Cancellara Wins Stage 7 Time Trial; Retakes Race Lead
Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) has won Stage 7 of the Vuelta. Cancellara dominated the flat, 30-km time trial in Valencia, winning the event in 36:41. David Millar (Garmin) finished second at 0:32, and world time trial champion Bert Grabsch (Columbia) took third at 0:36. Cancellara has taken the overall lead from Andre Greipel (Columbia).
Rain and wind greeted the riders. Frantisek Rabon (Columbia) set the early standard with a 38:12, only to see Jens Mouris (Vacansoleil) better the Czech's time by 0:10. Lars Boom (Rabobank), however, was already setting new bests at the 11.2-km and 21.4-km checkpoints. He would cross the finish line in 37:40, which would put him in the lead by 0:24.
Grabsch started shortly after Boom finished. Grabsch was second to the Dutchman at the first checkpoint, but he picked up the pace to take the lead with a 37:17. Millar, however, was faster than Grabsch by 0:02 at each of the checkpoints and posted a 37:13.
Cancellara started conservatively and trailed Millar by 0:04 at the first checkpoint. (He trailed Daniele Bennati of Liquigas, the day's fastest at that checkpoint, by 0:08.) The Olympic champion then shifted gears and accelerated. At the second checkpoint, he was 0:19 faster than Millar and 0:35 faster than Bennati. In the last third of the course, Cancellara puts 0:13 more into Millar.
Cancellara began the Vuelta by saying that he was not in great form and that his purpose in riding the race was to tune up for the 2009 world road championship in Mendrisio, Switzerland. After winning the two time trials that he has ridden in the Vuelta, Cancellara is now saying that he is considering riding the time trial in Mendrisio as well. If he does so, he could accomplish something that no rider has accomplished--winning the world's road race and time trial in the same year. A lot of riders are beginning to get anxious!
In the overall, Cancellara leads Tom Boonen (Quick Step) by 0:51 and David Herrero (Xacobeo Galicia) by 0:59. The race leadership will change hands tomorrow. The 203-km ride from Alzira to Alto de Aitana will feature four Category 3 ascents, three Category 2 climbs, and the Special Category finishing climb. The GC contenders will reveal themselves tomorrow. Who will win? Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)? Ivan Basso (Liquigas)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out! Located in the US? Visit out videos section at www.roadcycling.com/video to watch our daily La Vuelta Video highlights.