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The Vuelta a España leaves The Netherlands after the stage victories of Greg Henderson and André Greipel (Columbia HTC), Fabian Cancellara still in gold

Added: tuesday 01 September 2009 at 23:01:00
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    The Vuelta a Espa&ntildea leaves The Netherlands after the stage victories of Greg Henderson and André Greipel (Columbia HTC), Fabian Cancellara  still in goldThe days pass in the Vuelta and the days look alike ...

    Indeed, both yesterday and today there was a leading group with the Dutch rider Lars Boom (Rabobank) and both stages would normally have finished in a massive sprint. A short summary of these two stages ...

    Third stage: Zutphen > Venlo (189,7 km)

    2 kilometers after the start from Zutphen the leading group of the day was formed by Lars Boom (Rabobank), Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) and Jesus Rosendo Prado (Andalucia Cajasur).
    The peloton is not really in a hurry and the 3 riders can thus easily create a gap of up to 9'35" after 36 kilometers. Many spectators are watching the race and they're quite happy to see that 2 of the 3 riders in the leading group are Dutch: especially at the second visit of Zutphen the group gets many support from the spectators.
    At the time the 3 riders enter Germany (this was the very first time the Vuelta visit the Dutch neighbours) the gap with the peloton was still 7'52". It was only after about 100 kilometers that the QuickStep, Garmin-Slipstream and Milram teams manage to accellerate the peloton to reduce the gap to about 3 minutes at the time the riders get back to The Netherlands.

    Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team)At 40 kilometers from the finish Jesus Rosendo Prado realises the group will be taken back so he decides to attack to try to finish alone. Johnny Hoogerland (photo) first manages to follow him but finally the Spanish rider really continues alone while the two Dutch riders are absorbed by the peloton. During 20 kilometers the Spanish rider stays ahead but the sprinters teams finally manage to get back on him as well and at that time the sprinters try to find their place in the first part of the peloton.

    Greg Henderson (Columbia HTC)Just like the day before the stage in Venlo ended in a massive sprint as well and again it was not one of the famous names of the sprinters elite, but the New-Zealander Greg Henderson (Columbia HTC, photo) who won the stage, before Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team ; Bozic won the first stage in the Tour du Limousin two weeks ago in a sprint) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank).

    This stage didn't make many changes in the general classification and Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) thus kept his leader's jersey.

    The finish of the third stage of the Tour of Spain 2009 in video

    Fourth stage: Venlo > Liège (225,5 km)

    Today was the longest stage of the 64th Tour of Spain from Venlo in the south of The Netherlands and Liège in Belgium.

    The peloton climbing the Cauberg - © UnipublicWhen you talk about the south of The Netherlands and the north of Belgium, you're talking about bigger height differences than in the past three days of the Vuelta. In this stage there were two climbs of the Cauberg (4th category) which you most probably know of the finish of the Amstel Gold Race and the climb of Mont / Theux (4th category) in Belgium.

    Immediately after the start in Venlo several riders tried to get away from the peloton (especially Bingen Fernandez and Leonardo Duqué of the Cofidis team) but these riders were all taken back by the peloton lead by the Saxo Bank team.
    Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team)The escape of the day which really managed to create a gap with the peloton was formed after 21 kilometers with Lars Boom (Rabobank) (again, he probably wanted to be seen by "his" Dutch crowd!), Dominik Roels (Milram), Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team, foto) and Javier Ramirez Abeja (Andalucia Cajasur).
    While the rain showed its face the 4 escaped riders saw the gap growing to 14 minutes at the foot of the first climb of the Cauberg.

    Up until the top of the Mont Theux the 4 riders stayed together and maintained the gap at about 4 minutes. Lars Boom (Rabobank) crossed the line first on the 3 mountain tops and thanks to this he takes over the lead in the king of the mountain classification from his team mate Tom Leezer.
    After the last climb Dominik Roels and Javier Ramirez Abeja continued alone. At 20 kilometers from the finish Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) bridges the gap to them while Javier Ramirez Abeja gives up the solo ride a few kilometers further. The adventure of the riders ahead of the peloton is thus over but Westra tries again, without any real success.

    Several riders try to get away but they are all taken back. The only serious attack is Enrico Gasparotto's (Lampre-NGC) since he manages to stay ahead for about 5 kilometers.

