2008 Vuelta a España: Live Updates – Stage 19

12:47 PM: Good day and welcometo VeloNews.com's Live Coverage of the 19th stage of the 2008 Vuelta a Espana, a relatively short, but potentially difficult 145.5-kilometer race from Las Rozas to Segovia. The route tackles the southern face of the Category 1 Puerto de Navacerrada (Saturday’s climbing time trial will ride up the northern approach) and then the Cat. 1 Puerto de Navafría before descending toward Segovia.

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  • 12:47 PM: Good day and welcome

    to VeloNews.com’s Live Coverage of the 19th stage of the 2008 Vuelta a Espana, a relatively short, but potentially difficult 145.5-kilometer race from Las Rozas to Segovia.

    The route tackles the southern face of the Category 1 Puerto de Navacerrada (Saturday’s climbing time trial will ride up the northern approach) and then the Cat. 1 Puerto de Navafría before descending toward Segovia.

    The stage could provide a chance for riders to move up on GC, but more than likely, it will be the head-bangers who will be trying for one last shot at victory. The final first-category climb is 56km from the finish line, so it’s likely too far from the finish to really cause damage at the top of the leaderboard.

    Today’s start will come at around 2:00, with a finish expected at around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m.

  • 01:38 PM: Drop us a line

    If you have a comment, question or even a complaint, feel free to hit the Contact our editors link below our Live Update Window.

    We promise to read them all, answer as many as time permits and even post a few during today’s coverage.

  • 01:46 PM: Rolling

    the peloton is working its way through today’s 6.3km neutral zone. The should reach the official start at kilometer zero some time around 2:00 p.m. It is a nice and civilized starting time, much like the stages the Vuelta used as the standard a couple of years ago.

  • 01:54 PM: Bummer

    Paolo Bettini is not racing today. He has opted to pull out in order to focus on the defense of his world title on the 28th.

    Liquigas’s Filippo Pozzato – who will not be racing in Varese – is heading home, too. That one we can’t figure out.

  • 01:55 PM: Today’s weather

    It’s sunny and quite warm today. Temperatures are in the low 80s and there is little chance for rain today.

  • 02:01 PM: One more we’re missing

    Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) has also skipped out of the Vuelta. We are down to 133 riders.

  • 02:03 PM: At the start

    the peloton has hit the zero-kilometer mark. Let’s see if there are early attacks. We’re betting on it.

  • 02:08 PM: Well

    not much action yet. Maybe it’s the prospect of the Cat 1 climb at 37km that has folks taking an easy ride for a while.

  • 02:11 PM: Reader question

    John in Canada writes

    hello update person,..we have just found you on this tour , what fun!
    my wife and enjoy bike racing a lot , the Tour has pulled us in on TV, ..but as newbe’s there are many questions.
    One not so serious one is “the men when the want a relief (bission natural, didn’t they call it on tv?), just pull over to the side of the road, in a quiet-ish point in the race and do it quickly, but my wife wants to know, in the profession woman’s race what do they do ?…

    obviously we have never seen a pro woman’s race.

    one of the big questions of the day.
    Well, we have covered a few women’s races. On long stages there have been nature breaks, of course, but it requires a bit more cooperation from the peloton. Generally, there is a moment of “truce” called and as many riders as need to, simply take a quick break.

  • 02:14 PM: Priorities and worlds

    Adam writes to suggest

    Live Update Guy,
    Is riding the last week or so of the Vuelta really detrimental to a rider’s chances at The Worlds? If so, should we be worried for Levi?

    Yeah, it tends to be a matter of personal choice. Frankly, Leipheimer should arrive in Italy in fine form and we doubt riding three more days – two of which are quite easy – will detract from that. Leipheimer may find his problems at worlds revolve around the relative strength of the U.S. team when compared with those of the Spanish and Italians. No matter what, it should be a great race.

    Meanwhile in this race, the pace has picked up. Yaroslav Popovych tried an attack, but he got pulled back almost instantly.

  • 02:23 PM: All together again

    A few digs and the peloton has regrouped. Astana is controlling the pace.

    Meanwhile, Conrado in Rio de Janeiro writes in to say:Hi LUG or SLUG, Who is in the control today?
    Nice job at Live Coverage of this race. You have done a great job at the Tour and it continues in the Vuelta. I´m always in work following the races by VeloNews.

