Garcia Quesada with a long range attack
Comunidad Valenciana capitalised on its strong presence in the main breakaway in today's 17th stage when Carlos Garcia Quesada soloed to victory in La Granja de San Ildefonso. The 5th placed rider on GC attacked on the Puerto de Navacerrada with around 30 km to go to ride away from a group containing Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears) and Santos Gonzalez (Phonak). He kept the two eventual chasers at bay by 46 seconds at the finish, with Mancebo taking second ahead of Gonzalez. Roberto Heras was not threatened by the break, and finished 9th at 1'40, still safely in the golden jersey.
The 165 km stage was marked by numerous attacks, with a big group of 24 riders getting away after 38 km. Blanco, Jimenez and Rodriguez were all there for Comunidad Valenciana, as was Alessandro Petacchi for a while. On the first climb of the Navacerrada after 95 km, Mancebo and Garcia Quesada tried to bridge up as the group in front thinned down. The Liberty Seguros team wouldn't let them go, and caught them before the summit, before Garcia Quesada attacked on the descent and made his way up to the break with the help of a few dropped riders. On the Cat. 2 Puerto de la Morcuera, Mancebo got across and the peloton fell back to 1'45.
The break stayed together until the second climb of the Navacerrada, when Garcia Quesada countered a move by Aitor Gonzalez and built up a 1'40 lead over Mancebo and Santos Gonzalez at the summit with 22 km to go. The rest of the break was caught and dropped by the leader's group, which was another 40 seconds back from Mancebo. On the descent to the finish, Mancebo made up good ground on the leader and saved his fourth place on GC from Garcia Quesada, who nevertheless took a fine stage win.