Gerrans wins cat and mouse game to take the stage win

Cervélo's Simon Gerrans completed a set of Grand Tour wins as he claimed the 10th stage of the Vuelta a España from a four-man group in Murcia on Tuesday afternoon. The plucky Australian now has a stage win in each of cycling's three-week races after he finished ahead of Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Slipstream) and Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) beneath another day of glorious Spanish sunshine.

Escaping the clutches of a larger, 19-man breakaway group on the slopes of the fourth category Alto de la Cresta del Gallo, Gerrans raced to the finish in the company of Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Hesjedal and Fuglsang.

As the quartet swung from side-to-side on the wide highway entrance to Murcia, it was Vinokourov who opened the sprint first, anxious to stamp his return to Grand Tour racing with a win. Yet, as the Kazakh faded, the Australian emerged from from his draft to finish fastest ahead of a desperate lunge from Hesjedal.

The four were followed in by members of their earlier breakaway group before the bulk of the peloton, containing most of the favourites for overall, came home, almost four minutes behind the victor.

The stage result did nothing to affect the top-five of the general classification as Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) maintained his seven-second buffer over Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto). Rabobank's Robert Gesink remains in third position, still 36 seconds behind Valverde.

With the men for overall satisfied to have protected their positions, the day belonged to Gerrans. He's built a reputation for hard-fought wins from small groups, and on the road to Murcia he stuck victoriously close to his modus operandi. As he strode to the top of a Vuelta dais bathed in Spanish evening sun, Gerrans was clearly a happy man, content that he could now add a Vuelta stage win to collection that includes stage victories at the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia.

The Great Escape

As Alicante bid farewell to the 184-strong peloton in temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius this morning, Milram's Thomas Rohregger was the only rider not to accompany his contemporaries left in this year's race. The German was the sole finisher from yesterday not to begin the journey to Murcia.

This year's Vuelta has been marked by a succession of small and, until yesterday, doomed escape groups. Today, however, it appeared that the peloton was not going to allow a break to form without a proper fight.

Française des Jeux's Anthony Roux threw the first salvo as he took off as soon as flag was pulled in. The Frenchman was quickly joined by Björn Schröder (Milram), Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank), Dominique Rollin (Cervélo TestTeam), Mickaël Buffaz (Cofidis), Francisco Jose Martinez Perez (Andalucia Cajasur) and David Garcia da Pena (Xacobeo Galacia).

Five kilometres was all the seven were allowed before being brought back. The next group to go was the one that stuck and this time it was a big one. Assisted in their escape by Spain's formidable crosswinds, 19 riders had established a gap of more than two-and-a-half minutes after 30 kilometres.

The shorter of the two lists was the teams that hadn't made the break. BBox Bougyues Telecom, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Silence-Lotto, Xacobeo Galacia, Liquigas were the only teams not represented in a group that contained:

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Adam Hansen (Columbia-HTC), Arnaud Gerard (Française des Jeux), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Antonio Piedra (Andalucía-Cajasur), Francisco Pérez (Caisse d'Epargne), Simon Gerrans (Cervélo TestTeam), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Slipstream), Leonardo Duque (Cofidis), Julián Sánchez (Contentpolis-Ampo), Adrián Palomares (Contentpolis-Ampo), Aitor Pérez Arrieta (Contentpolis-Ampo), David De La Fuente (Fuji-Servetto), Beñat Intxausti (Fuji-Servetto), Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step), Juan Manuel Gárate (Rabobank), Linus Gerdemann (Milram), Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) and Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank).

After an hour of racing, the leaders had covered a blistering 46.4 kilometres. By then, they had opened an advantage of four minutes over the Caisse d'Epargne led peloton, with the lead still consistently increasing.

The pace cooled ever so slightly in the second hour of racing; the average returning to just over 42km/h. As the breakaway went through the feedzone, 83 kilometres through the stage, the gap back to the peloton had blown out to more than eight minutes. Vacansoleil appeared to have gotten a lecture about their lackadaisical riding via their earpieces as they soon came to the front in a vain attempt to make up for their absence from the break.

The efforts of the Dutch Pro Continental squad were rewarded with a brief and relatively insignificant reduction in the gap, but it wasn't long before the break stretched their advantage back past eight minutes.

It wasn't until the race passed the 50km-to-go mark, that the advantage of the 19 began to drop as the pace lifted in the peloton. While Vacansoleil, Liquigas and Caisse d'Epargne traded turns at the front of the peloton it was, in reality, damage control rather than any concerted effort to retrieve the leaders.

