No change in GC as Valverde stays in gold

Vuelta 2009 Stage 10: Alicante - Murcia, 170KM

Simon Gerrans, the Australian who rides for Cervélo TestTeam, timed his sprint to perfection in Murcia this afternoon, coming off Alexandre Vinokourov’s wheel to take Stage 10 of the Vuelta.

The Kazakh rider, back from a two-year suspension for doping but clearly off the pace in the mountains over the past couple of days, finished fourth, with Canada's Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Slipstream and the Dane Jakob Fuglsang of Saxo Bank finishing second and third, respectively.

And with Columbia-HTC’s Adam Hansen finishing fifth and race leader Alejandro Valverde unable to add to the seven-second gap he holds over Cadel Evans in the general classification, it was a good day all round for the Aussies in the Vuelta.

As expected, with a Category 2 climb awaiting the riders some 15 kilometres from the finish, it was an ideal day for a breakaway. By a third of the way through the stage, a group of 19 riders had formed, and with no threat to the general classification, the peloton seemed happy enough to let it go.

Milram’s Linus Gerdemann, the first of the escapees to attack on the final climb, which he crossed in first place, was unlucky to puncture on the descent towards the finish.

His misfortune left the door open for Gerrans, Fuglsang, Hesjedal and Vinokourov to weave across the road while eyeing each other up to see who would make the decisive move, the Astana rider attacking first – and, in hindsight, too early, thanks to Gerrans’ anticipation, with the gold jersey group coming in the best part of four minutes later.

With a rest day looming on Thursday, tomorrow sees the race tackle the 200 kilometres from Murcia to Caravaca de la Cruz, with a Category 1 and Category 2 climb thrown in for good measure.

Again, the stage is likely to favour a breakaway, with the general classification contenders wanting to conserve energy ahead of three consecutive mountain stages – all with summit finishes – which are likely to prove crucial in the overall race.

Top 20 Stage 10

1) Simon Gerrans (Cervelo-TestTeam)          03:56:19
2) Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Slipstream)        00:00:00
3) Jacob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank)                00:00:00
4) Alexander Vinokourov (Astana)             00:00:00
5) Adam Hansen (Columbia-HTC)                00:00:29
6) Francisco Pérez (Caisse d'Epargne)        00:00:31
7) Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale)      00:00:37
8) Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank)                 00:00:39
9) Arnaud Gerard (Francaise Des Jeux)        00:00:39
10) Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step)              00:00:39
11) Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank)            00:00:39
12) Antonio Piedra (Andalucía-Cajasur)       00:00:49
13) Aitor Pérez Arrieta (Contentpoli-Ampo)   00:00:49
14) Leonardo Duque (Cofidis)                 00:00:50
15) Adrián Palomares (Contentpoli-Ampo)      00:00:50
16) David De La Fuente (Fuji-Servetto)       00:00:54
17) Beñat Intxausti (Fuji-Servetto)          00:00:57
18) Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil)          00:03:42
19) Sandy Casar (Francaise Des Jeux)         00:03:42
20) Francis De Greef (Silence-Lotto)         00:03:42

Top 10 General Classification after Stage 10

1) Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)       40:26:41
2) Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto)                 00:00:07
3) Robert Gesink (Rabobank)                    00:00:36
4) Thomas Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream)        00:00:51
5) Ivan Basso (Liquigas)                       00:00:53
6) Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)          00:01:03
7) Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC)                 00:02:04
8) Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia)         00:02:24
9) Haimar Zubeldia (Astana)                    00:03:01
10) Tadej Valjavec (AG2R La Mondiale)          00:03:13


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.