Good afternoon and welcome to Stage 2 of the Vuelta a Espana! Today is the
first road stage of this year's Vuelta, from Granada to Córdoba, over 189 km.
Stage 2: Granada - Córdoba, 189.3 km
There are special sprints points today, located at the Venta de la Algarra (km.
20), Espejo (km. 120) and at the city of Córdoba at km. 153.5. As podofdonny
mentioned in Part One of his Vuelta
The stage is very similar to Stage 17 in the 2003 edition of the race, and then,
David Millar broke away from the peloton on the Alto de San Jerónimo to win
ahead of Alberto Martinez, Oscar Sevilla, Michael Rasmussen and Unai Osa; with
Erik Zabel Leading the peloton home 41 seconds back.
Commentary today by Jan Janssens, and Bart Hazen of CyclingFX. Refresh this
page using your F5 key to view the latest from the road to Córdoba.
With just over 100 km of today's stage covered, we have David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval) in the lead with 15 sec. on his former partner Herve Duclos-Lasalle (Cofidis). Hervé is the son of former French hero Gilbert Duclos-Lasalle. The peloton, who's led by Quick Step, is about 6.00 behind the leader.
In the early part of the race there was a intermediate sprint which was won by Eisel. Verbrugghe was 2nd and Boonen 3rd. Due to the second place of Verbrugghe the Belgian is the new (virtual) leader in the ranking (but then De La Fuente must be reeled in and Rik V. has to be in the first group at the finish).
It has also been announced that Rik Verbrugghe will leave Quick Step at the end of the season. He will join Cofidis for the next years.
While we mentioned yesterday that this might be a stage for Bettini, unfortunately he seems not good today. He asked several times for the doctor. And an Italian has been the first to abandon the race today - Giuliano Figueras from Lampre.
De La Fuente won the 2nd intermediate sprint in front of Herve Duclos-Lasalle and Boonen. In the meantime the bunch has caught Hervé.
Boonen has been sprinting for bonus seconds twice already today, which means that he's got a plan to sprint himself into the Amarillo the coming few days...we'll see if Petacchi and Co will allow him to do that.
No surprises there, with the eyes on September 25th in Madrid...
Another note on bonus seconds: Verbrugghe, 2nd in the GC at a second from Menchov, has already racked up a few...so he'll probably be the new leader after today if this turns out a sprint! Even in a sprint Rik could lose his "virtual" amarillo if a rider within the 15/20 seconds wins the stage, and if Rik doesn't gain any boni's at the finish.
Quick-Step is leading the peloton, and surprisingly no Fassa rider in sight. Petacchi not feeling well?
1613 CEST - 5.14 the lead for the lonely De La Fuente.
Why should Fassa help Quick Step? There will be a difficult climb in the last part of the race - I'm not sure if the sprinters will survive it.
Zabel survives every small climb...
Yeah, but he will lose in a sprint.
I think he can handle Heras and Co though.
And we're on the desolate, endless Spanish plains once again....in a way, it feels good to be here again, but I'm not sure the riders will agree. In terms of landscape, the Vuelta seriously trails the Giro and the Tour!
Every year we see a few favorites get caught in echelons in these stages, it's insane. It's incredibly hot and humid in Spain at the moment, so we can assume the peloton is taking it "easy."
It looks like we get no echelons today, so Mancebo can sleep well after this stage - a couple of years ago he missed twice the good echelon and abandoned the race.
It is apparently 37 degrees Centigrade for the riders right now...here in Holland we are glad that the sun is shining again after some days of bad weather.
16.26 CEST - 5 minutes for De La Fuente with less than 60 km to go. The poor lone attacker must be riding in a sort of tunnel view now...no riders near, and those Spanish lunar backgrounds. No spectators...
Pedro Horrillo wrote an excellent piece about someone who successfully finished a monster solo attack last, year, David 'Z-man' Zabriskie..."winning without attacking" I think it was called, referring to Zabriskie's claim that he accidentally ended up in the attack rather than consciously choosing to. Horrillo's book is terrific, entitled "Vanaf Mijn Zadel." It's a compilation of his literary pieces on and during the Vuelta and Tour, in addition to interviews and other articles.
