Today’s Stage 16 of the Tour of Spain 2010 traveled 181.4 km (112.7 m) from Gijón and finished on the climb up to Cotobello. It was a tough mountainous day with one Category 3 climb near the beginning, and three Category 1 climbs including the last climb to the finish line. Joaquin Rodriguez and Frank Schleck both said that this day was an important stage in the overall category. Tomorrow is a rest day and the race will return with the individual time trial on Wednesday.
There were many breakaways and attacks throughout the day and the racers were splintered at the end. As predicted yesterday all the GC favorites attacked during the last climb. Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Mikel Nieve had a good head start though and finished first over a minute before the second place rider. Saxo Bank’s Frank Schleck showed his good legs today and came in second 1 minute 6 seconds later. Rodriguez, Mosquera, Roche, Sastre and Nibali all pushed themselves but Rodriguez gained time on Nibali and now is in the camiseta roja by 33 seconds over Nibali.
The overall category changed but the top three are still Rodriguez, Nibali and Mosquera who are within one minute of each other. Frank Schleck is 4th, behind 2 minutes 16 seconds, Nicholas Roche is 5th at 3:01 back.
– Peter Velits dropped to 6th overall, behind 4 minutes 27 seconds. Xavier Tondo dropped to 8th, behind 4:43, and Carlos Sastre is now 9th behind 4:53.
After a rest day on Tuesday, Wednesday’s Stage 17 will be the individual time trial of 46 km (28.6 m) on a flat circular route starting and ending in Peñafiel.
Stage 17 predictions:
– Saxo Bank’s Fabian “Fabu” “Big Swiss” Cancellara won the ITT during July’s Tour de France so he’s a favorite to win this stage. Plus he’ll pace Frank Schleck to help him get time on the top three because Schleck really needs to be less than a minute to be in contention again.
– In the Tour de France’s ITT Sastre came in 6 minutes 30 seconds behind, Roche 6:42, behind, and Rodriguez 10:17, behind.
1) NIEVE, Mikel – Euskaltel-Euskadi: 4:51:59
2) SCHLECK, Frank – Team Saxo Bank: + 1’06”
3) DE WEERT, Kevin – Quickstep: + 1’08”
4 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin – Katusha: + 1’22”
5) SÁNCHEZ, Luis León – CAISSE D’EPARGNE: + 1’32”
1) RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin – Katusha: 70:24:39
2) NIBALI, Vincenzo – Liquigas: + 33″
3) MOSQUERA, Ezequiel – Xacobeo Galicia: + 53″
4) SCHLECK, Frank – Team Saxo Bank: + 2’16”
5) ROCHE, Nicholas – Ag2r la Mondiale: + 3’01”