Three in a row for Astana
The Astana team has notched up its third stage win in a row, with Sergio Paulinho taking out today's 10th stage between Avilés and the Museo de Altamira in Santillana del Mar. Paulinho attacked the 15 man breakaway in the final kilometre, which was mostly uphill, to beat Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) and Xavier Florencio (Bouygues) by a couple of seconds. The peloton finished 3'54 behind and there were no major changes to the general classification.
The 199 km stage was run from west to east across the top part of the Spanish coastline. Everyone had fresh legs after the rest day, and following a number of attacks, a 15 man break had established itself at the front after 40 km. The group contained Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears - best on GC at 6'50), Sergio Paulinho (Astana Team), Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Evgeni Petrov (Lampre-Fondital), Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel), Dario David Cioni (Liquigas), Nicki Sorensen (Team CSC), Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), David Millar and Francisco José Ventoso (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Sébastien Minard (Cofidis), Sébastien Joly (Française des Jeux), Dmitriy Fofonov (Credit Agricole), and Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom).
With Karpets up there, Caisse d'Epargne didn't have to chase and the lead went out to 9'07 - putting Karpets into the virtual overall lead - until CSC worked to reduce the gap to a more manageable 3'54 in the final 80 km. The finale saw David Millar doing a lot of work for his sprinter teammate Francisco Ventoso, but the Saunier team couldn't finish it off with the continuous attacks in the final kilometres. Eventually Paulinho made his move inside 1 km to go, and that proved to be the successful one.
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