He's fun to read, he doesn't just write about what happens in the race but looks at it from a sort of "spectator-thinker" view. The ISBN is 9045014513. Of course it's in Dutch - the title means "View from the Saddle" or "From My Saddle."
Do you know what Horrillo's first DS told him about his writing? "Pedro, your head is for putting a helmet on, not for thinking." That was the DS of Vitalicio.
1638 CEST - 4.41 for De La Fuente...we wish we had more interesting events to report, but Scarponi getting water bottles is just about the most exciting thing that happened in the last 10-20 minutes. Scarponi the camelbag.
Talking about the camelbag which Julich uses at the time-trials, these things were forbidden by the race last week.
The Vuelta issued this: Judges communicate two new measures for the Vuelta
In the meeting that was held before the start of the Vuelta, the race judges informed the sports directors of two new measures. The first is that the feeding stations for liquids are to be extended in order to compensate for the high temperatures that are expected in Andalusia and Castile-La Mancha.
The second is that no elements, including water bags or aerodynamic attachments, may be worn on the riders’ backs during time trial races.
1644 CEST - 4.03 left for De La Fuente. Just about 45 km to go.
In case this stage turns out on a sprint, which certainly isn't a fact with that climb at the end, who are the guys with the fast legs in this Vuelta peloton? There are Petacchi and Boonen, of course. There's Tour green jersey winner Thor Hushovd, Erik Zabel, Max Van Heeswijk, Tom Steels, Simone Cadamuro, Bernhard Eisel, Magnus Backstedt, Jimmy Casper, Julian Dean, Pedro Horrillo and Angel Vicioso. That's a NICE field. Not to mention Francisco Ventoso, Angelo Furlan, Sebastien Chavanel...
Chavanel a sprinter? For 10 th place maybe.
Well, Sebastien won last year 3 stages in a bunch sprint in the Tour de L'Avenir. So an up and coming sprinter, maybe.
Mmm, good point.
Bonomi, Haselbacher, Backstedt, Zanotti and Vastaranta have a good finish too. But normally not good enough for beating Boonen and Petacchi in a normal sprint.
35 km to go for the lone escapee. De la Fuente takes the intermediate sprint, obviously.
Let's see if Boonen and/or Verbrugghe will bother sprinting for the bonus seconds.
3.08 the lead of De la Fuente. CSC is now leading the bunch for Carlos Sastre. Boonen 2nd at intermediate and McGee 3rd. So another 4 seconds for Boonen.
It's actually weird that Boonen was sprinting at the last intermediate. In about 35 km he can maybe sprint for the stage win. So why is he using unnecessary energy now...
The peloton is now storming towards that climb, which can potentially eliminate most (if not all) of the sprinters should the GC teams pull up the pace to great heights.
It's now a bit nervous in the peloton. Coming to the climb, everyone wants to be in front.
Fassa in front now too. Petacchi has some plans?
I think they will be looking to keep the peloton in check on the climb, by setting a steady but not incredibly high pace, trying to keep the peloton from shattering. They are on the San Jeronimo now. Let the stage begin.
And the peloton is riding through brown, barren landscapes...for a change... The Saunier Duval rider is rapidly losing his lead - only 41 seconds left for De la Fuente.
The Saunier Duval team car is now passed by the peloton as it hits the 'Spanish flat' before the real climb. On the climb now, with Gorka Gonzalez and Bernard Kohl on the attack!
From the moment there's a slight tilt upwards the Spaniards go insane, as G. Gonzalez proves here. The two now overtake poor De la Fuente, but wow, Aitor Osa rocketing to their wheel now, so three leaders. No telling how the peloton looks at the moment.
Their lead is only a few hundred meters, and the peloton looks fairly complete still.. Osa now attacks the leaders, and he's off on his own!
Kohl slowly trying to catch up (but failing), Gorka Gonzalez is bonking. 15 seconds for Osa on the peloton.
Fassa setting pace in the peloton, probably for Petacchi. A good few riders going off the back of the peloton now, but no big names at first sight.
Osa with another 'sprint' in the attack, but the peloton is keeping him in check, only a little bit behind.
Quesada from Com. Valencia attacks in the peloton, and he gets a few guys with him! Luis Perez from Cofidis, Quesada, Osa whom the picked up, and a Liberty rider. The Liberty man is Scarponi, and a lot of riders now picking on at the back of the 4 - Botero, Danielson, Betagnoli, Mercado. That's an interesting group with a lot of teams represented.
