Stage 17 photo gallery>>

When Belgian star Tom Boonen sat up with a kilometre to go before the bunch sprint in Valladolid on Wednesday, it wasn?t clear why Quick Step had been working so hard in the run-in to the finish. But the answer was soon revealed: stage winner Wouter Weylandt.

A talented young Belgian sprinter, Weylandt crossed the line barely half a wheel ahead of CSC-Saxo Bank?s Matti Breschel.

A small margin, maybe, but still enough for the 23-year-old to celebrate his first victory in a major Tour and Quick Step?s fifth in the Vuelta 2008.

?It?s been a really crap year so far, so to win here in my first ever three week stage race is absolutely amazing,? Weylandt told reporters.

?I crashed before the Vuelta when I rode into a car, then I crashed just before the Angliru [on stage 13] when I came off on a dangerous descent and hurt both my knees.

?But I felt a lot better today, and when Tom told me with 20 kilometres to go that I would be doing the sprint today, not him, I was ready.?

For Weylandt, the bunch sprint victory made up for his failure to lead Tom Boonen out on stage four to Puertollano. Not judging the speed in the lead-out correctly was thought to have cost his team leader the win and apparently earned him a roasting afterwards.

?Normally Gert Steegmans is the lead-out man for Tom, but he?s going to another team [Katyusha] next season,? Weylandt explained. As a result, Steegmans is no longer given so many chances to race, and Weylandt had to fill the gap. At Valladolid, he did even more than that.

Quick Step?s formidable success rate in the Vuelta stages is bad news for the rest of the teams, though. Only nine of the 19 teams on this year?s Tour of Spain have won a stage so far – and there?s only four days? racing left to go.

TOUR OF SPAIN 2008: STAGE 17 RESULTS

Zamora – Valladolid

1. Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) 148km in 3h 18min 48secs


2. Matti Breschel (Den) CSC-Saxo Bank

3. Alexandre Usov (Blr) Ag2r

4. Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi

5. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner

6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence-Lotto

7. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Gerolsteiner

8. Sebastien Hinault (Fra) Credit Agricole

9. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre

10. Claudio Corioni (Ita) Liquigas all same time.

British

116. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Credit Agricole at 29secs

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 17

1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 69h 53min 52secs


2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana at 1min 17sec

3. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Astana at 3min 41sec

4. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo-Galicia at 4min 35sec

5. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 5min 49sec

6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse D’Epargne at 6 min

7. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse D’Epargne at 6 min 11sec

8. Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 8min 56sec

9. David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis at 9min 32sec

10. Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Gerolsteiner at 10 min 1sec

British

109. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Credit Agricole at 2h 17min 27secs

Tour of Spain 2008The day’s action was dominated by a two man break consisting of Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank) and Jose Ruiz (Andalucia-Cajasur) who spent almost the entire day out front. However, the hard-working duo were caught by the bunch with just 6km to go

Tour of Spain 2008Andreas Kloden, Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador

Tour of Spain 2008Wouter Weylandt wins stage 17

Tour of Spain 2008Another stage, more kisses more race leader Alberto Contador

Photos by Graham Watson

TOUR OF SPAIN 2008

STAGE REPORTS

Stage 16: Boonen wins second sprint

Stage 15: Garcia Dapena takes solo win

Stage 14: Contador takes second mountain-top stage win

Stage 13: Contador wins on Angliru to take lead

Stage 12: Bettini wins, Valverde out of contention

Stage 11: Freire wins stage

Stage 10: Hinault wins, Martinez retains lead

Stage nine: Van Avermaet takes stage, Martinez new leader

Stage eight: Moncoutie triumphs in Vuelta’s second Pyrenean stage

Stage seven: Ballan takes surprise win in mountains

Stage six: Bettini wins, Chavanel leads

Stage five: time trial win for Leipheimer

Stage four: Bennati takes crash-strewn stage

Stage three: Boonen bounces back

Stage two: Valverde powers into lead

Stage one: Liquigas are surprise winners

NEWS

Tour of Spain rest day review 1

Tour of Spain on Eurosport (schedule)

Behind the scenes at the Tour of Spain

Tour of Spain – still a week too long?

Tour of Spain kicks off this weekend

PHOTOS

Stage 17

Stage 16

Stage 15

Stage 14

Stage 13

Stage 12

Stage 11

Stage 10

Stage nine

Stage eight

Stage seven

Stage six

Stage five

Stage four

Stage three

Stage two

Stage one