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Vuelta a Espana

2008 Vuelta a España: Live Updates – Stage 10

12:54 PM: Good day and welcometo's Live Coverage of the 10th stage of the 2008 Vuelta a España, 151.3-kilometer ride from Sabiñánigo to the high plains of Zaragoza.

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  • 12:54 PM: Good day and welcome

    to’s Live Coverage of the 10th stage of the 2008 Vuelta a España, 151.3-kilometer ride from Sabiñánigo to the high plains of Zaragoza.

    Today’s route opens with the Puerto de Monrepós, a wide-open Category 2 climb at 34km, but it’s most flat from there as the route pushes south toward the windy flats around Zaragoza. A sweeping left-hander on the Paseo de la Independencia complicates a straight-ahead finish with 400 meters to go.

    The official start is expected in about an hour, at 2:02 p.m. Riders are beginning to arrive at the starting village, relaxing, signing-in and taking it easy before today’s relatively short and easy day in the saddle.

  • 12:55 PM: Drop us a line

    If you have a comment, question or even a complaint, feel free to hit the “contact our editors” link below our Live Update Window.

    We promise to read them all, answer as many as time permits and even post a few of your comments in today’s coverage.

  • 02:03 PM: Riding

    The peloton is at the official start of today’s stage. We already see some action by the Andalucía-Cajasur team.

    Word is that Liquigas’s Daniele Bennati has not signed in today. That puts the Vuelta at 160 riders now.

    Here is a summary of those riders who have pulled out since the Vuelta began on Sunday, August 31:
    Stage 8 – Andorra (Escaldes-Engordany)-Salardú/Naut Aran/Pla de Beret, 151,0 Kms.
    Jean Marc Marino (FRA) Credit Agricole

    Stage 7 – Barbastro-Andorra(Naturlandia – La Rabassa), 223,2 Kms.
    Carlos Barredo (ESP) Quick Step
    Nikolay Trusov (RUS) Tinkoff
    Stef Clement (NED) Bouygues Telecom
    Volodymyr Diudia (UKR) Milram

    Stage 5 – Ciudad Real – Ciudad Real (C.R.I.), 42,5 Kms
    Aurélien Clerc (SUI) Bouygues Telecom
    Maryan Hary (FRA) Cofidis

    Stage 4 – Córdoba – Puerto LLano, 170 Kms.
    Ricardo Serrano (ESP) Tinkoff

    Did Not Start Stage 1
    Staf Scheirlinckx (BEL) Cofidis

  • 02:14 PM: At 10km

    There have been several attacks today, but only one rider – Tinkoff’s Mikhail Ignatiev – has managed to get off the front. He doesn’t have much of a gap.

    Word from race radio is that Bouygues Telecom’s Alexandre Pichot has pulled out of the race. We’re down to 159 riders.

  • 02:19 PM: Today’s climb

    starts at an altitude of 730 meters at the 23km mark and continues up to 34km at 1280 meters.

    The Cat. 2 Puerto de Monrepós is the day’s only climb and the remainder of the route offers a generally downhill profile to wind-whipped plains around Zaragoza. Indeed, for those of us from the wild west, the terrain around Zaragoza reminds us of the high plains of Southern Wyoming. It’s dry and very, very windy… just a lot warmer.

  • 02:24 PM: Reader questions

    As one of our readers predicted, we’re getting more questions about Lance Armstrong than we are about the Vuelta. Rachel’s question is a good example:

    So it’s all over the news but nothing definitive ….IS Lance going to race again?
    Neal Rogers pretty much put what he knew into the story that we ran on The rumors sure have been around for a while.

  • 02:32 PM: At 20km

    the race is approaching the base of the day’s only climb.

    Ignatiev was reeled in and a new group – Philippe Gilbert (FDJ), Gianni Meersman (FDJ), Yaroslav Popovych (Silence-Lotto), Allesandro Ballan (Lampre), Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step) and Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas) – moved ahead of the field. Still, their advantage is pretty small. These guys are pretty regular early attackers, though, and we might see them pull it off. Recall that Garate was in the original break that gave David Moncoutie a stage win two days ago.

