Battle of the Bola.
Five kilometers to the finish, Ezequiel Mosquera finally decides to try and win the Vuelta. He got his gap, nearly killing himself in the process. He stretched it to ten and then twenty seconds.
Nibali hunched over his handlebar, rocking and barely rolling, sliding back and disappearing from view. Things were half way to epic and the television guys were beginning to froth.
Sadly, things went down hill from there — figuratively speaking — because the World Ball kicks up to 20% in the final section. Downhill because Vincenzo Nibali, the Shark, battled back on pure willpower. It’s wasn’t pretty but it was impressive and at the summit, the Italian had caught Mosquera. One Vuelta for the Shark, a nice Bola del Mundo booby prize for Mosquera.
Frank the Sober Schleck began the festivities by putting in an attack but it was quickly apparent he wasn’t riding away from anyone important. Mosquera and Nibali covered and Frank sighed knowing that Velits would take the final step of the podium in the Helta Skelta Vuelta. Andy was missed and probably not really forgiven.
Americano update: Yahoo, Tom Danielson had a rough ride on the Bola Coaster but hung tough, finishing 17th and locking down 9th overall. Grand Tour rookie Tejay Van Garderen will roll into Madrid tomorrow in 35th.
Radio Shack report: The rumor that Chechu Rubiera would sneak onto the World Ball for a final farewell proved unfounded.