The break had been established earlier in the day, and was a large one full of non-threats to the GC. Javier Moreno (Andalucia-Cajasur) and Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ), Biel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Imanol Erviti (Caisse d’Epargne), Romain Zingle (Cofidis), Giampaolo Cheula (Fotton-Servetto), Manuele Mori (Lampre), Mauro Finetto (Liquigas-Doimo), Greg Van Avermaet (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) and Anders Lund (Saxo Bank).
Over the Cat 1 Rat Penat climb, which hit the riders at 142km and averaged 12.5 %, all the usual GC suspects were there except for Andy Schleck, who along with Stuart O’Grady was sent home from the Vuelta for getting caught going out for a drink after dinner last night. Odd to think Bjarne would be so harsh on these two, but we suppose rules are rules. But….really? So Frank was alone with the other climbers. The climb had taken its toll on everyone, and also everyone in the break, but that group reformed over the top.
At 20km to go, Erviti took off from the ragged break chasing the two riders just ahead, plying for 2 stage wins in 2 days for his Caisse d’Espargne team. He was clearly committed to his move as he blew by one of the team soignuers who was offering him a bidon.
Behind the main peloton hunted down scattered bits of the breakaway leaders, who were spread out all over the lumpy course. The group been a bit surprised by how hard the day was it seemed, as in single file many head and shoulders were lurching side to side with the effort. The ol’ “day after the rest day” goblins seemed to be at work on the thin and picturesque Spanish roads.
The peloton kept the break on a leash, but didn’t seem too terribly interested in bringing them back at 10km to go. Erviti was off alone with 35 seconds in hand in front of the chase, and a little over a minute to the main field.
At 7km Le Mevel took off attacking the chase group, trying to bridge to Erviti, but he was immediately marked by the rest. The peloton had briefly been going hard to pull back a few riders, but once they were back it again slowed. Astana took the chance at this time and sent Fofonov up the road out of the main field.
3km to go and Erviti was holding his 30ish seconds over the chase group, which at times was cooperating but at other times shadow boxing or soft pedaling. Erviti was flying alone up ahead, bound and determined to hold off for the stage win.
Between the two, Fofonov was all alone in no man’s land. That’s a curious move to understand. Tomorrow’s tough tough day and hard summit finish will really hurt guys so one would think saving a little something for it would be the prudent course of action.
One km to go and Erviti had now upwards of 40 seconds and the chase group has turned the fight on itself as riders started throwing jabs for 2nd and 3rd.
Erviti stayed low on the bike, emotionless all the way to the line where the 26 year old Pamplona smiled and threw up the two armed victory salute.
The Cofidis rider Zingle soaked up 2nd place just ahead of the rest of the sprinting breakaway riders.
The shake up of the GC had happened today, with Rodriguez of Katusha wresting the red leader’s jersey from Euskaltel’s Igor Anton. Tomorrow’s summit finish should really show us just who the strongest ones are at the 2010 Vuelta. Stay tuned to PEZ!
Stage 10 Results
1 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 4:13:31
2 Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, le crйdit en ligne 0:00:37
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
4 Mauro Finetto (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
5 Javier Moreno (Spa) Andalucia-Cajasur
6 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank
7 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) FDJ
8 Giampaolo Cheula (Ita) Footon-Servetto
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank 0:00:42
10 Dmitry Fofonov (Kaz) Astana 0:01:36
11 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:01:38
12 Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini
13 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
14 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step
15 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha
General Classification After 10 Stages
1 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 42:11:49
2 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:02
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:04
4 Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervйlo Test Team 0:00:44
5 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:54
6 Ruben Plaza (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:01:17
7 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:01:20
8 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:01:21
9 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Caisse d’Epargne 0:01:24
10 Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia 0:01:28
11 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) Team HTC-Columbia
12 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d’Epargne 0:01:40
13 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:01:49
14 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:01:51
15 Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Transitions 0:01:54