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Chechu wins wet ‘n wooly Murcia stage

Spanish veteran José Luís “Chechu” Rubiera was looking at retirement last winter following the collapse of his Discovery Channel team, where he rode alongside Lance Armstrong for five of his seven Tour de France victories. New-look Astana offered him a lifeline with a one-year contract and the popular Spanish rider didn’t take long to pay back the favor.

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Aitor Pérez takes over leader’s jersey

By Andrew Hood

Spanish veteran José Luís “Chechu” Rubiera was looking at retirement last winter following the collapse of his Discovery Channel team, where he rode alongside Lance Armstrong for five of his seven Tour de France victories.

New-look Astana offered him a lifeline with a one-year contract and the popular Spanish rider didn’t take long to pay back the favor.

Rubiera, 35, attacked with 3km to go in Tuesday’s “queen stage” across a snow-bound Cat. 1 Collado Bermejo and then out-kicked Aitor Pérez (Extremadura) to snag the win in the second stage at the Vuelta a Murcia in Spain.

“Three kilometers from the finish was the perfect moment to attack,” Rubiera said after the stage. “Toni Colom didn’t feel strong enough to attack. Neither did I, but I tried and it worked. More than having good legs, you have to be lucky in such situations. The legs were good, of course. Already in the Tour of California, you could see that I had good shape.”

Perez took over the overall lead from Rabobank’s Graeme Brown, who won the first stage. Astana’s Tour de France champion Alberto Contador is in fourth overall while last year’s winner of this race, Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne), is fifth.

It was an epic day across the hardest climbs of the five-stage race as a nasty storm dumped snow on the higher mountains and ripped the peloton to shreds with hurricane-force winds.

Officials were considering canceling the stage and riders took matters into their own hands with a short-lived rider protest early in the stage that also included Rubiera.

“What a day! We were so close to canceling this stage. It was dangerous in the peloton. With a few riders, and I was one of them, we wanted to cancel the stage after 40 kilometers,” Rubiera continued. “We stopped riding, but after a short discussion, we went further. I don’t regret it any more.”

An all-star group of contenders pulled clear of the pack on the Cat. 1 Bermejo climb about 30km from the finish. In the group were Alberto Contador, 2000 Giro champ Stefano Garzelli (Acqua e Sapone), Valverde, Ricardo Serrano (Tinkoff) and Ezequiel Mosquera (Karpin-Galicia).

Ten more riders bridged out on the fast descent toward the finish in Totana, with Astana’s Rubiera and Colom slipping into the move to give the team three riders in the front group.

The stage ended with a rising finish that typically favors the likes of Garzelli, but Rubiera decided to use his savvy accrued from a long career to attack early. He had enough gas in the tank to claim just his second victory since 2000.

With its advantage, Astana sent Rubiera up the road, drawing out Vasil Kiryenka (Tinkoff) and Pérez. The leading trio held about 200 yards on the chasers and Kiryenka tried long at about 600 meters to go. Rubiera marked his wheel and held off Pérez in a photo-finish.

Despite the success, Rubiera said he wouldn’t change his mind about retiring at the end of this season.

“It is super nice to stop with these feelings,” he said. “It is time to do something else. The decision has been taken — definite for sure.”

Pérez will have his work cut out for him to keep the jersey through three more stages. The Murcia tour doesn’t feature time bonuses, but he will have to hold off some heavy guns if he expects to carry the leader’s jersey into Saturday’s finale.

On CG eight riders are poised at six seconds back, including Contador, Valverde, Garzelli, Colom, Mosquera, Serrano and Manuel Vázquez and Javier Etxarri (both Contentpolis-Murcia).

The Murcia tour continues Thursday with the 146km third stage from Puerto Lumbreras to San Pedro del Pinatar. The course features two Cat. 3 climbs, but the final 30km are mostly flat in what could deliver a bunch sprint.

Agence France Presse contributed to this report.

