Vuelta 10: Eladio repeats Cati win

As Eladio Jimenez repeats his 2000 victory on the Xorret de Cati, Floyd Landis just manages to hang

As Eladio Jimenez repeats his 2000 victory on the Xorret de Cati, Floyd Landis just manages to hang
PICTURE BY LAVUELTA.COM Three times the Vuelta has finished at the Alto de Xorret de Cati and three times the stage has been won by a rider named Jimenez. In 1998, the late Jos Maria Jimenez won on the race's first trip up this fiendishly hard first-category climb for Banesto, and two years later his team-mate and namesake Eladio emulated him. Now with CV-Kelme, Eladio Jimenez has repeated that 2000 success after outlasting the rest of a seven-man break that included three of the race's best sprinters. Of more significance for the overall prize was the battle for ninth place, which was won by Alejandro Valverde, but with defending champion Roberto Heras right on his wheel. Although the two Spaniards could not shake off each other, they did put some distance between themselves and race leader Floyd Landis for the second consecutive day. For a time it looked as if Valverde might have done enough to take his first-ever gold jersey, but the American sprinted to the line to maintain an advantage of eight seconds over the CV-Kelme leader. The stage began with a flurry of attacks. Oscar Freire was heavily involved, and he went clear with Jimenez after 15 kilometres with his eyes apparently on the first intermediate sprint. The two-time world champion took the points there, but was joined by the two leaders in the points competition, Erik Zabel and Stuart O'Grady at the 40km mark. With this speedy pair were Juan Manuel Fuentes, Ruslan Ivanov and Jos Miguel Elias. While Zabel beat O'Grady and Freire in the next two sprints to initially increase his grip on the points jersey, Elias collected King of the Mountains points on the summit. At the same time the group's lead expanded to more than 14 minutes. When the peloton was finally given some impetus by Liberty Seguros, it was already clear the stage winner would come from the riders in the break. The Xorret de Cati climb is not long at a shade over four kilometres but averages almost 11 per cent, with many sections much steeper than that. As the leading seven reached the climb in one of several torrential downpours, Fuentes attacked first, was caught by the other six, then attacked again. But when Jimenez countered and then attacked himself, the Saeco rider fell away. Jimenez looked like he was in trouble most of the way up the climb, but no one escaped that fate on the Xorret de Cati. After four wet and gruelling kilometres Jimenez crested the climb, shot down a surprisingly dry descent with O'Grady closing all the time, but sealed his win on the kilometre-long rise to the finish. O'Grady was a valiant second and his reward was sufficient points to wrest that jersey from Zabel. Back in the rain and mist on the Xorret de Cati, none of the chasing pack could follow the diminutive Jorge Ferrio, but Valverde made every effort to chase the Costa de Almeria rider. He went clear of all but Heras and Leonardo Piepoli, who were happy to sit on the Murcian's wheel and let him do all of the work. If either had helped, Valverde would surely have taken the lead, but Landis clung on and will hope to survive a more straightforward day tomorrow before Wednesday's rest day. The battle for gold should be rejoined with Thursday's special category summit finish at Calar Alto observatory. Stage 10, Alcoi-Xorret de Cati 1 Eladio Jimenez (Spa) Comunitat Valenciana-Kelme 174.5km in 4.31.57 (38.50kph) 2 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis 0.32 3 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank 0.48 4 Ruslan Ivanov (Mol) Alessio-Bianchi 5 Juan Manuel Fuentes (Spa) Saeco 1.04 6 Jos Miguel Elias (Spa) Relax-Bodysol 1.10 7 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile 1.50 8 Jorge Ferrio (Spa) Costa de Almeria 4.06 9 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) CV-Kelme 4.18 10 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros 11 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval 12 Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC 4.46 13 Isidro Nozal (Spa) Liberty Seguros 4.47 14 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco 4.48 15 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak 16 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears 4.57 17 Angel Gomez (Spa) Costa de Almeria 18 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak 5.06 19 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola 20 Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal 5.07 100 Michael Barry (USA) US Postal 11.01 Overall standings 1 Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal-Berry Floor 36.23.52 2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) CV-Kelme 0.08 3 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears 0.28 4 Isidro Nozal (Spa) Liberty Seguros 0.31 5 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros 0.46 6 Manuel Beltran (Spa) US Postal 0.59 7 Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC 1.34 8 Denis Menchov (Rus) Illes Balears 2.41 9 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 2.49 10 Angel Gomez (Spa) Costa de Almeria 4.15 11 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) CV-Kelme 4.19 12 David Blanco (Spa) CV-Kelme 4.23 13 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak 4.34 14 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco 5.16 15 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Lampre 6.11 16 Victor Hugo Pe¤a (Col) US Postal 6.32 17 Luis Perez (Spa) Cofidis 6.59 18 Ruben Plaza (Spa) CV-Kelme 7.06 19 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola 7.23 20 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Phonak 7.51 29 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak 10.10 61 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis 28.49 87 Michael Barry (Can) US Postal 42.41 Points 1 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis 114 2 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile 110 3 Oscar Freire (Spa) Raobank 108 Mountains 1 Jos Miguel Elias (Spa) Relax-Bodysol 48 2 Eladio Jimenez (Spa) CV-Kelme 38 3 David Fernandez (Spa) Costa de Almeria 35
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