2010 Vuelta España – Stage 17 – The Sands of Time

Peter Velits has absolutely stunned the Vuelta España with a first place finish in the stage 17 time trial hammering home, through the massive 46km stage, in a time of 52:40. Not only did Velits smash the time of Denis Menchov, who was leading, but he also pushed the world time trial champion, Fabian Cancellara, into a very unfamiliar third position. With this ride Velits launched up the overall into third, just 2:00 behind new race leader, again, Vincenzo Nibali who had a very strong TT himself, but was delayed by a wheel change.

On the other side of the coin, was former race leader Joaquim Rodriguez. In the ways the mountains are so merciless to the big men, the time trial is devastating for the climbers. Rodriguez, the smallest rider in the pro-peloton, just isn’t built for the race against the clock. He fell, like grains of sand through the fingers of time, down the overall leaderboard, finishing a massive 6’12” behind Velits, into 5th GC position from 1st. If you think the penultimate stage up Bola del Mundo isn’t going to be fireworks, just look at the time gap between 4th place Fränk Schleck and 9th place Carlos Sastre – 6 riders are separated by 29 seconds. Up next, two sprinters’ stages on Thursday and Friday and then the incredibly difficult Bola del Mundo on Saturday.

Bola del Mundo is touted to be a longer, flatter version of L’Angliru, the latter which by some is considered the hardest climb in pro-cycling. Because Bola is ~700m higher, about 10km longer (nearly double the distance), with a final 3km on broken concrete at 11%, 12% and 11%, and having ramps up to 22% some consider it equal in difficultly to L’Angliru. This is important because longer climbs usually result in larger time gaps and the last time the Vuelta went up Angliru in 2008, Contador put 42 seconds into 2nd place Valverde. It’s interesting to note, on that day, Joaquim Rodriguez was third at 58 seconds, Mosquera 7th at 2:18 and the gap from 1st to 11th was a massive 4 minutes in just 12.5km. So, if Bola lives up to it’s hype, this Vuelta is far from over.

Stage 17 ITT Top Ten
1. Peter Velits (HTC)_____________52:40
2. Denis Menchov (Rabobank)_____+0:12
3. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank)__+0:37
4. Gustav Larsson (Saxo Bank)____+0:50
5. Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse)_____+1:03
6. Leif Hoste (Lotto)_____________+1:07
7. Dave Zabriskie (Garmin)________+1:10
8. Carlos Barredo (Quickstep)_____+1:14
9. Phillipe Gilbert (Lotto)_________+1:24
10. David Millar (Garmin)__________+1:27

For full stage 17 results visit La Vuelta

GC Top Ten after 16 Stages
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)_______71:19:49
2. Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo)___+:39″
3. Peter Velits (HTC)____________+2:00″
4. Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank)_____+3:44″
5. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha)____+3:45″
6. Xavier Tondo (Cervelo)________+3:45″
7. Tom Danielson (Garmin)________+3:55″
8. Nicholas Roche (AG2R)_________+4:03″
9. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo)________+4:13″
10. Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse)____+5:43″

For Full GC Standings after 17 Stages visit La Vuelta

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