Moncoutie puts a X in Vuelta’s Xorret de Catì.

Moncoutie digs the Vuelta.

Months ago David Moncoutie had marked this day, Veulta stage 8 with the nasty Alto Xorret de Catì.

He wanted it the way Twisted Spoke wants a Pinarello Dogma frame-set with full Dura-Ace and Hed wheels. The big difference being, Moncoutie got his wish.

On the final short and brutish climb the frenchman dumped his last breakaway pal Johann Tschopp of the Bbb-Bbox Bboys and soloed to victory. A third Vuelta win for Moncoutie, who loves the Spanish grand tour way more than his home town stage race called Le Tour.

“I’m in a really good shape,” he said. “At the start in Sevilla, I was afraid of the lack of race rhythm since I hadn’t ridden the Tour de France. But now I’m convinced that being fresh will play to my advantage.”

Further down the slopes of the Alto Xorret de Cati, the major GC riders were beating the crap out of each other. It was pretty much a Rodriguez, Nibali and Igor Anton slugfest. The repeated accelerations pushed Denis Menchov out the back along with Frank Shleck and Carlos Sastre who –guess what– is kinda tired, this being his third grand tour of the year.

A little aside: have you heard Carlos Sastre use any of the classic cycling expressions once this year? No, he does not have “good sensations” and no, he does not have “good legs.” What he has is chronic fatigue syndrome. The litte man from Madrid is done, cooked and riding himself to an early grave.

Vince Nibali of the Leaky Gas team, however, has good legs to spare. No matter how many times Igor Anton hit the gas, the Italian just eased back up to his wheel. The man appears to be oozing form or sweating form, which ever sounds less weird to you.

Mister Rodriguez appeared to have taken the red jersey but judges decided to given Anton the same finish line time and Igor slipped on the coveted red lycra. Beware, Vince Nibali is just two seconds behind and he thinks red and lime green look cool together.

Americano update: like a stealth spy plane, Garmin Big Transitions’ Tom Danielson continues to silently inch his way up the GC and sits (shhh…) in 12th place. Nice work, Tommy D. Young Tejay Van Garderen, riding his first grand tour, holds 10 place for the HTC-Columbia team. We at Twisted Spoke always laugh when we hear the cycling expression “revelation of the tour.” Makes us think Jesus is back or some new messiah is doing tricks on a bike.

Finally, from what we can determine from race reports, Christian Vande Velde is still upright and in the race. No crashes today for the man from Chicago.

You have not heard the last of Moncoutie in this Vuelta. “The polka dot jersey remains my goal. I’ll attack again for scoring points and trying to win another stage. Now that Xorret del Cati is done, I have stage 11 in mind. The uphill finish of Pal in Andorra inspires me. I’m curious to see what I can do against the big guns. I also heard of the prestigious Lakes of Covadonga (stage 15) but I don’t know it at all,” said Moncoutie.

He’s feeling good, probably almost as good as VInce Nibali and twice as three times as good as Carlos Sastre.

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