Sunday's Vuelta a España stage boiled down to one question: "Is Denis Menchov good enough on the final climb?" according to Rabobank team manager Erik Breukink, who was happy that the answer was "yes". The Russian crossed the finish line 41 seconds behind stage winner Samuel Sánchez of Euskaltel-Euskadi, but together with his closest competitors.
Rabobank appreciated that Euskaltel led the charge to catch a 20-man strong escape group. "That came in handy for us," Breukink said on the team's website, rabobank.nl. "But, the pace was so high that it was very difficult anyway. It was also necessary of course, because the lead group had already created a gap of more than five minutes."
One of the riders in that escape group was Koos Moerenhout. "That was sort of our plan," said Breukink. "We knew that other teams were going to do it as well, so we also wanted a man in the front. After all, you never know what a team-mate of one of your competitors might be able to do for him during the descent."
For now, though, the team is looking forward to the rest day. "The team of the leader can always use one. After all, we did a lot of lead work already," according to Breukink. "And some of the guys have some minor physical complaints. They will have the entire day tomorrow to recover."
One of those riders with physical complaints is Sebastien Langeveld, who became violently ill Wednesday night. He was able to continue to ride, but admitted that "The kilometres and my illness are starting to wear me down a little bit. Even though I had a good day yesterday and was able to do a lot of lead work, I really suffered today. I counted the kilometres. My stomach is not itself yet and I am not very hungry either. So, I was exhausted. It is clear that tomorrow's rest day is really coming at the right moment for me. Fortunately, we are staying in the hotel where we will be spending tomorrow as well, so we can really get a break during our rest day this time around."