Zaballa Wins Stage 19 of Vuelta
Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval) has won Stage 19 of the Vuelta a Espana.
Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval) has won Stage 19 of the Vuelta a Espana. Zaballa went solo for 117 km to take the mountainous, 142-km ride from Avila to Collado Villalba in 3:33:32. Ruslan Ivanov (Alessio) outsprinted Damiano Cunego (Saeco) for second at 1:23. Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) remains the overall leader.
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From the start, the racing was aggressive. After a number of abortive sallies, Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola); Luis Pasamontes (Relax); Damiano Cunego and Eddy Mazzoleni (both from Saeco); Zaballa and Joaquin Rodriguez (both from Saunier Duval); Benoit Joachim (U.S. Postal Service); Marcos Serrano (Liberty Seguros); David Plaza, Ivan Parra, and Felix Cardenas (all from Cafes Baque); Carlos Garcia Quesada, David Latasa, and Francisco Cabello (all from Comunidad Valenciana); Juan Miguel Garate (Lampre); Haimar Zubeldia and Roberto Laiseka (both from Euskaltel); Dario Cioni (Fassa Bortolo); and Ivanov escaped. Just before the day?s first sprint at Las Navas del Marques (34 km), Zaballa slipped his leash. When he reached the base of the Category 1 Alto de Abantos (66 km), the Saunier Duval man led his erstwhile companions by a minute and a half and the peloton by about four minutes.
Behind Zaballa, Liberty Seguros had no motivation to chase because no one in the break was a threat to Heras. CSC, however, had something to worry about. Its man, Carlos Sastre, was in sixth place overall, and Quesada was a threat to him. The Danish squad joined Liberty Seguros at the front, but Quesada moved into fifth place, bumping Isidro Nozal (Liberty Seguros) to sixth and Sastre to seventh.
With riders such as Garzelli, Cunego, and Zubeldia in the chase group, Zaballa should have been reeled in. The chasers did not cooperate, however, and when Zaballa breasted the day?s last climb, the Category 3 Aldebrete (135 km), he was clearly going to win.
In the overall, Heras leads Santiago Perez (Phonak) by 1:13 and Alejandro Valverde (Comunidad Valenciana) by 2:15. Stage 20 will be the last mountain stage of this year?s Vuelta, The 178-km ride from La Vega de Alcobendas to Puerto de Navacerrada will feature four Category 1 climbs, including the ascent to the finish. Will Perez make up more time on Heras before Sunday?s time trial? Will Heras hold off Perez? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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