The Alto de la Cresta del Gallo loomed on the course profile. With 19 riders starting a Category 4 climb just 20 kilometres from the finish, the math didn't quite add up. Early in the climb, Linus Gerdemann (Milram) and Aitor Pérez Arrieta (Contentpolis-Ampo) had done the calculations. The duo attacked off the front, establishing a narrow gap over an Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Slipstream) led chase. Gerdemann managed to shake Pérez Arrieta loose as Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) took his turn trying to bring the German back on terms.

Shortly afterwards Vinokourov attacked. Fuji-Servetto's David de la Fuente and Beñat Intxausti then took their own turns at following the Kazakh's example. As Vinokourov battled, it was Intxausti who got closest to Gerdemann, cresting the summit of the climb just behind the Milram captain.

Unfortunately for Intxausti, his day ended in the first corners of the descent, a flat tire destroying his chances of bridging. On the rough downwards approach into Murcia it was Fuglsang, Hesjedal, Vinokourov and Simon Gerrans (Cervélo TestTeam) who were best able to cope with the rough surface. The four riders opened daylight to the remnants of the earlier breakaway as they placed Gerdemann in their crosshairs.

The four would have no doubt been both surprised and somewhat pleased to see Gerdemann standing on the side of the road just two kilometres later. Gerdemann had suffered a puncture and after receiving a neutral spare, crashed on the next corner, ruling out his hopes of a Vuelta stage win.

The four weren't about to sit up and wait. As the road flattened out for the final 10 kilometres, Vinokourov, Fuglsang, Gerrans and Hesjesdal continued to work well together. However, the harmony was broken with five kilometres-to-go as Vinokourov attempted to go clear. As the three brought him back, Hesjedal leapt clear, although as he looked back anxiously, it was evident that the Canadian would not be heading to the finish alone.

Back together with a kilometre left, the riders continued to swoop from side-to-side across the broad three-lane road that leads into Murcia from the north. As the riders regrouped on the left hand side of the road, Vinokourov took his chance. He launched his sprint as the trio behind prepared themselves for the final two hundred metres.

With one hundred metres to go, Vinokourov took one look back, slumped his shoulders and swung off. Gerrans was the first to emerge and held his nerve to the finish. The Cervélo rider thrust his arms into the sky several metres before the line, confident that he his wheel would cross first ahead of a desperate dive from Hesjedal.


