Today will see a return to the mountains as the riders cover the 166.1 km from Alcobendas to Collado Villalba, just north of Madrid. The stage will take in two Cat 1 climbs: The Cat 1 Alto de los Leones begins after 76 km, and is an 8 km climb with some parts as steep as 13.8%. At 130.5 km the riders must climb the Cat 1 Puerto de Navacerrada, an 11 km climb where the grade only gets as difficult as 8.1%. From the top of the Puerto de Navacerrada there is a steep 25 km descent into the finish at Collado Villalba.
The big news overnight is that Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom) retired from the race while in sixth place. He surely didn't look that well during the Stage 10 time trial.
With 103km left, the ONCEs have come to the front and
split the peloton into echelons. Millar (Cofidis) missed the split, but all the Posties were there as well as all the other big leaders.
After a brief chaseback, the peloton regrouped. Millar
will have to be more careful.
Martin Perdguero (Acqua e Sapone) is the man off the
front. Now he is sitting up waiting, and he's caught.
There is an Euskaltel rider and a Kelme setting the
pace. The Euskaltels have been very active today.
Millar is led to the head of the peloton by his Cofidis
men, while the ONCEs come to the front to drive once again.
The break off the front includes: Petacchi (Fassa),
three Euskaltels in Extebarria, Lopez de Munain, and Artetxe, Horrach (Milaneza), Flecha (iBanesto), Schnider
(Phonak), Aitor Osa (iBanesto), Martin (Acqua e Sapone), Perez (Coast) and Garcia (Kelme).
This is a great move for the Euskaltel riders.
Now there are some counterattacks from the main field.
The riders are trying to get some position before the final climb of the day.
The breakaways aren't working well together, looking at
each other and ham-gazing.
7:05 PDT, less than 45 km left.
The breakaway is coming back to the main field. Igor
Gonzalez de Galdeano (Once) is now attacking. DiLuca (Saeco) is ahead of the peloton on his own.
There is now a break of about 7 men organizing
themselves off the front.
So now Diluca, Flecha, and Artexte are working together
at the front of the race, chased by de Galdeano's group of seven.
The Kermit-men of Oscar Sevilla are hopping mad in
green at the front of the peloton.
They are leading the chase of the two breakaway groups,
feeling good about their two leaders' chances on the climbs.
7:14 PDT. The lead trio have now hit the lower slopes
of the final climb, the Cat 1 Puerto de Navacerrada, an 11 km climb where the grade only gets as difficult as 8.1%.
The Kelme-led peloton is not far behind the lead group
But the peloton looks to be closing it all down, as the
Kelmes put the croak on the breakaways with their high pace.
This climb gets harder the further up it gets, so the
attacks should start to come on the upper slopes from the big men.
Now Artetxe is dropped by DiLuca and Flecha. Iker Flores counter-attacks from the peloton for the Euskaltel orangemen.
DiLuca drops Flecha!! He's now off on his own! DiLuca looks good, nearing the top of the climb. Flecha
looks to be toast, waiting for the peloton to gobble him up.
Iker Flores is really flying up the mountain in pursuit
of the mini matinee idol, Danilo "DiCaprio" DiLuca.
7:24 PDT. Flecha has jumped to the wheel of Flores as
he passes, managing to fight off falling back to the pack.
DiLuca has 32" on the chasers. He is really hammering,
undoubtedly trying to send another message to Msr. Leblanc.
Two Posties have passed the Kermits on the front of the
peloton. This acceleration has swept up Flecha. It's Chechu
Rubiera putting the hammer down!
Now Heras has come to the front to put the hammer down!
And Simoni counterattacks with Iban Mayo (Euskaltel).
Mayo is gone off the front. He has a gap to the small
remnants of the peloton.
Heras chases back Mayo, and now the big men gaze at
each others hams for a moment. Meanwhile, DiLuca is putting the rat amongst the cheese!
There are about a dozen men left with Sevilla at the
There are three Kelmes, two Milanezas, Heras the
Postie, and they are all 24" behind DiLuca.
Simoni is with the leaders. Rubiera is gone, having put
in the stiff acceleration that broke up the peloton.
Camenzind (Phonak) is barely hanging on the back of the
group. Beloki is there for ONCE, as is Moller for Milaneza.
7:33 PDT. They are hitting the hard part of the climb
now. DiLuca is still riding away. A Kelme domestique leads Sevilla on the front of the chase group of 13.
DiLuca is fading! He is only about 8" behind. Now
Simoni is trying to attack, chasing Mayo, who has launched a hum-dinger.
Now Heras is on the back of Simoni, who passes DiLuca.
Moller is dropped, but they hit the top of the climb, so there will be a regrouping.
Simoni gets maximum points for his KOM Jersey.
So there is a big attack on the descent, but all the
big names bridge back.
Aitor Gonzalez (Kelme) attacks, but unsuccessfully. He
and Sevilla may not be on the same page.
Only 1" separates Gonzalez from his team leader. There
may be some tough team meetings ahead, especially with Gonzalez not having a Kelme contract for next year.
