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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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Vuelta Stage 7 plus Other News

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. 
See the full story at
Other news: Alejandro Valverde is expected to sue the UCI for the false pu…