Greipel Wins Stage 16 of Vuelta
Andre Greipel (Columbia-HTC Hero) has won his third stage of this year's Vuelta. The German bested the field in a bunch sprint to win the rolling, 170.3-km run from Cordoba to Puertollano in 4:50:44. William Bonnet (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) finished second and third, respectively. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) remains the overall leader.
Early in the stage, a number of sallies occurred, but Columbia and Milram shut them down. At eight km Jesus Rosendo (Andalucia) went off of the front. He led the field by seven minutes at 30 km and by 12 minutes at 47 km.
The peloton woke up. Columbia-HTC Hero cut the lead to six minutes at 81 km, three minutes at 130 km, and two minutes at 140 km. Ten km later, the bunch was 0:48 behind Rosendo, who was scooped up less than two km later.
Quick Step, Milram, and Vacansoleil joined Columbia at the front. In the final km, Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Liquigas fought their way to the head of the pack. Julian Dean (Garmin), Wouter Weylandts (Quick Step), and Roger Hammond (Cervelo), among others, went down in a crash with slightly less than three km left.
Liquigas led the field into the last km. Greipel had Bennati's wheel and burst past the Italian for the win. He should have thanked Bennati for the leadout.
In the overall, Valverde leads Robert Gesink (Rabobank) by 0:31 and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) by 1:10. Stage 17 will not change this state of affairs. The rolling, 193.6-km run from Ciudad Real to Talavera de la Reina will have no categorized climbs and should end in a bunch sprint. Will Greipel win again? Will Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) pick up a stage win? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!