Stage 1 - August 12: Burgos - Medina de Pomar, 156 km
German Bert Grabsch of the Phonak Hearing Systems team took victory in the first stage of the Vuelta a Burgos, a 155 kms ride from Burgos to Medina de Pomar. He covered the stage in a time of 3 hrs 57 mins 5 secs. Grabsch becomes the first leader in this year's race.
The stage was animated by the lone break of two riders early on; Jose Iván Gutiérrez (iBanesto.com) and the Swiss rider Daniel Schnider (Phonak) established a seven minute lead on the peloton at one point, however, they were eventually recaptured.
The winning move came as Grabsch escaped with ten other riders with eight kilometres of the stage remaining. Included in this group were Michele Bartoli (Fassa-Bortolo), Davide Frattini (Alessio) and Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) but none of them could beat the German in the sprint in the finishing town of Medina de Pomar. Grabsch took his first win of the season and it gave the Phonak squad their 14th victory this year.
Crosswinds, so often a feature of Spanish stage races, split the chasing Peloton. At one stage, six Banesto riders were isolated in the rear group including last year's winner Juan Miguel Mercado - a great deal of team work went into pulling Mercado back into the picture. These efforts may pay their price later in the Tour.
Bartoli will be well pleased with his comeback race - he has suffered many injuries in his career and it it good to see him once again in the thick of the action.
Gilberto Simoni is also back with a bang - cycling fans were robbed of a classic encounter in the Tour de France by Colombian cough sweets and political intrigue. Saeco have taken a stance both during races and on the political field which I admire. They race hard (when they are allowed to) and show a rare dignity and compassion for the sport we love on the political front.
But award of the day goes to the Phonak team. More deserving than a few to qualify for the Tour de France they race with passion and determination.
1º 126 GRABSCH, Bert GER PHO 3:57:08
2º 72 BARTOLI, Michele ITA FAS m.t.
3º 102 FRATTINI, Davide ITA ALS m.t.
4º 61 SIMONI, Gilberto ITA SAE m.t.
5º 28 ZARRABEITIA, Mikel ESP ONE m.t.
6º 123 CAMENZIND, Oscar SUI PHO m.t.
7º 25 HRUSKA, Jan CZE ONE m.t.
8º 135 VAN DE WALLE, Jurgen BEL VLA m.t.
9º 26 NOZAL, Isidro ESP ONE a 3
10º 21 ANDRLE, Rene CZE ONE a 3
11º 71 VELO, Marco ITA FAS a 6
12º 144 CADAMURO, Simone ITA NAR a 19
13º 62 COMMESSO, Salvatore ITA SAE a 19
25º 81 MARTINEZ, Alberto ESP EUS a 19
46º 73 CASAGRANDE, Francesco ITA FAS a 19
49º 15 CLINGER, David USA USP a 19
55º 14 BARRY ,Michael CAN USP a 19
57º 18 VANDEVELDE, Christian USA USP a 19
58º 6 ARRIETA, José Luis ESP BAN a 19
62º 91 SASTRE, Carlos ESP TSC a 19
63º 12 RUBIERA, José Luis ESP USP a 19
66º 11 HERAS, Roberto ESP USP a 19
67º 16 KJAERGAARD, Steffen NOR USP a 19
68º 5 PIEPOLI, Leonardo ITA BAN a 19
73º 1 MERCADO, Juan Miguel ESP BAN a 19
90º 31 AERTS, Mario BEL LOT a 19
93º 107 PELLIZOTTI, Franco ITA ALS a 19
94º 13 ZABRISKIE, David USA USP a 19
95º 67 ASTARLOA, Igor ESP SAE a 19
115º 17 MCRAE, William Chann USA USP a 11:56