Astana win again with Paulinho

After winning Tuesday's stage 10 of the Vuelta, Portugal's Sergio Paulinho dedicated his win to form

After winning Tuesday’s stage 10 of the Vuelta, Portugal’s Sergio Paulinho dedicated his win to form

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Astana’s Sergio Paulinho won Tuesday’s 10th stage of the Tour of Spain – the team’s third victory in as many stages – and dedicated his win to former boss Manolo Saiz, who remains linked to the ongoing Operacion Puerto. While Paulinho, who will leave Astana to join Discovery Channel next year, was doing battle up at the front, race leader Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears) was content to keep an eye on his rivals for the gold jersey in the main peloton, finishing 3-54 down. The Spaniard still leads Paulinho’s team-mate Andrey Kashechkin by 27 seconds and CSC’s Carlos Sastre by 44 seconds. Paulinho was part of a 24-strong group that escaped 35km into the 200km stage, and which was whittled down to 15 later in the stage, including Valverde’s team-mate Vladimir Karpets, Gerolsteiner’s Davide Rebellin and Discovery’s Vladimir Gusev. The Portuguese rider proved the strongest, jumping away inside the last kilometre, with Rebellin taking second, two seconds down, with Bouygues Telecom’s Xavier Florencio third. The win also enabled Paulinho to jump into the top 10, 3-42 down on Valverde. Paulinho was himself cleared of any wrongdoing after initially being involved in the Puerto Affair, missing the Tour de France before being exonerated. “I dedicate the victory to Manolo because we went through a very complicated year and it’s thanks to him I am here,” Paulinho told reporters at the finish, referring to Saiz having taken him on at the then Liberty Seguros-sponsored team last season. “I was going to finish my contract [with Astana] and they [Discovery] made a good offer. Because of that, I signed. Not because I was thinking that it was impossible to continue here.” Stage 10: Aviles-Museo de Altamira 1 Sergio Paulinho (Por) Astana 199km in 4.33.44 2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.02 3 Xavier Florencio (Spa) Bouygues Telecom 4 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Illes Balears 0.06 5 Francisco Jos Ventoso (Spa) Saunier Duval 0.07 6 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel 7 Sbastien Joly (Fra) Francaise des Jeux 8 Sbastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis 9 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Credit Agricole 10 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Lampre 20 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears 3.54 Overall 1 Valverde 41.19.09 2 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana 0.27 3 Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC 0.44 4 Jos Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Saunier Duval 0.56 5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 1.38 6 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Discovery Channel 2.05 7 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 2.21 8 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Discovery Channel 2.28 9 Karpets 3.02 10 Paulinho 3.42