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Vuelta Stage 5 plus Other News

Oscar Friere takes his second stage of the Vuelta by outsprinting Daniele Bennati and Paolo Bettini out of the final corner at today's stage.  Despite his efforts Vladimir Efimkin hangs on to the golden jersey with Denis Menchov a little over a minute behind and Carlos Sastre in 3rd. 

Looking through the rankings, there are only 3 Americans in the race. Chris Horner is once again in the domestique role, supporting teammate Cadel Evans, who is in 7th place.  Christian Vandevelde is in 63rd and Jason McCartney is 81st. 

In other news:
  • Astana has released rider Jose Antonio Redondo "for violating team rules." No other information has been made available.
  • Vladimir Efimkin, the current leader of the Vuelta, says that his twin brother Alexander is looking for a team for next year. 
  • Bjarne Riis returns to Team CSC after a self-imposed exile since the Tour. Here's a quote from Mr. Riis: "There doesn't mean there won't be cases and scandals, because there are always stupid riders." So true, so true. 
  • Gerolsteiner will drop sponsorship of their cycling team after the close of the 2008 season
  • T-Mobile has let rider Lorenzo Bernucci go after he tested positive for an appetite suppressant that was added to WADAs list of banned substances last year. He claims that he has been taking the product for 4 years to help control his weight.  The positive test came during the Tour of Germany. It seems that if the product is not used for performance enhancement, he could get off with a warning, but I doubt that WADA would have it on their list if it wasn't. He'll be looking for another job, as T-Mobile said that the termination was based on a violation of their code of conduct.
  • In related news, T-Mobile is still backing the team at this point. 

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Saddles: Specialized found that, because of its comfort and light weight, many of their mountain bike riders were using the Toupe road saddle off road. They saw that they could use the same technology to make an MTB saddle that is as light and comfortable, but more durable and off road specific. The result is the new Phenom saddle.
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The same article mentions the introduction of the Keo Grip cleat. Apparently this is the Keo cleat with some rubber grip pads to help keep your feet under you when walking. 
The new products can be seen at Look Cycle's web site.
As an aside, I see that the review was written by Gary Boulanger, of the late, great Cycles Gaansari.