By Andrew Hood
Marlux rider Dave Bruylandts got a well-deserved victory in Wednesday’sgrueling climbing stage from Huerta del Ray to Lagunas de Neila high abovethe Spanish meseta in the third stage of the Tour of Burgos.Bruylandts, 27, has been close since finishing second in Sunday’s Subidaa Urkiola behind iBanesto.com’s Leonardo Piepoli. In Tuesday’s climbingstage, he was second behind yet another Banesto, Chente Garcia Acosta.There was no stopping the determined Belgian, who worked himself intoa six-man break that hit the bottom of the 20km climb with an 8 minutegap on the main bunch. Bruylandts finally dropped ONCE’s Joachim Rodriguesand Euskatel’s Gorka Gonzalez with 4km to go.Bruylandts came through with fists pumping in the air to take the victory.Meanwhile, there was quite a battle for the overall spoils in his wake.iBanesto.com’s Pablo Lastras widened his overall lead to 22 seconds afterattacking second-place rider Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) with just 600 metersto go in the painfully steep climb with ramps as steep as 14 percent.Lastras and Pereiro entered the stage with the same time and the Phonakrider is arguably the better climber, but Lastras counted on excellenthelp from teammates Piepoli and Juan Miguel Mercado.Piepoli marked Pereiro’s every move up the grinding climb and gave Lastrasthe motivation to dig deep to fight on. Pereiro dropped Lastras with lessthan 2km to go, but Piepoli grabbed his wheel and Lastras worked back on.Lastras counter-attacked coming up the final steep switchbacks and gained22 seconds on his rival going into Thursday’s 14.4km decisive individualtime trial in Medina de Pomar.25th Tour of Burgos (UCI 2.1), Stage 3, Huerta Del Ray to Lagunasde Neila
1. Dave Bruylandts (B), Marlux 4 hours, 6 minutes, 15 seconds
2. Gorka Gonzalez (Sp), Euskaltel +1:06
3. Joachim Rodrigues (Sp), ONCE +1:46
4. David Navas (Sp), Relax +1:57
5. Pedro Lobato (Sp), Paternina +2:40
8. Pablo Lastras (Sp), iBanesto.com +4:56
13. Oscar Pereiro (Sp), Phonak +5:18Overall after three stages
1. Lastras 12 hours, 8 minutes, 20 seconds
2. Pereiro +0:22
3. Carlos Quesada (Sp), Kelme +0:54
4. Giampaolo Cheula (I), Caldirola +1:09
5. Daniel Atienza (Sp), Cofidis +1:35
Metlushenko wins, Scanlon holds lead in Denmark
Ukrainian Yuri Metlushenko won Wednesday’s second stage of the Tourof Denmark (UCI 2.2) in a bunch sprint, holding off Gerolsteiner’s RobertForster to grab the victory. The stage came down to a mass sprint despiteseveral attacks throughout the stage.Overnight leader Mark Scanlon (Ag2r) kept the jersey after finishingfifth in the sprint. The young Irishman was part of a 13-man break in Tuesday’sopening stage that caught race favorite CSC off-guard. The team of defendingchampion Jakob Piil worked Julian Dean into Tuesday’s break, but the mainbunch came in at 2:05.The six-day Tour of Denmark continues Thursday with the 185km thirdstage from Hammel to Kolding.Barbosa wins at Portugal, Lavarinhas OK
Portuguese sprinter Candido Barbosa (LA Pecol) won Wednesday’s seventhstage of the Volta a Portugal in a bunch sprint, holding off Spanish sprinterAngel Edo (Milaneza-MSS) to take the victory.Barbosa covered the 166.6km rolling stage from Gouveia to Joao Da Madeirain 3 hours, 44 minutes, 37 seconds with an average speed of 44.5 kph. Milaneza’sRui Lavarinhas finished safely in the main bunch to retain the overalllead.The 65th Tour of Portugal continues Thursday with the 188.5km stagefrom Santa Maria Da Feira to Fafe, another rolling stage as the race pushesnorthward.65th Volta a Portugal (UCI 2.2), Stage 7, Gouveia to Joao Da Madeira,166.5km
1. Candido Barbosa (Por), LA Pecol 3 hours, 44 minutes, 38 seconds
2. Angel Edo (Sp), Milaneza-MSS
3. Alberto Benito (Sp), Antarte
4. Pedro Soeiro (Por), Carvalhelhos
