By Andrew Hood

Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) scored his second win of the month after snatching the overall title Sunday in the final stage of the Vuelta a Asturias in northern Spain after a remarkable demonstration of attacking style.

A winner last weekend at the Clasica Alcobendas, Mayo erased a 46-second deficit to Colombian Felix Cárdenas (Cafés Baqué) in an attack-filled final stage over steep hills from Cangas del Narcea to Oviedo.

Mayo made a surprise attack on a steep climb out of the seaside fishing village at Cudillero with 50km to go. Cárdenas was unable to follow the explosive move and could only watch as Mayo roared away.

Early in the stage, a group of 11 riders that were no danger to the overall slipped away from the main bunch. Cafés Baqué was keeping the break within five minutes when Mayo made his surprise move.

“Gorka waited for me in the break and the team worked all week for me and in the end I’ve been able to pay them back,” said Mayo, winner last at Alpe d’Huez in the Tour de France. “I tried to win (Saturday) at El Acebo, but the rivals responded. You can’t make big exhibitions every day.”

Euskaltel had Gorka González up the road in the break, who was ordered to do his best to slow the breakaway while impressive Mayo bridged out to the break. Mayo followed the attacking Miguel Angel Martín Perdiguero (Saunier Duval), who edged Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears) for the stage.

“At first, the break was going regular, but when Mayo arrived, it was impressive. No one thought he could make up the difference so quickly,” said Martín Perdiguero. “Mayo was the strongest here this week and deserved to win. If he’s racing like this at the Tour, it’s going to be incredible.”

The dejected Cárdenas came through the lead chase group at 2:07 back and fell into second overall.

48th Vuelta a Asturias (SPA 2.2), Stage 5, Cangas del Narcea to Oviedo, 164km
1. Miguel Martín Perdiguero (Sp), Saunier Duval 4 hours, 6 minutes, 14 seconds
2. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto +0:03
3. Iban Mayo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi +0:07
4. David Latasa (Sp), Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme +1:55
5. Aitor Hernández (Sp), Team L.P.R +2:0333. Tim Johnson (USA), Saunier Duval +2:07
66. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Liberty Seguros +2:45
Final overall standings
1. Iban Mayo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi 20h46:54
2. Félix Cárdenas (Col), Cafes Baque +1:18
3. Haimar Zubeldia (Sp) Euskaltel-Euskadi +1:47
4. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval +2:05
5. José Angel Gómez (Sp), Costa De Almeria-Paternina +2:28

41. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Liberty Seguros +25:53
72. Tim Johnson (USA), Saunier Duval +58:52

Scarponi at peace in Prague
Italian Michele Scarponi (Domina Vacanze) took the overall victory as the 57th Peace Race concluded Sunday with a mass sprint into Prague, where Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) drove home the bunch.

The 24-year-old Scarponi won the fourth stage to grab the overall lead and held tough through a string of mountainous stages to win the most important race so far in his young career.

Scarponi skipped this month’s Giro to prepare for an assault on the Tour de France, where he will aim for a stage victory and a place among the top 10.

Scarponi wins the Peace Race with a 17-second margin over Polish rider Slawomir Kohut and 18 seconds over Roger Beuchat, who finished third.

57th Peace Race (CZE 2.2), Stage 9, Karlovy Vary to Prague, 184km
1.Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile 5h08:47
2. Marcin Lewandowski (Pol), Action ATI
3. Björn Schröder (G), Team Wiesenhof
4. Christoph Roodhooft (B),
5. Giosue Bonomi (I), Saeco all same time
Boonen sweeps in Picardie
Tom Boonen’s resume just keeps filing up.

The Belgian star won two stages en route to the overall title at the Tour de Picardie (FRA 2.2), his first victory in a stage-race for the 23-year-old Quick Step rider.

“The Tour de Picardie is the first stage’s race of my career. Wearing the leader’s jersey from the first to the last day has been very beautiful and instructive,” Boonen said. “The team was wonderful to control the race every day. Now we’ll go to the Tour of Belgium with a lot of confidence.”

Stefan Van Dijk (Lotto-Domo) won Sunday morning’s first stage while Jimmy Casper (Cofidis) took a victory in the afternoon stage. American Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank) finished 81st at 3:34 back in his first race since returning to the United States for a short trip following the spring classics.

58th Tour de Picardie (FRA 2.2), Stage 3, La Croix Saint Ouen to Soisson, 92.5km
1. Stefan Van Dijk (Ned), Lotto-Domo 2h12:06
2. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est), Ag2R Prevoyance
3. Jo Planckaert (B),
4. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Credit Agricole
5. Tom Boonen (B), Quick.Step-Davitamon all same time

Stage 4, Soissons to Chauny, 87.5 km
1. Jimmy Casper (F), Cofidis 1h54:56
2. Bernhard Eisel (Aut),
3. Tom Boonen (B), Quick.Step
4. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est), Ag2r
5. Roger Hammond (GBr), — all same time

Final overall standings
1. Tom Boonen (B) Quick.Step 12h43:50
2. Jimmy Casper (F), Cofidis +0:12
3. Stefan Van Dijk (Ned), Lotto-Domo +0:13
4. Sébastien Chavanel (F), La Boulangere +0:19
5. Ludovic Auger (F), Auber 93 st

Winn gets OK for Athens
The British Olympic Association has cleared the way for cyclist Julian Winn to travel to Athens by accepting his appeal against a doping ban, Reuters reported.

The Welshman – named in the British Cycling Federation’s long team for the Games – and compatriot John Evans successfully appealed against a BOA by-law prohibiting anyone found guilty of a doping offence from consideration for the Olympics.

Winn, 2002 national champion and a contender to ride alongside David Millar in the road race, was given a suspended three-month ban after he tested positive for ephedrine at the Bynea Road Race and the Tour de Guadeloupe three years ago.

Evans, who hopes to earn a place on the coaching stuff, failed a test for pseudoephedrine at the 1992 Abergavveny Road Race and was suspended from the Welsh Cycling Union for six months.

However, the BOA’s appeals panel considered that both men were guilty only of minor offences and decided that their lifetime Olympic bans should be commuted immediately.

BOA chief executive Simon Clegg said: “The British Olympic Association continues to believe that its lifetime ban for anyone found guilty of a doping offence sends the strongest possible message to everyone in sport that we will not tolerate the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

“These decisions now clear the way for Julian Winn to seek selection in the road cycling events and for John Evans to seek nomination as a cycling team official.”
-By Reuters