Vuelta a España 2011

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

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Stephen Farrand

Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage seven of the vuelta. The 182.9km stage is from Almadén to Talavera de la Reina and is expected to finish with a bunch sprint.

  1. 65km remaining from 185km

    16:34:47 CEST

    As we pick up the stage, there are 65km to go. 

  2. 16:35:57 CEST

    The stage is largely flat wihtoput a single categorised climb during the stage.

  3. 16:37:03 CEST

    The Quick Step team of race leader Sylvain Chavanel has been controlling affairs for most of the stage.

  4. 16:44:02 CEST

    We have a four-rider breakaway that is four minutes ahead of the peloton.

  5. 16:44:28 CEST

    The quartet jumped away almost straight away and the peloton let them go.

  6. 16:45:24 CEST

    The gap reached nine minutes at one point but since then (after 25km) the peloton has been pegging back the gap.

  7. 16:46:05 CEST

    The first hour of the race saw an average speed of 35km/h and things have been very steady since.

  8. 16:50:33 CEST

    With the sprinters determined to fight for victory today, their teams have been helping Quick Step with the chase.

  9. 52km remaining from 185km

    16:52:25 CEST

    Skil-Shimano are riding to help Marcel Kittel.

  10. 16:53:38 CEST

    HTC-Highroad are likely to hit the front later to set up John Degenkolb.

  11. 16:54:52 CEST

    Technical race director Abraham Olano pointed out the difficulties of today's finale:  “This stage looks flat on paper but it’s never flat. It’s a real transition stage. It’s going to be a bunch sprint finish. The teams will be able to get organised on these wide roads. There are two small roundabouts at 300 metres before the line.”

  12. 16:57:56 CEST

    Garmin-Cervélo’s  Heinrich Haussler revealed they wil lbe riding to set up Tyler Farrar.

    “Today the course isn’t like the other days, there’s only 2000 metres of climbing but we’re going to have crosswinds all day. It’s not as warm as for the past six days. If there are twenty guys up the road and the peloton is happy with it, there won’t be a bunch sprint, but I don’t think so. It should be a sprint. Today, we’ll set it up for Tyler."

  13. 16:59:43 CEST

    Marc de Maar has been doing a lot of work for Quick Step today, showing his unique Curaçao national champion's jersey.

  14. 17:02:00 CEST

    Here at Cyclingnews we're expecting a fiesty sprint between Kittel and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

  15. 17:03:07 CEST

    However Mario Scirea, the DS at Liquigas-Cannondale, thinks Kittel is perhaps faster than his man.

    “I don’t think that anything else but a bunch sprint can happen today because Marcel Kittel is in the race. I’m impressed by this rider. When Purito won [stage 5 at Valdepeñas de Jaén], he was dropped only 17km before the end. This guy is much more than a sprinter. He’s a different kind of rider than Peter Sagan. In a standard sprint, I think that Kittel normally beats Sagan.”

  16. 17:06:27 CEST

    Susan stepping in for a few minutes here.

  17. 17:07:19 CEST

    The peloton is bunched together, chasing down the four escapees.

  18. 17:10:47 CEST

    We still have 41.5km to go, and the field doesn't want to catch this group too soon.  So the gap has gone back up to 2:45.

  19. 17:13:09 CEST

    King of the predictions Eros Capecchi announced: “It’s gonna be a sprint.  Daniele Bennati is the hot favourite. If not him, the winner should be Marcel Kittel or Tyler Farrar.”

  20. 17:15:10 CEST

    Leopard Trek agrees with Capecchi and is once again today leading the chase.  They put in a lot of work yesterday which went unrewarded, and hope for a better outcome today.

  21. 34km remaining from 185km

    17:20:20 CEST

    The gap is dropping again and is now just over two minutes.

  22. 17:21:36 CEST

    Former mountain biker Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) is one of the nice surprises of the first week of the Vuelta. “I’m very happy to be where I stand now on GC”, the Swede said. “There’s still a long way to Madrid. I don’t want to make the top 5 after two weeks and be nowhere at the end. I prefer to target the top 15 overall. Yesterday I lost a few seconds but that’s no problem. I prefer to avoid stress and useless fatigue. I yet have to grow into the role of a GC rider. I hadn’t come here as the team leader, so I don’t want to put pressure on myself.”

  23. 17:22:56 CEST

    The four leaders feel the pressure and step up their tempo.  It doesn't help, as the gap is now under two minutes.

  24. 17:25:13 CEST

    The field has now split.  About 40 riders are scrambling to catch the field again.

  25. 17:26:13 CEST

    Crash!  4 or 5 riders have gone done.  No one seems to be injured thank goodness.

  26. 17:27:04 CEST

    Greg Van Avernaet of BMC is one of the last to be up and going again.  A vacansoliel rider is still waiting for a new bike.

  27. 17:28:09 CEST

    The fie,d is now broken up into various groups, strung out single file.  None of them are very far apart, but of course that can change quickly.

  28. 17:28:36 CEST

    Looks like they are all together again.

  29. 159km remaining from 185km

    17:29:11 CEST

    Despite the crash, the gap has continued to decrease, now is 1:25.

  30. 17:29:40 CEST

    The wind is playing a role now....

