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Menchov's big haul

An unusual display of emotion from Denis Menchov

An unusual display of emotion from Denis Menchov (Image credit: AFP)

Denis Menchov looks set to take home his first outright Vuelta overall victory as long as he makes it through the final stage to Madrid intact, and when he crosses the line on Sunday, he stands a chance of taking home not one, not two, not even three but four jerseys.

Menchov has been wearing the leader's golden jersey since he seized it on stage nine, but he's also won the mountains classification - there are no classified climbs on Sunday - and is leading the points and combination classifications as well. Only the team classification is out of his grasp - Rabobank is well behind leaders Caisse d'Epargne in 13th place.

Lampre's Daniele Bennati, currently in third in the points classification, trails Menchov by 17 points, and must take at least second place on the stage to bring home the dark magenta jersey for that classification.

It's probable that the sprinter can take back the lead in the points competition, but Menchov is set to take home the gray mountains jersey. He beat Discovery Channel's Jurgen Van Goolen by 12 points in that classification by merely defending his lead in the overall classification against the onslaught of Carlos Sastre (CSC) and Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

With his lead in the overall and mountains classifications, Menchov is also the clear leader in the white jersey 'combination' classification - a combined score for mountains and GC placings. He leads Sánchez in this competition. Photographers should not worry, however, because even if Menchov wins all four jerseys, there will be four different men modeling the gray, white, purple and gold jerseys on the final podium. If things stay as they are, second placed Van Goolen will be in gray, Sánchez in white, and Bennati in purple.

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