By Graham Jones
and Barry Boyce

CyclingRevealed Historian


Images © Unipublic


Also read:

La Vuelta: A Colorful & Caliente History

Vuelta a Espana Champions Living and Dead

Vuelta Travelogue - Quintessential Spain

Stage 15, September 11th, Cangas de Onís Estación de Esquí Valgrande/Pajares, 191 Km

Categoría Especial for Roberto

Riding across to the Asturias Mountains, the race next heads for another Categoría Especial finish on s tage 15 at the ski station of Valgrande/Pajares. This brutal stage in particular is expected to take on epic proportions.

145 riders signed in for today's stage under harsh weather conidition. Rain, cold temperatures (13°C) and heavy fog all made the Asturian road conditions dangerous.

Nasty wether greeted the riders ( Image © Unipublic )

The race rolled out of Cangas de Onis at 11:55 as the first attack came less than a kilometer later. The first serious breakaway, 4 riders, established a 4'07 gap on the third and next to last climb of the day, the Alto de la Colladiella. But all eyes were on the Heras/Menchov group.

Roberto Heras made a strong attack on the Colladiella and put the race leader into difficulty. Over the top of the category 1 climb the stage still had 53 km to go and Heras was having a good day. Menchov re-connected with the elite group on the descent but Liberty continued a brutal pace. Slowly the Menchov lost contact as the road turned upward.

Menchov struggling on the Colladiella ( Image © Unipublic )

Liberty 's Michele Scarponi drove the pace of the elite group for Heras.

Liberty's Scarponi setting the tempo ( Image © Unipublic )

Under the 6 km to go banner Heras took matters into his own hands. His acceleration dropped Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez and Comunidad Valenciana's Javier Pascal Rodriguez.

Heras attacked ( Image © Unipublic )

On his own at last Heras climbed with a solid tempo as the weather conditions worsened. King of the Spanish mountains Roberto Heras rode solo across the finish line 32 seconds ahead of Samuel Sanchez and 5'17 ahead of a tired Denis Menchov. Heras reclaimed the race leader's Golden Jersey.

Heras in the fog for the stage win ( Image © Unipublic )




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