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66th Vuelta a España - Stage 9 & Photos
By Staff
Date: 8/28/2011
66th Vuelta a España - Stage 9 & Photos

66th Vuelta España - Stage 9
Ireland's Dan Martin wins on la Covatilla - 24 year old Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands takes the red jersey as top of the G.C. is revised in advance of the stage ten time trial

Jerseys  Leaders Stage 9
Roja:  Joaquín Rodriguez Katusha
Points: Joaquín Rodriguez Katusha
KOM: Daniel Moreno Katusha
Combinada: Daniel Moreno Katusha
Team:  Team RadioShack
66th Vuelta Start List

Ireland's Daniel Martin of Garmin-Cervélo attacked the elite group of six in the final 400 meters to take the stage win on the Covatilla summit.  Dutchman, Bauke Mollema was the only rider with the legs to follow Martin's attack hung on to take second.

Dan Martin Wins on the Covatilla. followed by Bauke Mollema.  JuanJo Cobo and Bradley wiggins in the distance. Photo © 2011  Fotoreporter Sirotti

Earlier Martin went on the attack with  5.3 km to go and was joined by his  cousin Nicolas Roche on the chase for Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel). Vincenzo Nibali countered shattering the remains of the group of favorites. Martin dropped Roche right before  Nibali joined lone leader Martin.

Behind Team SKY's Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins bridged to the first group of chasers with 4 km to go. Rodriguez was in trouble, went out the back catching Nieve who had been dropped and fighting with all his strength to limit his loss.

Wiggins went to the front leading the chase and impressed as he hunted down and caught Nibali and Martin with 3 km to go. On a good day Wiggins went immediately to the front of the group and accelerated leading the group of fuve that included Bauke Mollema,  JuanJo Cobo (Geox-TMC), Nibali and Martin.

Wiggins led under the 1 km flag but Martin sprung his attack in the final 500 meters, With Mollema following to the line for second and Juan Jose Cobo finished third at 9 seconds. Bradley Wiggins finished at 4 seconds with Sky team mate Christopher Froome 7 filling out the top 5. Nibali hung on for sixth at 11 seconds.

Earlier on the climb Scarponi and his team played an aggressive role as did Katusha; with 10 km to go it was the Lampre leader dishing out the pain as he did rounds of accelerations the finally gapping the group of 15 leaders with 6 km to go;  but with the attack of Martin and then Nibali  both Scarponi and race leader Joaquín Rodriguez found them selves struggling... both would lose time - Rodriguez losing 50 seconds dropping to  2nd on G.C. and Scarponi almost two minutes now at  18th overall.

Euskaltel's Igor Anton had, again a not so good day finishing with Scarponi at 1:50; though team mate Mikel Nieve fared somewhat better at 15th.

The Netherlands' talented 24 year old Bauke Mollema took the red jersey of race leader... if the Vuelta had a U25 competition he would be leading that as well which would be fitting for the 2007 Tour de l'Avenir winner. Mollema leads Joaquin Rodriguez by one second and Vincenzo Nibali by 9.

Astana's Fredrik Kessiakoff  moves up to 4th with Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) moving up one as well to 5th on the overall ranks.

Mollema may not be so easily removed from the lead as he is capable of a good time trial... the question is, how will he do on the 47 km distance.  The real threat tomorrow will be Wiggins.

Stage 9: Villacastín - Sierra de Bejar La Covatilla 183 km
The day was animated by a break of 4, Germany's Sebastian Lang (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Dutch champion Pim Ligthart and compatriot  Martijn Keizer  of Vacansoleil and Spain's Jose Vicente Toribio (Andalucia Caja Granada). 

Lang Initiated the attack solo after 22 kilometers and was joined by Jose Toribio at 26 km. Duchies Pim Ligthart and Martijn Keizer bridged to the duo to make a break of four at the 37 km marker leading the peloton by over 7 minutes.

age 9  profile © 2011Unipublic

The quartet worked well together taking the gap to 8:30 by the 50 km marker as Katusha led the peloton... the gap continued to grow nearing 10 minutes as they passed the 74 kilometer point.

The quartet would gain a maximum gap of 10:35. With 104 km to go, Lampre joined Katusha on the front helping to close the gap. the gap fell below 9 minutes under the pressure with 71 km remaining,  Headwinds were the next obstacle for our four leaders who lost another minute.

The gap fell to 7:22 as Sebastian Lang led through the first intermediate sprint in Guijuelo. Ligthart and Toribio took the remaining points on offer... with  47 km to go. A few km later Lang attacked his companions riding away with Pim Ligthart  and quickly opening a gap of 45 seconds. In the next ten km the duo put in over 2 minutes in gap on Keiser and Toribio - the peloton continued to eat up the leaders advantage as it came down to 5:35 with 37 km to go.

Omega man Lang and Vacansoleil's Ligthart continued to work well together but the odds of success went down when the Euskaltel team joined Katusha and Lampre on the front accelerating the pace. All three teams had plans for a stage win on Covatilla and Lang and Ligthart didn't figure in their perfect scenario.

