Eusktaltel's Igor Anton capitalised on the poker game between favourites Alexandre Vinokourov...
Enterprising victory for Anton; Valverde still in the driver's seat
Eusktaltel's Igor Anton capitalised on the poker game between favourites Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) to win the tough 16th stage to the top of the Alto de Calar Alto. Anton started attacking with 6 km to go, and despite being brought back and even dropped a few times by Vino and Valverde, he was able to put in the winning move with 3.5 km to go. Valverde easily won the sprint for second ahead of Vinokourov and Anton's teammate Samuel Sanchez, which meant that the GC leader increased his lead to 1'42 over the now second overall Vino.
The stage saw an early break get together on the Alto de Velefique, containing Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel - best placed on GC at 9'30), Mauricio Ardila (Rabobank), Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Team CSC), IÃ±igo Chaurreau (AG2R Prevoyance), Pietro Caucchioli and Dmitriy Fofonov (Credit Agricole), Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), SÃ©bastien Minard (Cofidis), IÃ±igo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi), SÃ©bastien Joly (FranÃ§aise des Jeux), Alessandro Spezialetti (Liquigas), Daniel Becke (Team Milram), JosÃ© Antonio Redondo (Astana Team). They were able to gain 6'00 lead before Caisse d'Epargne chased and reduced it in the lead up to the final climb.
Redondo was the strongest of the break, and lasted until 4.5 km to go when Anton and Landaluze caught him. Vinokourov placed several strong attacks, but couldn't shake Valverde, and was content to see Anton win the stage and take more bonus seconds.
Click here for the Full results, report & photos and live report from stage 16