    Looking at the stage profile it is quite bumpy, even the last climb being relatively far from the finish, you don´t think that stage is perfect for more aggressive riders like in the 18 or 17 stage in the TDF when the two guys make a really funny finish with the 2 almost stopping to see what the other is going to do.

    Um FORTE ABRAÇO do Brasil. (Translating: BEST WISHES FROM BRASILI agree there is the potential to shake things up on this stage, but Astana is in prime condition to control the action here today and it may be with a mountain TT looming for tomorrow, the GC players may be content to finish together. We’re certainly hoping for the former, though. Stay tuned.

  • 02:30 PM: The day’s first climb

    is the Category 1 Puerto de Navacerrada. It starts at the 37.1km mark at an altitude of 1280 meters and tops out at 1870 meters at the 45km mark.

    Riders will get a first-hand look at the route of tomorrow’s time trial, by the way, since they will be descending on the roads that they will be using tomorrow in that stage.

  • 02:31 PM: A big group

    We have a big group of 16 attacking off the front, but they only have a small, small advantage. Of the escapees, the highest ranked on GC is CSC’s Jurgen Van Goolen, who is 16th, at 16:08.

  • 02:33 PM: Chasing

    the 16 escapees are 20 seconds ahead of the field and the peloton is led by Silence-Lotto, we assume because the team has no one in the break.

  • 02:35 PM: Okay folks

    these guys are getting a bit of a gap, so we need to start typing in names. Here goes.
    Jurgen van Goolen (CSC)
    Sandy Casar (FdJ)
    Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r)
    Marco Morzano (Lampre)
    Ruben Perez (Euskaltel)
    Marc de Maar (rabobank)
    Jose Vincente Acosta (Caisse d’Epargne)
    Juan Miguel Garate (Quick Step)
    Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre)
    Alexandr Kolobnev (CSC)
    Xabier Zandio (Caisse d’Epargne)
    Vincent Jerome (Bouygues Telecom)
    Kevin de Weert (Cofidis)
    Juan Javier Estrada (Andalucia-Caja Sur)
    Alexandre Usov (Ag2r)
    Ivan Santaromita (Liquigas)

    Silence-Lotto and Xacobeo Galicia are not represented and are driving the chase… and it looks like they will be reeled in. And there is the catch.

  • 02:48 PM: Attack, catch, attack, catch … etc.

    The pace is high, but no one is making any real progress in attempts to slip off the front of the main field.

  • 02:49 PM: Approaching the climb

    the peloton is nearing the base of the day’s first climb, the Category 1 Pueto de Navacerrada.

    We have a new group of 19, but have yet to ID the attackers.

    Wait… they are pulled back and we have a new group developing.

  • 02:59 PM: The break

    now up to seven riders, but the gap is still pretty small. Everyone is now on the climb… about 2km into it.

  • 03:04 PM: The lead group has grown to 13

    with three representing Caisse d’Epargne. Valverde is back with the gold-jersey group, but he may be planning something, eh?

    The leaders are not far up the road.

  • 03:08 PM: Reader question

    Padraig in Ireland writes to ask:

    I’ve been following these live updates from University. Really enjoying it. I’ve only really started watching the grand tours this year. I also just bought my first road bike and I’ve started clocking up some mileage. I’m just wondering what it takes to make a grand tour? What kind of training is involved? Are these guys super human? It’s hard for someone like me to put it in perspective, they make it look so easy!!!
    Not all of these guys are super human, but they do exhibit exceptional physical qualities, including impressive VO2 max numbers. Add that natural physical capacity to hard work, dedication and about 12,000 to 20,000 miles of racing and training a year and a guy could pull it off… at least enough to be pack fodder in a grand tour. The GC guys … now, they might just qualify as supermen.

  • 03:10 PM: The gap on the climb

    is growing. We have a group of 13 with nearly a minute on the field.