Results

Results – Stage 2
1. RUBIERA VIGIL, José Luis (Sp), Astana 4h18:14
2. PÉREZ ARRIETA, Aitor (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, s.t.
3. KIRYENKA, Vasil (Blr), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 0:02
4. VALVERDE, Alejandro (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 0:06
5. GARZELLI, Stefano (I), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 0:06
6. SERRANO GONZÁLEZ, Ricardo (Sp), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 0:06
7. CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (Sp), Astana, at 0:06
8. MOSQUERA MIGUEZ, Ezequiel (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 0:06
9. COLON MAS, Antonio (Sp), Astana, at 0:06
10. VÁZQUEZ HUESO, Manuel (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 0:06
11. ETXARRI, Javier (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 0:06
12. GENTILI, Massimiliano (I), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 0:26
13. PASAMONTES, Luis (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 01:10
14. CARRASCO GÁMIZ, José Luis (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 01:10
15. IGLINSKIY, Maxim (Kz), Astana, at 01:10
16. HERRADA LÓPEZ, José (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 01:10
17. SÁNCHEZ PIMIENTA, Julián (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 01:10
18. BROCO, Hernani (P), Liberty Seguros, at 01:10
19. ASTARLOZA CHAURREAU, Mikel (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 01:10
20. PÉREZ SÁNCHEZ, Francisco (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 01:10
21. SAMOILAU, Branislau (Blr), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 01:10
22. RIBEIRO, Nuno (P), Liberty Seguros, at 01:10
23. CODOL, Massimo (I), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 01:10
24. SASTRE CANDIL, Carlos (Sp), Team CSC, at 01:10
25. MASCIARELLI, Francesco (I), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 01:10
26. CUESTA LÓPEZ, Iñigo (Sp), Team CSC, at 01:10
27. PALOMARES, Adrián (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 01:10
28. NOZAL VEGA, Isidro (Sp), Liberty Seguros, at 03:07
29. ISASI FLORES, Iñaki (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 04:23
30. SOUSA, Rui (P), Liberty Seguros, at 04:56
31. PEDRAZA, Walter (Col), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 05:03
32. HORRACH RIPPOLL, Joan (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 06:08
33. PALUMBO, Giuseppe (I), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 06:08
34. SÁNCHEZ GONZÁLEZ, Samuel (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 06:08
35. KLIMOV, Serguei (Rus), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 06:08
36. CHUZHDA, Oleg (Ukr), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 07:50
37. TERUEL, Eloy (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 07:50
38. HERRERO LLORENTE, David (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 07:50
39. GUSTOV, Volodymir (Ukr), Team CSC, at 07:50
40. SALGUEIRO ALONSO, Enrique (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 07:50
41. RUIZ SÁNCHEZ, José (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 07:50
42. KARPETS, Vladimir (Rus), Caisse d’Epargne, at 07:50
43. MAYOZ, Iban (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 07:50
44. PETROV, Evgeni (Rus), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 07:50
45. DOMÍNGUEZ LEMOS, Gustavo (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 07:50
46. MOLLEMA, Bauke (Nl), Rabobank, at 07:50
47. DOMÍNGUEZ MUÑOZ, Sergio (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 12:15
48. RUJANO, Jose (Vz), Caisse d’Epargne, at 12:15
49. NAVARRO GARCÍA, Daniel (Sp), Astana, at 12:15
50. ZAMBRANO CALDERON, Gonzalo (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 12:15
51. AZANZA SOTO, Jorge (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 12:15
52. VAN GOOLEN, Jurgen (B), Team CSC, at 12:15
53. PAULINHO, Sergio (P), Astana, at 15:09
54. DEKKER, Thomas (Nl), Rabobank, at 15:09
55. REDONDO RAMOS, José Antonio (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 15:09
56. FERNÁNDEZ CRUZ, Delio (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 15:09
57. CASAS GALLEGO, Claudio J (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 18:05
58. QUITEIRO, César (P), Liberty Seguros, at 19:23
59. MONDELO DÍAZ, Josu (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 19:23
60. BROWN, Graeme (Aus), Rabobank, at 21:27
61. OTXOTORENA, Xabat (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 21:27
62. HAEDO, Juan José (Arg), Team CSC, at 21:27
63. VENTOSO ALBERDI, Fran (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 21:27
64. BLAUDZUN, Michael (Dk), Team CSC, at 21:27
65. KHATUNTSEV, Alexander (Rus), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 21:27
66. MENCHOV, Denis (Rus), Rabobank, at 21:27
67. MORENO BAZÁN, Javier (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 21:27
68. CASTAÑO PANADERO, Carlos (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 21:27
69. GARCÍA DAPENA, David (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 21:27
70. SEROV, Alexander (Rus), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 21:27
71. TRUSSOV, Nikolay (Rus), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 21:27
72. ROSENDO PRADO, Jesús (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 21:27
73. KLOSTERGAARD, Kasper (Dk), Team CSC, at 21:27
74. BRU PASCAL, Jon (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 21:27
75. ANDRIOTTO, Dario (I), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 21:27
76. VELASCO MURILLO, Iván (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 21:27
77. SARABIA DÍAZ, Ignacio MEX Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 21:27
78. COYOT, Arnaud (F), Caisse d’Epargne, at 21:27
79. BRAJKOVIC, Janez (Slo), Astana, at 21:27
80. AGIRRE ASEGINOLAZA, Josu (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 21:27
81. BOVEN, Jan (Nl), Rabobank, at 21:27
82. PATANCHON, Fabrice (F), Caisse d’Epargne, at 21:27
83. NOVAL GONZÁLEZ, Benjamín (Sp), Astana, at 21:27
84. LÓPEZ GIL, José A (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 21:27
85. FERNÁNDEZ DE LARREA, Koldo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 21:27
86. SÖRENSEN, Nicki (Dk), Team CSC, at 21:27
87. MILÁN JIMÉNEZ, Diego (Sp), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 21:33
88. TERCIADO SACEDO, Francisco José (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 21:33
89. URTASUN PÉREZ, Pablo (Sp), Liberty Seguros, at 27:15
90. JESÚS, Antonio (P), Liberty Seguros, at 27:15
91. COBELO FOJO, Jesús (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 28:56
92. LEEZER, Tom (Nl), Rabobank, at 28:56
93. KOZONTCHUK, Dimitri (Rus), Rabobank, at 28:56
94. RAMÍREZ TORRES, Jesús (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 28:56
95. GIL PÉREZ, Koldo (P), Liberty Seguros, at 29:00


