Argentina’s Juan Jose Haedo of the Saxo Bank team won the 16th stage of the Vuelta a Espaa while Spain’s Juan Jose Cobo of Geox retained the leader’s red jersey. Haedo beat Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi of Lampre to the line in a sprint finish after a relatively flat 203.6-kilometer ride from Villa Romana La Olmeda to Haro in northern Spain. Third was another Italian, Daniele Bennati of Leopard Trek.
Cobo, who finished 10th, 10-seconds behind the stage winner, holds a 20-second lead over Britain’s Chris Froome of the Sky Team in the overall standings. Another Briton, Bradley Wiggins, also of Sky, remains third overall, 51-seconds behind Cobo. Froome and Wiggins finished 13th and 22nd respectively on Tuesday.
Haedo admitted he was lucky in the last kilometer. The final sprint took the riders around a traffic circle, but some, such as Slovakia’s Peter Sagan of Liquigas, ended up taking it in the wrong direction.
“Until today, I had very few chances to win a sprint,” said Haedo. “But today I managed it. “The truth is that, in the course book, it was not specified that you can only go round the traffic circle to the left. I was lucky.”
The stage was marked by several crashes, one of which involved Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha, who finished the stage 11 minutes behind the leader and went immediately to hospital for tests. Italy’s Alessandro Spezialetti of Lampre suffered a fractured collarbone and withdrew. Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara of Leopard Trek also announced he intended to withdraw from the Tour, but to return home in order to prepare for the World Championships in Copenhagen.
Three riders 21-year-old Spaniard Antonio Cabello of AGC, his compatriot and teammate Jesus Rosendo and Frenchman Julien Fouchard of Cofidis staged an early breakaway and together built up a lead of more than eight minutes. But Cabello and Fouchard were caught with some 15-kilometers from the finish and Rosendo a few kilometers later. Wednesday’s 17th stage takes the riders 211 kilometers from Faustino V to Pena Cabarga, a hilly route that ends by the coast in the northern region of Cantabria.
Vuelta a Espaa Stage 16
1. Juan Jos Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank Sungard 4:41:56
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-ISD @ s.t.
3. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard Trek
4. Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto
5. Leigh Howard (Aus) HTC-Highroad @ .02
6. Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano @ s.t.
7. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quickstep
9. Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky
10. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC
General Classification After Stage 16
1. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC 64:39:14
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky @ .20
3. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky @ .51
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank @ 1:41
5. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek @ 2:42
6. Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC @ 3:06
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek @ 3:08
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale @ 3:49
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto @ 4:03
10. Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM @ 4:18