Ruta Del Sol Stage 1: Freire The First Leader
Today, the first stage of the Vuelta a Andulucia or Ruta Del Sol, was enlivened by the lone break-away of Xavier Tondo (Paternina), but it all came together for a bunch sprint, first blood to Oscar Freire.
A 128 riders signed on to start this morning in Cordoba with 180 kilometres in-front of them and five hills to warm their legs up.
First escape of the day was at 14 kilometres by Xavier Tondo (Paternina), he took the first sprint at 38 kms. and had a lead of 13.02 minutes. Next was the climb of the Puerto de Pardo Gallego (2nd.cat.), he took that and the next two sprints and mountain climbs, behind Rabobank, Telekom and ONCE were all on the job of chasing him down
He was pulled in at 140 kilometres, that meant he had been away on his own for a 126 of them. Santi Blanco of Relax was showing how stupid ibanesto.com were in not keeping him on this year by being first over the next two hills.
At the entry of Cordoba, Rabobank were looking after the interests of Freire with Kelme doing their bit for Valverde, but the ex-world champ came off best with Zabel and Paolini pushing Valverde back to 4th. Young Tom Boonen did well in 5th. position.
Tomorrow is fairly flat, so maybe a bit of the same again?
Stage 1 Result and Overall:
1st. O.Freire (RAB) 4.46.29.
2nd. E.Zabel (TEL) same time.
3rd. L.Paolini (Quick) same time.
4th. A.Valverde (KEL) same time.
5th. T.Boonen (Quick) same time.
6th. D.Rebellin (GER) same time.