Bertagnolli excellent, McGee in gold
Italy's Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis) won the second stage of the Vuelta a España (Granada-Cordoba) in a strange sprint, beating Bradley McGee (La Française des Jeux), who became the new leader. Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) finished third after almost catching the leading pair at the finish.
The Cat. 2 Alto de San Jeronimo, which had its summit at 12 km to go, broke the race completely. Early breakaway David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval) lost his advantage in double-quick time at start of this climb, the only one of the stage, when another eight riders including Bertagnolli and McGee counter-attacked. McGee was the best placed on GC in the group, and he was able to secure the gold jersey with a second place at the finish.
"This is my first great joy after having many health problems during the season," said Bertagnolli, who won the Trofeo dell'Etna, Coppa Agostoni and Coppa Placci last year, but hasn't been able to get going this season. "I hadn't felt good [during the last few days], even though I saw myself better after achieving a stage victory in the Tour de Limousin. My condition was a real surprise to me".
New race leader Brad McGee made up for his near miss in the opening stage yesterday, where he finished just 3 seconds off the pace of Denis Menchov. "I'm absolutely delighted to get this jersey," said the Australian, who couldn't stand up at the finish. "This completes my collection because I have leaders jerseys from the Giro and the Tour. I now have the leadership of the Tour of Spain and I came to this race to do that." With it, he becomes the first Australian to have worn all three Grand Tour leader's jerseys.