Overall standings: 1 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 37:56:42, 2 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha, 3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:02, 4 Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:00:42, 5 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:52.
Calpe - Alcoy
Vuelta a España - 5 September 2010
Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 11:44 on 5 September 2010. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Stage result: 1 David Lopez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 5:20:50, 2 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:06, 3 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha 0:00:13, 4 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne 0:00:21, 5 Blel Kadri (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:00:27, 6 Egoï Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:30, 7 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:55.
Rodriguez leads the peloton over the line at 7:02 from winner Lopez with Anton right on his wheel. No change in the overall standings - although Peraud will leap into the top five with his performance today.
It looks like Anton will hold onto the red jersey, although Joachim Rodriguez is trying his luck as the peloton heads home...
Jean-Christophe Peraud crosses the line 54 seconds down. Will it be enough to take the red jersey tonight?
David Lopez (Caisse d'Epargne) takes the victory with Roman Kreuziger taking second place seven seconds down. Gianpaolo Caruso takes third.
Caruso is leading the charge, but it won't be enough, surely...
Lopez crosses the one-to-go banner. Looks like victory is his.
Kreuziger now riding hard to catch Lopez. Caruso and Moncoutie are there too.
The lead is getting bigger as the four chasers struggle to peg back Lopez. It's 20 seconds now.
Lopez has a reasonable gap of 12 seconds now. He's looking very strong.
It's going to be an exciting finish. Lopez is out in front at the moment after digging deep. There's a rise at the finish today so that will make it tough.
Caruso takes the points at the summit of the Alto del Revolcat ahead of Moncoutie (who will top the mountains standings tonight) and Kreuziger.
CORRECTION: That time check was wrong: Peraud is just 34 seconds down and so, with the peloton at 8:17, he could still take the red jersey.
Peraud is now 2:31 back from the leaders so it looks like there's no chance he'll be in red tonight.
The Kreuziger trio has caught up with the two leaders.
Pujol and Peraud are behind the trio of Caruso, Martinez and Kreuziger. Moncoutie and Lopez are out in front. Each group is about 20 seconds apart. The peloton are at 8:20.
Moncoutie is in pursuit of Lopez with Martinez and Kreuziger in a trio behind.
Rabunel has been dropped right away as the leaders hit a small rise ahead of the third category Alto del Revolcat. Caisse d'Epargne's David Lopez has opened up a small gap.
The lead is down to 8:10 so it's going to be tricky for Peraud, who needs a 7:00 advantage to move into the red jersey.
Thanks to a new slick road surface this descent is really fast. The lead has just dropped under the nine-minute mark for the first time in a bit. There's no question that one of the escapees will win today - but it remains to be seen if Peraud can take the red jersey.
For the first time today, Gonzalo Rubanel has to settle for second place as David Moncoutie takes maximum points at the top of the third category Puerto de Benifallim. Oscar Pujol takes third. Just one more climb to go today.
Poor Carlos Barredo has been dropped by the peloton. He looks pained as he tries a small wave to the camera. Hero to zero out there today.
Rabunal has been caught. The escapees are now back together, 9:33 ahead of the bunch.
Rabunal looks pretty cooked. The chasing group will catch him soon. Back on the front of the peloton, it's still Euskaltel doing the work. They lead the descent of the Torremanzanas, with the guy in front leaning forward and, bizarrely, putting both thumbs in his mouth. Each to his own. Maybe a balance thing.
Meanwhile, Carlos Barredo is about to be caught by the peloton. He looks pretty tired but he is sporting an amazing tan.
Igor Anton, in the read leaders' jersey, takes a swig of water and waves to the camera. If he and his team don't pull out their finger a bit, he won't be wearing that jersey tomorrow...
It has to be said, the scenary on the Vuelta is not a scratch on the glorious vistas of the Tour de France.
Rabunal crosses the summit of Torremanzanas to take maximum points. And for the first time today, Moncoutie fails to take second place behind the Spaniard. The Frenchman is pipped by Pujol and has to settle for third this time. Rabunal has 55 seconds on his pursuers. The peloton is 9'15" back.
The chasing group has come back together after the Peraud foursome are swept up. Just Rabunal up ahead now - still no idea how much time he has. Back in the peloton, Frank Schleck has moved onto the front. His brother Andy is there after being dropped on the previous climb.
Big Thor Hushovd is riding at the back of one of the buses behind the peloton.