So: Bertagnolli, Perez, Quesada, Danielson, Scarponi, Osa, Botero, Mercado - those are the 8 leaders, and in the peloton an Euskaltel man leading.
Bertagnoli has distanced himself from his fellow escapees and is the sole leader, the 7 others behind him are joined by Bouyges' Yus Kerejeta Unai. Yus and Quesada now trying to get away from the chasers and to Bertagnolli, whoa, exciting racing this!
22 seconds for Bertagnolli, who's a good descender, so he might just keep his lead (after the descent of the climb it's only 1.5 km to the finish line). A lot of skirmishing in the back, very disordered...hard to tell who's where and doing what.
Okay, so still Cofidis' Bertagnolli in the lead with 15km to go, that's 2 km from the summit. Chasing him are Botero, Vila, Vicioso and...I think Quesada. Don't ask me where they came from, they're just there.
Bertagnolli, a former domestique for Simoni at Lampre, but his great Giro last year was rewarded with a place at Cofidis. Crash! A few riders who went in and over the crash barriers, ouch. Andreas Klier seems to be among them (who already suffered a horrible crash in Gent-Wevelgem), and Baranowski, Gutierrez..
Back to the front of the race now, Bertagnolli in the last km of the climb with 20 seconds on the chasers and 40 on the peloton! Looking better for him every minute.
And surprise, Brad McGee has made the jump to the chasing group, clearly looking for that amarillo jersey, be it in an escape or a sprint. Bertagnoli passing the summit of the San Jeronimo now, and the new leader in the mountains' ranking.
There's Lastras and the other chasers at 23 seconds, peloton at 42 on the top. Lastras looked like he was yelling "jeronimoooo" when he dove into the descent.
1728 CEST - 9km to go for Bertagnoli, with still a good 20 seconds on the chasers.
Lastras showing signs of a nasty crash, with blood running down his leg. It's not his first crash though, Lastras has broken 11 bones in his entire career...something of a daredevil.
7km for Bertagnolli now, but only 12 seconds left to hold off the chasers. This is all working in the benefit of Brad McGee, whi can take the stage and the leader's jersey in one effort.
That's not much of a margin.
No, and McGee now personally bridges up to Bertagnolli! So two leaders now, with 10 seconds left at 5 km to the end of the stage.
Wow, McGee is going SO hard, Bertagnolli has trouble keeping his wheel.
|The peloton at 34 seconds, we can pretty much forget about them, I reckon. 3 km to go, 12 seconds for McGee and Bertagnolli! McGee is heading towards the stage win and the leader's jersey!
Of course, they can't afford to do a 'surplace' genre ala Horner and Chavanel in the Tour now. McGee is nervous, looking behind to see how far back the chasers are. 1.5 km to go! No, one km to go!
McGee has Bertagnolli riding in front of him now, the chasers 10 seconds back....what will they do? McGee in the lead again.
Newsflash: Hincapie wins the GP Plouay in a sprint with 50 riders!
Anyway, here come the 2 leaders, 200 meters to go, Bertagnolli out of McGee's wheel!!
He goes over McGee and keeps him behind him, BERTAGNOLLI WINS!!!
J. Rogriguez a good 20 seconds later, peloton at 35 seconds, where Hushovd wins in front of Zabel. Strong ride from Bertagnolli!
1) Bertagnolli, 2) McGee, 3) Flêcha, 4) Vila 5) Vicioso 6) Yus.
So McGee doesn't take the stage, but he still is the new leader!
New GC: 1) McGee 2) Bertagnolli @ 22", 3) Flêcha @ 31", 4) Vicioso, 5) Vila @ 32".
So after his time in the Maglia Rosa in the Giro, Brad McGee now takes the Amarillo in the Vuelta...he's got a nice collection at this point! And with the lead he should be able to keep it in the next few days. It'll depend on just how far back the sprinters were today, I suppose.
Petacchi only now crossing the finish line, by the way, at 8-9 minutes back.
Wow, that climb did it.
Indeed it did, but Fassa wasn't working because Petacchi wasn't feeling a-okay.
All right, so a new race leader going into Stage 3! Stay tuned for full results and race news, and thanks for joining us today!