  • 02:34 PM: The pace

    has been quite high in these early kilometers, averaging just around 45kph. We expect things to settle down when they work their way up the climb, though.

    The seven men in the lead have a scant 30-second advantage over the main field.

  • 02:43 PM: All together

    that 30-second lead evaporated pretty quickly. The Euskaltel boys really do want to keep the jersey and they are patrolling the front of the field.

  • 02:45 PM: At 30km

    the peloton is staying together on the climb.

  • 02:51 PM: Another one bites

    the dust. Anthony Geslin (Bouygues Telecom) has withdrawn from the Vuelta now. 158 remain.

  • 02:57 PM: Up and over

    We’ll get a run down of just who scored points on the climb. Either way, unless he drops out, David Moncoutie will keep the red climber’s jersey, since he has a healthy lead in that contest after being out on the attack for two days running.

    1. David Moncoutie, (FRA) Cofidis 78 points
    2. Alessandro Ballan, (ITA) Lampre 51 points
    3. Manuel Garate, Juan (ESP) Quick Step 32 points
    4. Alberto Contador, (ESP) Astana 32 points
    5. Marc De Maar, (NED) Rabobank 31 points
    6. Ezequiel Mosquera, (ESP) 31 points
    7. Nikita Eskov, (RUS) Tinkoff 31 points
    8. Christophe Kern, (FRA) Credit Agricole 26 points
    9. Iñigo Landaluze, (ESP) Euskaltel-Euskadi 22 points
    10. Joaquín RodrÍguez Oliver, (ESP) Caisse d’Epargne 19 points

  • 03:06 PM: Moncoutie

    Is still in the KOM jersey, but he only took the third points on the climb. Juan Manuel Garate took off to take top points, followed by Nikita Eskov (Tinkoff), then Moncoutie, Liquigas’s Alessandro Vanotti, Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) and Walter Pedraza (Tinkoff).

    The rest of the day looks to be a cruise to the finish, with no major terrain ahead. Wind will certainly be something worth watching, though, as we’ve seen several stages in this part of Spain blown apart by crosswinds.

  • 03:12 PM: Zaragoza weather

    It’s 78 degrees (F, of course) there now. Should be a bit over 80 by the end of the stage. Sunny, no wind …

  • 03:13 PM: An attack

    A Milram rider has opened a bit of a gap on the field on the descent.

  • 03:16 PM: Jurco

    The Milram rider is the Slavakian Matej Jurco. We don’t think he’ll get far ahead of the bunch.

    The peloton did 42.9k in the first hour of racing. How many k did you do?

  • 03:20 PM: Well

    Actually it looks like Jurco is getting a good gap, upwards of a minute now, over the Euskaltel-led bunch. He’s not much of a threat to Egoi Martinez’s lead, at 102nd place, 51 minutes out, overall.

  • 03:23 PM: Two minutes

    Jurco now has two minutes over the bunch. This appears to be the break of the day. He’s still got about 100k to go, though, until the finish in Zaragoza.

  • 03:29 PM: Opening up fast

    Jurco’ lead is over three minutes, now at about the 55km mark of this 151.3km stage

  • 03:36 PM: Over five minutes

    Euskaltel is really letting Jurco make a run for it. We are at about the 60k mark. The letters continue to pour in re: Mr. Armstrong. Also the New York Times has a good story on it.

  • 03:37 PM: The rain

    The rain has mostly stopped, and the forecast is for sunny skies at the finish. There is a slight tail wind from the left.

  • 03:44 PM: More than six minutes

    Jurco is moving along nicely with more than six minutes at the 67km mark.

