Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the sixth and final stage in
the 47th Tour of the Basque Country. Quite paradoxically the winner of
such a Mountain Men Festival, with epic rides featuring about half a
dozen climbs basically going every day, will be determined by a short
and predominantly flat effort, an ITT of 14 kilometres whose
start/finish line is located at Oyartzun town. And after so much going
up and down the tough and rough hills of Euzkadi and Navarra, the top
two players in the closing act are separated by just one mere, little,
Also strange is the fact that neither of the two guys
figured amongst the main suspects to take the win - and perhaps even hit
the eventual podium - in pre-race predictions by many pundits. But it's
the road that has the last word in the end, and the road told us that
Juan José Cobo and Angel Vicioso have got many a good chances to score
one of the greatest victories (if not the greatest) of their
respective careers today. Sam Sanchez, trailing the GC leader by 01'20"
as well as Koldo Gil, sitting in fourth place 01 minute and 53 seconds
behind his yellow-jerseyed team-mate Cobo, also may have something to
say however. And don't write off some surprise from guys like Joaquin
Neither Cobo nor Vicioso can be regarded to as ITT specialists these
days, but both guys are not that bad when it comes to racing against the
clock either. Vicioso perhaps showed better skills in this sense when in
the professional ranks, but Cobo was a good TTist in younger classes,
such that he even clinched one Spanish national title in the so-called
"race of the truth", and took fourth at the European Championships.
Moreover, he is confident that the (small) uphill section and the
following descent in today's final leg may play into his hands. And the
"red bird" team manager Jozean Matxin also sounded confident that his
J.J. pupil may bring home the overall title, a few weeks after he
climbed the eventual podium at the Tour of Castilla and León.
Samuel Sánchez came close to compete for stage victory and take the
yellow jersey on Friday, but he bonked in the last few kilometres of the
stage and basically lost all of his chances to give the Euskaltel
aficionados an overall victory to celebrate on their home roads.
Nevertheless Sam sounded well-determined to go for the line honours
today, and give the final podium some orange flavour.
1455 CEST - The first rider to
start his last effort in this 47th edition of the race is going to be
Sebastian Schwager (Ger - Team Milram). Julien Mazet (Fra - Astana) and
the South African Ian McLeod (Française des Jeux) will follow. The
Aussie Scott Davis is going to be the sixth one to take the start line
1520 CEST - Sebastien Schwager is
off and running, and so are many more athletes. The first thirty riders
are sent away at one minute intervals, but starting with rider #31 such
"gap" is going up to two minutes.
1515 CEST - First time updates
coming: Julien Mazet of France has set the best time (13'55") at the
mid-stage check, with Vicente Ballester (Fuerteventura-Canarias) in
second at 08".
1530 CEST - The first few riders
have managed to cross the line already. The best time at the finish so
far belongs to Axel Merckx (Bel - T-Mobile); the son of the best bike
racer of all time covered the route in 23 minutes and 12 seconds. Mazet
finished the race in a decent 23'54".
1535 CEST - The last four riders
at the start line (aka the top four guys on the GC) are set to be Koldo
Gil (starting at 05:34 PM), Samuel Sánchez (05:36 PM), Angel Vicioso
(05:38 PM) and Juan José Cobo as the very final starter at 05:40 PM CEST.
Aitor Hernández (Euskaltel) clocked a good 13'10" at the halfway point
1550 CEST - Aitor Hernández (Spa
- Euskaltel-Euskadi) made it to the finish and demolished all previous
times: the Basque covered the parcours in 22 minutes and 31 seconds.
He's firmly in the lead now; but how long will the man prove able to
stay atop the stage classification?
1555 CEST - Mads Kaggestad of
Norway and the Crédit Agricole team got to the halfway point of the
stage and set a decent time, losing to flying Aitor only by 33 seconds.
David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval-Prodir) had a similar time at the
halfway point check, but his time at the finish was worse than Mazet's
by two seconds (and Aitor's by 01'25").
1610 CEST - With Rubén Pérez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
now in the saddle, half of the peloton have started their last challenge
already. Amongst them was also Thursday's stage winner Jens Voigt, who
set the second best time at the halfway point check, doing worse than
current leader Aitor Hernández by 20 seconds. Next at the start line is
Dimitri Fofonov of Kazakhstan.
1620 CEST - Voigt finished the
race and set the seocnd best time, 35" behind Aittor hernández. But he
was kicked down to spot number three as Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe -
Unibet.com) also crossed the line. The Swede finished 22" down on the
current leader in the stage. Angel Vallejo (Relax-Gam) set a better time
than Larsson's at the halfway point check. No rider is looking like a
real threat to Aitor's supremacy though; well, thus far of course, we
all know that things are likely to take a different turn once the top
players get their legs going.
1635 CEST - Aitor Hernández
maintains the lead in the stage, with another skilled ITT specialist
such as Gustav Erik Larsson having the second best time at the finishing
line. Even if it's not raining at the moment, the skies over the race
are cloudy, and the roads quite wet and slippery. The top overall
contenders are going to take the start line in about one hour anyway.
