What's Cool In Road Cycling

Vuelta’07 St.8: Devolder “The Dominator”

Stage four to the Lagos de Cavadonga was the first “High Noon” for the riders in this year’s Vuelta and Vladimir Efimkin of Caisse D’Espargne came out on top. Today was the second “Shake ’em Up” stage and the 52.2 km ITT from D.O. Cariсena to Zaragoza revealed the big guns for the final two weeks…

The start is a celebration of the 75 years of the Denominaciуn de Origen of the grapes and wine of Cariсena, at the last crop they harvested 90 million kilos of grapes, that’s a lot of wine, mmmm.

The course is straight and flat, dropping from 560 meters to 210 meters above sea level, mostly on the beautifully smooth Autopista (motorway) with a couple of bends just before the finish, this should suit the strong TT specialists like Cadel Evans lookng to book his place on the podium, others will have to stay close to his time if they want to be still battling it out for the jersey later. What ever happens today will set things up for tomorrow’s mountain stage finishing at the ski station of Cerler – a flat TT followed by mountains, ouch! Then the good news, Monday the race goes to Andorra for more torture, the next three days are very, very important.

The Early Leaders
Our man Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas) tops the board for a little while, but was soon over taken by Laszlo Bodrogi (CA) and German TT Champ Bert Grabsch (T-Mobile). The big Swede told Ed Hood yesterday if he had good feeling in his legs he would go for it, so it looks like he has the form.

Cadel Evans – they say he is using a 55 tooth chain ring, it had to be borrowed from Caisse D’Epargne team, most riders are using a full disc rear and a deep section rimed wheel on the front, all are riding into a strong head/cross wind.

They Are All Away
All the riders have started and Evans looks smooth as does current leader, Efimkin. Sastre looks like he hasn’t got the power for this kind of course, but he is pushing a big gear for a mountain goat. At the first time check Grabsch is the fastest, but Dennis Menchov is flying only 9 seconds slower, gc leader Efimkin is 46 seconds back, Devolder (Discovery) and Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) are both trailing by 23 seconds, but its early days yet!

At the second time check at 27.7 kilometers, Grabsch is still fastest, Evans is at 1 minute 20 seconds and losing time on Devolder who has a minute on Evans, Menchov is catching Sastre, Efimkin is losing the overall lead to either Menchov or Devolder. Schumacher at 57 seconds and Karpets at 1:12.

The race is unfolding and it’s a battle between Menchov and Devolder, who are on the same time, who ever is the faster will take the Gold Jersey tonight, Evans will loose time today, but his climbing will bring him back into contention over the next few days (he hopes!).

After 40 kilometers it’s still Grabsch in the lead, Devolder and Menchov are slugging it out like a pair of match fighters, at the moment nothing else matters, which of the two will be in the lead by the finish? The Belgian has 13 seconds on the Russian and there is going to be a lot of gaps behind them between the other hopefuls.

At the Finish
Devolder comes in completely smashed, he gave it his all today and it shows, bent over his bike for a long time to recover, his efforts today should make him overall leader. Evans has lost 2 minutes 20 seconds to Grabsch and a minute and a half to Devolder, as has Karpets, Sastre is 4 minutes adrift, Menchov slowed to wards the end and lost 30 second to Devolder in 23 kilometers and Efimkin has lost the lead by two and a half minutes, the gauntlet has been thrown down now.

The overall looks more understandable now with Devloder the clear leader with Menchov second, Evans has not lost out completely as he is only 1:54 behind. Sastre has made things hard for himself.

Great ride from “Maggy” 5th, Monfort still at 5th overall and Boonen 20th in a TT??

Devolder says “I will remember Zaragoza with happy memories and especially receiving the jersey from my hero Indurain” who is his biggest rivals? “Menchov is the closest, but also there are some strong Spanish riders, Merchante and Sastre, I think Sastre is the one I’m worried about” and next? “If I can get through the next few hard days I hope to win overall.”

Bring it on!

Stage 8 Result:
1є GRABSCH, Bert GER TMO in 57:05
2є BODROGI, Laszlo HUN C.A at 34
3є DEVOLDER, Stijn BEL DSC at 48
4є MENCHOV, Denis RUS RAB at 1:18
5є BACKSTEDT, Magnus SWE LIQ at 1:37
6є SCHUMACHER, Stefan GER GST at 1:52
7є MCCARTNEY, Jason USA DSC at 1:55
8є POSTHUMA, Joost NED RAB at 2:01
9є CHAMPION, Dimitri FRA BTL at 2:15
10є GONZБLEZ, Santos ESP KGZ at 2:18
11є EVANS, Cadel AUS PRL at 2:20
12є KARPETS, Vladimir RUS GCE at 2:41
13є VAN GOOLEN, Jurgen BEL DSC at 2:50
14є MONFORT, Maxime BEL COF at 3:00
15є BARREDO, Carlos ESP QSI at 3:03
16є KRIVTSOV, Yuriy UKR A2R at 3:12
17є CHAVANEL, Sylvain FRA COF at 3:21
18є EFIMKIN, Vladimir RUS GCE at 3:22
19є SБNCHEZ, Samuel ESP EUS at 3:34
20є BOONEN, Tom BEL QSI at 3:36

Overall After Stage 8:
1є DEVOLDER, Stijn BEL DSC in 29:25:55
2є MENCHOV, Denis RUS RAB at 30
3є EFIMKIN, Vladimir RUS GCE at 1:28
4є EVANS, Cadel AUS PRL at 1:54
5є MONFORT, Maxime BEL COF at 2:12
6є CHAVANEL, Sylvain FRA COF at 3:00
7є SASTRE, Carlos ESP CSC at 3:15
8є BARREDO, Carlos ESP QSI at 3:41
9є KARPETS, Vladimir RUS GCE at 3:44
10є BERTAGNOLLI, Leonardo ITA LIQ at 4:03
11є SБNCHEZ, Samuel ESP EUS at 4:09
12є MOSQUERA, Ezequiel ESP KGZ at 4:15
13є VAN GOOLEN, Jurgen BEL DSC at 4:47
14є SCHUMACHER, Stefan GER GST at 4:56
15є PEREIRO, Уscar ESP GCE at 5:11
16є BELTRБN, Manuel ESP LIQ at 5:23
17є GУMEZ MARCHANTE, J. Бngel ESP SDV at 6:31
18є PIEPOLI, Leonardo ITA SDV at 6:36
19є ANTУN, Igor ESP EUS at 6:37
20є POSTHUMA, Joost NED RAB at 6:56

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