Greipel siezes Vuelta lead with stage win
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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Greipel siezes Vuelta lead with stage win

by Nick Mulder at 1:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Race Reports and Results
German Andre Greipel (Columbia-HTC) has won the fifth stage of the Vuelta A Espana  from Tarragona to Vinaros, booking his second win after yesterday’s stage that finished in Liege. In the sprint for the line he bested Belgian Tom Boonen (Quick-Step) and Italian Daniele Bennati (Liquigas). For his efforts, Greipel collected enough time bonuses to take the overall race lead from Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank).

Only four kilometer into today’s 174 kilometer stage, Julian Sanchez Pimienta (Contentpolis-Ampo) took off with four riders on his wheel: Jose Antonio Lopez Gil (Andalucia Cajasur), Julien el Fares (Cofidis), Matheus Pronk (Vacansoleil) en Serafin Martinez (Xacobeo Galicia). Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Euskatel-Euskadi) was the only other rider able to bridge up to the quintet. Together the six riders climbed the second category Col de Faxtas, building a maximum lead of 6’50”.

The peloton managed to reduce the lead to one minute, letting it grow oncer again to keep fresh riders from bridging across to the move. With 35 kilometers remaining, Gil tested his breakaway partners at the intermediate sprint, and only Pronk and Pimienta could follow. Pronk dropped his two companions, but was caught by the Rabobank led peloton with less than 20 kilometers remaining.

With less than 10 kilometers to go, David De La Fuente (Fuji Servetto) tried his luck but didn’t have the power to hold of the charging peloton. Wallonian Phillipe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) countered De La Fuente’s catch, creating a 20 second gap while the sprinter’s teams worked to pull him back into the fold. But Gilbert’s strength ran out three kilometres too soon with Quick-Step, Columbia-HTC, and Vacansoleil driving the chase behind.

Entering the final kilometre the Liquigas train was organized at the front to deliver their man Bennati to the line, but it was Belgian champion Boonen who opened up the sprint with 200 meters to go. But Tornado Tom didn’t have the legs to hold off a charging Greipel, who took his second consecutive victory, and along with time bonuses, the leader’s golden fleece.

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