1640 CEST - Egoi Martínez of
Discovery started his own battle against the clock about five mins ago,
and is currently struggling on an uphill section. In the meantime
Angel Vallejo made it to the finishing line, but he lost many a good
seconds in half two of the stage; the Spaniard set the fourth time only,
44 seconds down on Aitor Hernández, and 22" down on Larsson the Swede.
Axel Merckx DID NOT establish the best time early into the stage, sorry;
in fact the Belgian clocked a not so good 24'44".
1645 CEST - Patxi Vila of Lampre
was the last rider to take the start about one minute ago. Bobby Julich
(23'23") has the sixth best time at the finish for the moment. Tschopp
of Bouygues Telecom comes in with the 21st time at the finish so far.
Sorry, in fact Bobby Julich has got the fifth best time thus far,
beating Paco Mancebo of Relax-Gam by four seconds.
1650 CEST - Discovery are
starting to have an impact on the stage: first it was Chechu Rubiera
that got to the halfway point and scored the second best time; but he
was down to spot number three soon later as Egoi Martínez demolished all
other previous records: the Basque scored a great 13'03" at the
mid-stage check, that was 7 seconds better than Aitor Hernández's time.
In the meantime also Tino Zaballa started his own ride against the
1655 CEST - Egoi Martinez is on
the way to the finish. We'll get to know his closing time in the space
of a couple mins. The 1978-born athlete from Etxarri (Basque Country of
Spain) showed some great TTing legs as he took second on the Tour of
Castilla prologue, won by Russia's Karpets, a few weeks ago.
1658 CEST - And now he takes the
(provisional) lead! Egoi crossed the line in a time of 22'23"7. That's
better than Aitor's by about 8 seconds! Speaking of Karpets, yesterday
in the Volta ao Alentejo in Portugal, the Russian rider of the team
Caisse d’Epargne, Vladimir Karpets, won second part of the third stage
of the Volta ao Alentejo, Salvada-Beja, an individual time trial of 12.5
kilometres. So once more both guys showcased their excellent condition.
The stage roads are getting less and less wet as the start time of
the top riders are getting closer.
1708 CEST - Iker Camaño set the
best time at the very first (unofficial) time check: 05'30", that was
about 02.16 km into the race. Alberto Contador is the next one at the
startline ... Ready,. Set, GO!
1711 CEST - Mikel Astarloza gets
to the 2.16 km check too. But his time is quite worse than Camaño's:
02'40". The Euskaltel rider now takes in the first, tricky downhill
1713 CEST - Five, four, three,
two, one ... and Cadel Evans is in the saddle too! Cadel is in 14th
place and just over 5 minutes down. Tino Zaballa of Caisse d'Epargne
makes it to the line, but just with the 19th time to date - 22'42".
1705 CEST - Iker Camaño lost some
significant time to Egoi on the way to the halfway stage check; the
Saunier Duval athlete had just the fourth time there, over seven secs
down on the Discovery TTing machine.
Hrvoje Miholjevic of Croatia (Liquigas) set the eighth time to the
finish. He's not going to be a factor in this stage (sorry, Liquigas
fans ...) Manolo "Triki" Beltran is underway too.
1720 CEST - 5k to go for
Astarloza. He's doing fine, but not as fine as Alberto Contador, who's
riding like a motorbike today. The Discovery man from Madrid is about to
make it to the halfway point of the stage, we're going to see his time
1721 CEST - Alberto Contador's
time is sensational, to say the least: it is 12'29" at the halfway point
check. He bettered Egoi's by over half a minute!
1723 CEST - Damiano Cunego is
underway too. (9. Cunego, Damiano Ita Lam @ 2:16 ) We tend to think the
Italian is not going to do better than Contador though ...
Iker Camaño got to the line at last. The Saunier Duval rider scored
22'43"3, that's the fourth time to the line thus far, 20 seconds down on
current leader at the finish Egoi Martinez. Aitor Hernandez and Tino
Zaballa sit in between Egoi and Iker.
1726 CEST - Alejandro Valverde
clocked 05'22" at the very first check, while Contador is going fast
also in the downhill section on the way to the finish. (10th Valverde,
Alejandro @ 2:24)
1728 CEST - Mikel Astarloza got
time number three at the finish: 22'37"8, that's 14 seconds worse than
Egoi's. And José Angel Gomez Marchante scored a good 12"37 at the
halfway stage check, that was the second best time so far at that point
of the stage. Egoi Martinez still has the best time amongst those who
crossed the line already, Aitor Hernandez and Mikel Astarloza folllow at
08 and 14 seconds respectively.
1730 CEST - Oscar Sevilla Set
time #9 at the finish. But here comes Contador ... and demolishes all
previous records! 21 minutes 38 seconds he clocked. It is 45 seconds
better than the time scored by teammate Egoi Martinez. 53 seconds better
than Aitor Hernandez's.
1732 CET - Toni Colom of Astana
has the seventh best time at the halfway point time check, 12 minutes
and 10 seconds.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ... Koldo Gil
kicked off his last challenge here! Koldo Gil is in 4th on the G.C. at
1:53. Just two riders to go: Vicioso and Cobo!
