the flatlands for their mountain goat, barring a catastrophic crash rendering another leader unable to continue. No one, not even Mosquera, would dream of the lead changing hands that way… so we wait for Saturday to see the final fight.

Instead it was the sprinters who played a cat-and-mouse game with the day’s breakaway, reeling them in and setting up a battle royale in Salamanca. After taking a while to heat up to form in his inaugural ride of the Vuelta, it was Mark Cavendish’s time to shine once again, his third stage victory bumping him up to 23 grand-tour stage victories in his career and bolstering his lead in the points race. On the largely flat stage, there was no uphills to give Serafin Martinez a chance to take away the King of the Mountains lead from David Moncoutie. The GC riders were content to leave the stage to the speedsters, tucking in safely five seconds behind the winning time. Nibali would finish 16th, right alongside yesterday’s time trial winner Peter Velits and Mosquera.

Mark Cavendish moved a stage closer toward winning his first career grand-tour points jersey by taking his 23rd career stage in Salamanca...

Of course, this all came after nearly 150 kilometers of riding.  A breakaway eight riders strong got up the road almost immediately after the neutral start through the city streets of Valladolid yielded way to the outskirts and the beginning of racing proper. Those riders — Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-Farnese Vini), Alberto Benítez (Footon-Servetto-Fuji), José Vicente Toribio and Juan Javier Estrada (Andalucia Cajasur), Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Dominik Roels (Milram), Alexandre Pichot (BBox Bouygues Telecom), and Olivier Kaisen (Omega Pharma-Lotto) — had a lead of around two minutes by the time merely twenty kilometers had passed in the stage. However, the gap wouldn’t grow any further as teams like Columbia and Garmin and Quick Step worked to keep the distance constant.

The gap started coming down once the race came into its last fifty kilometers, the peloton shaving down second after second from the leading octet. The breakaway started fracturing as their lead narrowed, several of the cyclists trying to get clear and try their luck on their own. But with less than 12 kilometers to the finish, the catch was finish and the sprinters’ teams moved to the front after the reintegration to set up their trunk-thighed speedsters for the finale. As they passed under the 10km-to-go banner, Philippe Gilbert did his damnedest to take a flyer on his own.

He would stay off the front for half that distance, pulled in just before the 5km flag. Garmin and Columbia hung back, allowing Liquigas and Quick Step and Omega Pharma-Lotto to drive the peloton at the front through the next few kilometers. Less than two miles from the finish, the two leading sprinters’ teams pulled themselves up to the front and started to set things up for Farrar and Cavendish. Matthew Goss was guiding his leader expertly toward the line, peeling off to let the Manx Missile unleash his lethal finishing kick with just a few hundred meters left to go. Quick Step blew up in the end, Wouter Weylandt able to finish just ninth. Instead it was Cavendish outkicking former American racing-scene stalwart Juan-Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) to the line, opening up a full second’s gap by the finish line to complete his trifecta of stages for this Vuelta. Of course, tomorrow and Sunday might just yield two more opportunities to pad those stats further, so watch out in the coming days to see if the Columbia sprint leader will be able to complete his second dozen of career stage victories after just three years of competing in grand tours…


1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC-Columbia 3:27:11  
2 Juan-Jose Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:01  
3 Manuel Cardoso (Por) Footon-Servetto    
4 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions    
5 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne    
6 Robert Förster (Ger) Team Milram    
7 Enrique Mata (Spa) Footon-Servetto    
8 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
9 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step    
10 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini    


1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 74:47:06  
2 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:00:38  
3 Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia 0:01:59  
4 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:03:43  
5 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:03:48  
6 Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team    
7 Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Transitions 0:03:58  
8 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:04:02  
9 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:04:16  
10 Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:05:42


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 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 53  
10 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 53


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  


1 Team Katusha 224:06:51  
2 Caisse D’Epargne 0:00:16  
3 Xacobeo Galicia 0:11:41  
4 Cervelo Test Team 0:19:32  
5 AG2R – La Mondiale 0:34:54  
6 Omega Pharma – Lotto 0:49:16  
7 Liquigas – Doimo 0:52:13  
8 Team HTC – Columbia 1:01:45  
9 FDJ 1:09:55  
10 Team Saxo Bank 1:11:19

2010 Vuelta a España – Stage 18 News and Notes is a post originally from: SportsNickel.com - In Sports We Trust


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