Imanol Erviti took Caisse d’Epargne’s second consecutive stage at La Vuelta today, as he rode alone in to Vilanova.
The Spaniard had attacked the break with around 15km to go and never looked back. He time trialled to victory on the narrow twisty roads that brought the race down from the summit of the Alto del Rat Penat, the only classified climb of the day.
As Erviti held a 35 second gap, the eight riders behind him never managed to organise themselves in to a coherent group.
Slightly further back still was the big group of race favourites who had lacked any real conviction when tackling the steep slopes of the first category climb. Not that it had been an easy flat stage.
The gruppeto finished today over 16 minutes down. Britain’s Mark Cavendish, who had stretched his legs in the intermediate sprint earlier on the stage, and David Millar both finished safely in there.
Schleck and O’Grady head home
The bigger story of the day was the non participation of Saxo Bank riders Andy Schleck and Stuart O’Grady. When the pair didn’t turn up on the start line, information was released saying the pair had been excluded for breaking the team’s internal code of conduct.
What they had done remained a mystery.
Rather than quash the rumours, team boss Bjarne Riis left them to squirm, and let social networking sites and internet forums work themselves into a stupor over what crime the two riders had committed.
n the end it turned out they had done nothing more than go out for a drink after dinner and not get back to the team hotel until 1am. Is there more to it? Both Andy Schleck and O’Grady are leaving Saxo Bank at the end of the season, along with Frank Schleck, to ride for the new Luxemburg-based team.
Although the pair are in Spain to support Frank Schleck in his bid for overall victory, maybe Riis’ patience had worn thin. Even so, it seems his reaction was over the top.
Tour of Spain stage 10: Tarragona – Vilanova i la Geltrü 175.7km
1. Imanol Erviti (Esp) Caisse d’Epargne 4-13-31hr
2. Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis at 37 secs
3. Greg Van Avermat (Bel) Omega Pharma Lotto
4. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Liquigas
5. Javier Moreno (Esp) Andalucia
6. Anders Lund (Den) Saxo Bank
7. Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Francaise des Jeux
8. Giampaolo Cheula (Ita) Footon Servetto at same time
9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 42 secs
10. Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana at 1-36 mins
General Classification after stage 10
1. Joaquin Rodriguez (Esp) Katusha 42-11-49hrs
2. Igor Anton (Esp) Euskaltel Euskadi at 2 secs
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 4 secs
4. Xavier Tondo (Esp) Cervelo at 44 secs
5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Omega Pharma Lotto at 54 secs
6. Ruben Plaza (Esp) Caisse d’Epargne 1-17 mins
7. Ezequiel Mosquera (Esp) Xacobeo Galicia 1-20 mins
8. Nicholas Roche (Ire) Ag2r La Mondiale 1-21 mins
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Caisse d’Epargne 1-24 mins
10. Peter Velits (Slo) HTC Columbia 1-28 mins
Joaquin Rodriguez takes the race lead
Vuelta a Espana 2010: Related links
Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage nine: Lopez wins demanding day at Vuelta from escape
Stage eight: Moncoutie takes the win as Anton moves into lead
Sky soigneur on Vuelta dies of bacterial infection
Stage seven: Petacchi wins stage seven
Stage six: Hushovd demonstrates climbing skills on way to Vuelta win
Stage five: Farrar beats Cavendish for Vuelta stage win
Stage four: Anton wins stage but Gilbert keeps red jersey
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three: Gilbert attacks to win stage and take race lead
Stage two: Hutarovich beats Cavendish to Vuelta stage win
Vuelta stage one: Cavendish leads after HTC-Columbia win team time trial
The British riders to have led one of the grand tours
Vuelta a Espana 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index