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Gutiérrez fastest in Valencia

The sprinters were sharpening their knives before Tuesday’s opening stage of the five-day Volta a Valenciana in Spain, but a late-race attack featuring 24 riders stayed away to foil their chances. Spanish rider José Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d’Epargne) out-kicked compatriot Ruben Plaza (SL Benfica) and Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom) to snag the win and take the overall leader’s jersey in the 157km stage from Sagunto to Port de Sagunto.

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By Andrew Hood

The sprinters were sharpening their knives before Tuesday’s opening stage of the five-day Volta a Valenciana in Spain, but a late-race attack featuring 24 riders stayed away to foil their chances.

Spanish rider José Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d’Epargne) out-kicked compatriot Ruben Plaza (SL Benfica) and Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom) to snag the win and take the overall leader’s jersey in the 157km stage from Sagunto to Port de Sagunto.

“To tell the truth, I didn’t count much on my chances to win, but with 200 meters to go, I just went for it and I managed to win,” said Gutiérrez, the reigning Spanish national champion. “I am a rider who can win out of small groups and arriving with a lot of force, like today, I took my chances because the mass sprints are more complicated and dangerous.”

Milram’s Erik Zabel – racing in his final season – led the bunch across the line at 1:33 back.

The rolling stage across Spain’s Valencia region seemed to follow the script. A trio of riders – Manuel Vazquez (Contentpolis-Murcia), Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Claudio Casas (Andalucia-CajaSur) – peeled away early to build up a 7-minute lead.

Saunier Duval and Astana ramped up the chase when the peloton hit the Cat. 1 El Garbí climb.

It didn’t take long before defending Tour de France champ Alberto Contador (Astana) uncorked an attack that threw the bunch into a panic. Rein Taarame (Cofidis) led the chase as the peloton fractured under the ferocity of Contador’s move. Also marking the move were Trent Lowe and Ryder Hesjedal (both Slipstream-Chipotle).

There was still 40km to go to the finish, but a leading group of two dozen riders worked together to keep the hard-chasing sprinters at bay.

Florencio – winner at the Clásica San Sebástian two years ago – tried in vain to make a long sprint. Gutiérrez marked his wheel and held off Pérez to snag his first win on the 2008 season.

“It was hard on the Garbí climb, but everyone is pretty much on the same level, so no one could get away too far,” Gutiérrez said. “The winner will likely come from the front group today, but it’s hard to say who will win because there are some hard stages and the racing here is always nervous.”

The 66th Vuelta Ciclista Comunidad Valenciana continues Wednesday with the 178km second stage from Alzira to Xávia sprinkled with five Cat. 3 climbs in a circuit course that could see the sprinters’ train back on track.

