Long day...difficult and confusing, structural engineer changing things on us...plus a part of the site seems to have no bottom...
I wanted to summarize today's stage, but I'm really beat. In a word: Efimkin.
The Casse d'Epargne rider was first to the top of the Lagos as the GC contenders came forward and the sprinters like Friere and Bettini dropped off the back or struggled to stay in the peleton. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was the ride of Stijn Devolder of Discovery, who hung on to the chase led by Carlos Sastre of CSC and Denis Menchov of Rabobank. He ended up in fifth overall and looks a pleasant surprise for Discovery in the GC.
The reports I read all commented on the repeated attacks on Cadel Evans of Lotto. It's worth noting that glory, in cycling as in life, is fleeting and triumph is met as often with fleering as with respect. Evans' podium finish in Paris makes him a marked man. No rider will let him break away without a response, or fail to attack him when they sense vulnerability. The reward for success in cycling is unrelenting vigilance.
Probably the most disappointing day's ride would have to be Oscar Periero, who struggled in 14th overall. Although he's CdE's GC favorite I'm sure his team is debating giving Efimkin the green light to defend the Gold Jersey.
Another day in the mountains tomorrow - hopefully I'm not as tired and can talk a little more about the Vuelta and the race to come. Goodnight.
Standings after Stage 5:
1. Vladimir Efimkin (Rus), Caisse d'Epargne, 16:02:50
2. Denis Menchov (Rus), Rabobank,at 1:06
3. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, same time
4. Maxime Monfort (B), Cofidis, s.t.
5. Stijn Devolder (B), Discovery Channel, s.t.
6. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval,s.t.
7. Cadel Evans (Aus), Predictor-Lotto, at 1:28
8. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Cofidis, at 1:33
9. Ezequiel Mosquera (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 1:36
10. Leonardo Bertagnolli, (I), Liquigas, at 1:49