63rd Vuelta a España - Stage 8 Report & Photos
Moncoutie untouchable on Pla de Beret... Levi Leipheimer back in Gold!
Stage 8 Andorra - Salardú/Pla de Beret 151 km
Cofidis veteran David Moncoutie road a perfect race to win solo on the
Moncoutie was the sole survivor of a group of 4 who left the peloton after 37
kilometers. The French rider succeeded in holding off an elite group of
favorites led by Astana's Alberto Contador on the final climb of the Pla de
Beret by the slim margin of 14 seconds.
A last minute attack in the sprint saw Alejandro Valverde take second coming
around Alberto Contador who led the chase in for third. Euskaltel's Igor Anton
came in with Contador and Valverde for fourth at 34 seconds. Five seconds later
Caisse d'Epargne's Jaoquin Rodriguez Oliver led a group containing teammates
Daniel Fernandez and David Arroyo, Oliver Zaugg (Gerolsteiner), Levi Leipheimer
(Astana), Carlos Sastre (CSC), Rabobank's Robert Gesink and Vuelta newcomer
Profile Stage 8 - © 2008 Unipublic, S.A.
After the dust settled and the seconds diced and counted, it was American
Levi Leipheimer back in the golden fleece as new leader of the race. Levi leads
his team leader Alberto Contador by 21 seconds with Alejandro Valverde holding
strong in third place at 48 seconds after two mountain stages. CSC's Carlos
Sastre balked today after attacking on the final climb without a payoff is in
4th at 1:27. Euskatel Euskadi Igor Anton is 13 seconds behind Sastre filling out
the top 5 on the general classification.
The 163 riders got under way shortly after one this afternoon under sunny
skies with a gentle headwind; the first 11.7 of the 151 kilometers allowed the
riders to enjoy the sun on the gentle descent of 16 km before the first climb of
the day, the Cat. 1 Col del Cantó. The first of the 4 categorized on the menu
today the 25 km climb at least would be a bit warmer than yesterdays slugfest in
the fog and rain; though the opening gradients of 9.5% might make some wonder
once again why they chose cycling as their profession. Lampre did the honors
leading the pace with Alessandro Ballan in the gold jersey.
Attacks were mounted from the beginning of the climb, none could press their
advantage beyond half a minute. Finally near the summit Into the steeps with
only 3 km to the finish a group of five got a gap and led over the Col del Canto
by over two minutes. Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step) led over the summit taking
the max points in the hunt for the pink jersey of climber followed by Tinkoff's
Nikita Eskov, and three French riders: Credit Agricole's Christophe Kern ,
Sebastien Joly (Française des Jeux) and David Moncoutie (Cofidis) in that order.
Rabobank's Marc De Maar led the chase over the summit as the quintet powered
down the almost equally long descent pressing their advantage to 2:48 as they
drove through the town of Sort approaching the second climb of the day, the Cat.
The Fab Five continued to work well together as Lampre led the chase at the
bunch controlling the gap. Over the summit Quick Step's climber Juan Manuel
Gárate took the max points with Tinkoff''s Nikita Eskov second, followed by the
three Frenchman, Christophe Kern, David Moncoutié and Sebastien Joly extending
their lead to 2:52 over the peloton. Lampre's Massimiliano Mori was between the
two factions on a gambit to join the leaders.
The quintet attacked the descent driving their gap to 4:40... 3 kilometers
later as they drove though the first intermediate sprint in Rialp the gap was
over 5 minutes with 65 km and two climbs to go. Kern took the max points,
followed by Joly and Garate as the five drove the pace toward the second sprint.
The five continued to drive the pace across the valley floor as the gap went up
to 5:40... This set the alarm bells off Astana's Bruyneel as he ordered his
riders into the breech to help Lampre stem the loss of time to our adventurers,
as a result the gap started to close.
