Vuelta a España 2011

August 20 - September 11, 2011, Benidorm, Spain, Road - HIS (Historical Calendar)

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Daniel Benson

Hola and welcome to today's coverage from the Vuelta. Today's the big one, a lung-busting 144km from Avilés to Anglirú.

  1. 14:09:53 BST

    Apart from the final day, this is the shortest stage but it won’t feel like it. On the back of two tough days comes the most brutal stage of the lot. Given the legend of the Angliru, it’s amazing that this is only the Vuelta’s fifth encounter with this feared ascent.

  2. 14:10:02 BST

    The approach is the short but mean route via the cat 1 Cordal. Riders then press on to the Angliru, where the previous winners are all pure climbers – José María Jiménez, Gilberto Simoni, Roberto Heras and Alberto Contador. The final 6.5km averages 13 per cent. Even the best climb it at little more than walking pace.

  3. 14:10:44 BST

    Garmin's Jonny Weltz:

    "There’s only one word for this – horrible! It’s so brutal and it’s a day where the small guys will really be in their element. I’d expect Igor Antón to respond extremely well in this kind of extreme climbing environment."


  4. 14:12:06 BST

    Distance: 142.2km
    Highest point: 1,592m
    Category: Mountains

  5. 14:16:01 BST

    We've downed our mid-afternoon coffee and the blimp is up and running. Right now we have a three-man break up the road with one lone chase. We'll bring you the names in just a second.

  6. 14:18:10 BST

    There you go. Andrew Talansky, Dimitri Champion and Simon Geschke. They have just under 6 minutes on the bunch and we've got 80km of racing left.

  7. 14:20:00 BST

    The Angliru has been used four times. The first being in 1999.

    The search by all of the major tours for new and spectacular climbs led the Vuelta organisers to the Angliru, a narrow cattle track up a verdant and precipitous mountainside just south of Oviedo. Although it was only 13km long, many predicted that it would decide the race and while it didn’t, there was no lack of spectacle.

    Typically heavy Asturian rain made the descents tougher than the climbs that day, as they would also in 2002. On the Angliru, Pavel Tonkov ran out of gas on the steepest ramps, where José María ‘Chava’ Jiménez crawled past for a hugely popular win.

  8. 14:21:43 BST

    I remember that Bobby Julich crashed out the day before and Jan Ullrich went on to win the Vuelta that year. The German had an abysmal team in the race but he teamed up with an unlikely helped in frank vandenbroucke and the pair set the race alight.

  9. 14:24:36 BST

    Since then the climb has been used three more times. The most recent was in 2008 when Alberto Contador simply blew everyone away. He too went on to win the race that year. You can read about that ride, right here.

  10. 14:25:18 BST

    Roberto Heras (USPS) emerges from the fog to win the Angliru stage

    Roberto Heras has won there too.

  11. 68km remaining from 144km

    14:29:12 BST

    68km to go and we're coming up to the feedzone in a few minutes. The break still looks good, around 6 minutes is the gap back to the Katusha led bunch. Not sure why they're setting the pace, clearly Rodriguez isn't in form and Moreno isn't the type of rider who needs a team drilling it on the front. May Rodriguez is feeling better than yesterday.

  12. 14:36:37 BST

    Rosendo who had been sandwiched between the bunch and the leading trio is about to be caught.

  13. 14:44:48 BST

    We're only on a short climb but already a number of riders are finding the pace too hard and are dropping off the back.

  14. 53km remaining from 144km

    14:52:21 BST

    Our three leaders are still working well together. The chase behind them isn't exactly frantic just yet though.

  15. 52km remaining from 144km

    14:52:52 BST

    The gap is back over five minutes now, at 5:16

  16. 14:53:35 BST

    Euskaltel and Sky are giving Katusha a welcome hand at the front of the race.

  17. 14:55:36 BST

    Interestingly Saxo Banks has put two men on the front of the bunch as well.

  18. 14:57:41 BST

    Here's how things stand in GC:

    1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 55:54:45
    2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:07
    3 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:36
    4 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC 0:00:55
    5 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:00:58
    6 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Pro Team Astana 0:01:23
    7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:25
    8 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek 0:01:37
    9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:02:16
    10 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team 0:02:24
    11 Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC 0:02:56
    12 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:03:11
    13 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:03:23
    14 Sergio Pardilla Belllón (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:30
    15 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:32

  19. 14:59:03 BST

    Considering how small the time gaps are the final climb blow the Vuelta wide open. Riders, even GC men can lose minutes on the slopes of the Angrilu.

