Vuelta a España • Stage16

Gijón - Cotobello
Vuelta a España - 13 September 2010

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Provisional overall standings: 1. RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin (Katusha) 70h 24' 39"; 2. NIBALI, Vincenzo (Liquigas - Doimo) + 33"; 3. MOSQUERA MIGUEZ, Ezequiel (Xacobeo - Galicia) + 53"; 4. SCHLECK, Fränk (Saxo Bank) + 2' 16"; 5. ROCHE, Nicolas (Ag2r) + 3' 01"; 6. VELITS, Peter (HTC - Columbia) + 4' 27"; 7. DANIELSON, Tom (Garmin - Transitions)+ 4' 29"; 8. TONDO VOLPINI, Xavier (Cervélo Test Team)+ 4' 43"; 9. SASTRE, Carlos (Cervélo Test Team) + 4' 53"; 10 GARCIA, David (Xacobeo - Galicia) + 6' 23"


Stage 16 provisional result: 1. NIEVE , Mikel (Euskaltel) 4h 51' 59"; 2. SCHLECK, Fränk (Saxo Bank) + 1' 06"; 3. DE WEERT, Kevin (Quick Step) + 1' 08"; 4. RODRIGUEZ , Joaquin (Katusha) + 1' 22"; 5. SANCHEZ GIL, Luis Leon (Caisse d'Epargne) + 1' 32"; 6. MOSQUERA MIGUEZ, Ezequiel (Xacobeo - Galicia) + 1' 40"; 7. GARCIA DA PENA, David (Xacobeo - Galicia) + 1' 42"; 8. ROCHE, Nicolas (Ag2r) + 1' 44"; 9. SASTRE, Carlos (Cervélo Test Team) + 1' 50"; 10 NIBALI, Vincenzo (Liquigas) +1' 59"


Mikel Nieve crosses the line and celebrates wildly. Frank Schleck finishes second 1m 05s behind. Kevin de Weert claims third.


Nibali has cracked inside the final kilometre!! All of his opponents flood past him. What a finish!


Inside the final kilometre and it's been a great ride from Nieve. He waited then sensed his chance before taking it expertly. Schleck is proving that he really is back after his injury in Le Tour.


At this rate Frank Schleck will occupy fourth place tonight as he gets the gap to Nieve down to 1m 36s with 1.8km to go. In the chasing group Nibali looks calm as Liquigas carry him along. Schleck is taking time out of Nieve with every wheel turn.


Now Schleck has the hammer down. It looks like he wants Sastre to join him so they can power up the climb together but Sastre doesn't have it. At the front Nieve continues to pound away towards victory.


Sastre gets over to Schleck. Meanwhile Peter Vilets has blown up. He could lose a bunch of time here. And Schleck goes again! Sastre does nothing this time.


And now Schleck ditches Sastre! What will the little Spainard do? Schleck is just 1m 53s from Mikel Nieve. He can't catch him...can he?!


Wow!!! Sastre catches and blows by Schleck and Danielson. Sastre attacks again. Schleck goes with him and Danielson cracks. If these two get going the overall classification could get very interesting.


There goes Sastre!! He's waited and waited and now he's gone. He's off to find Schleck and Danielson. And he's going at a fair lick too. Frank Schleck is looking for help from Danielson. Does he get it? Nope. Nibali sits at the front of the chasing pack and taps out a healthy pace.


Mikel Nieve knows he has victory in sight if he can maintain this push. He leads Luis Sanchez by 9s. Schleck and Danielson are breezing up the Cotobello. Will Schleck kick again? Surely he has to? He does!! But Danielson leaps onto his wheel.


Liquigas are slowly beginning to up the pace in pursuit of Schleck. At the front Nieve is riding beautifully and looks strong. Luis Sanchez continues to plug away behind him. Down the road Schleck waits for Thomas Danielson. And they look to move away together.


No reaction from Nibali as yet. Liquigas refuse to be rushed into panic and continue apace. Meanwhile Schleck is disappearing up the road, maybe 15s. Can he keep this up?


The front breakaway is down to four riders as Peterson loses the wheel of those in front. Now Nieve jumps away and the breakaway is in pieces. In the chasing group it's that man again - Frank Schleck - who looks to test the peloton. Tondo - currently fifth - cracks first. Schleck has gone again and flown!!


The breakaway look tired and the Esukatel riders are showing signs of wear but they continue to churn out the big gears. The gap is 2m 35s.


The breakaway is really beginning to gel. The gap is 2m 45s as they begin the climb of Cotobello. This will delight Luis Sanchez. He'll squeak into the top 10 tonight if he can finish strongly.


The gap has increased to 2m 10s as the chasing group hit the bottom of the final climb. What will Nibali do on this ascent? Will he sit back and watch or go on the offensive?


