Well, at least Denis Menchov now knows what it feels like to pull on the final maillot oro in the Vuelta, on the podium in Madrid. Robbed two years ago by Roberto Heras and his bout of ‘alphabet soup’ doping confusion (“Honest … it’s not EPO”), Menchov completed his fairly imperious victory in La Vuelta 2007.
Twenty kilometers of flat road could decide the final podium places of this year's La Vuelta a Espaсa. Menchov should be safe, the men that to be worried will be Carlos Sastre and Cadel Evans, their podium places are in danger and that man Samuel Sanchez is after glory, again!
Euskaltel's Sammy Sanchez took off in the final meters of the day's toughest climb to score a super stage win on this Vuelta's final mountain stage, while Rabo's Denis Menchov rode like a deserving winner - forcing Sastre to do the work and offering no paycheck for the self-flogged CSC rider's efforts.
As it becomes increasingly likely that Rabobank's 'Russian Emperor', Denis Menchov will be crowned in Madrid on Sunday, the lesser knights continue to joust for lesser, but still desirable trophies. In the thick of the action yet again, is our champion, Magnus Backstedt.
Sometimes the pro peloton throws one of the older dogs the occasional bone, but today was no present. For a guy riding in his final Vuelta after a long career, it was a win earned the hard way and the smart way on a fascinating stage where lots of teams had work to do.
The string of successful breaks ended today, and we jumped back into the usual fare of the two-up break (made up of two Wild Cards) that goes far, but not quite far enough. Lampre had bunch sprint on the mind, and that is what they got. It's a good thing too, because Benna had the legs and then some to take his second stage win of the 2007 Vuelta.
On tap in today’s stage of the 2007 Vuelta, we had a 161 km roller fest. Not easy, but nothing like La Covadonga, either. But, with 6 days left until Madrid it would stand to reason it would be an opportunist’s stage, and there would be truth to that! The tiny Colombian Leonardo Duque of the Cofidis squad would take top honors after a LONG day out front. It wasn’t all textbook though, read on!
Twelve months ago, Alejandro Valverde had the race lead torn from his grasp on the descent of the final climb of today’s stage. That meant that anyone with podium aspirations had to concentrate and anticipate all eventualities for 2007’s visit to the Monachil climb. Ahead of another rest day, the peloton didn’t let us down with a humdinger of a race.
The Discovery Channel team is down to four riders, it’s not been a bad La Vuelta ’07 for the team, Devolder’s stage win and short day in yellow, and things got even better today, as Jason McCartney scores solo stage win on a hard day in Spain.