Say Arrivederci to the Giro as it’s almost Bonjour to Le Tour. We’ve got the latest on the ASO/UCI punch-up as well as the tune up events in Luxembourg and France. Stateside, it’s Philly and a full-up Nature Valley as well as Johan serving up some bedtime reading. It’s a global ET and it’s full today.
Vuelta A Espana 2006
The first time we rang Magnus on the Monday after the Vuelta finished, his manager, Martin McCrossan answered - the Big Guy was still asleep. I guess he's due a long-ly after all those kilometres around Espana. He was bright, breezy and on the ball next time we rang though.
So here we are, the last stage of the last Grand Tour of the year, an exciting Vuelta with a worthy winner in Alexandre Vinokourov of the Astana team, good news the team passed the medical tests yesterday morning, no age test for that old sprinter Zabel though!
Barring disaster or act of God, Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) will stand on top of the podium in Madrid tomorrow as winner of the 2006 Vuelta. The little Kazakh with the build of a boxer cemented his win in the grand style, taking his third stage win of the race in the stage 20 time trial over 27.5 kilometres from Rivas Futura to Rivas Vaciamadrid.
Forgetting the pains of the mountains behind them, today was a day of ‘piano’ for the big hitters and the majority of the peloton, but there was a skirmish up front for individual stage glory. When the dust settled, it was French team Ag2R's Josй Luis Arrieta celebrating the day.
Can the Grand Tours of 2006 be any more exciting? Today, the once impregnable fortress of Alejandro Valverde finally succumbed to the onslaught of the unbelievably aggressive Alexandre Vinokourov. Vino was a big winner, but none moreso than Tom Danielson who came good on heaps of expectations.
Well – about as close as you can get to it in Spain at least - . Today’s first lump in the final week’s triple scoop of mountains climbed to the summit finished at the planetary observatory of Cala Alto – and while Euskaltel’s Anton won the day, it was a gc slugfest not far behind him.
As the final week of the year's final Grand Tour begins, there's no rest for the weary. With 3 hard days ahead, this race is anywhere from over, and with Team Liquigas leader Danilo Di Luca still in the podium hunt, big Maggy Backstedt has his work cut out for him.
It’s the last rest day of the Vuelta06 giving the remaining 155 riders a chance to rest up, relax and have a siesta or two whilst preparing for the remaining 6 days. The rest day also gives us a chance to look back at the key moments of the Vuelta so far and to look ahead to the decisive stages still to come.