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Hondo wins Murcia opener

German sprint ace Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner) drew first blood at theVuelta a Murcia in Spain on Wednesday, scoring his first win of the 2005season.Cloudy skies gave way to afternoon sun, but cool temperatures and strongwinds reminded everyone of the cold front that swept through Spain overthe weekend leaving high mountain roads clogged with snow.Several riders tried in vain to slip away from the peloton, includingaging classics warrior Andrea Tafi (Saunier Duval) and Peter Wuyts (Mr.Bookmaker), who were away in a breakaway but reeled in with 15km to go.The pace was torrid for so early in the

By Andrew Hood

Hondo - and Gerolsteiner - get their first big win of the season

Hondo – and Gerolsteiner – get their first big win of the season

Photo: Graham Watson

German sprint ace Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner) drew first blood at theVuelta a Murcia in Spain on Wednesday, scoring his first win of the 2005season.Cloudy skies gave way to afternoon sun, but cool temperatures and strongwinds reminded everyone of the cold front that swept through Spain overthe weekend leaving high mountain roads clogged with snow.Several riders tried in vain to slip away from the peloton, includingaging classics warrior Andrea Tafi (Saunier Duval) and Peter Wuyts (Mr.Bookmaker), who were away in a breakaway but reeled in with 15km to go.The pace was torrid for so early in the season and about 25 riders finishedmore than four minutes back.Gerolsteiner did fine work to keep the group under control to set upthe final sprint. Hondo flew off a teammate’s wheel with 200 meters togo and held off a late charge by Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) to win andtake the leader’s jersey.Hondo will have a hard time holding the jersey, but could well passit to Gerolsteiner teammates Michael Rich or Levi Leipheimer in Thursday’sflat 22km individual time trial.Vuelta a Murcia (SPA 1.1), Murcia to Molina de Segura, 164km
1. Danilo Hondo (Ger), Gerolsteiner 3h47:08
2. Allan Davis (Aus), Liberty Seguros
3. Eric Baumann (Ger), T-Mobile
4. Wesley van der Linden (Ned), Chocolade Jacques
5. Stefan Van Dijck (Ned), Mr. Bookmaker – all same time

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