Vuelta a España • Stage18
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Valladolid - Salamanca
Vuelta a España - 16 September 2010

Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 13:13 on 16 September 2010. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Highlights 
 
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Overall standings: 1. NIBALI, Vincenzo (Liquigas - Doimo) 74h 47' 06"; 2. MOSQUERA MIGUEZ, Ezequiel (Xacobeo - Galicia) +38"; 3. VELITS, Peter (HTC - Columbia) + 1' 59"; 4. SCHLECK, Fränk (Saxo Bank) + 3' 43"; 5. TONDO VOLPINI, Xavier (Cervélo Test Team) + 3' 48"; 6. DANIELSON, Tom (Garmin - Transitions)+ 3' 58"; 7. SASTRE CANDIL, Carlos (Cervélo Test Team) + 4' 16"; 8. SANCHEZ GIL, Luis Leon (Caisse d'Epargne) + 5' 42"

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Stage 18 result: 1. Mark Cavendish; 2. JJ Haedo; 3. Manuel Cardoso; 4. Tyler Farrar; 5. Samuel Dumoulin

0km

Goss goes first and leads out Cavendish. Haedo follows Cavendish. Cavendish goes with Farrar nowhere and just nips out Haedo. Great win for the Manx Missile

1km

Barredo leads the group through the first roundabout. And Matt Goss with Mark Cavendish are three and four from the front.

2km 

Cavendish sits on the left of the peloton towards the front. But he's not on the wheel of anyone HTC. He needs to sort this and quick.

3km 

Now it'll get interesting. We'll have at least three roundabouts to get through before the finish. That might cause some problems. The bunch is packed together but the main contenders all sit near the front as the sprinters begin to make themselves known. Quick Step hit the front.

4km 

The peloton are chugging along at 55kph now. Liquigas are keeping race leader Vincenzo Nibali well out of trouble at the front.

5km

Gilbert looks round and gives up. Pity. HTC take over once with Liquigas taking it up.

6km 

Gilbert now has his pedal rate locked in. He knows that he if can get out of sight the peloton may lose track of him. Meanwhile the peloton whizzes through.

7km 

The front three are still away with Gilbert just off the main bunch too. The peloton is winding its way through Salamanca.

8km 

Philippe Gilbert jumps off the front. The former leader of the race doesn't look back. He simply puts his head down and goes for it.

9km 

As HTC motor along Goss sits in front of Mark Cavendish with Tyler Farrar tucked up in his wheel.

10km

It's a tiny trio then keeping the peloton honest with HTC putting the hammer down at the front with Lampre nicely placed too.

11km 

The final countdown then to what could be a mass sprint. But we have a small gap to our breakaway of just three riders now - TORIBIO ALCOLEA Jose, KAISEN Olivier and BENITEZ ROMAN Jose Alberto. Brave stuff.

20km

HTC and Garmin are back on the front again. There isn't a great deal of organisation but the pace is cranking up. The gap is 42s as we enter Salamanca.

25km 

Once we get into Salamanca the riders will do a circuit of the town before reaching the finish. It should be breathtakingly fast. Assuming the weather stays fair as it is at the moment. The gap to the leaders is 55s.

29km 

The breakaway is now just waiting for the peloton to pick them up. The lead sits at 1m. Not long now.

30km 

The breakaway of ESTRADA RUIZ Juan Javier, TORIBIO ALCOLEA Jose Vicente, PICHOT Alexandre, URTASUN PEREZ Pablo, BENITEZ ROMAN Jose Alberto, PIETROPOLLI Daniele, KAISEN Olivier and ROELS Dominik look resigned to their escape not quite having the legs. The gap continues to fall to 1m 19s.

35km 

All the teams you imagine are beginning to get themselves to the front. Quick Step now join Liquigas, HTC, Garmin and Caisse d'Epargne. All the while the gap to the eight leaders is 1m 55s.

40km 

The eight riders out front now have a time gap of 1m 39s. You fancy that isn't enough to stay away. Mark Cavendish pops up near the front of the main bunch as his HTC's colleagues take over.

46km 

Movement at the front of the pack as Caisse d'Epargne hit the front and cause a sudden injection of pace.

48km 

Pierre Cazaux rejoins the rear of the peloton after his fall at the feeding station.

50km 

Garmin, HTC and Liqugas maintain the pace at the front. The breakaway have 1m 48s on the peloton but you would imagine that will start to come down in the next 10km or so.

60km 

Garmin and HTC continue to lay down the pace at the front. The gap sits at just over 2m.