    At the risk of jinxing their chances, we’re nonetheless going to type in their names:
    David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne)
    Javier Moreno (Andalucia-Caja Sur)
    Alberto Losada (Caisse d’Eparnge)
    Luis Pasamontes (Caisse d’Epargne)
    Vasili Kirienka (Tinkoff)
    Iban Mayoz (Xacobeo Galicia)
    Ruben Perez (Euskaltel)
    Volodymir Gustov (CSC)
    Ivan Velasco (Euskaltel)
    Julien Loubet (Ag2r)
    Remy de Gregorio (FdJ)
    Christophe Kern (Credit Agricole)
    Velrio Agnoli (Liquigas)

    Joaquin Rodriguez (Caisse d’Epargne) is about to make contact, bring the group to 14.

  • 03:17 PM: Up and over

    The lead group of 14 has crested the summit of the climb.

    David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne)
    Javier Moreno (Andalucia-Caja Sur)
    Alberto Losada (Caisse d’Eparnge)
    Luis Pasamontes (Caisse d’Epargne)
    Vasili Kirienka (Tinkoff)
    Iban Mayoz (Xacobeo Galicia)
    Ruben Perez (Euskaltel)
    Volodymir Gustov (CSC)
    Ivan Velasco (Euskaltel)
    Julien Loubet (Ag2r)
    Remy de Gregorio (FdJ)
    Christophe Kern (Credit Agricole)
    Velrio Agnoli (Liquigas)
    Joaquin Rodriguez (Caisse d’Epargne)

  • 03:19 PM: A little bump after the summit

    and then the route charges down the southern approach to the Puerto de Navacerrada.

    The gap at the summit had shrunk to just 18 seconds, but the peloton has lost a number of riders. All of the favorites, though, are in the mix.

  • 03:21 PM: After the descent

    the course goes through the feedzone and then the Cat. 1 Puerto de Navafria begins at 77.4km, cresting at 88.9km at an altitude of 1800 meters. Then it’s another 56.6km to the finish.

  • 03:26 PM: Flyin’

    the leaders are now at the 55km mark and have re-extended their advantage to 48 seconds.

  • 03:33 PM: The 14

    are now more than a minute ahead of the peloton.

  • 03:36 PM: The gap is 1:10

    The leading 14 have a nice advantage over a peloton that is being led by the Astana team and includes all of the race fav’s.

  • 03:41 PM: There is a danger man

    in the group. Caisse d’Epargne’s Joaquin Rodriguez is in seventh place on GC. He’s only 6:11 out of first, so we’re betting the gap never gets too big. CSC, Rabobank and Xacobeo-Galicia have ample reason to chase.

    1. Alberto Contador (ESP), Astana, 73:54:38
    2. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Astana, at 1:17
    3. Carlos Sastre (ESP), CSC, at 3:41
    4. Ezequiel Mosquera (ESP), Xacobeo-Galicia, at 4:35
    5. Robert Gesink (NED), Rabobank, at 5:49
    6. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne, at 6:00
    7. Joaquín RodrÍguez Oliver (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne, at 6:11

  • 03:41 PM: At 70km

    the gap is holding at around 1:10.

  • 03:46 PM: Live Coverage tomorrow

    Our coverage of tomorrow’s mountain time trial will start later than usual.

    It’s a 17km individual time trial. We will not be covering the minute-by-minute progress of all 130 riders, but will focus on the top 20.

  • 03:56 PM: Gesink

    Chris writes to ask:

    How old is Gesink? He’s sitting at a solid, but very quiet, 5th. Seems like he might be a future Grand Tour contender, no? How’s his time-trialing?
    He certainly is a rising talent. He’s still young, just 22 years old.

    He is a solid climber and tall and lanky enough to be a good time trialist. He has the potential there but still needs to develop that. For example, he finished 20th in the Solvang TT at the Tour of California, losing 2:03 to Leipheimer in that one. We agree. He could be a contender.

  • 03:56 PM: At 77km

    the lead group is holding on to a 1:10 lead. We could expect some real action on the next climb, which is just about to kick in.

  • 04:03 PM: Contract news

    Sebastian Hinault, winner of a stage in this year’s Vuelta, has penned a two-year contract with Ag2r-La Mondiale. Hinault is just one of the Credit Agricole riders finding rides ahead of the closure of the long-running French team

  • 04:06 PM: On the climb

    the leading 14 are holding on their advantage. But that can’t last all the way to the top. Rodriguez’s presence is making GC contenders nervous… and when they’re nervous, they tend to ride faster.