It looks like the peloton has decided to let Rabunal and the rest of the leading group stay out ahead today. This means the red jersey tonight could well be Jean-Christophe Peraud (Omega Pharma-Lotto) who is 6:59 down on the GC. The time gap back to the peloton from Rabunel is 9'25". Caruso has been caught by Peraud, Vanendert and Kadri. No indication how far back from the leader these riders are.
Rabunal is taking all the water he can get and throwing it over his head and shoulders in a bid to keep cool in this sweltering heat. The initial group of escapees has completely broken up into different factions further back down the road.
Back in the peloton, eight minutes back, stage two winner Yauheni Hutarovich is struggling to keep up with the pace.
Rabunal has over two minutes ahead of the chasing group. He's really giving it his all.
It's all kicking off with the escapees with Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale) joining the two Lotto riders in pursuit of Rabunal and Gianpaolo Caruso (Katusha) also trying to bridge the gap.
Lone leader Rabunal is onto the second category climb of Torremanzanas. He's ripping along 7'15" ahead of the peloton now, with the two Lotto riders Jean-Christophe Péraud et Jelle Vandendert in pursuit in front of the other escapees.
Euskeltel still leading the chase - but the gap has grown to 6'14". Rabunal is going for a long one.
Rabunel is alone out front on this weaving descent. He has about 40 seconds over the other escapees. The road surface looks a bit shoddy, to be perfectly honest. This is Spain though, after all. The peloton is 4'50" back.
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Rabunel was clearly going after those mountain points and crosses the summit of the Alto de Tudons once again ahead of Moncoutie. But despite his best efforts the Frenchman is now the virtual leader of the polka dot jersey.
Back in the leading group, Rabunel has tried his luck and gone on a solo break.
Rumour has it that Barredo dropped back intentionally to give the leading group a better chance. Being just 2'29" down on the GC summit, the Spaniard was seen as a dangerman by Igor Anton and his Euskaltel team. If true, that's a great gesture by Barredo.
Reminder: Lampre rider Alessandro Petacchi has quit the Vuelta a Espana due to injuries sustained in a crash on stage eight of the race.
Carlos 'The Fighter' Barredo, who was/is virtual red jersey on the road, has been dropped by the leaders and is some 25 seconds off the pace now. Could be curtains for Carlos.
Next climb up: the second category Puerto de Tudons. The Euskaltel team of red jersey Igor Anton are leading the chase, with Amets Txurruka featuring heavily on the front of the peloton. Caisse d'Epargne are also making their presence felt. The lead is around 4'30" now.
For the third time today, Rabunel denies Moncoutie maximum points after crossing the summit of the Alto de Confrides ahead of the Frenchman and Peraud. It's very admirable what the Xacobeo-Galicia rider is doing to protect his team-mate Serafin Martinez's lead in the king of the mountains standings. But Moncoutie only needs one more second place and he'll be the new leader in that competition...
The gap is 4'37"with the summit of today's third climb coming up.
Back in the peloton, the out-of-sorts Andy Schleck has already been dropped. The Tour runner-up's not having a great Vuelta, it has to be said.
The third category climb of Alto de Confrides is not very testing: while quite long it's only a 5% maximum gradient. The lead has dropped a touch to 5'18".
The climbs come one after the other now with the 15 leaders moving onto the third category Alto de Confrides with a gap of 5'52" over the peloton.
Freddy Bichot (Bbox) has also pulled out of the race.
Rabunal Rios once again took the points over the Alto de Guadalest ahead of Moncoutie and Pujol Munoz. Moncoutie is just four points from the blue polka dot jersey of Serafin Martinez, Rabunal's team-mate.
Italy's Alessandro Petacchi has pulled out of the race. Details coming right up.
Reminder of the 14 leaders: Jean-Christophe Péraud and Jelle Vandendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Carlos Barredo and Dario Cataldo (Quick Step), Oscar Pujol (Cervelo), Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale), Enrico Gasparotto (Astana), Perrig Quemeneur (Bbox Bouygues), David Lopez Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne), David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel), Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas), Gianpaolo Caruso (Katusha), Gonzalo Rabunal (Xacobeo-Galicia) and Javier Ramirez (Andalucia Cajasur).
The leaders are onto the second climb of the day, the second category Alto de Guadalest. It has an average gradient of 7.1% and a maximum gradient of a whopping 12% - so expect some movement out in front. The lead over the peloton has grown back over the five-minute mark and now stands at 5'25".
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Dario Cataldo takes the points at the second intermediate sprint at La Nucia ahead of Perrig Quemeneur and Javier Ramirez.
