47th Vuelta al País Vasco - PT
Spain, April 9-14, 2007
Vicioso prevails and takes command
Angel Vicioso (Relax-Gam) picked the right breakaway and made the right moves to win today’s stage of Vuelta al Pais Vasco between Karrantza and Alava's capital city Vitoria. The Spanish rider finished in 4 hours, 4 minutes and 6 seconds for the 173.5 kilometres, taking the win and the leader’s jersey off the shoulders of Juan Jose Cobo (Saunier Duval-Prodir). Patxi Vila (Lampre) and Iker Camaño (Saunier Duval-Prodir) were second and third at the same time. Vicioso now leads the general classification by two minutes ahead of today’s breakaway mate Bram Tankink (Quick Step).
Vicioso was part of an six-man breakaway that split off from a larger group on the final category three climb of the Alto de Zaldiaran, and in the fast run-in to the finish in Vitoria, Vicioso chose just the right moment to start his sprint, coming in ahead of Patxi Vila (Lampre) and Saunier Duval's Iker Camaño.
How it unfolded
175 riders began the third stage, a mountainous affair with three climbs at the very beginning - the Alto de la Escrita (Cat. 2), Alto de la Herbosa (Cat. 3) and Alto de San Cosme (Cat. 3). Despite several attempted breakaways, the peloton came over the top of the category one Peña Angulo all together.
The decisive move was made on the flattest part of the stage, when a group of 12 went clear around kilometre 80. Iker Flores (Fuerteventura), Patxi Vila (Lampre), Dario Cioni (Predictor- Lotto), Isidro Nozal (Karpin- Galicia), Morris Possoni (Lampre), Jens Voigt (CSC), Bram Tankink (Quick Step), Hubert Dupont (Ag2r), Jurgen Van de Walle (Quick Step), Iker Camaño (Saunier Duval), Angel Vicioso (Relax-Gam) and Jose Luis Rubiera (Discovery Channel) made up that group.
They break pushed hard and made a gap that grew in that part of the race. At the first intermediate sprint in Nanclares de la oca (km 116.5), Flores crossed in first place followed by Possoni and Van de Walle.
With just over 38 kilometres remaining, the break had 4'20 over the Gerolsteiner and Euskaltel led bunch, but the leaders kept a strong pace and held a sizeable gap through two climbs, Alto de Vitoria (category 3, 32 km to go) and Alto de Zaldiaran (category 3, 12 km to go). When the breakaway still held more than two minutes on the Alto de Zaldiaran, Angel Vicioso (Karpin-Galicia) attacked and forced the breakaway to split, and on the descent six riders split from the others: Vicioso, Camaño, Vila, Possoni, Dupont and Tankink.
The race was sure to be decided from this group of six as they flew downhill into the city streets of Vitoria. Finally, Vicioso made the right move in the final sprint and won the stage over Vila and Camaño. Alessandro Spezialetti (Liquigas) led the peloton home 2 minutes and 40 seconds later.