  • 04:07 PM: A blast from the past

    Hometown favorite Pedro Delgado is a man about town in Segovia. The 1988 Tour winner hails from today’s stage finish and even has the local sports arena named after him. In fact, all the journalists today are decamped at the “Pabellon Pedro Delgado.”

  • 04:11 PM: Luxembourg

    has just announced the composition of its worlds team.

    It’s a heck of a roster this year:
    Kim Kirchen (Columbia), Benoit Joachim (Astana), Frank
    Schleck (CSC), Andy Schleck (CSC), Vicenzo Centrone (Petri Mangimi), Steve
    Fogen (Petri Mangimi), Laurent Didier (Kuota Senges), Jempy Drucker (Fidea),
    Christian Poos (Differdange)

    Joachim will also be doing the time trial.

  • 04:12 PM: the gap

    has come down to a few seconds as the leaders and the peloton work their way up the Puerto de Navafria. They are at the 84.5km mark.

  • 04:13 PM: Riis/Sastre

    Sastre’s comments about Riis dividing the CSC team against him were the big buzz today. Inigo Cuesta, who is also leaving CSC at the end of the year, confirmed Sastre’s comments:
    “What Carlos said is true. Riis hasn’t helped the team at all. Instead, he came to the Vuelta and disrupted everything. There is a lot of things to talk about, but right now we have to focus on the race, but the ambiance on the team right now is very hot.”

  • 04:18 PM: Dropped

    Several riders in the peloton have been spit off the back as the Astana team is putting in a big effort .

  • 04:20 PM: Gesink

    was among those dropped out of the Astana/CSC led group of top favorites, but he’s fighting back on as they crest the climb.

    The leaders:
    David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne)
    Javier Moreno (Andalucia-Caja Sur)
    Alberto Losada (Caisse d’Eparnge)
    Luis Pasamontes (Caisse d’Epargne)
    Vasili Kirienka (Tinkoff)
    Iban Mayoz (Xacobeo Galicia)
    Ruben Perez (Euskaltel)
    Volodymir Gustov (CSC)
    Ivan Velasco (Euskaltel)
    Julien Loubet (Ag2r)
    Remy de Gregorio (FdJ)
    Christophe Kern (Credit Agricole)
    Velrio Agnoli (Liquigas)
    Joaquin Rodriguez (Caisse d’Epargne)

    Are not that far ahead.

  • 04:22 PM: Chechu

    Jose Luis “Chechu” Rubiera has signed a one-year contract extension with Astana … interestingly enough, Astana now refers to itself as “The Team” – perhaps a sign that it could become Team Livestrong for 2009?

    As part of the Rubiera extension, it looks like Leipheimer and Horner are both secured rides for next season with the team. Both were already under contract, but you never know in this silly season!

  • 04:28 PM: The situation on the road

    Julien Loubet (AG2R), David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne), Vasili Kiryienka (Tinkoff) are now just 18 seconds off the front. The rest of the break has been pulled in by the Astana group, including Kloden, Leipheimer and Contador and Sastre and Valverde. Valverde has a big crew with him.

  • 04:37 PM: 42 km to go

    And the gap is holding steady. for now.

  • 04:37 PM: Flat for Valverde?

    He’s looking for help. His team is at the front sitting up.

  • 04:39 PM: Valverde

    Looked like his mechanic just flicked something off his tire, he did not take a wheel.

  • 04:40 PM: Under a minute

    That gap is about 57 seconds.

  • 04:45 PM: Caisse leading the chase

    36km to go, the gap still just under one minute. Caisse d’Epargne has three men at the front of the train, followed by five Astana fellas, including that Bert guy in a gold jersey. Leipheimer right up there.

  • 04:51 PM: Gap increasing

    The three men are increasing their gap to about 1:12.

    It’s official, by the way, Moncoutie has locked up the KOM title for this year’s Vuelta. He just needs to make it to the finish line Sunday to add that title to his palmares.

  • 04:58 PM: Segovia

    Our finish town has hosted eight Vuelta stage finishes. Winners there have included Roberto Heras, Cyrille Guimard, Pepe Recio and Juan Fernandez.

    The lead group is about 5k from starting the 20k finishing circuit. The gap is still about a minute. Back in the peloton, the stragglers have rejoined the main pack, so we have a group of about 60 riders again.

