Henderson surprises all
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Monday, August 31, 2009

Henderson surprises all

by Bjorn Haake at 12:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Race Reports and Results
Greg Henderson surprised all others, including his teammate André Greipel, to win the stage into Venlo. Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) already was celebrated as the winner by his teammates, but Henderson blasted by in the final metres to clearly take the sprint. Spanish hero Oscar Freire ended the day in third, ahead of Greipel. Fabian Cancellara stayed in the leader's jersey.

Henderson recapped the sprint shortly after the stage. "I tried to listen to the radio, to see where Greipel was, but I couldn't hear anything. Then I saw 150m to go, so I knew had to start the sprint." Asked about the many wins of the team already this year, Henderson smiled. "A lot of them come from Cavendish and Greipel. If there is a sprint stage, Columbia is well represented!"

No team was able to completely control the sprint into Venlo and a couple of tricky corners inside the final with further disrupted the rhythm. Garmin had a bad day. A left turn some 10km form the finish delayed Tyler Farrar, who had to be brought back by Ryder Hesjedal and Svein Tuft. Shortly thereafter, Julian Dean was stopped and again it was Hesjedal who motored Farrar's lead-out man back to the bunch.

It was a sunny day without wind, the temperatures a balmy 27 C. This is Spain, after all. Spain? The race actually still traveled through the Netherlands and Germany, but even the famous Dutch wind was halted for the Vuelta.

A trio quickly took after the flag had come down for the sharp start of the race. Lars Boom (Rabobank), Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) and Jesus Rosendo (Andalucia-Cajasur) pedaled ahead of the peloton for most of the stage.

Cancellara was expected to lose the golden leader's jersey, and was not protected by his team. Some three hours into the race he was at the team car and had to return to the peloton without any help by his Saxo Bankers.

The maximum gap for the breakaway was around 10 minutes, but with a little more than 50km to go the sprinters sent their teammates to the front. Quick Step and Garmin did most of the work. When the gap was under two minutes Milram with yesterday's winner Gerald Ciolek moved up as well.

The second sprint came with about 36km to go. Boom, who had taken the first sprint already, was leading the break. Hoogerland wasn't going to let his compatriot get another one and jumped Boom to take the points. Boom returned the favor in the third sprint of the day.

Without contesting the sprints Rosendo had the most left and continued solo with less than 30km to go. But around 13km to go the peloton blew by on this windless day.

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