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Vuelta06 St12: Paolini Pounces!
Another day of mobile chess, nobody wants to do any work, until they have to, Astana’s where the boys who were forced to show their hand and chase after the big break away, Luca Paolini jumped on his own and took a fine win.

Stage 12 today is from Aranda de Duero to Guadalajara, 169.3 kilometers with one little 3rd Cat climb, the Alto de Santibaсez de Ayllуn 119.8 kilometers from the finish. Today will see the continuation of the battle between CSC and Illes Balears-Caisse D’Epargne, both teams have been airing their views in the press on who should chase and who shouldn’t.

PEZ diarist, Dario Cioni was interviewed today on Spanish national TV before the start, he speaks very good Spanish, obviously Italian and of course perfect English, he has a brother who lives and works in Castillon and goes there training in the winter also he loves Spain and would really like to live here, never a bad idea to ingratiate yourself to the locals!

Once again, the race was up the road in the break of the day.

What About The Race?
A big break went away early, but was caught just before the top of the climb, yesterday’s winner, Egoi Martinez (Discovery Ch), took the points at the top and a group took the lead on the descent. David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears), Luca Paolini (Liquigas), Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Ch), Paolo Bettini and Kevin Hulsmans (Quick Step-Innergetic), Rubйn Pйrez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Bernhard Eisel and Ian Mcleod (Franзaise des Jeux), Bart Dockx and Bjцrn Leukemans (Davitamon-Lotto), Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner) and Jean-Patrick Nazon (ag2r) soon build up a lead of ten minutes on the bunch.

Nothing like a little rain to make sure you don’t fall asleep out there, or get too comfortable.

The weather has been changeable today, with rain and cold conditions, this has made the main bunch uninterested in doing much chasing, Illes Balears, Astana and CSC have shown a little interest, but not much. The leaders are all working well and must see a good chance of a stage win, a good guide to inactivity is that so far I’ve managed to make 3 cups of tea and drink a can of coke and not miss any action, oh and there was that jamon and queso bocadillo!

When it was done raining, they decided to go fast, really fast.

Astana and CSC have started to chase with 40 kilometres to Guadalajara, with David Arroyo in the break they don’t want him to move up overall as he is only 14 minutes down on GC and the gap had gone out to 12 minutes, Astana were protecting Sergio Paulinho, Andrey Kashechkin, and Alexandre Vinokourov’s overall placings and were chasing at 70 kilometres an hour, stretching the bunch to a long thin line as the gap gets smaller and more manageable.

Often, when races get really fast, they get really hard too – just ask these riders.

Newspapers here in Spain are reporting that judge Serrano who is presiding over the Puerto case, will demand all fifty riders implicated to appear in his court or an international arrest warrant will bring them there, also they will have to give DNA for comparison to the blood samples to prove there innocence (guilt).

Up ahead in the break, all was well and cooperative until the waning kilometers of the stage…

The Last 10 Kilometres.
The time gap has levelled off at just over 9 minutes as Asana are still doing the chase work as Hulsmans (Quick-step) is leading the front group for a long time (3 kms), at 5.5 to the finish Haussler (Gerolsteiner) attacks and now it’s everyman for himself, with Gusev (Discovery) and Paolini (Liquigas) in turn trying there luck.

Luca Paolini made the move that stuck, and had the added benefit that his best friend, Paolo Bettini, was not chasing him from behind.

Paolini was on his own with 3 up hill kilometres to the line. The others looked at each other too long and missed the boat, Dockx and Bettini get away from the others but have no chance to get across and that’s how it finishes.

We now have to wait for the bunch to come in, so time for a cup of tea! The bunch comes in 8 minutes 54 seconds down and Ruggero Marzoli beats Thor Hushovd for 13th place.

Stage 12 Results
1. Luca Paolini (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, 3:35:07
2. Bart Dockx (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 0:05
3. Paolo Bettini (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, same time
4. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), Discovery Channel, at 0:08
5. David Arroyo (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne-I.B., s.t.
6. Rubйn Pйrez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:17
7. Bernhard Eisel (A), Franзaise des Jeux, at 0:22
8. Jean-Patrick Nazon (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, s.t.
9. Heinrich Haussler (G), Gerolsteiner, at 0:33
10. Bjцrn Leukemans (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 0:39

General Classification After 12 Stages
1. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne-I.B., 49:38:46
2. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz), Astana, at 0:27
3. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, at 0:44
4. J. Angel Gomez Marchante (Sp), Saunier Duval, at 0:56
5. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), Astana, 1:38
6. Janez Brajkovic (Slo), Discovery Channel, 2:05
7. Danilo Di Luca (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, 2:21
8. Manuel Beltran (Sp), Discovery Channel, 2:28
9. Vladimir Karpets (Rus), Caisse d’Epargne-I.B., 3:02
10. Sergio Paulinho (P), Astana, 3:42


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