  20. 15:00:22 BST

    Vacansoleil has joined the party at the front of the bunch as well now.

  21. 15:07:14 BST

    Unfortunately my blimp is going to make an emergency landing - thanks British Telecom - but never fear, Susan is here to take over, with another CN blimp. Thanks, Susan.

  22. 15:08:15 BST

    Susan here with CN Blimp 2 -- always on hand when needed!

  23. 42km remaining from 144km

    15:09:37 BST

    The gap is down to 3:39  now, with about 42km to go.  And two more climbs.....

  24. 15:11:05 BST

    Wiggins is moving along calmly in the field, with teammates around him.  What will he do  on these next two climbs?

  25. 15:12:37 BST

    Crash!  A handufl of rides hit the road, with a Lampre rider on the very bottom under a number of bikes.

    He is not jumpig up again......

  26. 15:13:08 BST

    It is Aitor Perez, who loks to be  least shaken up.  A number of riders are getting bike repairs or new bikes.

  27. 15:13:54 BST

    Perez is back on his bike and riding again, thank goodness.

  28. 40km remaining from 144km

    15:16:14 BST

    We just had the second intermediate sprint, which will give us a chance for a good time measurement.

  29. 15:18:09 BST

    Vacansoleil leads the group under the banner with a 2:10 gap.

  30. 15:18:43 BST

    Talansky again took the points, ahead of Champion and Geschke.

  31. 34km remaining from 144km

    15:19:58 BST

    The gap is now under two minutes, at 1:45 and falling rapidly

  32. 15:22:34 BST

    The leaders still have 7km until the climb up the Alto de Cordal starts.  Once up and down that one, they start immediately up the much-dreaded Angliru.

  33. 15:24:27 BST

    31 km and the gap is at 1:05.

  34. 15:25:24 BST

    Euskaltel's Azanza must have been in that earlier crash.  His left elbow is oozing blood and his jersey has a few rips and scrapes too.

  35. 29.4km remaining from 144km

    15:26:27 BST

    The gap is at 41 seconds now.  Won't be long....

  36. 15:28:17 BST

    20 seconds and counting.....

  37. 15:31:20 BST

    Gretschke takes off as his two companions are gathered into the field.

  38. 15:33:03 BST

    The German has about 15 seconds on the field

  39. 15:33:21 BST

    he is going up now, about 7-8%.

  40. 15:34:30 BST

    A handful of riders has taken off out of the peloton.  At the other end of things, riders are dropping off the back.

  41. 15:35:09 BST

    A BMC rider attacks but doesn't get away.

    Kessiakoff is one of those at the rear of things.

  42. 15:35:28 BST

    The BMC rider tries again and gets a few meters.

  43. 15:37:36 BST

    GEschke is now caught, by Marzio Bruseghin, who has a small lead.

  44. 15:38:00 BST

    Rein Taamarae, yesterday's stage winner, is at the back of the field.

  45. 15:38:40 BST

    three other riders are with Bruseghin:  Moncoutie, ad perhaps Sastre?

  46. 15:39:10 BST

    Yes, Sastre, and the fourth rider is Dan Martin.

  47. 15:40:02 BST

    Wiggins on third wheel in the chasing field, which is only nine seconds behind the four leaders.

  48. 15:41:02 BST

    Moncoutie wears the mountain jersey and would love to pad his lead with some more points.

  49. 15:41:51 BST

    More riders fall back...... and this isn't even THE big climb!

  50. 15:44:05 BST

    Moncoutie leads his little group up the mountain, 13 seconds ahead of the peloton.  Almost at the top.

  51. 15:44:41 BST

    Cancellara is still in the peloton -- at the tail end of it though.

  52. 15:45:19 BST

    Moncoutie pulls slightly away to be sure he wins this mountain.  10% gradient.....

  53. 15:46:56 BST

    And he does indeed take the top points, with Sastre second.

  54. 15:47:27 BST

    The chase group with Wiggins crosses over 22 seconds later.

  55. 15:48:00 BST

    This descent could be a tricky one .. not the smoothest paved road we have ever seen....

  56. 19km remaining from 144km

    15:49:41 BST

    Only 19km to go -- but they have to be amongst the toughest possible!

  57. 15:50:04 BST

    Peter Sagan of Liquigas leads the field.

  58. 15:50:53 BST

    Moncoutie and Sastre are alone in the lead now, only 9 seconds ahead.