Overall Standings, after Stage 2
1. PÉREZ ARRIETA, Aitor (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo 9:18:25
2. RUBIERA VIGIL, José Luis (Sp), Astana, s.t.
3. KIRYENKA, Vasil (Blr), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 0:02
4. CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (Sp), Astana, at 0:06
5. VALVERDE, Alejandro (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 0:06
6. VÁZQUEZ HUESO, Manuel (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 0:06
7. GARZELLI, Stefano (I), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 0:06
8. COLON MAS, Antonio (Sp), Astana, at 0:06
9. MOSQUERA MIGUEZ, Ezequiel (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 0:06
10. SERRANO GONZÁLEZ, Ricardo (Sp), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 0:06
11. ETXARRI, Javier (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 0:06
12. GENTILI, Massimiliano (I), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 0:26
13. IGLINSKIY, Maxim (Kz), Astana, at 01:10
14. HERRADA LÓPEZ, José (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 01:10
15. PASAMONTES, Luis (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 01:10
16. ASTARLOZA CHAURREAU, Mikel (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 01:10
17. PÉREZ SÁNCHEZ, Francisco (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 01:10
18. CODOL, Massimo (I), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 01:10
19. CARRASCO GÁMIZ, José Luis (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 01:10
20. RIBEIRO, Nuno (P), Liberty Seguros, at 01:10
21. BROCO, Hernani (P), Liberty Seguros, at 01:10
22. PALOMARES, Adrián (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 01:10
23. SÁNCHEZ PIMIENTA, Julián (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 01:10
24. MASCIARELLI, Francesco (I), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 01:10
25. SAMOILAU, Branislau (Blr), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 01:10
26. SASTRE CANDIL, Carlos (Sp), Team CSC, at 01:10
27. CUESTA LÓPEZ, Iñigo (Sp), Team CSC, at 01:10
28. NOZAL VEGA, Isidro (Sp), Liberty Seguros, at 03:07
29. ISASI FLORES, Iñaki (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 04:23
30. SOUSA, Rui (P), Liberty Seguros, at 04:56
31. PEDRAZA, Walter (Col), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 05:03
32. PALUMBO, Giuseppe (I), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 06:08
33. KLIMOV, Serguei (Rus), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 06:08
34. HORRACH RIPPOLL, Joan (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 06:08
35. SÁNCHEZ GONZÁLEZ, Samuel (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 06:08
36. CHUZHDA, Oleg (Ukr), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 07:50
37. DOMÍNGUEZ LEMOS, Gustavo (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 07:50
38. TERUEL, Eloy (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 07:50
39. HERRERO LLORENTE, David (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 07:50
40. KARPETS, Vladimir (Rus), Caisse d’Epargne, at 07:50
41. PETROV, Evgeni (Rus), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 07:50
42. SALGUEIRO ALONSO, Enrique (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 07:50
43. MAYOZ, Iban (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 07:50
44. GUSTOV, Volodymir (Ukr), Team CSC, at 07:50
