Gerrans nails stage victory in Vuelta
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gerrans nails stage victory in Vuelta

by Agence France-Presse at 12:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Race Reports and Results
Australian Simon Gerrans won the 10th stage of the Tour of Spain here on Tuesday, as controversial Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde retained the leader's golden jersey.

The 29-year-old Cervelo rider outpaced three others cyclists, Ryder Hesjedal of Canada, Denmark's Jakob Fuglsang and Kazakhstan's former dope cheat Alexander Vinokourov, in a sprint to the line at the end of the 169-kilometre ride from Alicante to Murcia in eastern Spain.

The four were among a group of 19 who launched a breakaway early in the stage.They then staged their own attack in the final kilometres as the race headed into the Alto de la Cresta del Gallo, a second category climb with a fast descent.

The four finished three minutes, 42 seconds ahead of the peleton, which included Valverde, who conserves the golden jersey, seven seconds ahead of Australia's two-time Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans and 36 ahead of Dutchman Robert Gesink.

Valverde - born in Murcia - snatched the overall lead from Evans on Monday following the race's ninth stage.The 29-year-old Spaniard is banned from riding in Italy for two years after being implicated in the Puerto doping scandal, accusations he contests.

Gerrans, who has been a professional since 2003, has now won stages on each of the major Tours - in France, Italy and Spain.

"It was a very hard stage. We knew that Vino (Vinokourov) was going to try and win on his own, we had to be very careful," he said of the 2006 Tour of Spain winner, but the Australian added he knew he had a chance in the final sprint.

He said his only regret this season is not being selected for the Tour de France alongside Cervelo teammate and 2008 winner Carlos Sastre."It was very frustrating," he said.

The Tour reaches its halfway point on Wednesday, when the 11th stage takes the riders 200 kilometres from Murcia to Caravaca de la Cruz, a ride that includes a first category climb.

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