  59. 15:52:41 BST

    Bruseghin and Martin have now caught the two leaders, giving us a foursome in front.

  60. 15:53:09 BST

    More riders are coming up from behind.

  61. 15:53:28 BST

    Bruseghin takes a slight lead on the others.

  62. 15:54:45 BST

    15km to go.....

  63. 15:55:05 BST

    They are still desceding at a rapid pace.

  64. 15:55:37 BST

    Bruseghin zips his way through a town. 

  65. 15:56:35 BST

    Bruseghin has reached the bottom of the descent.  Which means:  it's time to start climbing again!

  66. 12.5km remaining from 144km

    15:56:56 BST

    Liquigas has taken over the lead work in the field.

  67. 15:57:18 BST

    Bruseghin is caught.  The gradient is only 6% here.

  68. 15:57:51 BST

    Sagan pulls teh group along.  Wiggins got thrown back a bit, but is working his way up in the field.

  69. 16:00:20 BST

    A Geox rider takes off -- Sastre?

  70. 16:00:47 BST

    Yes, Carlos Sastre shows signs of life again!

  71. 16:01:22 BST

    Liquigas still plugs away while more and more riders struggle.  10 seconds for Sastre.

  72. 16:01:49 BST

    There are maybe 30 riders in the group.

  73. 16:02:12 BST

    Wiggins is back near the front of the group again.   Moncoutie is at the other end.

  74. 16:03:07 BST

    Sastre builds up his lead, now at 15 seconds

  75. 16:04:27 BST

    Sastre is 36 years old -- teaching the youngsters a lesson here.

    Carlos Barredo of Rabobank takes off in pursuit.

  76. 16:05:03 BST

    Sastre has 14 seconds over Barredo, who has only a few seconds over the field.

  77. 16:06:28 BST

    Very green along the way here....

  78. 16:07:02 BST

    Sastre's lead is only 11 seconds now.

  79. 16:07:15 BST

    Still 9km to go.

  80. 16:08:25 BST

    The very steepest sections are still to come, at about the 3-to-2 km to go section.

  81. 16:09:30 BST

    Nibali and Rodriguez are near the front.  Neither of them has any chance left to win the race, but a stage would certainly be nice.

  82. 8km remaining from 144km

    16:10:08 BST

    Eight km to go and 12 seconds over Barredo and 16 over the field.

    Fairly flat t this point.

  83. 16:10:56 BST

    A Euskaltel rider has moved to the head of the field, ahead of the two Liquigas riders.

  84. 16:11:11 BST

    Barredo has been caught.

  85. 16:12:03 BST

    22% now, and the field is not far behind Sastre, as two Euskaltel riders attack at the 7km marker.

  86. 16:12:28 BST

    Igor Anton has caught Sasatre, and passes him.  Sastre tries to hang on.

  87. 16:12:58 BST

    Barredo has now fallen off the back of the field.  D. Martin tries to catch the two leaders.

  88. 16:13:49 BST

    Anton drops Sastre.  Martin is now togehter in the case with a Movistar rider.

  89. 16:14:08 BST

    Lots of fans oalong the way, running i the road, cheering the riders on.

  90. 16:14:26 BST

    Wiggins moves up in the field -- will he attack?

  91. 16:14:42 BST

    Cobo leads the field, with Wiggins right behind him.

  92. 16:15:09 BST

    21 percent, and some real struggling.....

  93. 16:15:36 BST

    Anton holds on to his lead.   A motorcycle has gone down on the steep section.

  94. 16:16:06 BST

    Cobo has gone off on his own.  Wiggins has lost contact with him.

  95. 16:16:34 BST

    Froome moves up to help Wiggins.

  96. 16:17:06 BST

    Cobo is on his way to Anton,and catches him.  The rest aren't too far behind.

  97. 16:17:53 BST

    Cobo is 55 seconds down on Wiggins.  How much of that can he make up today?

  98. 16:18:08 BST

    Cobo now takes off from Anton.

  99. 16:18:26 BST

    Nibali drops back, as does Sastre.

  100. 16:18:58 BST

    Froome leads Wiggins and three or four others.  They catch Anton.

  101. 16:19:30 BST

    Martin is the next to fall off the back.

  102. 16:19:59 BST

    Cobo has maybe 10 to 15 seconds on the Wiggins group.

  103. 5km remaining from 144km

    16:20:27 BST

    At the 5 km marker he has a 13 second gap.

