Top 5 wide open for Unzue

"Many thought that the Vuelta was going to be decided on La Cobertoria in Sunday," Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears directeur sportif Eusebio Unzue has told Spanish newspaper AS on Thursday. "But in fact, the opposite happened. The race is wide open with five overall contenders that all ride on the same high level."

General classification leader Alejandro Valverde is closely chased by Andrey Kashechkin (Astana), Carlos Sastre (CSC), José Angel Gomez Marchante (Saunier Duval) and Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), who are all still in contention to take away his lead in Saturday's race against the clock in Cuenca.

"However, I don't think that the time trial in Cuenca will result in big differences," continued Unzue. "I think the best riders will again perform equally. Alexandre Vinokourov has found a high level of form pretty fast, but I don't think that he will progress further now. Let's not forget Kashechkin, who has been the most consistent until now, as well as Sastre and Marchante who managed to hang on in the difficult moments."

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