45. MOLLEMA, Bauke (Nl), Rabobank, at 07:50
46. RUIZ SÁNCHEZ, José (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 07:50
47. AZANZA SOTO, Jorge (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 12:15
48. VAN GOOLEN, Jurgen (B), Team CSC, at 12:15
49. RUJANO, Jose (Vz), Caisse d’Epargne, at 12:15
50. DOMÍNGUEZ MUÑOZ, Sergio (Sp), Contentpolis-Murcia, at 12:15
51. NAVARRO GARCÍA, Daniel (Sp), Astana, at 12:15
52. ZAMBRANO CALDERON, Gonzalo (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 12:15
53. PAULINHO, Sergio (P), Astana, at 15:09
54. DEKKER, Thomas (Nl), Rabobank, at 15:09
55. REDONDO RAMOS, José Antonio (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 15:09
56. CASAS GALLEGO, Claudio J (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 18:05
57. QUITEIRO, César (P), Liberty Seguros, at 19:23
58. MONDELO DÍAZ, Josu (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 19:23
59. BROWN, Graeme (Aus), Rabobank, at 21:27
60. VENTOSO ALBERDI, Fran (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 21:27
61. HAEDO, Juan José (Arg), Team CSC, at 21:27
62. OTXOTORENA, Xabat (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 21:27
63. TRUSSOV, Nikolay (Rus), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 21:27
64. FERNÁNDEZ DE LARREA, Koldo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 21:27
65. SEROV, Alexander (Rus), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 21:27
66. COYOT, Arnaud (F), Caisse d’Epargne, at 21:27
67. BRU PASCAL, Jon (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 21:27
68. GARCÍA DAPENA, David (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 21:27
69. SARABIA DÍAZ, Ignacio MEX Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 21:27
70. KHATUNTSEV, Alexander (Rus), Tinkoff-Credit System, at 21:27
71. CASTAÑO PANADERO, Carlos (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 21:27
72. BLAUDZUN, Michael (Dk), Team CSC, at 21:27
73. VELASCO MURILLO, Iván (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 21:27
74. MORENO BAZÁN, Javier (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 21:27
75. MENCHOV, Denis (Rus), Rabobank, at 21:27
76. NOVAL GONZÁLEZ, Benjamín (Sp), Astana, at 21:27
77. AGIRRE ASEGINOLAZA, Josu (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 21:27
78. SÖRENSEN, Nicki (Dk), Team CSC, at 21:27
79. MILÁN JIMÉNEZ, Diego (Sp), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 21:33
80. ANDRIOTTO, Dario (I), Acqua Sapone-Caffe Mokambo, at 21:43
81. KLOSTERGAARD, Kasper (Dk), Team CSC, at 22:13
82. FERNÁNDEZ CRUZ, Delio (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 22:33
83. LÓPEZ GIL, José A (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 23:05
84. BOVEN, Jan (Nl), Rabobank, at 23:55
85. URTASUN PÉREZ, Pablo (Sp), Liberty Seguros, at 27:15
86. JESÚS, Antonio (P), Liberty Seguros, at 27:15
87. ROSENDO PRADO, Jesús (Sp), Andalucia-Cajasur, at 28:51
88. BRAJKOVIC, Janez (Slo), Astana, at 28:51
89. PATANCHON, Fabrice (F), Caisse d’Epargne, at 28:51
90. LEEZER, Tom (Nl), Rabobank, at 28:56
91. RAMÍREZ TORRES, Jesús (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 28:56
92. TERCIADO SACEDO, Francisco José (Sp), Extremadura-G. Gallardo, at 28:57
93. COBELO FOJO, Jesús (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 36:20
94. KOZONTCHUK, Dimitri (Rus), Rabobank, at 36:20
95. GIL PÉREZ, Koldo (P), Liberty Seguros, at 36:24