  104. 16:21:09 BST

    "Only" 12 percent for Cobo now....

  105. 16:21:55 BST

    Anton drops back too.

  106. 16:22:44 BST

    Cobo has really built his lead up, to 28 seconds now.

  107. 16:24:15 BST

    Together with Wiggins and Froome are Menchov, Poels and Rodriguez.

  108. 16:24:44 BST

    Has anyone seen Bauke Mollema?  We have lost sight of the young Dutchman.

  109. 3km remaining from 144km

    16:25:25 BST

    3 km for Cobo -- what is his gap?

  110. 16:25:44 BST

    26 seconds -- to answer our own question.

  111. 16:26:13 BST

    Purito Rodriguez has to drop back from the Wiggins group.

  112. 16:26:45 BST

    Lots of people here now.

  113. 16:28:27 BST

    It is getting foggy as Cobo approaches the three km marker.

  114. 16:28:53 BST

    Sorry, we reported too early that it was 3 km to go -- that was the 4km of course.

  115. 16:29:13 BST

    Cobo now faces the 22-23% gradients.

  116. 16:29:58 BST

    Froome, Wiggins, Menchov and Poels are said to have a 40 second gap.  Will Cobo ride into the leader's jersey?

  117. 16:30:30 BST

    The fans are crowding the road, leaving only a narrow gap for the riders.  Always a dangerous situation.

  118. 16:31:14 BST

    Cobo grinds his way up this brutal climb -- 23%.

  119. 16:31:57 BST

    There is Mollema!  He is behind Dan Martin.  They have to dodge a motorcycle which stopped in the middle of the narrow way....

  120. 16:32:54 BST

    Wiggins falls back. He can't do it any more. And another motorcycle falls over.

  121. 16:33:17 BST

    The fog is getting heavier. Does Cobo know that Wiggins has been dropped?

  122. 16:34:04 BST

    Cobo now has only twokm to go.

  123. 16:35:24 BST

    Cobo must know that good things are happening for him. His suffering will soon be rewarded.

  124. 16:36:05 BST

    The last moto to fall over was the one with the Wiggins group. So we don't know what is happening with him now.

  125. 16:37:18 BST

    Cobo now has 43 seconds on Froome, Poels and Menchov. No word on how far back Wiggins is.  Looks like we will have a new leader!  Either Cobo or Froome.....

  126. 16:38:13 BST

    More crowds along the way, very vocal.  And only one kilometer left for Cobo.

  127. 16:39:01 BST

    Looks like we above the tree line here.  Lots of rock fields.... and no fans.

  128. 16:39:36 BST

    Not as steep here -- and he has 1:10 over the next group!

  129. 16:40:18 BST

    Cobo finally crosses the finish line with a big smile and a raised hand.

  130. 16:41:14 BST

    The 1.10 was to Wiggins. Froome is third in the chase group, finishing as fourth at 48 seconds.

  131. 16:41:37 BST

    Wiggins is together with Anton, and they cross the line at 1:20.

  132. 16:42:01 BST

    That should be the leader's jersey for Cobo!  A well-earned reward.

  133. 16:43:25 BST

    Nibali makes his way to the finish line, 2:35 down.

  134. 16:44:23 BST

    Three minutes have gone by, and exactly one-tenth of the field is in. We won't hang around until they all make it to the top.

  135. 16:46:11 BST

    Poels was second, by the way, with Menchov third.

  136. 16:47:03 BST

    We could take a wild guess at the new GC, but it is probably better to wait for the official word.

  137. 16:51:03 BST

    Here is the top ten from the stage:

    1 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC 4:01:55
    2 Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:48
    3 Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC 0:00:48
    4 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:48
    5 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:01:21
    6 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:01:21
    7 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek 0:01:21
    8 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:01:35
    9 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:01:35
    10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:35

  138. 16:51:45 BST

    And the new top ten on GC:

    1 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC 59:57:16
    2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:20
    3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:46
    4 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:36
    5 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek 0:02:37
    6 Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC 0:03:01
    7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:03:06
    8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:03:27
    9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:03:58
    10 Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:04:13

  139. 16:52:48 BST

    What a dramatic stage we ended up with! The Anglirun shook things up, as expected. Will Cobo be able to hold on to this lead for the remainder of the race?

  140. 16:53:27 BST

    Monday is a rest day for the riders and us alike. Enjoy it and meet us again Tuesday as the Vuelta continues!

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