Long, hot day in the saddle for the riders of the Vuelta, now closing on the halfway point. Flat stage, fast ride, no change in the overall picture, with Denis Menchov of Rabobank still in gold. One little disappointment for me was to see Discovery's Stijn Devolder slipping back - he's down to 9th - as Miguez (who?) of the Karpin Galacia team takes over the 5th GC spot. Funny how the locals always seem to do better at home, eh, China?
Yesterday's winner, Alessandro Petacchi, got a great leadout from Milram teammate Erik Zabel to win the sprint and the stage. Nice to see Petacchi enjoying his win after a tough summer that saw him sit out the Tour de France because of allegations that he abused a perscription ephedrine anti-asthma drug. Bravo, Alessandro!
Tomorrow we're into the...well, not the mountains, but the hills, with some bigger climbs to come over the weekend. We might see a shakeup in the GC - but maybe not. Rabo is reinforcing the impression I got of it in Le Tour: this is a truly solid team. It'll be interesting to see if they can keep Menchov in gold all the way to Madrid.
General classification after stage 11
1 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 44.27.25
2 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne 2.01
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 2.27
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 3.02
5 Ezequiel Mosquera Miguez (Spa) Karpin Galicia 4.35
6 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 4.42
7 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne 5.49
8 Manuel Beltrán (Spa) Liquigas 5.56
9 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 6.28
10 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir 6.34