By the second intermediate sprint in Esterri d'Aneu (112 km) the outriders
gap had fallen a minute to 4:47 as Nikita Eskov took the max points, with Kern
and Garate on his wheel as the shadow of today's penultimate 2700 meter climb,
La Bonaigua rose above them. The Cat 1 La Bonaigua has been designated as
the "Alberto Fernández Summit", which is given to the highest mountain pass in
the Vuelta as a tribute to one of Spain's leading riders in the 1980s, who sadly
died in a traffic accident.
The five start the 19 km climb with 4:45 ahead of the peloton, almost
immediately Astana presses with Andreas Kloden going to the front and setting a
pace that blows riders out the back; Euskaltel adds some muscle to the chase mid
way up the climb. In the front the cooperation of the five is tested. Moncoutie
attacks near the summit taking the points with and a 20 second gap on Eskov,
Kern and Joly, Garate trailed by 55 seconds as the peloton followed at 1:45.
Behind Astana and Euskaltel's work had reduced the group of contenders to about
Sebastien Joly (Française des Jeux) attacked on the descent and rejoined
David Moncoutie (Cofidis) at the front of the race. Moncoutie attacked on the
start of the climb dropping Sebastien Joly with the six km to the summit and the
scent of victory on the Alto de Pla de Beret.
Astana pours it on at the front as they entered the climb as riders are spit
out the back to back... Bettini is one of the first to pedal out the back,
Sastre follows but fights back to the front. Leipheimer is called into action
and more riders relent to the pain. At 4 km to go Contador took the front as
Igor Anton countered and Valverde fought to hold their wheels. Moncoutie's gap
was falling fast, but he is up out of the saddle looking strong with his eyes on
With 3 km to go the road descends to the finish... Contador drives the pace
and signals Valverde and Anton to take a pull, Valverde ignores the call. After
a time Igor Anton pulls through. Behind Caisse d'Epargne's Arroyo and Oliver are
working in a group of about 8 on the chase with Leipheimer and Carlos Sastre.
A km to go and Moncoutie has a 40 second gap as he rose again out of the
saddle and powered in for the win. Contador drives the final km with Valverde
sprinting to take second.
Photos to come.
Andorra - Salardú/Pla de Beret
151 km - 4:24:58
1. 66 MONCOUTIE, David FRA COF 4:24:58
2. 51 VALVERDE, Alejandro ESP GCE a 34
3. 31 CONTADOR, Alberto ESP AST a 34
4. 81 ANTON, Igor ESP EUS a 34
5. 58 RODRÍGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquín ESP GCE a 39
6. 55 MORENO FERNÁNDEZ, Daniel ESP GCE a 39
7. 109 ZAUGG, Oliver SUI GST a 39
8. 33 LEIPHEIMER, Levi USA AST a 39
9. 52 ARROYO, David ESP GCE a 39
10. 1 SASTRE, Carlos ESP CSC a 39
11. 111 MOSQUERA, Ezequiel ESP XAG a 39
12. 155 GESINK, Robert NED RAB a 39
1. 51 VALVERDE, Alejandro ESP GCE 74
Mountains Classification - Rosa Jersey
1. 122 BALLAN, Alessandro ITA LAM 51
Best All Around Rider Classification - Silver Jersey
1. 31 CONTADOR, Alberto ESP AST 10
63rd Vuelta a España
General Classification After Stage 8
1. 33 LEIPHEIMER, Levi USA AST 28:20:03
2. 31 CONTADOR, Alberto ESP AST a 21
3. 51 VALVERDE, Alejandro ESP GCE a 49
4. 1 SASTRE, Carlos ESP CSC a 1:27
5. 111 MOSQUERA, Ezequiel ESP XAG a 1:59
6. 81 ANTON, Igor ESP EUS a 2:12
7. 55 MORENO FERNÁNDEZ, Daniel ESP GCE a 2:23
8. 4 VAN GOOLEN, Jurgen BEL CSC a 2:43
9. 155 GESINK, Robert NED RAB a 3:11
10. 124 BRUSEGHIN, Marzio ITA LAM a 3:35
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