Wow, the leaders are bombing the descent. DiLuca is
having another go off the front. He has a small gap with an ONCE rider.
7:41 PDT. 18 km left, and most of that is the descent.
David Millar (Cofidis) has just rejoined the lead
group, to the relief of the British commentators and fans.
Too bad Savoldelli is gone...love watching that man descend.
So now there is a regrouping at the bottom of the
descent. There are 14.5 km left. Kelme comes to the front to set the pace again.
All the big leaders are in the group. Casero (Coast)
the defending champion, is attacking now. They are still on a downhill that is not quite a descent.
Zubeldia (Euskaltel) is leading the group. Millar is
there. No big names missing, as far as we can tell.
Manzano (Kelme) is setting the tempo on the downhill.
Now Jaksche (ONCE) is having a go. Looks like men are jockeying for the stage win.
Beloki is in the group, as are Heras, Simoni, Moller,
and Millar. Trentin (Cofidis) is there with Millar.
Jaksche is still off the front. The group is snaking
along in pursuit, and they catch Jaksche.
7:50 PDT. Now a Coast man has about 20 meters on the
group, but is going nowhere fast with this attack.
There is a small incline with about 5 km to go, so it's
not all downhill to the finish. It could be anybody's stage.
6 km to go. Kelme still leads this group. No attacks
off the front yet. Wait, here goes Moller and Mayo!
5 km to go. An iBanesto and an Euskaltel rider (maybe
Mayo) are with Moller 5" off the front.
The Moller group is now 4 km from the finish. They are
flying! The peloton is in hot pursuit.
The peloton has swollen to about 30 men. 3 km to go,
and the group of three is still off the front: Lastras, Zubeldia, and Moller.
Moller did a bad line through a roundabout and is
almost left behind! He catches back on, barely.
They are in the streets of the city, winding their way
along! The three men look good, but the chase is right on them!
Now on a straightaway, the breakaways are simply
dangling off the front. Zubeldia launches, but Moller is on him.
They are in the final kilometer, and the three men are
still away!! Zubeldia is slipping away! He has a gap!!
Lastras is catching him!
Lastras wins it!! Zubeldia 2nd, Moller 3rd, Millar 4th.
Millar led the group home in the sprint.
Lastras wins his 2nd stage by a bikelength over Zubeldia, with Moller a couple of seconds behind.
Now a second large group comes across the line, led by
Camenzind. They lose over 2' to the leaders' group.
Stage 11 Results:
1. Pablo Lastras (Spa) iBanesto.com @ 3h 55' 54"
2. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ ST
3. Claus Moller (Den) Milaneza-MSS @ 2"
4. David Millar (GBr) Cofidis @ 9"
5. Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo @ 9"
6. Danilo DiLuca (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport @ 9"
7. Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca @ 9"
8. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport @ 9"
9. Fabian Jeker (Sui) Milaneza-MSS @ 9"
10. Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal @ 9"
11. Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ 9"
12. Manuel Beltran (Spa) Team Coast @ 9"
13. Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca @ 9"
14. Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski @ 9"
15. Angel Casero (Spa) Team Coast @ 9"
16. Felix Garcia Casas (Spa) BigMat-Auber 93 @ 9"
17. Guido Trentin (Ita) Cofidis @ 9"
18. Fernando Escartin (Spa) Team Coast @ 9"
19. Jesus Maria Manzano (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca @ 9"
20. Oscar Camenzind (Sui) Phonak @ 2' 21"
GC Results after Stage 11:
1. Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca @ 37h 15' 08"
2. Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca @ 1"
3. Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal @ 1' 42"
4. Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ 2' 04"
5. Josebo Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski @ 2' 04"
6. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ 2' 47"
7. Felix Garcia Casas (Spa) BigMat-Auber 93 @ 3' 05"
8. Jorg Jaksche (Ger)ONCE-Eroski @ 3' 20"
9. Guido Trentin (Ita) Cofidis @ 3' 34"
10. David Millar (GBr) Cofidis @ 3' 34"
11. Claus Moller (Den) Milaneza-MSS @ 3' 52"
12. Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo @ 3' 57"
13. Manuel Beltran (Spa) Team Coast @ 4' 12"
14. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport @ 4' 21"
15. Pablo Lastras (Spa) iBanesto.com @ 4' 30"
16. Angel Casero (Spa) Team Coast @ 4' 51"
Points after Stage 11
1. Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom, 90 pts
2. Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) iBanesto.com, 85 pts
3. Pablo Lastras (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca, 70 pts
4. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo, 65 pts
Mountains after Stage 11
1. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport, 67 pts
2. Felix Garcia Casas (Spa) BigMat-Auber 93, 50 pts
3. Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal, 44 pts
4. Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca, 39 pts
This concludes our live coverage of Stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana. Reports and photos are still to be published.
Tomorrow is a long stage - 210.5km, from Segovia to Burgos. A mild roller coaster parcours, still the riders' stamina will be tried after the climbs today and the length of tomorrow's ride. It looks like the temperatures will warm back up with cloudy conditions.
We hope you will join us right here tomorrow, and thanks for reading!