Results

1. GUTIERREZ, José I. (Sp), CAISSE D`EPARGNE 3:46:59
2. PLAZA, Ruben (Sp), S.L.BENFICA s.t.
3. FLORENCIO, Xavier (Sp), BOUYGUES TELECOM s.t.
4. PETROV, Danail (Bul), S.L.BENFICA s.t.
5. NIBALI, Vincenzo (I), LIQUIGAS s.t.
6. COLOM, Antonio (Sp), ASTANA s.t.
7. VILA, Francisco J. (Sp), LAMPRE s.t.
8. DE LA FUENTE, David (Sp), SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT s.t.
9. HESJEDAL, Ryder (Can), SLIPSTREAM-CHIPOTLE s.t.
10. VERDUGO, Gorka (Sp), EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI s.t.
11. KREUZIGER, Roman (Cz), LIQUIGAS s.t.
12. MONFORT, Maxime (B), COFIDIS s.t.
13. GOMEZ M, J. Angel (Sp), SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT s.t.
14. TIRALONGO, Paolo (I), LAMPRE s.t.
15. LOPEZ, David (Sp), CAISSE D`EPARGNE s.t.
16. MOINARD, Amaël (F), COFIDIS s.t.
17. LOWE, Trent (Aus), SLIPSTREAM-CHIPOTLE s.t.
18. ZUBELDIA, Haimar (Sp), EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI s.t.
19. VAZQUEZ, Manuel (Sp), CONTENTPOLIS-MURCIA s.t.
20. PINEAU, Jérôme (F), BOUYGUES TELECOM s.t.
21. CONTADOR, Alberto (Sp), ASTANA s.t.
22. TSCHOPP, Johann (Swi), BOUYGUES TELECOM s.t.
23. TROFIMOV, Yury (Rus), BOUYGUES TELECOM , at
24. FEDRIGO, Pierrick (F), BOUYGUES TELECOM , at
25. ZABEL, Erik (G), TEAM MILRAM , at 01:33
26. POZZATO, Filippo (I), LIQUIGAS , at 01:33
27. BENITEZ, Javier (Sp), S.L.BENFICA , at 01:33
28. CORIONI, Claudio (I), LIQUIGAS , at 01:33
29. PINTO, Edgar (P), S.L.BENFICA , at 01:33
30. EUSER, Lucas (USA),SLIPSTREAM-CHIPOTLE , at 01:33
31. CHOUZDA, Oleg UKR CONTENTPOLIS-MURCIA , at 01:33
32. ROVIRA, Jaume (Sp), EXTREMADURA-G.Gallar, at 01:33
33. NIEVES, Mikel (Sp), ORBEA , at 01:33
34. RABUÑAL., Gonzalo (Sp), KARPIN GALICIA , at 01:33
35. DEKKER, Thomas (Nl), RABOBANK , at 01:33
36. CLEMENT, Stef (Nl), BOUYGUES TELECOM , at 01:33
37. MOERENHOUT, Koos (Nl), RABOBANK , at 01:33
38. JUFRE, Josep (Sp), SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT , at 01:33
39. PEREIRO, Oscar (Sp), CAISSE D`EPARGNE , at 01:33
40. PEREZ, Ruben (Sp), EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI , at 01:33
41. CASTROVIEJO, Jonathan (Sp), ORBEA , at 01:33
42. PEREZ, Alan (Sp), EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI , at 01:33
43. KNEES, Christian (G), TEAM MILRAM , at 01:33
44. ECHARRI, Javier (Sp), CONTENTPOLIS-MURCIA , at 01:33
45. HERRADA, Jose (Sp), CONTENTPOLIS-MURCIA , at 01:33
46. IRIZAR, Markel (Sp), EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI , at 01:33
47. ELTINK, Theo (Nl), RABOBANK , at 01:33
48. MOURON, Juan F. (Sp), KARPIN GALICIA , at 01:33
49. MIHOLJEVIC, Vladimir CRO LIQUIGAS , at 01:33
50. SANCHEZ, Luis L. (Sp), CAISSE D`EPARGNE , at 01:33
51. CESAR, Gustavo (Sp), KARPIN GALICIA , at 01:33
52. PRADERA, Mikel (Sp), S.L.BENFICA , at 01:33
53. OROZ, Juan J. (Sp), EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI , at 01:33
54. BALLAN, Alessandro (I), LAMPRE , at 01:33
55. MC CARTY, Jonathan (USA),SLIPSTREAM-CHIPOTLE , at 01:33
56. ASTARLOA, Igor (Sp), TEAM MILRAM , at 01:33
57. MENDES, Jose (P), S.L.BENFICA , at 01:33
58. DUGGAN, Timothy (USA),SLIPSTREAM-CHIPOTLE , at 01:33
59. FERNANDEZ, Bingen (Sp), COFIDIS , at 01:33
60. MORI, Manuele (I), SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT , at 01:33
61. CHARTEAU, Anthony (F), CAISSE D`EPARGNE , at 01:33
62. NAVARRO, Daniel (Sp), ASTANA , at 01:33
63. SANCHEZ, Julian (Sp), CONTENTPOLIS-MURCIA , at 01:33
64. SPRICK, Matthieu (F), BOUYGUES TELECOM , at 01:33
65. TAARAMAE, Rein (Est), COFIDIS , at 01:33
66. IGLINSKIY, Maxim (Kaz), ASTANA , at 01:33
67. PIEDRA, Antonio (Sp), ANDALUCIA-CAJASUR , at 01:33
68. GONZALEZ, Hector (Sp), SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT , at 01:33
