Dropped with nearly 60 kilometres to go on Monday’s stage three of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana, Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) battled through some of the hottest weather conditions the Vuelta has seen in years to finish 170th in a group of around 30 riders.

Temperatures soared to over 40 degrees on Monday’s exposed, dry inland terrain, but the riders still averaged over 41 kilometres despite the scorching heat.

“He’s fine,” HTC-Highroad’s Jens Zemke said, “but this heat has really taken it out of a lot of riders.”

“If you look at the classification you’ll see it’s mainly northern Europeans who’ve had problems with the weather.”

“A guy like Mark, who’s from the Isle of Man, is used to temperatures about 20 degrees lower at this time of year.”

“We’re convinced he’ll come through later in the race to get that stage win he wants.”

Cavendish was far from being the only rider in trouble on Monday’s seemingly straightforward stage: Denis Menchov (Geox) is supposed to be a major contender, but lost nearly 90 seconds and will start Tuesday’s crucial stage on Sierra Nevada more than two minutes down on leading favourite Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas).

His team blamed a mechanical incident – his saddle came loose – as well as average form and slightly poor positioning for his getting dropped on the last climb of the day.

However, Geox have had a miserable start to the Vuelta in general, finishing second last in the opening team time trial, and with Menchov threatening to slide out of the running after three stages.

Others who unexpectedly lost contact on Monday’s stage included Andrey Kashechkin (Astana), the 2006 Vuelta podium finisher who ended the day in the same group as Menchov, and Peter Sagan (Liquigas) who ended up over seven minutes down.

None of them fared as badly as RadioShack’s Andreas Klöden, though, who lost over 12 minutes – and if such a relatively straightforward stage caused such problems, then who knows what kind of damage Tuesday’s stage on Sierra Nevada will do.

Related links



Vuelta a Espana 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Vuelta a Espana 2011: Latest news

Matt Goss first rider to abandon Vuelta

Team Sky’s TTT horror on troublesome course

Dan Martin confident and collected as Vuelta team leader

Pro predictions: Who will win the Vuelta?

HTC-Highroad’s reservations about TTT course

Vuelta team time trial start order

Sky plans early start for Vuelta team time trial recon

Wiggins looking to minimise losses in testing Vuelta TTT

Riders voice support for Hushovd over Vuelta exclusion

Cancellara late to Vuelta after being hospitalised by bee sting

Nibali back for victory again in 2011 Vuelta

Wiggins: “I’m in a great position going into the Vuelta”

Wiggins confirmed as Sky leader for the Vuelta

Freire: It’ll be tough in the Vuelta with Cavendish

Hushovd left out of Vuelta; Dan Martin to lead Garmin-Cervelo

Cavendish and Wiggins on provisional Vuelta start list

Climbers set to dominate in 2011 Vuelta

Millar on 2011 Vuelta: ‘Modern-looking and very challenging”

2011 Vuelta set to return to Angliru and Basque country

Angliru back in 2011 Tour of Spain

Hushovd left out of Vuelta; Martin to lead Garmin-Cervélo

Vuelta a Espana 2011: Teams, riders, start list

Vuelta a Espana 2011: Who’s riding?

Vuelta a Espana 2011 team list

Vuelta a Espana 2011
: Stage reports



Stage three: Lastras solos to stage and takes red jersey



Stage two: Sutton grabs stage win to set things right for Sky



Stage one: Leopard-Trek win opening TTT to put Fuglsang in front




Vuelta a Espana 2011: Photo galleries

By Graham Watson

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one photo gallery

Vuelta a Espana 2011: TV guide



Vuelta a Espana 2011: ITV4 TV schedule



Vuelta a Espana 2011: British Eurosport TV schedule



ITV to show 2011 Vuelta

 

  • arronski

    Wow feel sorry for him, today’s stage looks brutal, i hope he can get in the bus and make the cut, so he can win a stage victory latter..if it flattens out.
    Looking forward to see how Wiggo performs in the mountains ?