    Christopher Horner (Astana), one of the riders in the crash - © UnipublicThe peloton, completely back together, develops a very high speed towards the finish. Just like the rest of the day the roads which have become slippery due to the rain are responsible for a big crash: at a roundabout at less than 3 kilometers from the finish about 50 riders are suddenly lying on the ground. After this crash 7 riders are alone ahead (among whom Marco Velo, Wouter Weylandt (QuickStep), Marcel Sieberg, André Greipel and Bert Grabsch (Columbia HTC)) and André Greipel (Columbia HTC)finally it's the German sprinter André Greipel (Columbia HTC, photo) who wins this Dutch/Belgian stage.

    The leader of the general classification, Fabian Cancellara, was also in the crash but since it happened at less than 3 kilometers from the finish he got - just like the other riders - credited the same time as the winner who was in the same group at the time of the crash. The Swiss rider thus keeps the lead in the general classification and will still wear the golden leader's jersey on Thursday.

    The crash and the finish of the fourth stage of the Tour of Spain 2009 in video

    After these 4 stages in The Netherlands and Belgium (and a short visit to Germany) the riders took the plane to Spain tonight where they can enjoy the first rest day tomorrow before attacking the Spanish stages and first of all the stage between Tarragona and Vinaros (174 km) on Thursday.

    The rankings

    The general classification
    Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) - © Unipublic1/ Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) - 15h12m38s
    2/ Tom Boonen (QuickStep) - +0'09"
    3/ Bert Grabsch (Columbia HTC) - +0'11"
    4/ André Greipel (Columbia HTC) - +0'11"
    5/ Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) - +0'12"
    6/ Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) - +0'16"
    7/ Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) - +0'17"
    8/ David Garcia (Xacobeo Galicia) - +0'18"
    9/ Ivan Basso (Liquigas) - +0'18"
    10/ Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) - +0'18"

    The ranking by points
    1/ André Greipel (Columbia HTC) - 53 points
    2/ Tom Boonen (QuickStep) - 38
    3/ Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) - 33
    4/ Wouter Weylandt (QuickStep) - 28
    5/ Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) - 25

    Best climber
    1/ Lars Boom (Rabobank) - 9 points
    2/ Javier Ramirez Abeja (Andalucia Cajasur) - 5
    3/ Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) - 3
    4/ Dominik Roels (Milram) - 1

    Charles Wegelius (Silence-Lotto) is so far the only rider who abandoned the Vuelta.

    The photos of the finish

    Below you see the photos of the finish of the 3rd and the 4th stage of the Vuelta a España 2009 :
    Greg Henderson (Columbia HTC) - © Unipublic  André Greipel (Columbia HTC) - © Unipublic

    And as a bonus ...
    Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) who meets a truck during the 4th stage ...

    © photos climb Cauberg, Christopher Horner after the crash, Fabian Cancellara with his leader's jersey, finish Greg Henderson and André Greipel - Unipublic
    © all other pictures - Thomas Vergouwen, www.velowire.com

    > The full route of the Vuelta a España 2009

    > The list of participating riders in the Tour of Spain 2009

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Vuelta a España| Cycling general (except Tour de France)| Vuelta a España 2009 | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati


Currently 4 comments!
  1. Jammer dat de Vuelta Nederland weer heeft verlaten... Gisteren op de Cauberg was er in ieder geval ook weer een prima sfeer met veel publiek ondanks de regen (maar onder het viaduct heb je daar geen last van ;-))!

    | Meggie | wednesday 02 September 2009 at 11:56:17

  2. Ik wil foto's zien ... ik wil foto's zien !!

    Vroeg me af inderdaad hoe het geweest was maar heb helaas geen tijd gehad om het te vragen ;-)!

    | Thomas Vergouwen | wednesday 02 September 2009 at 12:00:32

  3. Papa heeft foto's gemaakt, dus dan moet je hem ff een mailtje sturen.
    Op die foto die bij dit artikeltje staat, zijn we net niet in beeld, want die is gemaakt vanaf het viaduct waar wij onder stonden ;-)

    | Meggie | wednesday 02 September 2009 at 12:49:12

  4. bonjour au amis de la vuelta voici un petit clip du passage de vuelta à Liège
    bien à vous anthon


    | dvs anthon | wednesday 02 September 2009 at 13:57:15

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