Menchov satisfied after crucial stage
Vuelta a España current leader Denis Menchov (Rabobank) was very satisfied after being able to hold on behind Roberto Heras (Liberty) in the grueling stage 14 to Hors Category climb Lagos de Covadonga. The Russian finished 1.44 minutes down of stage winner Eladio Jimenez, who rode a very impressive race today, and even took fifth place in front of main rival Heras. Menchov has now good perspectives to win the Vuelta, but "we haven't finished yet and it will be complicated to achieve the final victory, even though there are less dangerous days ahead."
The Rabobank rider was happy to have resisted Heras' constant attacks. "He always changed the rhythm , all the time," Menchov told reporters in the finish. He commented that he felt good during the whole stage and that he is ready to continue battling. Tomorrow will be another decisive day in the Vuelta, as the riders will climb the 'terrible' Hors Category Puerto de Pajares, where Heras is expected to try some more aggressive riding to destabilise the Russian.
Overall fourth-placed Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears) couldn't hold the pace of the favourites and lost almost one minute, while Carlos Sastre (CSC) gained a few seconds but is still placed third on GC. Italian Gilberto Simoni (Lampre) also proved his climbing skills once more, finishing a very respectable third today.