Belgian Philppe Gilbert won his second stage in this year’s Tour of Spain. American Tyler Farrar came in second, and Italian Filippo Pozzato was third. The stage ending was also exciting shakeup in the GC, when camiseta roja Vincenzo Nibali and fifth place Joaquin Rodriguez attacked and gained time.
Today’s Stage 19 of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana was the longest stage of the race with riders covering 231.2 km (143.7 m) from Piedrahita to Toledo. It started on a steep Category 2 climb and then the rest of the way was hilly and ended up a short climb.
The peloton recorded some of the slowest speeds in the race so far today as riders decided to save their energy for the long day. The breakaway of the day was reeled in 13 km before the end setting up the stage for the sprinters or so they thought. The steep finish weeded out the pure sprinters but Gilbert and Farrar held on to take first and second in the stage. Katusha’s Filippo Pozzato – best known for his naked shoe-commercials – came in third.
Several attacks by the GC contenders fractured the peloton at the end and red jersey wearer Vincenzo Nibali along with Joaquin Rodriguez gained some time on the rest of the contenders. Ezequiel Mosquera lost 12 seconds to Nibali, and is now 50 seconds behind the leader. Frank Schleck suffered a flat tire and lost time to Rodriguez who displaced him in fourth position pushing Schleck to fifth.
– Saxo Bank’s Fabian Cancellara abandoned the race during this stage leaving doubts to his World’s participation according to Velo News.
– Slovakian twins and HTC riders Peter and Martin Velits could be the new Schleck brothers, plus all four of them look the same. After this race these 25-year-olds will be new racing stars.
Saturday’s Stage 20 will be the decisive mountain stage to determine the overall winner of the Vuelta 2010. It goes 172.1 km (106.9 m) from San Martín de Valdeiglesias to the mountaintop finish of Bola del Mundo. Riders must go up a Category 3 climb, two Category 1s in addition to the steep Bola del Mundo with concrete slopes up to 12 percent.
Stage 20 predictions:
– This will be a battle between Nibali and Mosquera. Can Mosquera gain over 50 seconds on the red jersey to take it for himself?
– P. Velits looks safe at 3rd but could also attack and gain time on Nibali and Mosquera.
– Fourth place could also change if Frank Schleck tries to attack Rodriguez.
1) GILBERT, Philippe – Omega Pharma-Lotto: 5:43:41
2) FARRAR, Tyler – Garmin-Transitions
3) POZZATO, Filippo – Katusha: + 1″
4) HINAULT, Sébastien – Agr2 la Mondiale: + 1″
5) VELITS, Peter – HTC-Columbia: + 1″
1) NIBALI, Vincenzo – Liquigas: 74:47:06
2) MOSQUERA, Ezequiel – Xacobeo Galicia: + 50″
3) VELITS, Peter – HTC-Columbia: +1’59”
4) RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin – Katusha: + 3’54”
5) SCHLECK, Frank – Team Saxo Bank: + 3’57”