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Racing News - September 24, 2007

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). 

Closing notes:
  • 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.
Other News:
  • 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.

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Raul Garcia de Mateo and Jesus Rosendo broke away from the peloton only 3 km from the start of today's stage, eventually building up a nine minute lead. Their breakaway was aided by a big crash in the peloton with about 30km to go, but they still ended up being caught about 7 km from the finish. 
The sprinter's teams worked to move their riders to the front, but another crash within 2km of the finish blocked many of the contendors from previous days, such as Pettachi, Bennati and Freire. Allan Davis, Eric Zabel and Paulo Bettini were lucky enough to be ahead of the pack in a bunch sprint and fought for the stage amongst themselves. Allan Davis looked to have it wrapped up, but Zabel came around on the left in the final seconds to take the stage. Davis took second and Bettini was in third. There was almost no change in the G.C. today, with Vladimir Efimkin still on top. 
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Other news: Alejandro Valverde is expected to sue the UCI for the false pu…