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Vuelta Stage 17: Ciudad Real - Talavera de la Reina, 194KM
Anthony Roux of Française des Jeux just managed to hold on to keep the chasing peloton at bay and take Stage 17 of the Vuelta in Talavera de la Reina this afternoon. In a French one-two, William Bonnet of BBOX Bouygues Telecom crossed the line in second place, exactly as he had done yesterday.
Alejandro Valverde retains the race leaders golden jersey, and his closest rival, Rabobank’s Robert Gesink, will be nursing cuts and bruises for the rest of the race after coming down in a fall which also saw Xacobeo-Galicia’s Ezequiel Mosquera, sixth in the general classification, hit the tarmac. Both got back to the main bunch so lost no time.
Roux, a 22-year-old from Verdun, had been involved in a five-man break that went off 10 kilometres into the stage and at one point had a seven-minute gap, but in the closing 30 kilometres of the race, Liquigas, Milram and Columbia-HTC worked together, chasing hard to try and catch the escapees to set up a bunch sprint.
As the break passed under the three kilometre to go banner, Dutchman Martijn Maaskant of Garmin-Slipstream decided that attack was the best option and headed up the road on his own.
Roux, who had been urging his fellow escapees to keep working together to hold the chasing pack at bay, went off in pursuit and quickly bridged the gap before passing Maaskant with around a kilometre to go.
Britain’s Roger Hammond and the Kiwi Julian Dean, both involved in a crash in the closing kilometres of yesterday’s stage, seemed to have suffered no lasting damage as they came in today in 11th and 16th place respectively.
Tomorrow’s Stage 17 covers the 165 kilometres from Talavera de la Reina to Ávila, and with a Category 1 climb coming early on, Valverde’s Caisse d’Epargne team will be keeping a watchful eye on his rivals for the race lead.
Friday’s stage, which includes three Category 1 ascents, and Saturday’s individual time trial in Toledo, represent the last opportunities for grand classification contenders to wrest the golden jersey from Valverde’s grasp before the race finishes in Madrid on Sunday.
Top 20 Stage 17 1) Anthony Roux (Francaise Des Jeux) 04:28:14 2) William Bonnet (BBOX Bouygues Telecom) 00:00:00 3) André Greipel (Columbia-HTC) 00:00:00 4) Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) 00:00:00 5) Fco. José Pacheco (Contentpoli-Ampo) 00:00:00 6) Jurgen Roelandts (Silence-Lotto) 00:00:00 7) Sébastien Hinault (AG2R La Mondiale) 00:00:00 8) Javier Benitez (Contentpoli-Ampo) 00:00:00 9) Enrico Gasparotto (Lampre-NGC) 00:00:00 10) Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) 00:00:00 11) Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) 00:00:00 12) Roger Hammond (Cervelo TestTeam) 00:00:00 13) Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) 00:00:00 14) Gerald Ciolek (Milram) 00:00:00 15) Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step) 00:00:00 16) Julian Dean (Garmin-Slipstream) 00:00:00 17) Assan Bazayev (Astana) 00:00:00 18) Greg Henderson (Columbia-HTC) 00:00:00 19) Massimiliano Mori (Lampre-NGC) 00:00:00 20) Kevin De Weert (Quick Step) 00:00:00 Top 10 General Classification after Stage 15 1) Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) 74:27:48 2) Robert Gesink (Rabobank) 00:00:31 3) Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 00:01:10 4) Ivan Basso (Liquigas) 00:01:28 5) Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) 00:01:51 6) Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo-Galicia) 00:01:54 7) Joaquin Rodriguez (Caisse d'Epargne) 00:05:53 8) Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre-NGC) 00:06:28 9) Thomas Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream) 00:08:28 10) Juan José Cobo (Fuji-Servetto) 00:10:45
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.