Hushovd gets it right
Norwegian Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) capitalised on an over-eager Quick.Step lead out to win the fifth stage of the Vuelta a España in Cuenca. After surviving the final climb in the lead group with 13 km to go, Hushovd bided his time until the last 200m, when he sped past Paolo Bettini to win the stage by a bike length over Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Phonak) and Josep Jufre (Relax Fuenlabrada).
Brad McGee retained the race leadership although he also hit out far too early to be a contender for the stage win.
The stage was run in cooler conditions (28 degrees) and was dominated by an eight man break that escaped after 61 km: Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), Eric Leblacher (CA), Michael Barry (Discovery), Patrick Calcagni (Liquigas), Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank), Jorge Garcia (Relax), David de la Fuente (Saunier), and Jakob Piil (CSC). With Barry the best placed on GC, the peloton let them get a 4'20 lead with around 55 km to go, before Quick.Step, Fassa Bortolo and T-Mobile chased them down by the foot of the final climb. The cobbled Alto del Castillo saw a group of 36 riders make it over the summit with 13 km to go, and despite several attacks, no-one could prevent a group sprint.