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Vuelta Stages 8 to 10, plus other news

Today is a rest day at the Vuelta. I took my rest day yesterday, so here is all of the information from the last 3 stages. 

Stage 8:
Bert Grabsch of T-Mobile sets a blistering pace of 55 km/h to win Saturday's individual time trial. Laszlo Bodrogi took second and Stijn Devolder got third. Devolder made up enough time to cruise by Denis Menchov in the G.C. Devolder has a 30 second lead, with Menchov, Efimkin, Evans and Monfort rounding out the Top 5.

Stage 9:
Saunier-Duval's Leonardo Piepoli survived a number of attacks to take Sunday's stage. Denis Menchov was in there with him up until the end, but did not fight for the stage win, as he knew that he would still end up in the golden jersey at the end of the day. Stijn Devolder had a bad day, losing 5 minutes off of the leaders. For the stage, the leaders were Piepoli, Menchov, Miquez, Sastre and Zaugg. The G.C. is now led by Menchov. Previous leader Vladimir Efimkin in second, though a little over 2 minutes behind. Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre and Esquivel Mosquera Miquez complete the Top 5.

Stage 10: 
Oscar Freire was a DNS today. He says that he is saving his strength for the upcoming World's.

There was an early escape by 18 riders from the 21km mark. They had a lead of 4'15" by the second climb and as much as 5 minutes by the 100km point. At 185km, some members of the CSC team decided to start reeling in the break, and had the gap down to 2 minutes in short order. The peloton started picking off riders from the break, and when all was said and done, only Ludovic Turpin and Jurgen Van Goolen was able to stay off the front. 

Turpin and Van Goolen's lead was down to 32 seconds with 8km to go. Manuel Beltran was part of a small chase group and he swallowed up the break at the 6km mark. With less than 3km to go, Sastre, Beltran, Menchov, Evans, Efimkin, Sanchez and Piepoli were all battling for the lead. The last 200m of the stage was uphill. Menchov led the final sprint followed by Evans, Sanchez, Beltran and Sastre. Three Spanish riders in the Top 5!

No change at the top of the G.C. today: 
1. Menchov
2. Efimkin
3. Evans
4. Sastre
5. Miquez

Other News:
  • The Univest Grand Prix took place over the weekend in Souderton, PA. It was said to be a huge success. Floyd was in the house. 
  • Alejandro Valverde continues to battle with the UCI regarding suspicions of Operation Puerto involvment
  • The inaquaral Tour of Missouri is starting today. This will be, more or less, the farewell race for the Discovery Channel team. Alberto Contador, as well as George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer will be racing, and they are aiming to put Hincapie on the podium. However, the Toyota-United, Slipstream-Chipotle, Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada and Health Net-Maxxis teams are all in attendance and will be ready to show America what they can do. 

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