Little Simon Gerrans is a genius.
A brilliant, crafty ride in the breakaway won him stage 10 of the Vuelta. The Australian has now stage wins in the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta. Not bad for the baby-faced rider from Mansfield, Victoria.
Gerrans, Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) and the evil Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) played played cat and mouse in the final kilometers, weaving all over the road, shadow boxing on two wheels.
Finally, it was Vino who launched the last attack only to be swamped by Gerrans and Hesjedal. Simon says grand tour hat-trick. Garmin now has the hard luck distinction of earning three second places in the tour of Spain. They need to huddle with new sponsor POM Wonderful because they clearly need a little more pomegranate juice.
Gerrans proved to be one of the strongest and definitely the smartest riders in what was originally a 19 man break. It was part poker bluff, part instinct, some blind luck with a few chess tricks thrown in. The Cervelo rider has a knack for the winning move.
For a short time, the race appeared headed for an apocalyptic showdown between Good and Evil. Linus Gerdemann (Milram) summited the final climb first with Vinokourov doing the chase. It was anti-drug crusader again blood doping criminal. Unfortunately, the German crashed on the rough descent. It was shades of Joseba Beloki as numerous riders slid out on the gravel and tight corners.
Golden jersey leader Alejandro Valverde had a relatively quiet day spent waving at his hometown fans from Murcia. (We’re assuming there was nobody there from the Court for Arbitration in Sport to explain why Valverde was racing in the first place. But the rider who got the real cheers was Gerrans, at the finish line, another breakaway timed to perfection.