Spaniard and second place Ezequiel Mosquera attacked on the brutal Bola del Mundo climb to win the stage but not the tournament. Despite Mosquera’s awesome solo attack to the top, the red jersey Vincezo Nibali caught up to take second in the stage only one second behind and won the overall race. Rodriguez came in third 23 seconds later. Next came Schleck, Tondo, Roche, Nieve and Velits, each finished alone and seconds apart.
Today’s Stage 20 of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana was the decisive mountain stage to determine the overall winner of the Vuelta 2010. It traveled 172.1 km (106.9 m) from San Martín de Valdeiglesias to the mountaintop finish of Bola del Mundo. Riders go up a Category 3 climb, two Category 1s in addition to the steep Bola del Mundo with concrete slopes from 8 to 20 percent.
The breakaway of the day was slowly reeled in when the slopes of the final climb up the Bola del Mundo became steep at around the 12 k mark. Of the Top 5 favorites Frank Schleck was the brave one to attack first and Mosquera followed. This attack was short but soon Mosquera, Nibali, Schleck, Rodriguez, Roche, and Velits were separated from the rest of the pack. Mosquera attacked again and only Nibali could follow. The Spaniard was gaining some seconds and at one point was 18 seconds ahead of Nibali, but Nibali wasn’t going to give up his win easily and kept at a good pace. Slowly Nibali caught up with the attacking Mosquera and was right at his heel at the finish. The climb was so brutal that the finishers had to be pushed by handlers over to their respective team area.
Of the stage Mosquera said to La Vuelta.com: “I gave everything I had. I can’t say more because I actually was dead when I crossed the finish line.”
– What a super exciting day and finish especially when it got really foggy and it looked like Mosquera and Nibali didn’t even realize they had crossed the line.
– This climb really separated the men from the boys and the climbing favorites did not disappoint. It’s too bad Frank Schleck couldn’t have taken the stage but he’s in 5th so that’s a good place to be.
– Peter Velits looked really good up until this stage, he’s still 3rd but this climb showed that old favorites like Rodriguez, Roche and Schleck are real stars.
Sunday’s last Stage 21 is a mostly ceremonial ride for the overall classification over 85 km (52.8 m) from San Sebastián de los Reyes to Madrid but the sprinters will battle it for the stage win.
Stage 21 predictions;
– It should be a good showdown between Cavendish and Farrar since only 12 points separate them.
1) MOSQUERA, Ezequiel – Xacobeo Galicia: 4:45:28
2) NIBALI, Vincenzo – Liquigas: + 1″
3) RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin – Katusha: + 23″
4) SCHLECK, Frank – Team Saxo Bank: + 35″
5) TONDO, Xavier – Cervelo Test Team: + 39″
6) ROCHE, Nicholas – Ag2r la Mondiale: + 42″
7) NIEVE, Mikel – Euskaltel-Euskadi: +50″
8) VELITS, Peter – HTC-Columbia: + 52″
1) NIBALI, Vincenzo – Liquigas: 85:16:05
2) MOSQUERA, Ezequiel – Xacobeo Galicia: + 41″
3) VELITS, Peter – HTC-Columbia: + 3’02”
4) RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin – Katusha: + 4’20”
5) SCHLECK, Frank – Team Saxo Bank: + 4’43”
6) TONDO, Xavier – Cervelo Test Team: + 4’52”
7) ROCHE, Nicholas – Ag2r la Mondiale: + 5’03”
8) SASTRE, Carlos – Cervelo Test Team: + 6’06”
9) DANIELSON, Thomas – Garmin-Transitions: 6’09”
10) SANCHEZ, Luis Leon – Caisse d’Epargne: 7’35”