Bennati Takes Stage 1 of Vuelta
Daniele Bennati (Lampre) has drawn first blood at the Vuelta a Espana. Bennati took a bunch sprint to win Stage 1, a 146.4-km ride in Vigo, in 3:43:09. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) finished second, and Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) took third.
From the start, the riding was aggressive. After several abortive sallies, including one that contained 15 riders, Serafin Martinez (Karpin), Dmitri Champion (Bouygues Telecom), and Geoffroy Lequatre (Cofidis) escaped at 26 km. The Milram-led peloton kept the trio on a short leash, and their lead maxed out at about three and a half minutes.
At 78 km, a crash occurred. Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel) broke his right collarbone. Twelve km later, he abandoned.
With 43 km left, Martinez attacked and dropped his companions. He remained alone until Jeremy Roy (Francaise des Jeux) joined him with 20 km remaining. With eight km to go, Roy dropped Martinez and went for the win.
Milram continued to lead the pursuit. With five km remaining, the bunch reeled in Roy. Carlos da Cruz (Francaise des Jeux) countered but the peloton captured him quickly.
Milram led the field into the last km. Bennati tucked in behind Petacchi and jumped him with 100 m left. The Lampre man won easily.
In the overall, Bennati leads Freire and Petacchi. Stage 2, a rolling, 148.7-km run from Allariz to Santiago de Compostela, should end in a sprint finish. Who will win it? Freire? Bennati? Petacchi? How about Tom Boonen (Quick Step)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!