Boom Wins Stage 15 of Vuelta
Lars Boom (Rabobank) has won Stage 15 of the 2009 Vuelta. The Dutchman powered away from 12 breakaway companions to take the hilly, 167.7-km ride from Jaen to Cordoba in 4:12:56. David Herrero (Xacobeo Galicia) finished second at 1:36, and Dominik Roels (Milram) took third at 1:44. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) remains the overall leader.
The early pace was fast, and a number of attacks occurred. At one point, a break formed that included Cadel Evans (Silence) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel). Caisse d'Epargne rode down the move.
At 66 km, 12 men sallied off of the front. They were Boom, Herrero, Roels and Martin Velits (both from Milram), Serafin Martinez (Xacobeo Galicia), Christian Meier (Garmin), Leonardo Duque (Cofidis), Vicente Reynes (Columbia), Alexander Kolobnev (Saxo Bank), Alexander Efimkin (Ag2r), Oliver Kaisen (Silence), and Maxim Iglinsky (Astana). Mathieu Ladagnos (Francaise des Jeux) bridged up to the move to make it a baker's dozen.
The baker's dozen led by as many minutes at 104 km. After three mountain stages, the peloton was not pursuing, and the break led the bunch by almost 20 minutes on the first descent of the Category 2 Alto de San Jeronimo.
On the second ascent of San Jeronimo, Boom, Martinez, Roels, and Reynes dropped their companions. Boom, who is the world cyclocross champion, attacked again with 22 km left.
Herrero and Martinez pursued the Rabobank rider. Martinez was dropped, and Boom forged a 44-second lead over Herrero. The peloton was almost 21 minutes behind Boom.
With 10 km left, the Dutchman led Herrero by nearly a minute with the seven survivors of the original break being almost two minutes behind. Herrero took a right-hand turn too fast but managed to stay upright. With three km remaining, Boom led Herrero by 1:07, and twenty-five minutes after Boom crossed the finish line, Andre Greipel (Columbia) led the peloton home.
In the overall, Valverde leads Robert Gesink (Rabobank) by 0:31 and Sanchez by 1:10. Stage 16 will not change this state of affairs. A sprinter should win the rolling, 170.3-km run from Cordoba to Puertollano. Who will do the honors? Andre Greipel (Columbia)? Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!