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62nd Vuelta a España - Stage 10 Live Coverage
 
By Staff
Date: 9/10/2007
62nd Vuelta a España - Stage 10 Live Coverage
 

62nd Vuelta a España - Stage 10 Live Coverage
Into the mountains again, a leg breaker for tired legs after ten days of effort on the roads of Spain... a day to see who has the grinta and energy to survive and win on Arcalis...

Stage 10 - Benasque - Estación de esquí de Ordino Arcalís, 214 km
Individual time trial in Zaragoza, the finish at the summit of Cerler...and now a third consecutive test for the cyclists in the 2007 Vuelta. Once again, the mountains provide a dramatic backdrop. On Monday, 10 September, the racers must face a high mountain stage: A 214-kilometre route running from Benasque to Andorra with four climbs worth mountain points. Coll de Fadas (km. 21), Puerto de Prevés (km. 61), Port del Cantó (km. will all serve as preludes to the final climb: Arcalís.

The final climb features a terraced climb spanning 15 kilometres, with a 5.6% slope and sustained climbs at an 8.5% incline. The summit is at 2,200 metres altitude and the slopes of Arcalís will give hope to those cyclists who are natural climbers against the ones who rely on brute strength.

 


Stage 10 Queen stage - a grueling 220 km with a Mountain top finish on the Hors Categorie Andorra (Vallnord/sector Arcalís) after 2 - Cat. 2 climbs and the Cat.1Puerto de Canto.  © Unipublic

Welcome to our live coverage of the leg breaking Stage 10 to Arcalis. Well, first some interesting news: Oscar Freire (Rabobank), who has three stage wins and the points jersey, abandoned the race this morning. He is on form and looking good for the World Championships, and I guess the looks of this stage profile made him decide to run off and finish preparations for the Worlds elsewhere. 

On the first climb of the day, the Cat 2 Col de Fadas, Franco Pellizotti (LIQ) took the maximum points. There were a lot of different attacks up that climb. Near the top, the following riders got a gap and finally made it stick: Pellizotti, Hubert Dupont and Ludovic Turpin (AG2r), David Lopez and Xabier Zandio (Caisse d'Epargne), Dionisio Galparsoro and Alan Perez (Euskaltel), Santos Gonzalez (Karpin Galacia), Jurgen Van Goolen (Discovery), Stef Clement (Bouygues Telecom), and Damiano Cunego (Lampre).

Van Goolen took maximum points on the 2nd climb, the Cat 2 Cruz de Perves climb (which I assume had a lot of fans in trenchcoats at the top). Also in this leading group are Marco Marzano (Lampre), Jose Angel Gomez Marchante (Saunier Duval), Mario Aerts (Predictor-Lotto), Giuseppe Guerini (T-Mobile), Christian Vandevelde (CSC), Paolo Bettini (Quick Step), and Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas). The gap got up to almost 5 minutes, with the Rabobank squad leading the pace in the peloton. 

For some reason, Pellizotti has dropped back to the doctor's car a couple of times despite being on the attack. Brajkovic of Discovery pulls out of the race. So does Tiralongo of Lampre. In the peloton, it is Mauricio Ardila of Rabobank setting the pace. The gap is coming down. 

At the top of the 3rd climb, the Cat 1 Puerto del Canto, Van Goolen took maximum points again followed by Pellizotti. These two have been fighting for mountains points all day, so they are having their own little dual over that jersey. Now there is nothing left but the long, hard, increasingly difficult slog up to Andorra. 

73 km left. The gap is down to 3' 48". There is a long steady uphill after this descent that will be more like a false flat. The break will be hard pressed to stay away. But guys like Cunego who have teammates in that break have a good shot. 

66 km left. The break is bombing the descent of the Puerto del Canto. The gap is at 3' 40" still, so the Rabo-led peloton is still closing. The race has been fast from the gun today. 

Crash in the peloton: a few riders go down. Jesus Rosendo of Andalucia seems to be the one most shaken up. Everyone looks to be back up and racing. The break is still hovering round the 4' mark. The break seems to be done with descending. They are on a flatter stretch of road that might be a false flat.

The peloton is a bit stretched out. Rabobank has six men in the line, with Menchov fifth wheel in his Gold Jersey. Efimkin isn't too far from Menchov. So from here out, it is a slow climb uphill. These pros are big-ringing it making it look like it's flat, but it isn't. And it just gets steeper the closer they get to the end of the stage. 

The breakaway looks a bit ragged right now. A few guys are working hard, but a lot of guys are sitting on. The peloton looks to be visibly going much faster, and it's certainly more organized. 

Karpets (Caissed) and Devolder (DSC) are both near the front. They are in the top ten on GC and are going to try to hold on up this final climb. Despite the apparent lack of organisation in the break, they have still stretched the lead up to 4' 16". Cunego is looking comfortable. His teammate has done most of the work for him in the break so far. Bettini and Cunego have a chat.

The break is finding more organization now. About ten guys are working here, taking turns. Pellizotti, Aerts, Lopez take a turn on the front. Their gap had come down to 3' 45", so it looks like they decided to get in gear again. Gomez Marchante drops back to his team car for water and a chat. He has been on the attack a lot in the mountains of this race. His teammate Piepoli will be looking for another stage win if the break gets caught by the pack. Which is likely.

This climb is just a long, hard slog. It never gets too steep though. It's not like some of the climbs that get up to 13%. The final tilt up to the line doesn't get much worse than 8%. This long uphill before the climb officially begins is part of what makes it so tough. Moorenhout, the Dutch Road Champion, sports his jersey at the front of the peloton as he raises the pace for his Rabobank squad. The break is single file too. The race is really on now, though there have been no big attacks yet.

Oh yeah, it's on. CSC has brought their men up to the front to set the pace with the Rabobank squad at the front of the peloton. There are a lot of guys really starting to hurt at the back of the pack. It's one long line. The gap is down to 3' 00". Gomez Marchante and Aerts take their turns setting the pace in the break. Heck, even Bettini is pulling through taking turns up there now.

27 km left. Van Goolen takes a pull as the road gets harder for the break. Steeper and steeper. Van Goolen is looking for a team for next year still. This kind of riding certainly will help his cause. When Devolder bonked yesterday, it was Van Goolen nursing him up that final climb. The Rainbow Jersey of World Road Champ Bettini is ahead of Cunego at the front of the break. I love seeing that jersey at the front of the race attacking like this. Bettini has certainly been a worthy and popular champion this year.

The gap is not too far over 2' because of the pressure from CSC. The road is harder yet again. Not sure when the final climb officially begins, but they are on a serious climb at this point.

Van Goolen has had a flat! He gets a fast change and has to chase back up to the break. Oh, what rotten luck. The race is on, and he may not be able to get back up to the break. 

Well, it wasn't an attack, it was just the CSC riders gapping each other as they raise the pace in the peloton. Van Goolen has just got back up to the break. Good for him. But his legs will have a little less juice now. 

Oh yeah, lots of guys are off the back of the peloton now. Bodrogi of Credit Agricole is among them. That guy weighs like two tons.  No way he can climb with the flyweights. 

Van Goolen has now attacked! He rode back up after his flat, and he just rode past them all off the front. Into a big tunnel. Riders hate tunnels. CSC continues to try to set up Sastre. Van Goolen only has about 20 meters on the other men in the break. They nail him back, but the pace is higher now.

Part 2 of our live coverage continues...

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