Vuelta Picture Recap - Anticipation and Trepidation
Stage 2, August 27th, Malaga to Córdoba, 167 km
Images © Unipublic
In Roman times, Córdoba had more cultural buildings than Rome. It was the capital of the province of Hispania Baetica. Remains of the Roman Temple built by Claudius Marcellus, the Roman Bridge and other Roman remains can still be seen around the city.
Córdoba was conquered by the Moors in 711, and Moorish influence can still be felt in the city. During the time of the Moorish Islamic rule, Córdoba was the largest city and embodied the most sophisticated culture and the most developed bureaucracy in Europe .
When you turn your back on the Costa del Sol and head inland it only takes a few kilometers before the glitz and glare of the coast is replaced by winding roads rolling over brown hills and past the famous “white hill-towns” of Andalucia. Vineyards and groves of lemon, orange and olive dominate the arid countryside.
Classic Spanish inner city view, Córdoba
Apart from two Cat 3 climbs within the first 30kms the route is flat and basically descending all the way to Córdoba. This should be a day for the sprinters.
With nothing to lose and everything to gain, the Relax-Gam team (the only invited team in this Vuelta) started the first hostilities out on the open road. Raul Garcia De Mateo Rubio attacked almost from the gun. He was caught at 3km and then his teammate Mario De Sárraga counter-attacked. Saunier Duval's David De La Fuente joined De Sárraga briefly before dropping back with a mechanical. From there until km 134, De Sárraga forged a lonely trail gaining valuable TV time for his sponsors and at one point he was over 13 minutes ahead of the peloton.
fter De Sárraga was caught a two man break made a bid for the stage victory but the sprinters domestiques had the race under control. With speeds in excess of 60kmph the bunch literally flew into Córdoba. The wily Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic was holding a wheel just behind McEwen when a gap opened up and he leapt through for the stage win. Next came Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole followed by Luca Paolini (Ita) Liquigas. Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto was fourth. ‘Il Grillo' (the cricket) may have won the day but Hushovd relieved Sastre of the leader's jersey. His second place bonus plus time gained at intermediate sprints during the day gave him a two second advantage over Bettini and seven seconds over Sastre who is now third.
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