  31. 17:30:19 CEST

    The wind has broken p again into numerous little groups.

  32. 17:32:22 CEST

    HTC's Albasini is one of those in the third group, struggling to catch up.

  33. 17:32:57 CEST

    The intermediate sprint is coming up....

  34. 17:33:34 CEST

    Now the field ils approaching the line -- what will the gap be?

  35. 17:34:09 CEST

    50 seconds for the first large group.


  36. 17:35:51 CEST

    The peloton is bunched together again.

  37. 17:36:53 CEST

    Hounard took the sprint points, ahead of the two Cofidis riders.

  38. 17:38:34 CEST

    Oscar Freire: “I’ve been sick at the beginning of the Vuelta, that’s why I considered pulling out. Today I feel better and I believe that I’m in the same shape as the others. Finally, we have a stage for sprinters today. This is an occasion for me not to miss.”

  39. 18km remaining from 185km

    17:39:18 CEST

    The gap is now down to 26 seconds. 

  40. 17:41:02 CEST

    Mate takes off out of the lead group in an attempt to salvage something for his team.

  41. 17:41:56 CEST

    The peloton can now see the leaders.  Mate is only about 30 meters ahead of the other three.

  42. 15km remaining from 185km

    17:43:28 CEST

    Only 23 seconds.....

  43. 17:43:59 CEST

    The foru leaders are together again, but pedalling desparetely 

  44. 17:44:25 CEST

    One of the Cofidis riders has taken off again. 

  45. 17:44:43 CEST

    It is Fouchard this time, giving it his all.

  46. 17:45:51 CEST

    Houarnard has been caught.

  47. 12.4km remaining from 185km

    17:47:07 CEST

    Mate and Cabello have been caught.  Fouchard has 12 seconds.

  48. 10km remaining from 185km

    17:49:29 CEST

    Fouchard is hanging on to his minimal lead.

  49. 17:50:06 CEST

    The tightly packed bunch will catch the Cofidis rider any second now.

  50. 17:50:28 CEST

    Seven seconds at the 9km marker.

  51. 17:52:18 CEST

    That#s it for Fouchard -- the break is over!

  52. 7km remaining from 185km

    17:53:31 CEST

    Seven km to go.  The group will probably stay together until the end now.  Or will someone try their luck as a solo against the sprinters' teams?

  53. 17:54:01 CEST

    HTC-Columbia has taken over the lead work now.

  54. 5km remaining from 185km

    17:54:48 CEST

    Five km to go....

  55. 17:55:20 CEST

    Chavanel near the head of the group, close to HTC-Columbia.

  56. 17:55:40 CEST

    They are moving along at 58kmh.

  57. 17:56:38 CEST

    A Sky rider has jumped to teh front of the HTC train.

  58. 3km remaining from 185km

    17:57:03 CEST

    Three km and over 65mh!

  59. 17:57:30 CEST

    The group is now strung out flying along....

  60. 2km remaining from 185km

    17:58:21 CEST

    Two km and many are dropping back within the field, to stay out of the way of the sprint.

  61. 17:58:39 CEST

    Final km!

  62. 17:59:22 CEST

    Fischer opens the sprint

  63. 17:59:43 CEST

    A Vacansoleil rider goes, with Sil also there.


  64. 18:00:31 CEST

    Inteh second row a rider went down, and many others went down too,  That pretty much blocked everything up from tehre.

  65. 18:01:07 CEST

    Marcel Kittel of Skil won by the way, with Peter Sagan second.

  66. 18:01:19 CEST

    Tyler Farrar is still layingon the ground.

  67. 18:02:06 CEST

    A number of riders are making their way over th efinish line at last, rubbing various body parts.

  68. 18:02:21 CEST

    That was Kittel's first Grand Tour victory.

  69. 18:03:05 CEST

    It is his 13th win of the season!

  70. 18:03:21 CEST

    Friere was third with Bennati fourth.

  71. 18:04:52 CEST

    A Vacansoleil rider is bleeding from the face.  Ooh, he lost a lot of skin and has a nasty nose bleed, may be broken.

  72. 18:05:13 CEST

    Ferrar was the first to go down.  Don't know the cause.

  73. 18:06:57 CEST

    Hmm, someone is tidying up a large pool of blood on the pavement....

  74. 18:08:01 CEST

    The Vacansoleil rider is Golas.  He also managed to rip holes in teh back of his shorts.

  75. 18:08:32 CEST

    Here's the top ten of the stage today:

    1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Skil - Shimano
    2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
    3 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
    4 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard Trek
    5 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
    6 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank Sungard
    7 Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - Shimano
    8 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
    9 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Pro Team Astana
    10 Leigh Howard (Aus) HTC-Highroad

  76. 18:11:01 CEST

    The first real mass sprint of the Vuelta , and such a nasty crash.  Not at all what anyone wanted!

  77. 18:12:50 CEST

    There shouldn't be any changes at the top of the GC, but we haven't seen the final rankings yet.  We will have them up on the site as soon as we get them.

  78. 18:13:21 CEST

    Well, that ending turned out to be interesting in a not-so-good way.  We hope there are no serious injuries.

  79. 18:13:41 CEST

    Thanks for reading along and be sure to join us again tomorrow.

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