MADRID, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — Juan Jose Haedo won stage 16 of the Vuelta de Espana cycle race on Tuesday in a sprint finish that was spolied by confusion in the closing meters.
Haedo, who rides for the Saxo Bank team, had looked to be out of contention in the last 500 meters, but took advantage of confusion caused by a roundabout, which caused confusion in the riders in front of him, especially the Leopard Trek team, who had looked set to benefit from a fine leadout by Fabian Cancellara.
A poorly marked road saw Daniele Benatti try to go the wrong way round the roundabout, leaving the way clear for a surprised looked Hadeo to ride over the finish, followed by Alessandro Petacchi.
Tuesday’s 203 kilometer stage came after the rest day that had followed Sunday’s daunting stage up the Angliru climb and a relatively flat route also offered a chance for many riders to save energy ahead of the final hilly days of the three day race.
As a result it was no surprise to see a three man break open up a lead of over eight minutes before the peloton reeled it in to a more controllable distance as the sprinters’ teams made sure they would not miss the chance of a rare mass sprint finish.
The final escapee was caught 10 kilometers from the finish and the Leopard Trek team worked hard to set Benatti up for the sprint, but all of that was ruined by the chaos in the closing meters.
There was no change to the overall lead, although overall leader, Juan Jose Cobo was able to extend his lead over third placed Bradley Wiggins by a further three seconds.
Wednesday’s stage sees the riders cover 211 kilometers on a day that ends with a steep 550 meter climb. It could be one of the last chances Wiggins and second placed Chris Froome have to attack Cobo’s overall advantage of 51 and 20 seconds over the British duo.