  • 03:48 PM: Points

    Upcoming we will have an intermediate sprint at the 80k mark and then one at the 122k mark. Valverde is leading the points competition. followed by yesterday’s stage winner, Greg Van Avermaet then Daniele Bennati:

    1 VALVERDE, Alejandro 74
    2 VAN AVERMAET, Greg 73
    3 BENNATI, Daniele 63
    4 BALLAN, Alessandro 56
    5 REBELLIN, Davide 56

  • 03:51 PM: Lunch, too

    The feed zone comes just after the first sprint, at the 80.5k mark. Sprint, then brake hard, boys.

  • 03:53 PM: Our leader

    Jurco is at 74k, and is rolling along nicely, although the wind is picking up a bit. Euskaltel continues to lead the peloton, which is bumping along at a pleasant pace … the cross is making folks a bit nervous, though.

  • 03:54 PM: That gap

    It’s at 7:40 now, at the 74k mark. remember that Jurco is about 51 minutes behind Martinez on GC. However, it’s still A Long, Long Way to Zaragoza (is that a song title? should be.)

  • 03:57 PM: TT ace

    Jurco is a three-time Slovakian time trial champ, so this is his kind of effort today. We gotta think the sprinters teams in the field will want to take over from Euskaltel and reel this guy in in the final 30k, though.

  • 04:03 PM: Jurco has passed the sprint point at Almudévar . . .

    . . . and he’s headed off toward the lunchroom.

  • 04:06 PM: Jurco’s gap remains just under seven minutes

    Behind, meanwhile, Gianni Meersman (Francaise des Jeux) has scheduled an appointment with the doctor.

  • 04:10 PM: The bunch hits the sprint . . .

    . . . and Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto) and Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Caisse d’Epargne) take the remaining honors, in that order. Lunchtime, gentlemen. Don’t forget to brush and floss afterward.

  • 04:12 PM: Astana strings out the bunch . . .

    . . . and goes to echelon. Who d’they think they are, CSC? That’s a favorite Bjarne Riis tactic, as you will recall.

  • 04:14 PM: Somebody must be in a hurry

    Average speed after the second hour of racing: 44.80 km/h. That’s 27.8 mph for you Yanks.

  • 04:16 PM: Jurco’s lead is coming down

    Six minutes and change now, with Rabobank and Euskaltel-Euskadi pitching in at the front of the bunch.

  • 04:18 PM: Oscar Freire fancies his chances, maybe?

    With 50km to race, the gap is coming down rapidly, to just over five minutes, with the Rabos drillin’ it.

  • 04:20 PM: One long line

    Zoom. That bunch is strung out, folks. Hate to be the caboose in this choo-choo.

  • 04:25 PM: Jurco soldiers on

    But his gap keeps falling —just four minutes now. The Rabos remain up front.

  • 04:29 PM: Tick, tock

    The pace picks up a bit and the bunch nibbles even deeper into Jurco’s lead – under four minutes now.

  • 04:31 PM: Armstrong remains silent as regards the comeback rumor

    But the UCI’s Pat McQuaid always feels chatty. Speaking with The Associated Press, McQuaid said: “It may be that he has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder because of the accusations and rumors surrounding him, none of which were ever proven. And he wants to come back and show that, now that there is a new system in place, which is the biological passport, which can show any type of manipulation of the blood, he wants to come back and show that he is the athlete he claims he was, that his results have shown.”

  • 04:32 PM: Three minutes the gap now

    Euskaltel and Rabobank are tag-teaming the chase.

  • 04:39 PM: Slipping

    The gap is now under two minutes for our man Jurco, who has done a good piece of time trial training out there. There is less than 45k to go.

  • 04:44 PM: 1:34 is the gap now

    The peloton nearly has Jurco in their sights

  • 04:46 PM: 1:22 now

    It’s a long straight stretch now, and the hounds can see the hare.

  • 04:47 PM: Jurco knows he’s nearly done

    A dip of the head and then back to pedaling.

  • 04:48 PM: Credit Agricole moving up

    So is CSC-Saxo Bank.

  • 04:49 PM: Jurco takes a quick peek over his shoulder . . .

