Columbia cyclist Andre Greipel won the 16th Vuelta stage with the finish line in Puertollano. William Bonnet (Bouygues Telecom) and Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) finished second and third, respectively. The 170 kilometres between C?rdoba and Puertollano were without a doubt the most uneventful ones of the Vuelta. Right at the start, the compact peloton climbed up Alto de los Villares, and as soon as they went over the top, Andaluc?a-CajaSur rider Jes?s Rosendo attacked.
And that was the story for the next 150 kilometres. The main pack was taking it easy and Rosendo went along increasing his lead to a maximum of 13 minutes. From that point on, Columbia, Liquigas, Contentpolis-AMPO and Milram went to work at the head of the pack to track down Rosendo.
And 18 kilometres from the finish line, the foray of the Andalusian rider came to an end and the sprinter teams battled for position up front to arrive at the mass sprint finale with chances to win the stage victory. There was a spill three kilometres from the end, but fortunately the four cyclists affected by it were able to cross the finish line. In the final sprint, Greipel made the effort by Columbia pay off and earned his third victory of this year’s Vuelta.
The 2010 Vuelta, a night-time start and a leader in red
Javier Guill?n, Director-General of Unipublic, and Luciano Alonso, Andalusian Regional Minister of Trade, Tourism and Sport, have announced a series of innovations for the 2010 Vuelta. The race will start in Seville with an 8 km nocturnal prologue around the Guadalquivir River and La Giralda. And that’s not the only news: as of next year the race leader will wear a red jersey.
“We have decided to support the Vuelta as cycling is a very complementary sport for the promotion of Andalusia’s image throughout the world. We are also going to continue supporting our professional team as a further promotional tool, as well as maintaining our current funding of more than 70 cyclists competing in a wide range of categories”, explained Luciano Alonso.
Javier Guill?n spoke of his satisfaction regarding the agreement reached with Seville: “We had a lot of possibilities, because there are many cities interested in hosting the Vuelta, but in the end we opted for Andalusia, and within Andalusia we opted for Seville. In addition to the capital, the 2010 edition will include further stages within Andalusia”.
About participation in the race, Guill?n declared: “We have the same-set up for 2010 as we did this year. There is a signed agreement with the 16 ProTour teams and we have complete freedom to select the other six squads. In 2009, we decided to help out Spanish teams because it was a hard year for finding sponsors. We also brought in Cervelo because of the undeniable talent of their cyclists and Vacansoleil since the race started in the Netherlands. Vacansoleil was an unknown factor coming in, but their performance has made it the revelation of the Vuelta”.
Cadel a Marked Man
Cadel sits in fourth place, pushed back after a puncture in Saturdays climb to Sierra Nevada. With the puncture, Valverde and the leaders pushed forward increasing the gap while two ‘neutral’ mechanics were unable to change the wheel and the support car had trouble quickly reach Cadel. To make matters worse, officials also gave Cadel a 10 second fine after he changed bikes and got a new water bottle.
With 5 stages to go a 1min 51secs behind race leader Valverde, Evans has a tough challenge ahead though if he manages a break away still has a chance for a podium place.