Kittel takes the win at Talavera’s finish as mass crash into the final straight takes Lastras and Erviti down with no major consequences
The 2011 Vuelta a España held its first mass sprint today, with Germany’s Marcel Kittel (SKS) profiting from a maiden chance for the fastmen -after the difficult finish on stage 2 in Orithuela- in this year’s Spanish grandtour to notch up the victory in the seventh stage, over a flat, 184k route from Almadén to Talavera de la Reina, ruled by the wind in the finale. Movistar Team, always attentive into the front of the pack, was involved in the spectacular crash happening into the bunch right into the sprint with Imanol Erviti and Pablo Lastras. The two riders in blue, with numerous bruises, don’t seem to have any major injuries, so the telephone squad will stay with eight riders on course after the withdrawal from Chente García Acosta, who left Jaén into an ambulance shortly after Friday noon en route to the Clínica San Miguel in Pamplona, where he will stay under observation for the weekend before being operated on his left ulna and radius fracture.
Another hard finish will be awaiting the riders in Vuelta’s stage 8. The arrival to El Escorial, after 177 kilometers and three categorized climbs (one Cat. 1 and two Cat. 2), plus a final kilometer including slopes up 28% gradient, will be another test for the GC riders.
Sanz, Rojas close Poitou-Charentes into top-ten
In turn, a second Movistar Team block completed today their participation at the Tour de Poitou-Charentes on French soil. The squad directed by Yvon Ledanois paid its daily visit to the top places in the race, putting Enrique Sanz (6th) and José Joaquín Rojas (9th) into the top-ten at the final sprint deciding the final stage 5 in Poitiers, won in a late attack by Alex Dowsett (SKY). Rojas (2nd on stage 3A) was the best Blue representative overall for the day in 7th position -Pasamontes also making the break today-, with Plaza (15th), Herrada (16th) and Rui Costa (23rd) also on the fore of a ranking led by New Zealander Jesse Sergent (RSH).
Picture: Sabine Jacob