JJ Haedo won the 16th stage of the Vuelta a España this afternoon.
Stage 16 from Villa Romana La Olmeda to Haro in the famous wine area of La Rioja was one for the sprinters left in the race, following the likes of Mark Cavendish, Matt Goss, Marcel Kittel and today's withdrawal Tom Boonen all retiring.
It was also a stage that race leader Juan José Cobo, who snatched Bradley Wiggins leaders jersey on Sunday felt was the easiest of the remaining stages. He said to our friends at Lavuelta.com: "I’ve had a good night. Yesterday, I wasn’t nervous at all but I’ve felt something more nervous going to the start line with the red jersey this morning. I’m pleased with all the people waiting for me in front of the bus. Today is probably the easiest of the remaining stages. It’s easy to control because it’ll be a bunch sprint.”
Today was a day where David Moncoutie (Pictured below) didn't have to worry about anyone trying to reduce his twenty points lead at the top of the King Of The Mountains classification as there was no climbs and only two sprints at Arlanzón after 120.2 kms and at Anguciana after 193.5 kms.
We had two Spaniards and a Frenchman break away. Rosendo and Cabello of AG2R were in a break along with Cofidis rider Fouchard which got away after only a kilometre and a half of racing. They were 8 mins and 6 seconds ahead but by the time, Cabello took the four points at Arlanzón, their lead was just over seven minutes.
With 51.4kms to go, there was a crash and Allesandro Spezialetti of Lampre went down, He got up but was in pain with what looked to be a right collarbone injury and retired from the race.
There was a touch of wheels with 15kms to go and around twenty riders including Jaoquin Rodriquez ,who was wearing the points jersey, went down.
Everyone was back together at the front. HTC Highroad were at the front with four kilometres to go. Garmin took over trying to get Heinrich Haussler to the finish line. Fabian Cancellera who announced that he was pulling out of the race out after this stage, moved up.
Pre-stage favourite nearly crashed as some riders went the wrong way round the final roundabout but Argentine rider JJ Haedo of Saxo Bank was first over the line in a time of 4hr 41 mins and 56 seconds.
Petachhi was second with Benatti with third with Reynes and Howard round out the top five. Nicholas Roche was 11, Chris Froome 13th and Bradley Wiggins 22nd and conceding another three seconds to Cobo who keeps his leader's jersey.
Stage 17 is from Faustino to Peña Cabarga and is 211 km long.
Picture copyright of Tour Of Spain/Graham Watson.