Vuelta Stage 10: No Rest-Day Until Tomorrow!
It could have been a slow day to day, mostly downhill, one 3rd. cat climb 56 kilometers from the end and three sprints in the 194 kilometer stage from Andorra to Sabadell. Tomorrow is a rest day, and after yesterdays excitement no one could blame the riders if they took it easy to day, but no, it was all go again.
172 riders signed on this morning in mild temperatures in Andorra. Angel Casero (Bianchi) commented that he has a slight knee injury that is causing a little problem, yesterday’s winner, Alejandro Valverde (Kelme), said “yesterday was the happiest day of his life as a professional cyclist”. The leader, Isidro Nozal (ONCE), said he was very tired, but his rivals are tired too. U.S. Postal’s Roberto Heras commented that he expected to close the gap yesterday and to day the speed will be high, especially at the start as its all downhill.
The start looked like it was going to be a day for the little teams as Relax and Paternina moved to the front early for the action, after many attempts to escape the first proper break get a small lead at 30 kilometers including our old mate Michael Barry (U.S. Postal) along with Toni Tauler (Kelme) and Bekim Christensen (CSC). They were caught just before the first sprint at Cerdanya as a group of 16 got a gap of 11 seconds including to day’s favorite, Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), who proceeded to win the sprint.
Things settled down to an average speed of 49.2 k.p.h. Then at 70 kilometers a group of 8 managed a gap of 50 seconds, which they stretch to 3 minutes 9 seconds by the123 kilometer mark, but by this time there are only 6 left, they are: Jeker (Milaneza), Moreni (Alessio), Gorka Gonzбlez (Euskaltel), Mercado (ibanesto.com), Guidi (Bianchi) and the much improved Oscar Sevilla (Kelme).
After the climb of the Alto de Calders the time gap shortens until they are pulled back in time for the sprint in Castellterзol, won by Kroon (Rabobank) from Petacchi. ONCE and Fassa Bortolo were controlling the peloton as there were many attacks to avoid a bunch gallop.
With 10 kilometers to the line in Sabadell it was all together, a few moves went off the front, but when Luis Pйrez (Cofidis) tries to get away, U.S. Postal shut him down and it’s all together for the Petacchi sprint, all looked well until he ran out of steam a few meters from the line and the old man, Erik Zabel (Telekom) came round him. A great win, the only more interesting thing to see was the interview, Spanish commentator didn’t speak German and Zabel’s Spanish was minimal.
Overall no change.
Stage 10 Result:
1єZABEL, Erik GER TEL 4:10:51
2єPETACCHI, Alessandro ITA FAS same time.
3єGUIDI, Fabrizio ITA TBI same time.
4єRODRIGUEZ, Fred USA VIN same time.
5єBOONEN, Tom BEL QSD same time.
6єVALVERDE, Alejandro ESP KEL same time.
7єEDO, Angel ESP MIL same time.
8єTORRENT, Carlos ESP ALM same time.
9єUSOV, Alexandre BLR PHO same time.
10єPEREIRO, Oscar ESP PHO at 3 secs.
Overall After Stage 10:
1єNOZAL, Isidro ESP ONE 33:57:41
2єGLEZ. GALDEANO, Igor ESP ONE at 1:48
3єBELTRAN, Manuel ESP USP at 2:01
4єFRIGO, Dario ITA FAS at 3:05
5єHERAS, Roberto ESP USP at 3:28
6єMANCEBO, Francisco ESP BAN at 3:40
7єVALVERDE, Alejandro ESP KEL at 3:57
8єGONZALEZ, Aitor ESP FAS at 4:00
9єRASMUSSEN, Michael DEN RAB at 4:04
10єOSA, Unai ESP BAN at 4:14