Friday, September 21, 2007

my tie

At the close of stage 19 of La Vuelta, Denis Menchov was quoted as saying his 95% certain of winning the race. Here's the wrap-up from the official race site:
Rabobank already celebrating the final victory for Denis Menchov The Rabobank team knows in its heart that victory for Denis Menchov in the 2007 Vuelta is now assured. The ex-cyclist Erik Breukink, now one of the coaches for the Dutch team, admitted as much: "Things are the way they are and the mere idea that Denis Menchov might lose the Vuelta in a time trial like the one at Collado Villalba is very strange. The truth is the last two days were in fact very dangerous, days where you could lose it all, but tactically we always tried to have teammates ahead of him. In addition, we had a Menchov who was feeling very strong, which always makes defending the lead easier." Breukink added in regard to the time trial: At Abantos Denis was also able to get in position to fight for the stage victory, but he was on the defensive for the entire final climb. It wasn’t the right thing to do right after that to get right behind someone ready to sprint. Anyway, he already told me that he likes the time trial at Collado and is going to go after the stage victory there".

The day, with the start in Avila and finish in Abantos, didn’t disappoint either the spectators or cycling enthusiasts. Attacks from the very first metre and failures on the final climb, with Cadel Evans as one of the main racers whose fortunes suffered, as the Australian racer gave up a little over a minute of time and lost his hold on second place. At the finish, the victory came down to a four-racer battle: Samuel Sánchez overcame over a brave Dani Moreno while Sastre and Menchov crossed the line practically side-by-side. Behind them, Efimkin and Evans tried to cut their losses. The Australian rider suffered through several crises and finally gave up second place to Sastre, although he did save the third spot by only 12 seconds over Samuel Sánchez. The time trial at Collado Villalba maintains the excitement of the fight for the awards podium in Madrid, although Menchov’s overall victory is now beyond all doubt.
Race photos here. That's Joost in the blue and orange Rabo colors near the center of the shot.

I'm glad I wore my bike race tie today:

{click image to view full size}

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