Toribio and Keiser continued to lose time to the two leaders and their chasers, they were finally swept up 20 kilometers from the finish as the race approached the finale. The two leaders were 4 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of the peloton.

Sebastian Lang led through the second intermediate sprint in Béjar; Pim Ligthart second; the duo had a 4 minute advantage as they started the final climb. Rodriguez took the final point and one second time bonus as he led the peloton onto the climb.

Katusha set a relentless high pace as the mountain ramped up with 12 km to go the gap fell to 2:12 to Lang and Ligthart. 

Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) and Rabo rider Tom Slagter attacked, the two were chased down with 10 to go... the gap was down to just over a minute on Lang who had dropped Pim Ligthart.  Behind riders were going out the back of the peloton as they hit the first 12% ramps of the Covatilla.

Katusha continued to keep the pace high, the red jersey group was down to about 35 riders and getting thinner by the mile. Lang was caught at 7 km  go after 107 kilometers on the attack and rightfully was awarded the most combative riders trophy for the stage.

Cofidis' Rein Taaramae attacked, behind Chavanel went out the back, KOM Daniel Moreno struggled as the climb ramped up. 

6 km to go - Michele Scarponi took to the front and started the first of his accelerations opening a small gap on the front. Euskaltel's Igor Anton suffered on the back of the group as did Movistar's Marzio Bruseghin as he went out the back.

Quick Step's Kevin Seeldrayers attacked; Vincenzo Nibali countered. Carlos Sastre (Geox) faltered losing ground.  Dan Martin made his attack and was joined by Nicolas Roche and Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel) Martin put in an acceleration... Nieve was dropped as the two cousins Roche and Martin rode away from the shattered survivors who were already struggling in groups on the steep sections of the Covatilla. Purito Rodriguez was at the back of the group of about 17 riders and at first blocked as the attacks came. The red jersey wearer struggled but fought to limit his losses.

Nibali's attack came with 5 km to go... Sastre, Rodriguez and Igor Anton all lingered off the back...  with 4 km to go Nibali and Martin were alone on the front with the first chasing group led by Rabobank's Mollema, Omega man Jurgen Van den Broeck and Chris Froome and Brad Wiggins. Red jersey Joaquín Rodriguez followed at 33 seconds.

Rodriguez joined KOM Dani Moreno and Mikel Nieve who worked together chasing the leaders.

Bradley Wiggins attacks the climb -  Bauke Mollema and Juan Jose Cobo
Photo © 2011  Fotoreporter Sirotti

Brad Wiggins moved to the front and buried himself on a mission steadily closing the gap to Nibali and Martin... He caught them with 1500 meters to go. Wiggins led under the Flamme Rouge as Nibali slid to the back of the six man group.  Mollema sat on Wiggins wheel with Martin behind... down the mountain small groups fought gravity and time.

It was time for Garmin man Matin to spring his trap. He came around Mollema and Wiggins on the left out the saddle, and sprinted to the finish with 500 meters to go... Mollema caught the motion as Martin passed and did as well dancing on his pedals chasing him to the line. For the rest it was all they could do to keep a steady pace to the finish.

Tomorrow's time trial should force another selection and we'll see what Mollema has left in his legs to protect his newly gained red jersey and for that matte what Brad Wiggins has left in the tank after an impressive day of climbing - The obvious favorite for tomorrows stage is Fabian Cancellara

Stage 9 Results
Villacastín - Sierra de Bejar La Covatilla
183 Km - 4:52.14
1.  Daniel Martin Garmin-Cervélo  - 4:52.14
2.  Bauke Mollema Rabobank  - 0:0
3. Juan  Jose Cobo Geox-TMC  - 0:3

4.  Bradley Wiggins  Team Sky  - 0:4
5.  Christopher Froome Team SKY  - 0:7

6. Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:11
7.  Rein Taaramae  Cofidis  - 0:12
8.  Denis Menchov Geox-TMC  - 0:12
9. Haimar Zubeldia RadioShack (209) - 0:12
10. Fredrik Kessiakoff  Astana  - 0:12

Jerseys  Leaders Stage 10
Roja:  Bauke Mollema Rabobank
Points: Joaquín Rodriguez Katusha
KOM: Daniel Martin Garmin-Cervélo
Combinada: Bauke Mollema Rabobank
Team:  Geox - TMC

General Classification After Stage 9
1.  Bauke  Mollema Rabobank  - 37:11.17
2.   Joaquin Rodriguez  Katusha  - 0:01
3.  Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas-Cannondale  - 0:09

4. Fredrik Kessiakoff  Astana  - 0:18
5.  Jurgen Van den Broeck Omega Pharma-Lotto  - 0:27

6.  Daniel Moreno Katusha  - 0:35
7.  Jakob Fuglsang Leopard-Trek - 0:37
8.  Kevin Seeldraeyers Quick Step  - 0:42
9. Haimar Zubeldia RadioShack  - 0:42
10.  Juan Jose Cobo Geox-TMC  - 0:46

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