The breakaway is about to hit the final climb of the day towards to the finish at Cotobello. Meanwhile the pack are taking a breather on a flat section before they too begin the final climb. Nibali looks fresh towards the front of the peloton.


The gap to the breakaway is 1m 47s but they are starting to put the hammer down. The chasing pack has swelled considerably with the usual suspects towards the front.


The chasing pack is a who's who of this year's Vuelta including Liquigas' Vincenzo Nibali - our race leader. You feel that if anyone can get any advantage before the rest day tomorrow they will take it. The gap to the breakaway is a nervy 1m 58s.


The breakaway are nearly down Alto de la Cobertoria and the chasing pack aren't exactly taking it easy on the descent. The gap is 1m 51s.


The main group of riders clear Alto de la Cobertoria and the gap is down to 1m 40s. The final climb to the finish could see more attacks if it comes back together before the end.


Wow. That was explosive. The peloton is now a fraction of what it was. The lead to the very front is 1m 36s. That attack has really brought them back into play. Nicolas Roche, I'm happy to report, has not been shelled and is perfectly placed within this tiny peloton.


Schleck continues to drive up Alto de la Cobertoria. The reaction hasn't been quick but Schleck hasn't blown them away either. The gap from the man from Luxembourg to the breakaway is 1m 38s. As the peloton - which is now an elite group - looks to cover Schleck's wheel.


Schleck's attack has cracked the main field. Roche, Tondo and Nibali are looking to get together as Schleck continues to move away in pursuit of the leaders. The bunch is shelling riders all over the place.


Schleck goes clear! Great move from the elder Schleck. He bursts off the front of the pelton as soon as Cancellara swung off from his stint and now powers up the road. Will the likes of Roche, Tondo and Velits react?


Saxo Bank and Cancellara continue to drive the peloton along in impressive fashion. The gap to the first break is now only 25s wih the lead break 2m clear /// Bredan asks: 'Any news on Roche. How is he going?' - No sign of Nicolas today so we'll take no news as good news. He still sits sixth overall - 2m 43s back.


Juan Oroz has slipped off the back of the lead breakaway with Langeveld also beginning to go backwards. The gap from the peloton to the first break is 47s with the lead group now 2m 12s up the road. Saxo Bank with Fabian Cancellara now hit the front - will Frank Schleck fancy a dig up the final climb?


The climb of Alto de la Cobertoria is underway. Liquigas are on the front of the peloton but the gap to the first breakaway remains at around 47s /// mattinson.richard lays down a gautlet of sorts: 'oh this could be good! Well Liquigas? What you got??'


The first breakaway is now inside the final 50km. It's developing into a wonderfully intriguing stage. The climb of Alto de la Cobertoria could still decide this.


So, we have two groups ahead of the peloton on the road. The gap to the first group is 45s and a further 1m 48s to the current lead breakaway which still includes Luis Sanchez. Liquigas are on the front of the main field and appear to be slowly reeling the first group back.


The lead group are now near to the bottom of Alto de la Cobertoria. It's the final category one climb of the day although the stage does have a mountain finish which could cause havoc.


The three Euskatel riders of Amets Txurruka, Mikel Nieve and Juan Oroz have now caught the lead group and have taken upon themselves to drive it along. Time will tell how much help they get.


The lead riders of eight are now being hunted down by the three Euskatel riders who in turn are 1m 16s ahead of the peloton.


The lead group now numbers eight riders with LANGEVELD Sebastian the latest addition.


The front five have seen their gap to the chasers plummet below 60 seconds although they have increased the lead over the peloton to more than 2m.


The two Euskaltel riders are doing their best to ride the gap to the Sanchez group. David Moncoutie has also emerged from the peloton with six other riders. Not sure how long that will last with such a fast descent.


The main field trundle over the top of San Lorenzo just over 3m back. That could diminish further depending how well the descent goes.


The front five are over San Lorenzo and now begin the long, winding descent. Their lead over the next batch of riders is just under two minutes. The real situation will become apparent when the peloton reach the top of the climb.


WILLEMS Frederik, DE WEERT Kevin, PETERSON Thomas, SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon and TURPIN Ludovic have split the lead breakaway in two as they near the summit of San Lorenzo.


Another group has emerged off the front of the main field. Its made up of BAKELANDTS Jan, TSCHOPP Johann, PLAZA MOLINA Ruben, KASHECHKIN Andrey and KARPETS Vladimir.


TXURRUKA Amets and NIEVE ITURALDE Mikel of Euskaltel are off in pursuit of the breakaway and have a gap of 3m 25s to make up. The gap back to the peloton is 17s.


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The lead is now 3m 50s and if the stage stopped now then Luis Sanchez would find himself firmly inside the top 10.


The breakaway begin the climb of San Lorenzo. The lead is now 3m 42s. We'll see how the peloton reacts as the climb progesses.


