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Weekend Racing Update - September 17th, 2007

Vuelta de Espana:
Today (the 17th) is the second race day. 

Over the weekend, Saturday's race started with the news that Michael Blaudzun of CSC and Carlos Castano of Karpin Galicia dropped out of the race due to injuries sustained during 

Friday's stage. 
Saturday's stage saw many early attempts at a break, but nothing stuck until the 66km mark, when a group of 11 riders went off the front. By 92km, they had built their lead up to 5 and a half minutes and they got as far as 7 and a half minutes up by the 163km point. 

During the last climb, with 20km to go, the lead pack started to splinter as individual riders made attacks. It was not until they passed the summit, with 15km to go, that Jason McCartney (Discovery Channel) and two others got away. McCartney pushed as hard as he could to get away, and enjoyed a 41 second lead with 5km to go. He held on to win the stage over Thomas Lokvist by 28 seconds. 

Sunday's stage saw an early breakaway of 20 riders at the 50km mark. The group worked well together and led by over 4 minutes just 27km later. At the day's second climb, the teams of the race leaders sent domestiques to attack the break and whittled their lead down to 3 minutes, and then 2 minutes. 

By the third climb, some of those sent to attack the break and those who didn't get swallowed up on the climbs started to work together. Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Cadel Evans, Vladimir Efimkin and Samuel Sanchez came to the front of the peloton. 
Sanchez was the man who had the guts to descend hard and fast today and came to the lead. He was challenged by Beltran, but won out in the two-man sprint to take the stage. I'm sure the crowds went wild over a countryman taking the stage.

Denis Menchov continues to lead the G.C., but Sanchez's performance Sunday was enough to bump Miquez out of the top 5. 

Tour of Missouri:
Luciano Andre Pagliarini Mendonca of Saunier-Duval takes the stage while Hincapie holds on to the overall lead.

Danny Pate survivies a long breakaway to win on Saturday. Hincapie still at the top of the G.C.

Hincapie just needed to keep pace with the peloton to win the overall race, but there was a lot of action amongst those looking for a stage win or a chance to move up in the G.C. 
Ivan Dominquez of Toyota-United won the final sprint, and his second stage, after Brad Huff crashed out. Love this picture and caption.

As expected, Hincapie took the overall win. There was a special farewell presentation at the end for the Discovery Channel team, with members from the Motorola, US Postal and 7-Eleven teams. 

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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. 
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