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08-28-2011, 12:37 PM
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Country: France
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Interesting first week for the Vuelta.
Rodriguez was the favourite for stages that were designed just for him, and he did deliver. He got that punch that no one can fight with.
But today, he was not riding that well, and he lost 50 secs in the process. But he's still there, and its possibly just a bad day.

The light riders did suffer, Moreno struggled too, Anton was just as bad, even if the Euskaltel rider is nowhere near his top form, he's sick, and he just cant be competitive. For him, its not just a bad week, but a bad week.

Scarponi is arguably the biggest disapppointment of the day, he lost 2 mins on the best...he tried to attack, but with the wind, it probably backfired.
Brajkovic is also not as good as he can be.

On the other hand, Wiggins and Nibali are now the best candidates for the win.
The englishmen did take care of most of the effort on the final climb after seeing Rodriguez and Scarponi in trouble, helped by a surprising domestique with Froome.
He is not that far from Nibali, but he only got one true shot to put some time between him and his rivals, because on the steepest climbs, he's not likely to beat them.
Van den Broeck is still in contention, but he did lost few secs today, and he doesnt really have a clear advantage over his rivals. He's weaker in TT than Wiggins, and Nibali is better than him in the mountains...

Currently, the leader is Mollema, the Rabobank youngster was consistent until now, and he did finish second of the last mountain stage. He showed great promise when he was younger before a mononucleosis (i believe) which stopped his development, but he's looking very solid.
Kessiakoff is the other surprise, the swede is also very consistent, he did lost few seconds today, but he is showing that he could do some damage. At 31, its probably too late for a great career, though.

The stage was won by an impressive Dan Martin. Really deserved.

Classification after Stage 9 :

1. Mollema (NED/Rabobank) 37h11'17"
2. Rodriguez (SPA/Katyusha) +1"
3. Nibali (ITA/Liquigas) +9"
4. Kessiakoff (SWE/Astana) +18"
5. Van den Broeck (BEL/Omega-Pharma Lotto) +27"
6. Moreno (SPA/Katyusha) +35"
7. Fuglsang (DEN/Leopard) +37"
8. Seeldraeyers (BEL/Quickstep) +42"
9. Zubeldia (SPA/Radioshack) +42"
10. Cobo (SPA/Geox) +46"
11. Monfort (BEL/Leopard) +55"
12. Martin (IRE/Garmin) +55"
13. Wiggins (GBR/Sky) +1'
14. Froome (GBR/Sky) +1'3"
15. Nieve (SPA/Euskaltel) +1'8"
16. Bruseghin (ITA/Movistar) +1'12"
17. Pardilla (SPA/Movistar) +1'17"
18. Scarponi (ITA/Lampre) +1'54"
19. Roche (IRE/AG2R) +2'05"
20. Brajkovic (SVN/Radioshack) +2'10"
21. Menchov (RUS/Geox) +2'18"
22. Poels (NED/Vacansoleil) +2'29"
23. Sorensen (DEN/Saxo) +2'34"
24. Kruijswijk (NED/Rabobank) +2'57"
25. Moncoutie (FRA/Cofidis) +3'20"
30. Anton (SPA/Euskaltel) +4'31"

Tomorrow, ITT in Salamanca, the only long ITT of the Vuelta, as they have to ride 47km in, i guess, difficult conditions...the heat, mostly.

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