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2010 Vuelta a España: Stage 5 News and Notes

| by Sports Nickel
Stage 5 – Guadix to Lorca – 198.8 km (123.3 mi)

Wednesday/01 September 2010

 

There were no real climbs to deter the sprinters on this Stage 5 run across the interior, and thus it was easy pickings for the sprinters to contest the finish on the pancake-flat final kilometers in the walled city of Lorca. The past two days had left the traditional speedsters gasping as the ramps cranked up to grades in excess of 20%. Even the best of the world’s climbers have a hard time at that steep a grade; imagine, then, how a guy like Mark Cavendish felt on the last few kilometers as he coasted in with the gruppetto many minutes behind the winners.

It was a day where GC leader Philippe Gilbert, after muscling his way to the stage victory and the red jersey on Monday and keeping grip on it Tuesday despite a second straight leg-busting uphill finish, could finally sit back in the pack with his Omega Pharma-Lotto teammates and preserve his strength and his jersey. And with absolutely no categorized climbs on the stage, Serafin Martinez (Xacobeo Galicia) didn’t have to worry about hitting any summits and could likewise sit back and relax.

Instead it was Cavendish’s prime chance to capture his first individual stage victory of his career at the Vuelta. He was forced to freelance his way to the finish line, though, as his lead-out man Matthew Goss lost contact in the final five kilometers and left the Manxman on his own. It would be a recipe for disaster, as Cavendish opened up his sprint with half a kilometer still left to race. It would prove about 200m too early, as the Columbia sprinter could only watch as Tyler Farrar and Koldo Fernandez skirted past him in the final meters to steal away the victory and relegate the Briton to third.

It was a wonderful finish for the young American, who has been recuperating from the fractured wrist that forced him to withdraw from this summer’s Tour de France. Returning to peak form at the Vattenfall Cyclassics, where Farrar defended his championship in the one-day ProTour stop, he followed things up by taking second at the GP Ouest-France as well prior to the start of the Vuelta. The Garmin man has been the fastest man on his bicycle as of late, eclipsing pretty much everyone when the conditions are equal. His Stage 5 victory was another rare head-to-head win over Cavendish, as the two young sprinters further develop their budding rivalry and promise to keep points-jersey competitions from the Giro to the Vuelta seat-of-your-pants interesting.

Contrast that with a guy like Alessandro Petacchi. Coming off his first-ever capture of the green jersey at the Tour de France, Petacchi came to Spain to get some more race miles in his legs ahead of the UCI World Championships. It’s a traditional route for a sprinter, but usually they come in near-peak condition. Petacchi seems a step or two off his game at just the wrong time. His Lampre lead-out train did everything perfect for him into Lorca, yet all he could muster was fifth on the stage. Losing to Cavendish and Farrar is one thing; allowing Fernandez and Wouter Weylandt to pass you is entirely another, especially when your name is Alessandro Petacchi. The Ale-Jet might have miscalculated in coming to Spain.

But then, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve prematurely written off an athlete. Just look at how Cavendish was ridiculed during the first week of the Tour de France after it was Petacchi and not he that claimed the first two sprint victories. Everyone was scrambling for the answer as to why the Manxman was unable to find his final gear in the sprints. And then Cavendish, finally warmed up, came right out and ultimately earned the most stage victories of any one rider in the 2010 event. So while things look great for Farrar right now, tables have been known to turn.

And besides… there’s no guarantee you’ll see any of these guys in the final week of the race. With the world championships looming in Melbourne, Australia, riders will likely be extricating themselves from the peloton in order to get Down Under and begin training on the world’s course down there. Now it’s just an arms race to see who can walk away with the most stages and reach Australian soil with the best possible form…

STAGE 5 RESULTS

1 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions 5:03:36  
2 Koldo Fernandez De Larrea (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
3 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC-Columbia    
4 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step    
5 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
6 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) FDJ    
7 Robert Förster (Ger) Team Milram    
8 Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Team Katusha    
9 Theo Bos (Ned) Cervélo Test Team    
10 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 19:00:06  
2 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:10  
3 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha    
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:12  
5 Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia 0:00:16  
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) Team HTC-Columbia 0:00:29  
7 Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:00:49  
8 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:50  
9 Ruben Plaza (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:00:54  
10 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:00:55  

POINTS CLASSIFICATION

1 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 41 pts
2 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions 41  
3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 37  
4 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC-Columbia 36  
5 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 34  
6 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 34  
7 Koldo Fernandez De Larrea (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 30  
8 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ 29  
9 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 26  
10 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 18  

KING OF THE MOUNTAINS

1 Serafin Martinez (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 13 pts
2 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step 8  
3 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne 6  
4 Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 5  
5 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram 5  
6 Egoï Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 5  
7 Sergio Carrasco (Spa) Andalucia-Cajasur 5  
8 Mickael Delage (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto 3  
9 Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 3  
10 Mikael Cherel (Fra) FDJ 2  

TEAM CLASSIFICATION

1 Caisse D’Epargne 56:34:12  
2 Team Katusha 0:01:05  
3 Omega Pharma – Lotto 0:01:18  
4 Team HTC – Columbia 0:01:48  
5 Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:02:56  
6 Cervelo Test Team 0:04:36  
7 Liquigas – Doimo 0:04:50  
8 AG2R – La Mondiale 0:07:19  
9 Xacobeo Galicia 0:08:15  
10 Lampre – Farese Vini 0:08:32  


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