    . . . the bunch is closing.

  • 04:50 PM: 29.3km to go

    And Jurco takes the intermediate sprint.

  • 04:52 PM: Joachim Rodriguez

    The Caisse d’Epargne rider takes the second place sprint

  • 04:53 PM: Astana man is third

    Sergio Paulinho was third. Jurco is taking on some food before the catch.

  • 04:56 PM: Jurco not totally sitting up

    He’s rolling along on the drops, not putting out much effort, but not sitting up, either. Rabobank still at the front.

  • 05:01 PM: Jurco

    still dangling. An Andalucia rider is attacking from the pack. Antonio Lopez is coming up.

  • 05:04 PM: Lopez and Jurco

    Lopez has caught Jurco and the two exchanged a couple words and now Jurco is sitting on.

  • 05:08 PM: working

    The two have 25 seconds’ gap over the pack. Jurco has pulled through a couple times, but Lopez is doing most of the work. They have about 15k to go

    Eusklatel and Rabobank are leading the chase.

  • 05:09 PM: Wide open

    the riders have got back on a wide divided highway after being on some narrow twisty roads

  • 05:12 PM: Swarming

    oops, crash at the back. A Liquigas rider is down

  • 05:14 PM: We were just about to say …

    These wide, wide roads make for some fast, but somewhat chaotic riding. Two riders are attacking off the front.

  • 05:14 PM: Jurcos and Lopez

    still out there, Jurcos taking a tough pull. A FdJ and a Credit Agricole rider are trying to bridge.

  • 05:15 PM: A quick bridge

    And the newcomers blow right by Jurcos and Lopez

  • 05:15 PM: All coming together

    The four are sorta together, but their gap over the peloton is tenuous.

  • 05:18 PM: The peloton strung out

    Everyone is back in the fold and the pace is fast. Jurcos’ day off the front is over.

  • 05:19 PM: 7km to go

    And a few more riders have split off the front

  • 05:19 PM: tunnel

    We are on a four-lane divided highway now, going under a small overpass/tunnel. Lots of activity at the front, but mostly together.

  • 05:21 PM: 5k

    5k to go and an Andalucia team rider is off the front. Milram, Rabobank, Quick Step are trying to control the front.

  • 05:22 PM: Silence Lotto

    The Andalucia rider was caught, now Silence Lotto has tried to come up. 4k to go – we are on a narrower road now.

  • 05:22 PM: Liquigas at the front

    Liqui has control, Boonen and Zabel near the front …

  • 05:23 PM: Freire and Flecha up there

    Quick Step on the front right now. 2k to go

  • 05:24 PM: Quick Step looks to have one or two riders left

    1k to go

  • 05:25 PM: Silence Lotto

    A Liqugas rider has a gap

  • 05:25 PM: one corner

    looks like he’s gonna get caught

  • 05:26 PM: A C-A rider gets it

    Sebastien Hinault wins a tough, long sprint

  • 05:27 PM: Six riders

    Six riders came across the line almost together. Lloyd Mondory (Ag2R) was second, third … stand by

  • 05:29 PM: The bunch

    A few GC riders sat up for the last k, but almost the entire field came in together today, after a relatively easy stage. All the GC favs are accounted for and certainly Egoi Martinez will remain in the gold leader’s jersey.

  • 05:30 PM: Third place

    Third goes to yesterdays stage winner, Greg Van Avermaet, (Silence-Lotto).

  • 05:32 PM: Unofficial top ten

    1 Sebastien Hinault
    2 Lloyd Mondory
    3 Greg Van Avermaet
    4 Oscar Freire
    5 Tom Boonen
    6 Koldo Fernandez De Larrea
    7 Alexandre Usov
    8 Xavier Florencio
    9 Juan Jose Haedo
    10 Nikita Eskov

  • 05:34 PM: And that’s all

    Thanks for reading along. Please check in with us tomorrow for the 11th stage, a 178km jaunt from Calahorra to Burgos.