Following the descent of the Col de Rates, the leaders are onto a flat part of the course before six successive climbs. The second intermediate sprint is coming up and the lead is down to 4'45" with the peloton keen on keeping the breakaway in check.
A few riders went down back in the peloton a moment ago but it was nothing serious. The 15 escapees have 5'31" over the bunch. The average speed for the second hour of racing was 36.8 km/h.
Gonzalo Rabunal Rios does his bit to protect Xacobeo-Galicia team-mate Serafin Martinez's slender lead in the king of the mountains standings by taking maximum points over the summit of the Col de Rares ahead of David Moncoutie and Jean-Christophe Peraud.
Omega-Pharma Lotto's Mickael Delage has quit the race.
The leaders reach the foot of the first climb of the day, the second category Rates, with a lead of 4'10". The temperature is up to 32ºC.
The lead is up to 3'50" which makes Carlos Barredo the virtual red jersey on the road.
One day, Serafin Martinez might win a stage of the Vuelta. It's not for want of trying. Along with Vacansoleil's Johnny Hoogerland, the Spaniard was the most combative rider in last year's race. This year, he came so close to winning in Malaga but was caught in the final kilometre as Philippe Gilbert rode into red, and then yesterday he took second behind Moncoutie. When the elusive first professional win comes, it will be a sweet moment indeed.
So, David Moncoutie looks to be in good shape out there. After nailing a win in yesterday's stage, the Frenchman now has his sights set on taking the king of the mountains jersey. He is currently second in the standings, 10 points behind Spain's Serafin Martinez. But with Martinez failing to get himself in today's break, Moncoutie is odds on to pick up the points needed to overhaul his rival this afternoon.
Moncoutie takes the points at the intermediate sprint ahead of Gasparotto and Barredo. The average speed for the first hour of the race is 44.5km/h.
Spain's Javier Ramirez is riding between the escapees and the peloton, about a minute splitting him either side. Who's going to win today's stage? Who's your favourite for the whole race? Post your thoughts in the comments section below...
So, we have 14 riders out in front riding two minutes ahead of the peloton. They are: Jean-Christophe Péraud and Jelle Vandendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Carlos Barredo and Dario Cataldo (Quick Step), Oscar Pujol (Cervelo), Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale), Enrico Gasparotto (Astana), Perrig Quemeneur (Bbox), David Lopez Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne), David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel), Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas), Gianpaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Gonzalo Rabunal (Xacobeo-Galicia).
The breakaway has been reeled in giving the chance to three Frenchman to launch an attack. They are yesterday's winner David Moncoutié (Cofidis), as well as Jean-Christophe Péraud (Omega Pharma-Lotto) et Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale). The trio is being pursued by 11 riders.
The leaders have been joined by Milram's Johannes Frohlinger on this flat opening stretch. There's an intermediate sprint coming up in about 20km time before the first of the seven climbs begins.
The two leaders have been caught by 11 riders: Jurgen Van Goolen, Gustavo Cesar, Carlos Barredo, Laurens Ten Dam, David Lopez, Rinaldo Nocentini, Egoi Martinez, Roman Kreuziger, Filippo Pozzato, William Bonnet and Thor Hushovd. So, there's a good pedigree in this 13-strong breakaway, which have about 22 seconds over the peloton.
Those eight have been reeled in. Two riders out in front now: Giampaolo Cheula and Dario Cataldo.
Frisky start: four riders break clear right away, joined by another four riders. FdJ, Katusha, Milram and Euskaltel all look to be present.
It's pretty hot today in Calpe, with temperatures hitting 30 degrees centigrade.
The 5.4km of neutralized road has been covered so stage nine proper is now under way!
In fact, the fall out from yesterday's stage continues with some alterations to the top ten this morning. A correction in timing means Marzio Bruseghin, who was fifth, drops to eighth, while Ruben Plaza and Ezequiel Mosquera rise to fifth and sixth respectively.
Confusion reigned over the Vuelta's new race leader after Saturday's 190-km eighth stage. Joachim Rodriguez, of the Katusha team, was initially informed he was the race leader but better results in previous stages meant Euskaltel's Igor Anton was eventually awarded the red jersey.
The neutralized start of today's stage is under way. With five category two climbs and two third category ascents, there's a lot to play for before the race's first rest day on Monday. Before the race, you would say this was a perfect itinerary for Frenchman David Moncoutie - but the Cofidis rider got in their early with a splendid victory yesterday.
Hello welcome to coverage of stage nine of the Vuelta a Espana, a 187.7 km undulating ride from Calpe to Alcoy.