Let’s see if this reads right because there’s something odd: Denis Menchov beats World Champion Fabian Cancellara in a Vuelta time trial.
No wait, Peter Velits beats Cancellara and Menchov in the time trial. Is it April Fool’s day in Spain or something? Peter Velits?
Yes, it’s the Helta Skelta Vuelta and Velits did indeed whomp Spartacus by 37 seconds on the 46k out and back course in Penafiel. Crazy things happen in the Vuelta like wild toro bulls chasing the riders down the road. Pamplona in Penafiel.
The toro theory is just one of many that attempt to explain today’s occurrences on the flat, zero technical course. First, the man in the red jersey Joaquin Rodriguez died after 5k and crawled in six minutes down and his spirits even further down. The jersey did not give him wings, instead it was an 800 pound grand piano.
Vince the Shark Nibali lost at least 30 seconds after a puncture and the world’s slowest wheel change. Vince needs to hire ace Rabo mechanic Vincent Hendricks, the man who saved Menchov’s Giro victory with his quick thinking. Still, Shark pulled himself together and took 15th, enough for red and a 39 second lead over the man he said he didn’t fear, Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia).
Uhh, better fear now. Mosquera rode a decent time trial and has a real shot at winning the Vuelta. That shot is named the Bola del Mundo — or as we like to call it, World Ball — a nasty mountaintop finish.
Other craziness: Leif Hoste (Omega Pharma-Lotto) in 6th place only 30 seconds slower than Cancellara and Carlos Barredo (Quick Pedal) taking 8th. Who had that crystal ball and is it available for purchase?
Americano Report: Tom Danielson (Garmin Big Transitions) had promised to leave it all on the road. That’s a cycling term meaning he planned to sweat alot and make up big batches of lactic acid. A 14th place keeps Danielson in 7th overall and Twisted Spoke throws a chapeau his way. Barring a collapse on the World Ball, a top 10 is all but assured.
Kudos also go to Dave Zabriskie for his 7th place, which means he’s the highest placed funny guy in the Vuelta time trial. No small achievement.
Schleck update: The clean and sober Frank Schleck came in 51st and may or may not have stopped at one of the famous local vineyards for a quick taste of Tinto Pesquera wine. Hard to say, really — best to just ask Bjarne Riis. Frank moved up to 4th on GC, just 1:44 off the podium and is still mad at his brother Andy.
Radio Shack Headline: Enough was finally enough for the Vuelta organizers who have been outraged by the Shack’s complete lack or combativity. Today, the head of the Vuelta tossed the squad out of the race.
A shocking and bitter story for the men of Radio. Johan Bruyneel said “Who cares? I never felt like we were in the race anyway.” However, Lance Armstrong was disappointed by the ejection since he’d sent the riders a few cases of his new Honey Stinger waffles.