Alexandr Kolobnev of Team CSC came very close to winning yesterday's stage in the Vuelta a España, but was unable to match the sprint of the Colombian Leonardo Duque of Cofidis. He ended up in second place.
The Russian was part of an 18-man escape group that formed after kilometre 58. With 20 kilometres to go, the group fell apart, and Kolobnev, Duque and Joan Horrach of Caisse d'Epargne got away in the lead. They were able to hold their slight advantage to the end, "in spite of a small disagreement about sharing the work load," as the CSC website, team-csc.com, put it. The three eyed each other warily until nearly the end of the stage, when Duque opened the sprint with 200 metres to go and was able to hold off Kolobnev.
"It was as close as it possibly could be. Alexandr made absolutely no mistakes whatsoever the entire day, and was totally cool in the finale, but Duque was just that tiny bit faster in the end," said CSC Directeur Sportif Kim Andersen. "It was almost inevitable that a break would end up lasting so we had to get up front and do the hard work, because we didn't have anyone in the initial break.
"As it turned out Alexandr was the perfect choice to send because he was so strong today. It was a big shame we missed out on the victory, because we could really have used one. But we'll just have to grab the chance again, because our guys are definitely fit enough to try for a big result this last week."