69. MARTIN, Dan (Irl), SLIPSTREAM-CHIPOTLE , at 09:06
70. DEMARET, Jean Eudes (F), COFIDIS , at 09:06
71. MARTIN, David (Sp), ORBEA , at 11:28
72. LOPES, Pedro (P), S.L.BENFICA , at 11:28
73. TERCIADO, Francisco J. (Sp), EXTREMADURA-G.Gallar, at 11:28
74. TRONCOSO, Ramon (Sp), KARPIN GALICIA , at 11:28
75. MARZANO, Marco (I), LAMPRE , at 12:25
76. DE LIS, Sergio (Sp), ORBEA , at 12:25
77. PALEO, Alejandro (Sp), KARPIN GALICIA , at 12:25
78. FLENS, Rick (Nl), RABOBANK , at 12:25
79. NIERMANN, Grischa (G), RABOBANK , at 12:25
80. ELIJZEN, Michel (Nl), RABOBANK , at 12:25
81. PATANCHON, Fabien (F), CAISSE D`EPARGNE , at 12:25
82. MARTINEZ, Serafin (Sp), KARPIN GALICIA , at 12:25
83. ZAMBRANO, Gonzalo (Sp), EXTREMADURA-G.Gallar, at 12:25
84. FREI, Thomas (Swi), ASTANA , at 12:25
85. VENTOSO, Fco.José (Sp), ANDALUCIA-CAJASUR , at 12:25
86. OLMO, Juan (Sp), ANDALUCIA-CAJASUR , at 12:25
87. CASAS, Claudio J. (Sp), ANDALUCIA-CAJASUR , at 12:24
88. ISAICHEV, Vladimir (Rus), KARPIN GALICIA , at 12:25
89. ONGARATO, Alberto (I), TEAM MILRAM , at 12:25
90. CUNEGO, Damiano (I), LAMPRE , at 12:25
91. GAUDIN, Damien (F), BOUYGUES TELECOM , at 12:25
92. CHICCHI, Francesco (I), LIQUIGAS , at 12:25
93. MAZET, Julien (F), ASTANA , at 12:25
94. MIRANDA, Helder (P), S.L.BENFICA , at 12:25
95. PALOMARES, Adrian (Sp), CONTENTPOLIS-MURCIA , at 12:25
96. DOMINGUEZ, Sergio (Sp), CONTENTPOLIS-MURCIA , at 12:25
97. PETACCHI, Alessandro (I), TEAM MILRAM , at 12:25
98. VELO, Marco (I), TEAM MILRAM , at 12:25
99. NOVAL, Benjamin (Sp), ASTANA , at 12:25
100. DIUDIA, Volodymyr UKR TEAM MILRAM , at 12:25
101. SABATINI, Fabio (I), TEAM MILRAM , at 12:25
102. MELERO, Ivan (Sp), ORBEA , at 12:25
103. RUIZ, Eriz (Sp), ORBEA , at 12:25
104. ESTRADA, Juan (Sp), ANDALUCIA-CAJASUR , at 12:25
105. MATE, Luis (Sp), ANDALUCIA-CAJASUR , at 12:25
106. ORTEGA, Manuel (Sp), ANDALUCIA-CAJASUR , at 12:25
107. SANCHEZ, Eladio (Sp), ORBEA , at 12:25
108. CARRASCO, Jose A. (Sp), ANDALUCIA-CAJASUR , at 12:25
109. AUGE, Stéphane (F), COFIDIS , at 12:25
110. BRARD, Florent (F), COFIDIS , at 12:25
111. MORABITO, Steve (Swi), ASTANA , at 12:25
112. DRUJON, Mathieu (F), CAISSE D`EPARGNE , at 12:25
113. DUMOULIN, Samuel (F), COFIDIS , at 12:25
114. FERNANDEZ, Alberto (Sp), KARPIN GALICIA , at 12:25
115. TORRENT, Carlos (Sp), EXTREMADURA-G.Gallar, at 12:25
116. TERUEL, Eloy (Sp), CONTENTPOLIS-MURCIA , at 12:25
117. TEM DAM, Laurens (Nl), RABOBANK , at 12:25
118. OCHOTORENA, Xabat (Sp), EXTREMADURA-G.Gallar, at 12:25
119. LORENZETTO, Mirco (I), LAMPRE , at 12:25
120. URIBARRI, Unai (Sp), ORBEA , at 12:25
121. LAFUENTE, Andoni (Sp), EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI , at 12:25
122. NAPOLITANO, Danilo (I), LAMPRE , at 12:25
123. SALGUEIRO, Enrique (Sp), EXTREMADURA-G.Gallar, at 12:25
124. SUTTON, Christopher (Aus), SLIPSTREAM-CHIPOTLE , at 12:25
125. BALDATO, Fabio (I), LAMPRE , at 12:25
126. DEAN, Julian NZL SLIPSTREAM-CHIPOTLE , at 12:25
127. TRENTI, Guido (USA),LIQUIGAS , at 12:25
128. ALBIZURI, Benat (Sp), EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI , at 12:25
129. GARCIA, José V. (Sp), CAISSE D`EPARGNE , at 12:25
130. KOZANTCHOUK, Dimitry (Rus), RABOBANK , at 12:25
131. FERNANDEZ, Alberto (Sp), SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT , at 12:25
132. HERRERO, Sergio (Sp), EXTREMADURA-G.Gallar, at 12:25
133. PEREZ, Israel (Sp), EXTREMADURA-G.Gallar, at 12:25
134. BODNAR, Maciek POL LIQUIGAS , at 12:25
135. ALARCON, Raul (Sp), SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT , at 13:04
136. PASSERON, Aurelien (F), SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT , at 13:04