Gerolsteiner directeur sportif Reimund Dietzen had hoped his captain Davide Rebellin would win Tuesday's stage, but was more than happy to settle for second place. "Davide almost had it," he said. "And of course it would have been great if he had won. But it's a great result, as it is, that we can be happy about."
When eventual winner Sergio Paulinho attacked 1 km before the finish, Rebellin and two others went with him. But Paulinho took off again, about 200 km before the finish, and only the Italian could follow. He went out of the saddle to try and catch him, but was only able to follow the Astana rider over the finish line 2 seconds later.
Rebellin was the most active rider in the finale, going with every attack out of the leading group in the last 20 km. "But they didn't want to let Davide go, they know how strong he is," noted Dietzen.
Gerolsteiner had only eight riders on Tuesday, as Marcel Strauss did not start due to stomach problems. His teammate and Vuelta roommate Robert Förster said that Strauss "surely went over the limit" on Sunday's mountain stage," and that he was feeling poorly on the rest day. After being awakened by the blood-testing 'vampires' Tuesday, Strauss felt better, but was unable to eat more than a few bites of breakfast, and the team doctor ordered him to drop out "and not make any nonsense."
Strauss had wanted to support Förster in the Vuelta, and "had a really guilty conscience" about quitting. "'Are you angry at me?," he asked. 'Don't be ridiculous!' I said. 'Go home and get well.'" (www.radsport-news.com)
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