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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Simon Gerrans (Aus) Cervélo TestTeam3:56:19
2Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-SlipstreamRow 1 - Cell 2
3Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo BankRow 2 - Cell 2
4Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) AstanaRow 3 - Cell 2
5Adam Hansen (Aus) Columbia-HTC0:00:29
6Francisco Pérez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:00:31
7Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:37
8Karsten Kroon (Ned) Saxo Bank0:00:39
9Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 8 - Cell 2
10Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick StepRow 9 - Cell 2
11Juan Manuel Gárate (Spa) RabobankRow 10 - Cell 2
12Antonio Piedra (Spa) Andalucía-Cajasur0:00:49
13Aitor Pérez Arrieta (Spa) Contentpolis-AmpoRow 12 - Cell 2
14Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis0:00:50
15Adrián Palomares (Spa) Contentpolis-AmpoRow 14 - Cell 2
16David De La Fuente (Spa) Fuji-Servetto0:00:54
17Beñat Intxausti (Spa) Fuji-Servetto0:00:57
18Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil0:03:42
19Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 18 - Cell 2
20Françis De Greef (Bel) Silence-LottoRow 19 - Cell 2
21Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-LottoRow 20 - Cell 2
22Matteo Carrara (Ita) VacansoleilRow 21 - Cell 2
23Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre-NGCRow 22 - Cell 2
24Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick StepRow 23 - Cell 2
25Daniel Moreno (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 24 - Cell 2
26Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 25 - Cell 2
27Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Xacobeo GaliciaRow 26 - Cell 2
28Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La MondialeRow 27 - Cell 2
29Julien El Farès (Fra) CofidisRow 28 - Cell 2
30Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-SlipstreamRow 29 - Cell 2
31Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 30 - Cell 2
32David Garcia (Spa) Xacobeo GaliciaRow 31 - Cell 2
33Daniel Navarro (Spa) AstanaRow 32 - Cell 2
34Ivan Basso (Ita) LiquigasRow 33 - Cell 2
35Oliver Zaugg (Swi) LiquigasRow 34 - Cell 2
36Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervélo TestTeamRow 35 - Cell 2
37Egoi Martínez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 36 - Cell 2
38Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence-LottoRow 37 - Cell 2
39Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo GaliciaRow 38 - Cell 2
40Amaël Moinard (Fra) CofidisRow 39 - Cell 2
41Robert Gesink (Ned) RabobankRow 40 - Cell 2
42Koos Moerenhout (Ned) RabobankRow 41 - Cell 2
43Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 42 - Cell 2
44Rubén Pérez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 43 - Cell 2
45Damien Monier (Fra) CofidisRow 44 - Cell 2
46José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Cervélo TestTeamRow 45 - Cell 2
47Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) AstanaRow 46 - Cell 2
48Xavier Tondo (Spa) Andalucía-CajasurRow 47 - Cell 2
49Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) LiquigasRow 48 - Cell 2
50Roman Kreuziger (Cze) LiquigasRow 49 - Cell 2
51David Moncoutié (Fra) CofidisRow 50 - Cell 2
52Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-NGCRow 51 - Cell 2
53David Millar (GBr) Garmin-SlipstreamRow 52 - Cell 2
54Joaquím Rodríguez (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 53 - Cell 2
55Iñigo Cuesta (Spa) Cervélo TestTeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Xavier Florencio (Spa) Cervélo TestTeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Oscar Freire (Spa) RabobankRow 56 - Cell 2
58Jesús Hernández (Spa) Astana0:04:44
59Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Caisse d'EpargneRow 58 - Cell 2
60Mickaël Chérel (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 59 - Cell 2
61Serafín Martínez (Spa) Xacobeo GaliciaRow 60 - Cell 2
62Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Saxo BankRow 61 - Cell 2
63Arkaitz Durán (Spa) Fuji-Servetto0:04:48
64Manuel Váquez (Spa) Contentpolis-AmpoRow 63 - Cell 2
65Juan José Cobo (Spa) Fuji-ServettoRow 64 - Cell 2
66Pieter Weening (Ned) RabobankRow 65 - Cell 2
67Lars Boom (Ned) RabobankRow 66 - Cell 2
68Paul Martens (Ger) RabobankRow 67 - Cell 2
69Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 68 - Cell 2
70Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 69 - Cell 2
71Bram Tankink (Ned) RabobankRow 70 - Cell 2
72Manuel Calvente (Spa) Andalucía-CajasurRow 71 - Cell 2
73Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Silence-Lotto0:06:33
74Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) CofidisRow 73 - Cell 2
75Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervélo TestTeamRow 74 - Cell 2
76Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Saxo BankRow 75 - Cell 2
77Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo BankRow 76 - Cell 2
78Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MilramRow 77 - Cell 2
79Jesús Rosendo (Spa) Andalucía-Cajasur0:07:24
80Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 79 - Cell 2
81Alberto Fernández Sainz (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia0:07:39
82Dominique Rollin (Can) Cervélo TestTeamRow 81 - Cell 2
83Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Milram0:08:33
84Bingen Fernández (Spa) Cofidis0:10:01
85Marco Velo (Ita) Quick StepRow 84 - Cell 2
86Alexander Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La MondialeRow 85 - Cell 2
87Igor Antón (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 86 - Cell 2
88Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 87 - Cell 2
89Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 88 - Cell 2
90Christian Meier (Can) Garmin-SlipstreamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Gonzalo Rabuñal (Spa) Xacobeo GaliciaRow 90 - Cell 2
92Mickaël Delage (Fra) Silence-LottoRow 91 - Cell 2
93Martin Velits (Svk) MilramRow 92 - Cell 2
94Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-SlipstreamRow 93 - Cell 2
95Gustavo Dominguez (Spa) Xacobeo GaliciaRow 94 - Cell 2
96Sergio Dominguez Munoz (Spa) Contentpolis-AmpoRow 95 - Cell 2
97Christian Knees (Ger) MilramRow 96 - Cell 2
98Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 97 - Cell 2
99Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 98 - Cell 2
100David Herrero (Spa) Xacobeo GaliciaRow 99 - Cell 2
101Jesús Del Nero (Spa) Fuji-ServettoRow 100 - Cell 2
102Javier Benitez (Spa) Contentpolis-AmpoRow 101 - Cell 2
103José Luis Rubiera (Spa) AstanaRow 102 - Cell 2
104Gustavo César Veloso (Spa) Xacobeo GaliciaRow 103 - Cell 2
105Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-SlipstreamRow 104 - Cell 2
106Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Fuji-ServettoRow 105 - Cell 2
107Bert Grabsch (Ger) Columbia-HTCRow 106 - Cell 2
108Iñaki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 107 - Cell 2
109Ignas Konovalovas (Ltu) Cervélo TestTeamRow 108 - Cell 2
110Ludovic Turpin (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 109 - Cell 2
111Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Saxo Bank0:14:33
112Fränk Schleck (Lux) Saxo BankRow 111 - Cell 2
113André Greipel (Ger) Columbia-HTCRow 112 - Cell 2
114Vicente Reynes (Spa) Columbia-HTCRow 113 - Cell 2
115Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Columbia-HTCRow 114 - Cell 2
116Björn Schröder (Ger) MilramRow 115 - Cell 2
117Michael Schär (Swi) AstanaRow 116 - Cell 2
118Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) AstanaRow 117 - Cell 2
119Dominik Roels (Ger) MilramRow 118 - Cell 2
120Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo BankRow 119 - Cell 2
121Kjell Carlström (Fin) LiquigasRow 120 - Cell 2
122Daniele Bennati (Ita) LiquigasRow 121 - Cell 2
123Manuel Quinziato (Ita) LiquigasRow 122 - Cell 2
124Emanuele Bindi (Ita) Lampre-NGCRow 123 - Cell 2
125Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Lampre-NGCRow 124 - Cell 2
126Maciej Bodnar (Pol) LiquigasRow 125 - Cell 2
127Fabio Sabatini (Ita) LiquigasRow 126 - Cell 2
128Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre-NGCRow 127 - Cell 2
129Francesco Tomei (Ita) Lampre-NGCRow 128 - Cell 2
130José Ruiz (Spa) Andalucía-CajasurRow 129 - Cell 2
131William Bonnet (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 130 - Cell 2
132Franck Bouyer (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 131 - Cell 2
133Francisco José Martínez (Spa) Andalucía-CajasurRow 132 - Cell 2
134Damien Gaudin (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 133 - Cell 2
135Javier Ramírez (Spa) Andalucía-CajasurRow 134 - Cell 2
136Francisco Jose Pacheco Torres (Spa) Contentpolis-AmpoRow 135 - Cell 2
137Julián Sánchez (Spa) Contentpolis-AmpoRow 136 - Cell 2
138Aitor Hernández (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 137 - Cell 2
139Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Silence-LottoRow 138 - Cell 2
140Markel Irizar (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 139 - Cell 2
141Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) Lampre-NGCRow 140 - Cell 2
142Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick StepRow 141 - Cell 2
143Matthé Pronk (Ned) VacansoleilRow 142 - Cell 2
144Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 143 - Cell 2
145Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-NGCRow 144 - Cell 2
146Eros Capecchi (Ita) Fuji-ServettoRow 145 - Cell 2
147Davide Viganò (Ita) Fuji-ServettoRow 146 - Cell 2
148Marco Marcato (Ita) VacansoleilRow 147 - Cell 2
149Paul Voss (Ger) MilramRow 148 - Cell 2
150Christophe Brandt (Bel) Silence-LottoRow 149 - Cell 2
151Matthias Russ (Ger) MilramRow 150 - Cell 2
152Jens Mouris (Ned) VacansoleilRow 151 - Cell 2
153Gregory Henderson (NZl) Columbia-HTCRow 152 - Cell 2
154Timothy Gudsell (NZl) Française des JeuxRow 153 - Cell 2
155Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française des JeuxRow 154 - Cell 2
156Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervélo TestTeamRow 155 - Cell 2
157Jürgen Roelandts (Bel) Silence-LottoRow 156 - Cell 2
158Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick StepRow 157 - Cell 2
159Borut Bozic (Slo) VacansoleilRow 158 - Cell 2
160Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-SlipstreamRow 159 - Cell 2
161Tom Leezer (Ned) RabobankRow 160 - Cell 2
162Maarten Wynants (Bel) Quick StepRow 161 - Cell 2
163Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick StepRow 162 - Cell 2
164Björn Leukemans (Bel) VacansoleilRow 163 - Cell 2
165Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Columbia-HTCRow 164 - Cell 2
166Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 165 - Cell 2
167Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 166 - Cell 2
168Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Lampre-NGCRow 167 - Cell 2
169Michael Albasini (Swi) Columbia-HTCRow 168 - Cell 2
170Jean Eudes Demaret (Fra) CofidisRow 169 - Cell 2
171Svein Tuft (Can) Garmin-SlipstreamRow 170 - Cell 2
172Rein Taaramäe (Est) CofidisRow 171 - Cell 2
173David López García (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 172 - Cell 2
174Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) VacansoleilRow 173 - Cell 2
175Lieuwe Westra (Ned) VacansoleilRow 174 - Cell 2
176José Luis Arrieta (Spa) AG2R La MondialeRow 175 - Cell 2
177Alan Pérez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 176 - Cell 2
178Imanol Erviti (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 177 - Cell 2
179Assan Bazayev (Kaz) AstanaRow 178 - Cell 2
180John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 179 - Cell 2
181Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin-SlipstreamRow 180 - Cell 2
182Xabier Zandio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:17:16
183José Vicente Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 182 - Cell 2
DNSThomas Rohregger (Aut) MilramRow 183 - Cell 2
DNFJosé Antonio López (Spa) Andalucía-CajasurRow 184 - Cell 2
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