The lead 10 are through the feed station with the gap at 3m 4s as they continue on towards the climb of San Lorenzo.


The pack enters the final 100km of today's stage. This is where it could start to get very interesting. The 10-man breakaway have upped their lead over the field to 2m 28s as they enter the feeding station.


With just 11km to go until the category one San Lorenzo the pack lets the breakaway stay at 1m 54s. This climb could see any number of attacks with Nibali's patience and control put under real pressure.


We have a group of 10 that have slipped the peloton which includes SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon at 7m 1s back. The other riders are PETERSON Thomas, MARZANO Marco, SPRICK Matthieu, LANGEVELD Sebastian, DYACHENKO Alexsandr, OROZ UGALDE Juan Jose, DE WEERT Kevin, TURPIN Ludovic and WILLEMS Frederik. They lead by 1m 55s.


Liquigas takes control on the peloton again. A group of riders did try to breakaway after the descent of Alto de Cabuñada by the pack appears content to reach the category one climb of San Lorenzo together.


...and Moncoutie's gamble pays off. Alto de Cabuñada result: 1. MONCOUTIE David 2. MARTINEZ Serafin 3. PASAMONTES RODRIGUEZ Luis


King of the Mountains leader David Moncoutie jumps off the front in a bid to secure more points.


The field is back together as it tackles the category three Alto de Cabuñada.


The field has split now with a breakaway and then the Nibali group not long behind. /// Oliver has some advice for our overall race leader: 'Nibali needs to stop riding like Jens Voigt and start­ protecting his red jersey by riding in the peloton, or­ else he'll lose time on the final climb for sure.'


Tough luck for Dutch rider Lauren Ten Dam. The Rabobank man has been forced to withdraw due to the earlier fall. He was 23rd overall at 13m 23s /// Didnt Nibali try to get in a break away yesterday?­ what is he playing at? maybe he thinks he can win the­ whole thing today? says Julian


Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Oscar Munoz (Cervelo Test Team) have taken advantage of a fall in the pack and slipped 12 seconds clear.


The first intermediate sprint: 1. MENCHOV Denis 2. PUJOL MUNOZ Oscar 3. BAKELANDTS Jan


Well, well, what do we have here? A group of 15 riders have gone off the front and their number includes the red jersey of Vincenzo Nibali.


The escapees have been reeled in and the attacks start as the first intermediate sprint beckons.


The lead is hovering around the 14s mark as Katusha and Confidis battle over control of the peloton. If they keep this up the breakaway could easily get clear.


The peloton finally gets organised with Katusha, Liquigas and Confidis bringing the gap down to 12 seconds.


The breakaway have tip-toed out to 17s ahead of the main field. If they can work together this break could be out alone for some to come. No reaction from the peloton as yet.


Three more riders BOLE Grega (Lampre), MARTINEZ Serafin (Xacobeo Galicia) and PATERSKI Maciej (Liquigas) have joined the breakaway. That's three riders from Xacobeo Galicia up the front which now boasts the impressive Serafin Martinez.


The other eight riders with Uran are FRÖHLINGER Johannes (Team Milram), CESAR VELOSO Gustavo (Xacobeo Galicia), DYACHENKO Alexsandr (Astana), MALACARNE Davide (Quick Step), GARATE Juan Manuel (Rabobank), LUND Anders (Saxo Bank), PUJOL MUNOZ Oscar (Cervelo Test Team), RODRIGUEZ IGLESIAS Gustavo (Xacobeo Galicia) and BENITEZ ROMAN Jose Alberto (FOOTON-SERVETTO). They have a 9s gap on the field.


The real racing finally gets underway with FDJ at the front already and looking to stretch it out for the first kilometre.


As the riders get set to leave the neutral zone Carlos Barredo will still be on a high after his breakthrough victory yesterday.


All 163 riders who finished stage 15 are present and correct today including Frank Schleck who is currently 2m 48s back /// If it doesn't blow wide open for him today then­ Schleck's had it! says mattinson.richard


We're off into the streets of Gijon. The temperature is healthy 21C. The neutral zone is also rather healthy at a bizarrely long 11.7km.


The riders are about to roll out. The first 100km will be pretty plain sailing for the majority of the peloton. The first category one climb at San Lorenzo is after 101km followed by the Alto de la Cobertoria with 40km to go.


Vincenzo Nibali is in the red jersey but the virtue of four slender seconds. If Rodriguez is correct about today's ride we could be in for one the stage's of the year so far before tomorrow's rest day.


Current second-place rider Joaquin Rodriguez believes today's stage could decide the grand tour. Check out the


After the drama of the weekend with Igor Anton's forced retiremment expect no let up in the excitement today - which includes a duo of category one climbs plus a brusing uphill finish.


A very good morning to you and welcome to live coverage of stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana.