Skip to main content

Hushovd wins after Quick.Step botches lead out

Image 1 of 43

Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole)

Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole)
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 2 of 43

Brad McGee (Francaise des Jeux)

Brad McGee (Francaise des Jeux)
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 3 of 43

Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas-Bianchi)

Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas-Bianchi)
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 4 of 43

Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak)

Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak)
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 5 of 43

Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis)

Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis)
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 6 of 43

Quick.Step

Quick.Step
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 7 of 43

Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) checks everyone out

Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) checks everyone out
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 8 of 43

Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step) rolls up

Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step) rolls up
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 9 of 43

Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) rolls up

Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) rolls up
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 10 of 43

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre) at sign on

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre) at sign on
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 11 of 43

San Sebastian winner Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval)

San Sebastian winner Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval)
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 12 of 43

Marcos Serrano (Liberty Seguros) is one of his team's most experienced riders

Marcos Serrano (Liberty Seguros) is one of his team's most experienced riders
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 13 of 43

Cutting the ribbon to start stage 5

Cutting the ribbon to start stage 5
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 14 of 43

Ready, set, go!

Ready, set, go!
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 15 of 43

It's easy to get to the finish: just follow the signs

It's easy to get to the finish: just follow the signs
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 16 of 43

Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas-Bianchi) tries to get something happening

Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas-Bianchi) tries to get something happening
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 17 of 43

Bernhard Eisel (FDJ) takes the first sprint ahead of Flecha

Bernhard Eisel (FDJ) takes the first sprint ahead of Flecha
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 18 of 43

Stirring it up at the front

Stirring it up at the front
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 19 of 43

The heat is on!

The heat is on!
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 20 of 43

Quique Gutierrez drops off the peloton

Quique Gutierrez drops off the peloton
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 21 of 43

Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak) had to abandon today

Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak) had to abandon today
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 22 of 43

Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) abandons during stage 5

Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) abandons during stage 5
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 23 of 43

Francaise des Jeux controlling things for most of the day

Francaise des Jeux controlling things for most of the day
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 24 of 43

The break is formed by Staf Scheirlinckx and Jakob Piil

The break is formed by Staf Scheirlinckx and Jakob Piil
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 25 of 43

Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis) and Michael Barry (Discovery) on the front of the break

Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis) and Michael Barry (Discovery) on the front of the break
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 26 of 43

Erik Leblacher (CA) drives the break

Erik Leblacher (CA) drives the break
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 27 of 43

Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank) driving the break

Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank) driving the break
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 28 of 43

Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis) descending quickly

Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis) descending quickly
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 29 of 43

Brad McGee (Francaise des Jeux) has a stretch

Brad McGee (Francaise des Jeux) has a stretch
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 30 of 43

Refueling time

Refueling time
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 31 of 43

Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) looks the best of the GC riders at the moment

Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) looks the best of the GC riders at the moment
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 32 of 43

Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis) sucks down a bidon

Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis) sucks down a bidon
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 33 of 43

Francisco José Ventoso (Saunier Duval) drops back with 25 km to go

Francisco José Ventoso (Saunier Duval) drops back with 25 km to go
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 34 of 43

Quick.Step, Fassa, and T-Mobile take over from FDJ and chase down the breakaway

Quick.Step, Fassa, and T-Mobile take over from FDJ and chase down the breakaway
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 35 of 43

Bernhard Kohl (T-Mobile) riding hard

Bernhard Kohl (T-Mobile) riding hard
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 36 of 43

Quick.Step setting tempo at the foot of the last climb

Quick.Step setting tempo at the foot of the last climb
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 37 of 43

Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) leads Carlos Sastre (CSC) on the descent after the final climb

Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) leads Carlos Sastre (CSC) on the descent after the final climb
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 38 of 43

Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) celebrates his win in Cuenca

Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) celebrates his win in Cuenca
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 39 of 43

Brad McGee (Francaise des Jeux) in the combination jersey

Brad McGee (Francaise des Jeux) in the combination jersey
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 40 of 43

Brad McGee (Francaise des Jeux) on top after stage 5

Brad McGee (Francaise des Jeux) on top after stage 5
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 41 of 43

Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) is the new leader in the points classification

Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) is the new leader in the points classification
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 42 of 43

Joaquin Rodriguez (Saunier Duval) increased his lead in the mountains classification

Joaquin Rodriguez (Saunier Duval) increased his lead in the mountains classification
(Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 43 of 43

Brad McGee (Francaise des Jeux) happy to lead the combination classification too

Brad McGee (Francaise des Jeux) happy to lead the combination classification too
(Image credit: Unipublic)

McGee enjoys the golden jersey for fourth day

The Norwegian Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) had his chance and took it to win the stage 5 of the Vuelta a España in a small bunch sprint in Cuenca. Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Phonak) was second and Josep Jufre (Relax Fuenlabrada) third, as Bradley McGee (Française des Jeux) kept the leader jersey for the fourth consecutive day.

"It's a great victory in my career," said a happy Hushovd. "After the Tour de France I rested for a few days and then I began working to race the Vuelta and the World Championships in good condition." Hushovd commented further that he wants to stay until the end of the Vuelta if he doesn't get tired. The winner admitted he didn't know today's finale because it was the first time had been to Cuenca, "But there's always a rider who explains how it is," said Hushovd.

