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Vuelta’09 St.1: The All Conquering Cancellara!
Race Report: When it comes to time trials Fabian Cancellara is a hard man to beat and today was no different. Tom Boonen put up a great performance for second place, but the Swiss specialist was too good on the damp Assen circuit to take the first Gold Jersey of La Vuelta 2009.


Today is the first stage of the Tour of Spain and of course it’s in Holland! In 1997 the Spanish tour started in Lisbon, but this is the first time La Vuelta a EspaпїЅa has kicked off outside of the Iberian Peninsula, the other Grand Tours have all done it so I guess it was about time the La Vuelta joined in!


Nobody does it better.

TodayпїЅs Stage
Stage 1 (or prologue) is a 4.8 kilometres near the town of Assen in northern Holland, the course is completely flat around the пїЅCathedralпїЅ as the Assen TT circuit is called by the motor sport fans who are usually packing the grandstands. The circuit is fairly twisty with a couple of technical sections, but as it is a motor racing circuit the bends are quite wide. First man off at 15:35 CET, last man at 18:50 and the average speed is expected to be around 50 kilometres per hour.

When La Vuelta started in Lisbon it was also on a motor circuit; the AutпїЅdromo Estoril, but it wasnпїЅt a short individual time trial, but 155.7 kilometres. The stage was won by the Danish rider; Lars Michaelsen (TVM and a stalwart of the CSC team) from Chiapucci and Jalabert.


Boonen and Farrar notched impressive Prologues: Boonen in 2nd, Farrar in 3rd – who’ll get the leader’s jersey in the flat opening stages?

The Early Starters
One of the first riders off; Maciej Bodnar held the lead for a while with a time of 5 minutes 39 seconds, until Liquigas team-mate and possible rider for the overall, Roman Kreuziger took 2 seconds off his time. This was how the leader board looked for the first two hours of racing on dry roads, then the rain started causing a few problems for the riders, Quick-Step rider; Carlos Barredo crashed at the start house and others out on the course where having problems staying upright or not pushing it too hard for safetyпїЅs sake.

Rabobank’s Koos Moerenhout looked fast but had to ease off coming in to the last bends which had a slippery film of Dutch rain and he lost 9 seconds on Kreuziger. Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) received a big cheer from the crowd as TV showed World RR champ Alessandro Ballan and ex-World champ Tom Boonen warming up on the trainers. By this point the rain had stopped, but the road was still damp. Frank Schleck’s time of 5:55 was not great, but then we never expected it to be, Oscar Freire returned a similar time.

The Big Names And The Sun Comes Out
David Millar (Garmin) was unlucky to have ridden in the wet and managed a time of 5:41, overall prospect; Andy Schleck (Saxo) didnпїЅt take any chances with a time of 5:58. Biggest cheer of the day went to local boy; Lars Boom (Rabobank) who flew out of the start hut and in to the first bend with a vengeance as the big gear/slow pedalling Danieli Benatti moved into first place by the hairs breadth of 1 second.

Ed HoodпїЅs favourite rider Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo) did well for a mountain specialist with a 5:53, surprisingly Jens Mouris (Vacansoleil) took the lead for a short time until Tom Boonen (Quick-Step) shot over the white line a full 5 seconds faster with a top time of 5:29.


Vinokourov has played down his chances at the Vuelta, but his Top 10 finish makes it hard to think that he’s not at least dreaming of overall glory.

Top tip Tyler Farrer (Garmin) just missed out with a 5:32 as пїЅBad BoyпїЅ Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) started off just as the sun made a pleasant return, Cancellara, Evans, Basso and Valverde started behind the Kazakh to have most of the stars of La Vuelta on the course at the same time. Enormous cheer welcomed Gesink (Rabobank) on to the circuit, Vinocourov was fast (5:38), but the TT specialist Cancellara was 9 seconds faster than Boonen with an astonishing time of 5:20 putting another win in his CV.

