Farrar Wins Stage 11 of Vuelta
Tyler Farrar (Garmin) has won Stage 11 of the Vuelta. Farrar dusted the field in a bunch sprint to win the rugged, 200-km ride from Murcia to Caravaca de la Cruz in 5:11:10. Philippe Gilbert (Silence) finished second, and Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil) finished third. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) remains the overall leader.
At 39 km, the break of the day formed. Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel), David Moncoutie (Cofidis), David de la Fuente (Fuji), and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) escaped on the Category 1 Alto Collado Bermejo. Hoogerland began the day 4:41 behind Valverde on GC, and when the break ran up a 10-minute lead at 68 km, Caisse d'Epargne was compelled to chase. By 93 km, the bunch had reduced the break's advantage to 8:30.
Liquigas and Rabobank lent muscle to the chase, and with 60 km remaining, the bunch trailed the break by four minutes with the Category 2 Alto Campo de San Juan looming. The gap fell to less than one minute on the climb. Sprinters such as Farrar and Andre Greipel (Columbia) were dropped. With 44 km left, 0:12 separated bunch and break. One km later, the field was together.
Remy Di Gregorio (Francaise des Jeux) counterattacked. He led the Liquigas-led peloton by 0:45 with 30 km left. Farrar and Greipel rejoined the bunch.
With 17 km left, Di Gregorio was reeled in. Linus Gerdemann (Milram) countered, but Liquigas was having none of it. With six km remaining, Garmin began massing at the front. Three km later, Liquigas accelerated.
With one km left, Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) took a flyer but was reeled in. Lars Boom (Rabobank) towed teammate Oscar Freire to the front, but Farrar powered into the lead with 400 m left, and the others had no answer.
In the overall, Valverde leads Cadel Evans (Silence) by 0:07 and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) by 0:36. Tomorrow will be the 2009 Vuelta's second rest day. On Friday, Stage 12 will a standing shaker. The 179.3-km ride from Almeria to Alto de Velefique will feature two Category 1 ascents and a Special Category mountaintop finish. It will be a stage for the climbers. Who will win? Valverde? Damiano Cunego (Lampre)? Ivan Basso (Liquigas)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!