  • 05:04 PM: Our leaders

    Are hammering, but the gap is coming down to about 47 seconds.

  • 05:06 PM: Arroyo still sitting in

    David Arroyo is not pulling through in the break, leaving all the work for Julien Loubet and Vasili Kiryienka.

  • 05:08 PM: Speaking of hammerheads

    If our French is any good (and it’s not) CSC’s Jens Voigt has just won the sixth stage of the Tour of Poland and taken the leader’s jersey there.

  • 05:10 PM: Our three

    have entered the town. Tinkoff’s Vasili Kiryienka is doing most of the work, their gap is down to about 45 seconds in front of the Caisse d’Epargne-led bunch.

  • 05:11 PM: cobbles

    The leaders are on a relatively smooth cobbled section under a huge aqueduct.

  • 05:15 PM: 11k to go

    The leaders are on a tough climb on the finishing circuit, approaching their first time through the start/finish line. They are passing under an astonishing castle.

    In the pack, the riders are splitting into two parallel groups as riders search for smooth sections next to the cobbles.

  • 05:16 PM: The gap

    Only 35 seconds, we think they will be caught and this should be a dramatic uphill finish. Beautiful, too.

  • 05:18 PM: leaders through the s/f

    They pass through. 10.2 km to go.

  • 05:19 PM: Kiryienka attacks

    Arroyo gets on him, but Julien Loubet pops.

  • 05:19 PM: Herrero on the attack

    Back in the pack, Herrero has attacked. He was one of the big aggressors at the end of yesterday’s stage.

  • 05:21 PM: 7k to go

    And Arroyo and Kiryienka lead by about 50 seconds. Arroyo is sitting on. Herrero has been reeled in by the main group.

  • 05:24 PM: Euskaltel

    Txurruka has attacked the main bunch.

    5k to go and Arroyo is still sitting on Kiryienka with a 45s gap.

    Txurruka has been caught.

  • 05:26 PM: Euskaltel v. Caisse d’Epargne

    Caisse is on the left, followed by Astana. Euskaltel-Euskadie is on the right. just 3k to go for Kiryienka and Arroyo

  • 05:28 PM: Arroyo

    is under order to not pull through, obviously, as his team is hoping to set up Valverde. But they still have 38 seconds, so it looks like the two will make it.

    Arroyo has had a free ride for miles and miles. You gotta feel bad for Kiryienka

  • 05:29 PM: On the cobbled climb

    With 2k to go Kiryienka is leading up the climb. The gap now about 35 seconds.

  • 05:29 PM: 1k

    Arroyo sitting on, starting to pull up beside Kiryienka a bit

  • 05:30 PM: 20 seconds

    They got it, we think?

  • 05:30 PM: Kiryienka hammering

    he’s deep in the pain cellar

  • 05:31 PM: Arroyo goes

    with 300 meters, Arroyo goes and takes it.

  • 05:32 PM: Nuyens leads the peloton

    Nick Nuyens comes across third just 10 seconds or so back. You gotta feel bad for Kiry … he hammered that last 2k, but he had to know that Arroyo was fresher.

  • 05:33 PM: All the favs

    All the big GC men are in and accounted for and there will be no changes to the top of the GC standings before tomorrows TT.

  • 05:36 PM: Top stage placings:

    1 ARROYO, David 3:27:03
    2 KIRYIENKA, Vasili @ 5
    3 NUYENS, Nick @ 11
    4 VALVERDE, Alejandro @ 11
    5 VAN AVERMAET, Greg @ 11
    6 BRUSEGHIN, Marzio @ 11
    7 GESINK, Robert @ 11
    8 PÉREZ MORENO, Rubén @ 11
    9 CONTADOR, Alberto @11
    10 MONCOUTIE, David @ 11
    11 LEIPHEIMER, Levi @ 11
    12 TIRALONGO, Paolo @ 11
    13 MOSQUERA, Ezequiel @ 11
    14 ZAUGG, Oliver SUI @ 11
    15 KOLOBNEV, Alexandr @ 11
    16 SASTRE, Carlos ESP @ 11

  • 05:38 PM: GC – no changes

    Contador remains in the lead entering the final weekend. Tune in tomorrow for live coverage of what could be a very interesting TT.

    And check back very soon to VeloNews.com for a complete report, Graham Watson photos and complete results.

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