Joaquin Rodriguez (Saunier Duval) ended eighth today and is now third on GC, just 41 seconds behind McGee. "To get the golden jersey was difficult," said Rodriguez to Spanish TV. "I was looking for the stage win. The route was adequate for me considering my characteristics. The truth is that many people got to the front group in the finale. Tomorrow will be another day. I should try to win. I was willing to get the overall leadership, the stages were favourable for me. I was doing well and I should get the most of this week. We should fight tomorrow."

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) was not very content as he ended 12th when he could have won today. "It was a good opportunity for me and also for Tom [Boonen]. We didn't understand each other in the last kilometre. So, today there's nothing. Tomorrow's stage will be tougher. The most important thing is to be in good condition for that day in Madrid, not the Vuelta final day but the day of the World Championships. We will all work for [Alessandro] Petacchi."

How it unfolded

Italy's Oscar Mason (Liquigas) abandoned the race yesterday. That meant there were 193 riders who started the stage in Alcazar de San Juan. The first intermediate sprint came early at km 8 in Campo de Criptana: Bernhard Eisel (La Française des Jeux), Juan Antonio Flecha and Fabio Sacchi (Fassa Bortolo) crossed in that order.

At km 30, Jose Enrique "Quique" Gutierrez (Phonak) decided to quit the race. The two crashes he suffered on Sunday and Monday were more than enough for him. He struggled to keep going, especially yesterday. "I wonder why I'm going on, I have the feeling that I continue for nothing," he told the media pre-stage. "This pain will keep going for the whole Vuelta, so it's pointless to delay the withdrawal."

There were some moves among the peloton, but the early breakaways didn't consolidate. At the Quintanar de la Orden intermediate sprint (km 42.6), Matej Jurco (Domina Vacanze) was first, Sven Montgomery (Gerolsteiner) second and Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval) third. The first race hour was very fast, with the riders covering nearly 51 km/h.

Eight riders attacked at km 61: Jakob Piil (CSC), Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), Eric Leblacher (Credit Agricole), Michael Barry (Discovery Channel), Patrick Calcagni (Liquigas-Bianchi), Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank), Jorge Garcia (Relax Fuenlabrada) and David De la Fuente (Saunier Duval). This turned into the break of the day as two other riders abandoned: Mirco Lorenzetto (Domina Vacanze) and Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Mayo came to the Vuelta to help Aitor Gonzalez, but his performance wasn't good at all as he was 108th on GC. At km 99, the group of eight had an advantage of 3'57. At the third and last intermediate sprint in Carrascosa del Campo, Michael Barry led the break, followed by Jakob Piil and Thorwald Veneberg. The gap at that point was 4'08. Barry was the best placed on GC at 1'34, so the leaders weren't allowed too much room.

The breakaway kept going, but the big peloton picked up the tempo. They began cropping the gap and at km 134 the advantage was down to 2'42. Before the Alto del Castillo (km 163.8/12.2 km to go) the peloton caught the eight breakaways.

The many attacks began with Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) at the foot of the climb. Joaquin Rodriguez (Saunier Duval) and Carlos Garcia Quesada (Comunidad Valenciana) joined the Basque rider. The three leaders couldn't make a gap to the peloton and they were swallowed by a group of around 30 riders including Roberto Heras (Liberty-Würth), McGee, Hushovd, Paolo Bettini, and Tom Boonen (Quick Step), among others with 11 km to go.

Samuel Sanchez didn't give up and attacked again on the descent. Juan Miguel Mercado (Quick.Step) was also very aggressive. The group could control them and they faced the last two kilometres that were fairly flat. McGee was among the top contenders of the sprint, as were Bettini and Boonen. But the wheels fell off the Quick.Step train when Tom Boonen himself led out from 1 km to go, with Bettini in tow. McGee anticipated at 500m out, but that was still too early and he was marked. Bettini jumped at around 300m, then sat up as he realised it was too early. But Hushovd had waited until the perfect moment and powered home to win ahead of Perdiguero and Jufre.

Stage 6 - September 1: Cuenca-Valdelinares, 217 km

The first big mountain challenge will come tomorrow as the peloton will end its journey at the ski station Aramon Valdelinares. This is a Category 1 climb (1980 meters above the sea) that will test the big candidates for the overall like Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros-Würth), Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears), Carlos Sastre (CSC) or Denis Menchov (Rabobank). The stage has three intermediate sprints: Villalba de la Sierra (km 19.3), Puebla de Valverde (km 171.8) and Virgen de la Vega (km 206). Apart from Valdelinares, there are three climbs: Cat. 3 Alto de la Ciudad Encantada (1310 m.), Cat. 2 Puerto El Cubillo (1630 m.) and Cat. 2 Alto de San Rafael (1580 m./km 203.2). Time for the climbers to shine and for the sprinters to rest. We can not rule out some surprises among the peloton. McGee's leadership will certainly be in jeopardy.

Latest on Cyclingnews