Credit Agricole veteran Sebastien Hinault ? no relation to five-time Tour winner Bernard – won the sprint to the finish line in Zaragoza to take victory in the Vuelta’s stage 10. The Frenchman crossed the line ahead of Lloyd Mondory (AG2R-LaMondiale) and previous winner Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto). Three-time World champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) finished in fourth place as he prepares for his tilt at an unprecedented fourth title at the end of this month.
After a series of breakaway attempts by groups of riders, Matej Jurco of Milram managed to escape alone after 37km. The Slovakian road an time trial champion managed to build up a maximum lead of 7:20 at
just over halfway through the 151.3km stage as a lethargic peloton allowed him his freedom.
As the stage entered its closing stages, the chase powered by Gerolsteiner, Rabobank and Euskaltel-Euskadi began to steadily eat into the lone Slovenian’s lead. With less than 25km to go, with Jurco’s lead less than 30 seconds Jos Antonio Lopez Gil (Andaluc’a ? Cajasur) jumped clear to join him and the pair hung out ahead of the peloton for a few kilometres.
With 10km remaining, the pair were then joined up front by Yannick Talabardon (Credit Agricole) and Mickael Delage (Franaise des Jeux), but with the sprinters’ teams to the fore the break was ultimately doomed and they were caught with 7km to the line.
Inside the final kilometre a last gasp effort from Filippo Pozzato of Liquigas attempted to foil the sprinters, but it was to no avail and he was quickly caught. A messy sprint saw Hinault burst through to take the win as Belgian favourite Tom Boonen (Quick Step) was boxed out of it.
Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) held on to his golden jersey for another day, while third place on the stage was enough for Van Avermaet to wrest the points jersey from the shoulders of Spanish champion Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne).
63rd Vuelta a Espa¤a
Tuesday, September 9: Stage 10: Sabi¤ nigo – Zaragoza / 151.3km
1. Sbastien Hinault (Fra) Crdit Agricole / 3h22’21”
2. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence – Lotto
4. Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
5. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
6. Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
7. Alexandre Usov (Blr) AG2R La Mondiale
8. Xavier Florencio (Spa) Bouygues Telecom
9. Juan Jos Haedo (Arg) Team CSC – Saxo Bank
10. Nikita Eskov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems
Vuelta a Espa¤a / General classification after stage 10
1. Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 36h46’17”
2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana @ 11″
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana @ 32″
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne @ 1′
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC – Saxo Bank @ 1’38”
6. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia @ 2’10”
7. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi @ 2’23”
8. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne @ 2’32”
9. Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Team CSC – Saxo Bank @ 2’54”
10. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank @ 3’22”