4. Pedro Costa (Por), Carvalhelhos – all same timeOverall standings after seven stages
1. Rui Lavarinhas (Por), Milaneza-MSS 28 hours, 37 minutes, 41 seconds
2. Nuno Ribeiro (Por) LA Pecol +0:17
3. David Blanco (Sp), Ravessa +1:57
4. Claus Moller (Den), Milaneza-MSS +2:19
5. Nelson Vitorino (Por) Ravessa +2:48
Hary wins Tour d’Ain stage
French rider Maryan Hary (La Boulangere) won the 169km second stageof the Tour de l’Ain (UCI 2.3) in France onWednesday between Bourg en Bresseand Ceyzeriat. Hary, one of Boulangere’s crop of young up-and-coming Frenchriders, finished 17 seconds ahead of Samuel Dumoulin (Jean Delatour). Dumoulin,who was part of a five-man break in Tuesday’s first stage, grabbed theoverall lead. The race continues Thursday with the 155km third stage fromSaint Genis Pouilly to Lelex Monts Jura.
Quick Step on buying spree
The Belgian Quick Step squad continues on its aggressive spending campaign to build up the team’s grand tour hopes and signed Spanish sensation José Antonio Pecharromán to a two-year deal.
The team has already signed Spanish climber Juan Miguel Mercado as the team looks to add some firepower to what is already one of cycling’s powerhouses in the one-day classics.
Quick Step’s Patrick Lefevre has also signed 34-year-old Laurent Dufaux to a one-year deal as well as Spanish rider José Antonio Garrido, a Pecharromán teammate at the modest Division II Paternina-Costa de Almeria team.
While Pecharromán’s salary isn’t known, it’s sure to be a nice raise from his current 30,000 euro paycheck he receives at Paternina. Pecharromán had said he’d wait to see if Paternina could match the Quick Step offer, but signed with the Belgian team without waiting. The team was reportedly so mad they threatened to pull him out of the Vuelta a España lineup, but changed its mind.
Pecharromán won the Bicicleta Vasca in May and then upset U.S. Postal’s Roberto Heras in the difficult Volta a Catalunya in June.
Garcia, Lastras make Burgos banner Banesto day
The legendary Banesto team could become a thing of the past if a new sponsor isn’t found in the coming weeks, but that doesn’t mean the team is going away quietly.
Leonardo Piepoli won the difficult Subida a Urkiola for the third time Sunday in Spain’s Basque Country and Chente García Acosta and Pablo Lastras gave the team a double dose of victory in Tuesday’s second stage of the Tour of Burgos.
García Acosta, a veteran Spanish rider who’s won stages at both the Tour and the Vuelta, held off in a long breakaway to win the difficult climbing stage while Lastras just edged Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) to move into the overall lead.
Lastras and Pereiro will duke it out again in Wednesday’s climbing stage to Las Lagunas de Neila.
Stefano Garzelli (Caldirola), Igor Astarloa (Saeco) and Chechu Rubiera (USPS) were among the riders to abandon Tuesday’s stage. Labarca sign Colombians
The Spanish Division II Labarca 2-Cafes Baque team has signed two Spanish riders to help the team in the upcoming Vuelta a España. Hernán Buenahora and Félix Cárdenas will leave their Colombian Orbitel 05 team to make a run for the Vuelta’s “maillot dorada” race leader’s jersey.
Buenahora raced with Kelme from 1991-97 and then with Vitalicio Seguros while Cárdenas also raced with Kelme from 2000-2001.
The Spanish team has been studying the opportunity to bolster its lineup since June. The recent EPO positive test for Aitor Kintana at the Volta a Catalunya gave the team more incentive to sign the Colombians.
Scanlon takes Danish opener
Irish phenom Mark Scanlon took a big stage-win in Tuesday’s opening stage of the Tour of Denmark. The former junior world champion was part of a 13-man break and then attacked with two other riders with 2km to go. The Danish tour continues through Saturday.