Rabon wraps up Murcia

Frantisek Rabon (HTC-Columbia) clinches overall victory in the Vuelta a Murcia.

Theo Bos (Cervélo TestTeam) won his second sprint within a week and Frantisek Rabon (HTC-Columbia) wrapped up the overall in Sunday’s final stage at the five-day Vuelta a Murcia in Spain.

A winner ahead of Mark Cavendish in last weekend’s Clásica de Almería, Bos relegated Graeme Brown (Rabobank) to his third second-place finish in five days to win his second race in the 2010 season.

And he did it by getting over some challenging climbs and then fending off his former teammates at Rabobank to win the 121km final stage into Murcia. Rabon, who claimed Saturday’s time trial, finished safely in the main pack to secure the overall.

“There was one second-category climb in today’s stage and I had to pass that one. As we expected Rabobank set the tempo in the front but my teammates stayed around me providing perfect support,” Bos said.

“It was really a fast final and that is really good for me. Brown was in my wheel and I knew that I had to watch him. With 300 meters to go I opened the sprint and saw Brown coming out of my wheel. When he tried to pass me I accelerated and he was not able to pass me and came back in my wheel.”

Cervélo’s Philip Deignan worked into the day’s main break that was only caught until the closing kilometers, allowing Bos to take a shot at the sprint.

Rabon, meanwhile, just had to avoid trouble to win his first European stage-race title. The 26-year-old Czech rider blew the doors off Saturday’s time trial to enter Sunday’s final stage with a 38-second gap to defending Murcia champ Denis Menchov (Rabobank).

“I was feeling confident because I’d done pretty well in my previous race, the Tour of the Algarve (in Portugal), where I was seventh overall. I was third last rider to start, which was an advantage because I had time references on my rivals and knew when I had to go faster,” Rabon said of his Saturday TT win.

The victory is HTC-Columbia’s second consecutive stage-race win in Spain. Michael Rogers won the Ruta del Sol last week in nearby Andalucía.

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) finished third overall at 53 seconds off the pace while Lance Armstrong finished seventh overall at 1:23 back in his European racing season debut. Armstrong is traveling Monday to South Africa, where he said he hopes to meet with former president Nelson Mandela.

Peter Stetina (Garmin-Transitions) was 23rd overall, with Danny Pate in 26th and Dave Zabriskie in 37th. Jason McCartney (RadioShack) wrapped up the week in 63rd overall.