63km

The peloton now passes through the feeding station. And there's a crash! FDJ's Pierre Cazaux is down. That looked nasty. But he looks to get up and back in stride.

68km 

The lead is up to 2m 5s as Garmin lead the charge at the front. A Farrar vs Cavendish sprint beckons but you never know. This Vuelta has been capable of throwing up all kinds of suprises.

74km

Exactly halfway and the breakaway is now 1m 45s up the road. Jorge Montenegro and David Lopez have both picked up punctures.

15.00

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78km 

The main contenders are safely tucked away in the peloton and, finally, I assume that by "ranking" you mean

78km 

"I dont know how about you lads, I know nothing from­ this comments though..what is happening except the­ rain? who are the 8 leaders, what is the ranking­ then, where are the top few riders at the moment?" says a rather gloomy mihalik8. Well, let's tackle this one by one - the breakaway consists of ESTRADA RUIZ Juan Javier, TORIBIO ALCOLEA Jose Vicente, PICHOT Alexandre, URTASUN PEREZ Pablo, BENITEZ ROMAN Jose Alberto, PIETROPOLLI Daniele, KAISEN Olivier and ROELS Dominik.

79km 

The lead to the breakaway is now just 1m 37s and the rain has relented once more.

88km

The rain is back and so is the gap to the eight leaders. It's down to 1m 54 whereas the temperature is down to 22C.

99km 

Sorry hotkitty6662004. I wrongly assumed you were talking about time bonuses. Not points bonuses. According to the rule Article 12 points area awarded in each of the 21 stages. This would appear to include both time trials. There...clear as mud! Anyone else?!!

99km 

The break has an advantage of 2m 5s which is starting to become pretty steady but with nothing but flat-ish road for the next 90km this is the perfect time to put the kettle on and get ready for live coverage in 30 minutes or so.

106km

The breakaway are through the second sprint. Results: 1. KAISEN Olivier; 2. TORIBIO ALCOLEA Jose Vicente; 3. ROELS Dominik. In other news the rain has stopped for the moment.

109km 

The second and final intermediate sprint is coming up.

111km 

"Can someone explain why cav did not get 25 points on­ stage 1 the Team Time trial, as far as the Vuelta rules­ state it seems that Points are given for all the 21­ stages" says hotkitty6662004 - I can explain. Under Article 10, no time bonuses were awarded for either the team time trial or the individual time trial yesterday. The remaining stages all have bonuses attached to them.

114km

The weather hasn't got any better and a storm cloud appears to be following the peloton.

118km

What did I say about the conditions? The first drops of rain begin to fall from the sky. This could get interesting.

125km 

With that first sprint the breakway begins to come down a touch. It's now at 2m 5s.

127km

That's the first sprint out of the way. Results: 1. ROELS Dominik; 2. PICHOT Alexandre; 3. KAISEN Olivier

128km 

Will W has piped up with: "dont make me laugh eurosport hushovd is no competition­ to cavendish!" - You may not think he's a match but he could certainly take points away from Cav in a bunch sprint.

128km 

The break is just shy of the first sprint with a lead of 2m 14s.

140km 

Only 8km covered and the breakaway already have a cushion of 50s

143km 

Gutted for Gricha Niermann. He tried to make the breakaway group but was swallowed back up by the peloton.

146km 

Boom! That didn't take long. Eight riders jump away. They are: ESTRADA RUIZ Juan Javier, TORIBIO ALCOLEA Jose Vicente, PICHOT Alexandre, URTASUN PEREZ Pablo, BENITEZ ROMAN Jose Alberto, PIETROPOLLI Daniele, KAISEN Olivier and ROELS Dominik.

13.20 

No climbs of any note today. It really is one for the sprinters. There are two intermeditae sprints after 21km and 39km.

13.19 

And the real racing proper gets underway.

13.16 

More late withdrawl news is that Garmin's David Zabriskie has also quit.

13.07 

The start is underway with the usual stroll through the neutral zone. The temperature sits at 25C and the rain overnight has now cleared.

13.02 

News from the start is that Theo Bos and sprinter Thor Hushovd have withdrawn. Pity for Hushovd but more good news for Mark Cavendish as that's one less sprinter to compete for points. The Manx Missile still leads the points competition.

12.58 

Former leader Joaquin Rodriguez and current red jersey wearer Vincenzo Nibali just had a quick chat at the start. It should all come down to Saturday's mountain stage. But today's conditions could play a part.

12.50 

Hello and welcome to live commentary of stage 18 of an intrguing Vuelta 2010.