Igor killed it.
The Euskalel Euskadi rider reclaimed the red jersey today on the final climb to Andorra. It was nothing less than a brawl, a nasty bar fight, and in terms of drama and aggression it topped most every stage of this year’s Tour de France.
With just under 5k to go, Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo-Galicia) accelerated so hard and so fast he looked like Riccardo Ricco with a double shot of EPO. Check the road because there must be a dragster patch of black rubber where he gassed it. You might also scan his bike for a motor.
He didn’t turn a pedal in anger, he cranked it with the intention of slaughtering everyone in Andorra. In a few nano-seconds, he blew the race blew apart and everyone went into red zone misery. Denis Menchov, was gone before you could say tapas and sangria.
Only strong men Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and race leader Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) were able to latch onto Mosquera’s wheel — probably because the X-man blew by so fast the wind literally sucked the other two guys forward. Left behind, Igor Anton, looking resigned to lose major time.
Then Rodriguez suddenly dropped dead, going from contender to zombie. He literally looked like someone flipped the switch. You had to wonder if he wasted too much energy the previous days trying to get red.
Mosquera rode like a angry dog until Nibali finally cracked with 2.5k left to the finish. He just slipped back wishing he had his legs from the Giro. Anyone with a gambling habit would have thrown big dollars or euros on the Xacobeo-Galicia rider taking the win.
Only trouble was, mad Igor Anton found a second wind and starting flying up the road, passing Rodriguez, then Nibali and bridging up to Mosquera — who must have thought, what, I killed him ten minutes ago. Anton waited until the red kite, then ripped away from Mosquera for the win.
It was a vicious and exciting day of racing on the slopes of Andorra. This wasn’t Schleck and Contador patting each other on the back and smiling. This was the Helta-Skelta Vuelta and you can’t control the damn thing. It’s every man for himself, kill or be killed. And the crazy basque chapeau goes to Anton, who was the last man standing in this ride-by-shooting.
Americano Update: Another strong, steady ride today by Garmin Big Transitions’ Tom Danielson who moved up to 12th while Tejay Van Garderen of HTC-Columbia continues to impress at 15th.
Radio Shack report: Another invisble day for Johan Bruyneel’s boys, who never got in a single break and spent the entire day at the back of the peloton and hidden from view.
Schleck update: The non-alcoholic brother, Frank, went to bed last night at a reasonable hour, stayed away from the sauce and finished the day in 10th overall.