Posts: 3849 Joined: 09.04.09 Location: Manchester, England PCM$: 221.00
The final stage is just 97km and after getting through yesterday with no crashes our GC top five looks pretty locked with Van den Broeck looking hungry for high stage positions KOM Gil will settle for second. In third it has been a real ding dong battle between Hesjedal and best young rider Martinez. The Canadian looks like he will just about take the final podium slot with Red Bull's Parra Bustamante a little way back in fifth the best Columbian rider.
So today's dash really resembles a mini criterium style race. The sprinters will be favourites but they do insist on wasting energy going for sprint primes.
Manarelli - > Benetez - > Serrano
Today however noticing yesterdays lethargy in the peleton seven riders try their luck.
Seven riders look to eek out to a stage win
The make up of the breakaway was not much to worry the GC men:
Parra Pinto (GC: 30th at 23.29), Vandborg (GC:40th at 44.20), Page (GC:57th at 1 hour and 45 minutes), Seledkov (GC:33rd at 28.34), Benetez (GC: 61st at 2 hours and 4 minutes), Quaade )GC: 58th at 1 hour and 48 minutes) and Oliphant (GC:46th at 1 hour and 16 minutes).
Perhaps a last huurah for Parra Pinto who at 34 years of age has looked to make a final impact in the latter stages for Yamaha. Their impact player in the Vuelta has been Andrew Bajadali who has taken a hard earned second place to Koldo Gil in the KOM competition. Their GC man Montenegro has disappointed failing really to get over an early crash.
At the second sprint then...
Oliphant - > Benetez - > Quaade
Oliphant of the Youtube Twitter team represents a chance of taking a stage win for that team. It would be their first in the race and they are the only team who has not yet to got one in this years race. The full breakdown of team stage wins are as follows:
Benfica (3) [Krasnoperov, Rui Costa, Van den Broeck)
LEGO (2) (Gil - Two stage wins)
Bimbo Nutella (2) [Rodrigues and Beraud)
Red Bull (2) (Chacon and Orozco)
Yamaha (2) (Bajadali and Carduso)
Unicredit (1) (Grau)
Quiksilver (1) (Betencourt)
Pirelli (1) (Mayo)
Today though the breaks chances seem limited as the peleton have this under control.
Youtube, Quiksilver and Red Bull control
At the third sprint it is Benetez who takes it.
Benetez - > Vandborg - > Seledkov
This race has suited the team from Portugal, they have supported South American stage racing well over the years and have honoured the Columbian race with sending such a strong squad. Jurgen Van den Broeck has really earned his stars here and one speculates how well he will do in the Volta a Portugal later this year.
VdB close to the front as we close in on the final sprint
The break are caught and it is GC contenders who have set up the best train on the left with Van den Broeck leading the way ahead of Beraud, Rodrigues and Y Martinez. His namesake is trailing Benetez and ahead of Manarelli on the right hand side.
GC men looking for final flurry
In the battle of the two trains it is Van den Broecks better recovery train that wins out, Manarelli tries to move around in the last kilometer but it looks too late. With 700m to go the four riders go all out.
VdB leads the way again
As we have seen so often not only is the Belgian tough to crack on the climbs he is a fantastic sprinter. He cannot be beaten today and takes his second stage win and first road stage win of the race.
VdB holds off Rodrigues
Good finish to the Vuelta for Bimbo Nutella though with Berard just edged by Martinez for third.
Celebration time for Sport Lisboa a Benfica.
Saldarriaga is delighted with a fourth Benfica stage win