1734 CEST - Alejandro Valverde is
doing fine too: 12'46" at the halfway stage check. Just 17 seconds down
on Contador. Well, just two riders to go .... now that also Samuel
Sanchez has started his own ITT too!
1735 CEST - Cadel Evans scored
the third time at the finish: 22'31"4;: the Aussie's just behind the
Discovery duo of Contador and Martinez, but ahead of Aitor Hernandez.
1737 CET - Wow ! Angel Gomez
Marchante smashed all previous times to the line. But Contador's of
course - He clocked 22'17", and sits 39 secs down on Contador.
Franck Schleck not much of a factor in the stage, his time being seventh
at the half stage check: 13 minutes and 07 seconds he set!
1739 CEST -
Vicioso and Cobo are also in the saddle now. We DO have a race,
Davide Rebellin comes to the halfway point, and scores a good fifth
1741 CEST - Angel Vicioso looks
like he's struggling A LOT in the first uphill section of the race.
That's good news for the red bird team. Manolo Beltran takes 32nd time
at the finish.
1742 CEST - Vicioso gets to the
very first check (km. 2 and something): his time is NOT that bad anyway:
05'17", that's the third best time at this early point, he lost nine
seconds to Contador. Cobo is the only rider that still has to get there.
Alejandro Valverde sets the second best time at the line: 21'58". that's
20 secs worse than Contador's, but better than Gomez Marchante, whom he
kicked down to spot number three.
1744 CEST - Lampre Times in
Spain: Cunego BEAT VALVERDE! His time was 21'50"9. WOW! And Valjavec has
the sixth time so far at the halfway point: 12'50"8.
So, it's Alberto Contador currently atop the stage ranking, leading
Damiano Cunego by 17 seconds with Alejandro Valverde in third place a
further three seconds back.
1748 CEST - Angel Vicioso is
nearing the halfway point check. But first comes Samuel Sanchez, that
clocked the second best time there: 12'35"9.
1750 CEST - Vicioso set time
number six at the half stage check: 12'46"8. And Davide Rebellin has the
sixth best time thus far at the finish: 22'23"8
Juan José Cobo is flyyyiiinggg!!
HE JUST GOT TO THE TIME CHECK and clocked a great 12'33". He leads
Vicioso by 13 seconds now!
1752 CEST - Tadej Valjavec of
Lampre got to the the line too. His time (22'32") was faaaaaar from
Contador's. And so was his placing: the Slovene is just ninth, and would
be likely thrown out of the top spots as soon as more riders complete
1755 CEST - Cobo extended his
stage advantage over Vicioso to 20 seconds. The overall gap is just one
second bigger of course.
1756 CEST - Kold Gil is putting
an end to a poor performance: he crossed the line in a time of 23'28"7 ,
that's the 27th time. That turned 28th as SAMUEL SANCHEZ CROSSED THE
LINE WITH THE BEST TIME: 21'36"2. Sam stole the stage lead from Contador!
Vicioso finishes 40 behind Samuel Sánchez in 22'16"4
Juanjo Cobo moving very fast finishes in 21'40"2 for third in the
stage and excellent defense of his leaders jersey and the win of the
47th Tour of the Basque Country!!!
Damiano Cunego moves up to 4th on the G.C. with Alejandro Valverde
making the jump to 5th. Davide Rebellin rides an excellent and
consistent effort to finish sixth in the overall.
Top Ten Stage 6
1. 151 SÁNCHEZ, Samuel ESP EUS 21:36
2. 41 CONTADOR, Alberto ESP DSC 2
3. 4 COBO, Juan José ESP SDV 4
4. 51 CUNEGO, Damiano ITA LAM 14
5. 21 VALVERDE, Alejandro ESP GCE 22
6. 204 VICIOSO, Ángel ESP REG 40
7. 1 GÓMEZ MARCHANTE, J. Angel ESP SDV 41
8. 42 MARTINEZ, Egoi ESP DSC 47
9. 61 REBELLIN, Davide ITA GST 47
10. 141 EVANS, Cadel AUS PRL 55
General Classification Final
1. 4 COBO, Juan José ESP SDV 21:56:38
2. 204 VICIOSO, Ángel ESP REG 37
3. 151 SÁNCHEZ, Samuel ESP EUS 1:16
4. 51 CUNEGO, Damiano ITA LAM 2:26
5. 21 VALVERDE, Alejandro ESP GCE 2:42
6. 61 REBELLIN, Davide ITA GST 2:50
7. 55 VALJAVEC, Tadej SLO LAM 2:57
8. 13 SCHLECK, Frank LUX CSC 3:13
9. 22 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin ESP GCE 3:21
10. 3 GIL, Koldo ESP SDV 3:41
47th Vuelta al Pais Vasco - Stage Five Results
Vuelta al Pais Vasco - Stage Five Live Coverage
Vuelta al Pais Vasco - Stage Four Results
Vuelta al Pais Vasco - Stage Four Live Coverage
Vuelta al Pais Vasco - Stage Three Results
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Vuelta al Pais Vasco - Stage Two Results
Vuelta al Pais Vasco - Stage Two Live Coverage
Vuelta al Pais Vasco - Stage One
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