Greipel takes Madrid, Valverde the Vuelta
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Greipel takes Madrid, Valverde the Vuelta

by Bjorn Haake at 12:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Race Reports and Results

André Greipel (Columbia-HTC) sprinted to a dominating victory in Madrid in the final stage of the 64th Vuelta a España, ahead of Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) and Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil). Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde rode home with the bunch to take the overall victory, ahead of Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto).

Teams Vacansoleil, Saxo Bank and Liquigas tried to take charge in the final six-kilometer lap of the finishing circuit , to be raced six times. But there was no derailing the Columbia train, led by Greg Henderson in the end. Greipel had plenty of time to show his sponsor's name on his green jersey, which he took home thanks to his four stage wins.

Happiness mixed with the feeling of being tired after three weeks for Greipel. "It was a long race. This is my third Vuelta and everybody said this was one of the hardest." The German sent his thoughts to the organizers. "I hope next year there are less climbs, as it is really hard on the sprinters."

Valverde has finished the Vuelta in second, third, fourth and fifth, but this year he finally took the top spot, thanks to his regular riding. He didn't win a stage but he never lost time to his main rivals. Valverde did say that everything has to fall in place for an overall victory and this year was finally the year. He also won the white combination classification jersey.

David Moncoutié (Cofidis) took the mountain's jersey for the second year in a row. The Frenchman is still undecided if he should add another season or retire.

Xacobeo was the best team, with their aggressive riding. They often tried for the premio solidario and had riders in the front groups. Only Ezequiel Mosquera will be a little bit disappointed. After finishing fourth twice he hoped to make it onto the podium, but finished in fifth.

The slowest pace ever

The race started out very slowly, with the first two hours ridden at an average speed of 30km/h. It was celebration time for the peloton.

When the bunch entered the final circuits in Madrid, Cofidis rider Bingen Fernandez was allowed to ride on the front for one lap. It was a nice gesture to this very likeable Spaniard who will retire at the end of this season.

When Fernandez sat up and waved to the crowd and to the Caisse team, which allowed him his five minutes of glory, the attacks started.

Jesús Rosendo (Andalucía-Cajasur), Manuel Vázquez (Contentpolis-Ampo), Rémy Di Gregorio (Française des Jeux), Mickaël Delage (Silence-Lotto), David Garcia (Xacobeo Galicia) and Dominik Roels (Milram) rolled away.

The gap stayed pretty constant at around 23 seconds until one lap to go, when the six had only an 11-second margin over the Columbia-controlled bunch.

The break was caught halfway through the six-kilometer circuit, in the hairpin turn. Delage tried again to go, but was caught with two kilometers to go. Saxo Bank, Vacansoleil and Liquigas tried to control the sprint. The Saxo Bank team got pushed into the barriers by an out-of-control Quick Step rider and Vacansoleil and Liquigas were bested by an in-control Greipel.

Results - Stage 21, Rivas-Vaciamadrid - Madrid , 110.2km

1. André Greipel (Ger) Columbia-HTC                        3h11'55 (34.452 km/h)
2. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas                                             st
3. Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil
4. Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis
5. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Lampre-NGC
7. Gregory Henderson (NZl) Columbia-Highroad
8. Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam
9. Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank
10. Paul Voss (Ger) Milram

Final GC - 3293.7 km

1. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Caisse d'Epargne                 87h22'37 (37.695 km/h)
2. Samuel Sánchez (Esp) Euskaltel-Euskadi                             0'55
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto                                              1'32
4. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas                                                            2'12
5. Ezequiel Mosquera (Esp) Xacobeo Galicia                             4'27
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank                                                6'40
7. Joaquím Rodríguez (Esp) Caisse d'Epargne                         9'08
8. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre-NGC                                           9'11
9. Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervélo TestTeam                                   11'08
10. Juan José Cobo (Esp) Fuji-Servetto                                     11'27


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