Haedo claims Vuelta stage
Cobo maintains race lead
Last Updated: 07/09/11 12:22pm
Haedo: Avoided the carnage in Haro to take his biggest win of the season
Juan Jose Haedo took advantage of a technical finish to sprint to a comfortable victory on stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana.
A frantic finale that saw a roundabout placed 500 metres from the line saw the lead sprinters scatter with Peter Sagan (Liquigas) forced to take evasive action.
Haedo (Saxo Bank-Sungard) picked the correct line through the bottleneck and opened out a number of bike-lengths at the line in Haro while Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) and Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek) rounded out the podium places.
Leopard Trek pushed the pace into the finish but were denied on a day that allowed the sprinters one of only a few chances to take a stage victory.
Race leader Juan Jose Cobo (Geox) kept out of trouble to take tenth place on the stage and ensure he remained at the top of the standings for another day.
Chris Froome finished three places further back for Team Sky but was deemed to have dropped two seconds at the line on the provisional result sheet. The Brit ended the day still second on the standings 22 seconds back.
With fears of cross-winds ahead of the stage failing to materialise on the lengthy 203.6km test the scene was set for what should have been a relatively straightforward run into Haro.
Three men hit out early, with Julien Fouchard (Cofidis) reaffirming his reputation as one of the most active men in the race by making the break alongside Andalucia team-mates Jesus Rosendo and Antonio Cabello.
The trio built up a healthy advantage of over eight and a half minutes before work from the likes of Lampre and Liquigas saw the gap begin to be pegged back as warm temperatures returned to the Vuelta.
The peloton were in no mood to hang about following the rest day and put down a searing pace, Leopard Trek taking it upon themselves to hit the front in a bid to line things out with 35km remaining.
With the pace high in the bunch a crash on the straight run-in brought down a number of riders including points jersey holder and multiple stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). The Spaniard battled on but finished the stage 11 minutes down to drop out of 13th overall.
The plucky Rosendo was pulled back metres before the final intermediate sprint of the day in Anguciana which ensured a rapid sprint for the precious bonus seconds.
David De La Fuente won the sprint on behalf of Geox team-mate Cobo but significantly Chris Froome, despite initially being listed as third in the sprint, was edged into fourth after officials reviewed the sprint.
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) was another to lose a small amount of seconds but remained a comfortable third, 51 seconds back.