Stage 20 - September 22, 2007
Samuel Sanchez picked up his third stage win in this year's Vuelta, narrowly beating race leader Denis Menchov by 12 seconds and Stef Clement of Bouyges Telecom by 14 seconds. He gained 19 seconds over Cadel Evans, possibly securing a position on the podium for Sunday's final stage.
Daniele Bennati took another chance to thumb his nose as those selecting riders for Italy's World Championships team, taking his third stage win at the Vuelta.
This final stage was more of a parade than a race. Nothing much happened until the racers reached the city limits of Madrid, when Jesus Redondo and Raul Garcia de Mateo attempted attacks. The Liquigas team also tried to put a couple of riders out front, but ultimately it was the Lampre and Milram teams that took control. Alessandro Pettachi and Daniele Bennati went shoulder to shoulder down the final straight, with Bennati able to dig a little deeper and take the sprint.
Denis Menchov rode to his second overall Vuelta win, but only his first chance to stand on the top of the podium (he was awarded the jersey in 2005 after Roberto Heras was disqualified for EPO use).
- Menchov is sure to have his eye on the Tour de France next year.
- The race was fairly unventful after the first week. Certainly a lot of good racing action, but with very little effect on the overall G.C.
- Did anyone get busted for PEDs? I can't think of anyone. So, did the TdF scare everyone straight, or was testing lax?
- Superman: Belgian Mario Aerst of Predictor-Lotto completed all 3 of the Grand Tours this year. Pretty amazing considering how many stars still focus on 1 of the 3 races.
- Belgium's team for the Worlds is still up in the air. Maybe they should call Mario Aerst (see fourth bullet above)
- Jurgen Van Goolen of Discovery will spend the next 2 years with Team CSC. Volodymyr Bileka will go to Predictor-Lotto
- WADA has released their updated list of prohibited substances for 2008. They have added selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), a family of nonsteroidal molecules that has the same effect as anabolic steroids, as well as instituted an general ban on intravenous infusions.
- Australia's Tour Down Under is lobbying to be added to the Pro Tour as it begins to expand beyond Europe.
- Oscar Pereiro is now the official 2006 Tour de France champion. Crowds everywhere yawned.