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Roche 7th in Vuelta as Farrar wins stage

Posted 19 September 2010

Nicolas Roche had just cause for celebration when the Vuelta á Espana concluded in Madrid finishing 7th overall after a consistent three weeks which have marked him out as a potential Grand Tour winner for the future.

Roche’s performance throughout the race provided much evidence that he is capable of one day winning the Vuelta, especially if he continues to develop and to make the same level of progress that he has achieved between this season and last year.

The AG2R La Mondiale rider finished just 5’05” behind overall winner Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas Doimo) and was just 2’01” off a place on the podium which was also occupied this year by Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) and Peter Velits (HTC Columbia).

A mere 43 seconds separated Mosquera from Nibali who achieved his first Grand Tour win, the second for his Liquigas-Domio team next to Ivan Basso’s Giro d’Italia, while also becoming only the fifth Italian to win a Vuelta.

The final stage in Madrid was won by Tyler Farrar (Garmin Transitions) who had more than a bike length to spare on Mark Cavendish (HTC Columbia) after the short 85 kilometre stage in the Spanish capital.

There was some consolation for Cavendish however, who won the points classification and his first ever Grand Tour green jersey having held off double stage winner Farrar by the narrow margin of seven points.

The stage was dominated by a five man break including Dominik Roels (Milram), Javier Ramirez (Andalucia CajaSur), Gonzalo Rabunal (Xacobeo Galicia) and Omega Pharma Lotto riders Jurgen Van Goolen and Olivier Kaisen who broke away on the third of twelve laps of the 5.7 kilometre finishing circuit.

Their lead peaked at 1’08” as the Liquigas-Domio team controlled the race before HTC Columbia and Quick Step set about reeling them in over the course of seven laps.

The quintet were recaptured with just over two laps to go with Greg Van Avermaet (Omega Pharma Lotto) being the only one to attempt to prevent the inevitable sprint finish.

Cavendish looked as if he had received another perfect lead out from teammate Matthew Goss turning onto the finishing straight but Farrar did a remarkable job to weave his way back into contention before beating the Manxman in a head to head drag for the line.

Farrar’s two stage wins and improving form will be a huge boost to his confidence as he heads to next months’ World Championships in Australia with his eyes fixed on a result.

Roche steered clear of a number of splits in the bunch to finish 36th on the stage just four seconds back in a group containing all of the top ten placed riders who were lead home by Nibali.

Results:

2010 Vuetla á Espana

Stage 20: San Sebastian de los Reyes – Madrid, 85 kilometres

1. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions 2 hours, 02 minutes, 24 seconds  
2. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC-Columbia
3. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana
4. Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step
5.  Matthew Goss (Aus) Team HTC-Columbia
6. Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini
7. Manuel Cardoso (Por) Footon-Servetto
8. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne
9. Juan-Jose Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank
10. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini s.t.

36. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 4 seconds

Final general classification:

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 87 hours, 18 minutes, 31 seconds
2. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:00:43
3. Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia 0:03:04
4. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:04:22
5. Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:04:45
6. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:04:54
7. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:05:05
8. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:06:08
9. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Transitions 0:06:18
10. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:07:44

7. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 5 minutes, 5 seconds

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