As to the other overall contenders: Ivan Basso did well with 5:38, Evans 5:39, Valverde 5:38, Gesink 5:44 and Olympic champ and last man off; Sammy Sanchez 5:44.

No surprise then, Fabian Cancellara takes the first Gold Jersey (and all the others!) of the 2009 Vuelta a EspaпїЅa and could possibly keep hold of it over the flat stages in Holland, Belgium and Germany until after the TT in Valencia on the Formula 1 circuit next Saturday.

Stay Pez to find out!


Yet another leader’s jersey for Mr. Cancellara.

La Vuelta a EspaпїЅa пїЅ09 Stage 1 Result:
1пїЅ CANCELLARA, Fabian SUI SAX in 5:20
2пїЅ BOONEN, Tom BEL QST at 09
3пїЅ FARRAR, Tyler USA GRM at 12
4пїЅ MOURIS, Jens NED VAC at 14
5пїЅ BENNATI, Daniele ITA LIQ at 16
6пїЅ KREUZIGER, Roman CZE LIQ at 17
7пїЅ VINOKOUROV, Alexander KAZ AST at 18
8пїЅ BASSO, Ivan ITA LIQ at 18
9пїЅ VALVERDE, Alejandro ESP GCE at 18
10пїЅ BODNAR, Maciej POL LIQ at 19
11пїЅ GRABSCH, Bert GER THR at 19
12пїЅ EVANS, Cadel AUS SIL at 19
13пїЅ GERDEMANN, Linus GER MRM at 19
14пїЅ GILBERT, Philippe BEL SIL at 21
15пїЅ MILLAR, David GBR GRM at 21
16пїЅ ERVITI, Imanol ESP GCE at 21
17пїЅ HERRERO, David ESP XAC at 22
18пїЅ KONOVALOVAS, Ignatas LTU CTT at 22
19пїЅ KIRYIENKA, Vasili BLR GCE at 22
20пїЅ QUINZIATO, Manuel ITA LIQ at 22


La Vuelta a EspaпїЅa пїЅ09 Overall alter Stage 1:
1пїЅ CANCELLARA, Fabian SUI SAX in 05:20
2пїЅ BOONEN, Tom BEL QST at 09
3пїЅ FARRAR, Tyler USA GRM at 12
4пїЅ MOURIS, Jens NED VAC at 14
5пїЅ BENNATI, Daniele ITA LIQ at 16
6пїЅ KREUZIGER, Roman CZE LIQ at 17
7пїЅ VINOKOUROV, Alexander KAZ AST at 18
8пїЅ BASSO, Ivan ITA LIQ at 18
9пїЅ VALVERDE, Alejandro ESP GCE at 18
10пїЅ BODNAR, Maciej POL LIQ at 19
11пїЅ GRABSCH, Bert GER THR at 19
12пїЅ EVANS, Cadel AUS SIL at 19
13пїЅ GERDEMANN, Linus GER MRM at 19
14пїЅ GILBERT, Philippe BEL SIL at 21
15пїЅ MILLAR, David GBR GRM at 21
16пїЅ ERVITI, Imanol ESP GCE at 21
17пїЅ HERRERO, David ESP XAC at 22
18пїЅ KONOVALOVAS, Ignatas LTU CTT at 22
19пїЅ KIRYIENKA, Vasili BLR GCE at 22
20пїЅ QUINZIATO, Manuel ITA LIQ at 22
21пїЅ ALBASINI, Michael SUI THR at 22
22пїЅ ROUX, Anthony FRA FDJ at 23
23пїЅ IRIZAR, Markel ESP EUS at 23
24пїЅ FUGLSANG, Jacob DEN SAX at 23
25пїЅ CпїЅSAR VELOSO, Gustavo ESP XAC at 23
26пїЅ HORNER, Christopher USA AST at 23
27пїЅ TAARAMAE, Rein EST COF at 23
28пїЅ TUFT, Svein CAN GRM at 24
29пїЅ SпїЅNCHEZ, Samuel ESP EUS at 24
30пїЅ GESINK, Robert NED RAB at 24

 

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