Juan José Haedo (Saxo Bank) profited from a confusing run-in to win Tuesday’s 16th stage of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana in Haro.
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The Argentinean was practically gifted his winning margin when bunch sprint rivals Daniele Bennati (Leopard-Trek) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas) were duped by a roundabout with 300m to go.
While Bennati’s leadout man Robert Wagner tried to take a line around the right hand side, Bennati himself veered left. Sagan was also caught up in the mess and took a line straight towards the traffic island.
While no one went down, the muddle created numerous splits in the bunch. Undisturbed by it all, Haedo stuck to a line on the left hand side of the roundabout and was almost able to freewheel across the line ahead of Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) and Bennati.
Finishing in tenth place, two seconds back, climber Juan Jose Cobo (Geox) maintained his overall lead.
Because of the splits and his good positioning, Cobo gained marginal seconds on the two Brits immediately behind him in the general classification.
Second placed Chris Froome (Sky) was 13th on the stage in a group two seconds behind Cobo. Finishing in 22nd, Bradley Wiggins lost an additional five seconds on Cobo and now sits 51 seconds behind.
Points classification leader Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) suffered a crash during the stage. Although he quickly re-mounted his bike, he struggled to continue riding and came home over 11 minutes behind Haedo, slipping to 23rd overall.
Vuelta a Espana 2011, stage 16: Villa Romana La Olmeda (Palencia) to Haro, 203.6km
1. Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-ISD
3. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard-Trek
4. Vicente Reynes (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto at same time
5. Leigh Howard (Aus) HTC-Highroad at 2 secs
6. Koen De Kort (Ned) Ski-Shimano
7. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quick Step
9. Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky
10. Juan Jose Cobo (Spa) Geox-TMC at same time
13. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 4 secs
22. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 7 secs
Overall classification after stage 16
1. Juan Jose Cobo (Spa) Geox-TMC
2. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 22 secs
3. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 51 secs
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 1-41
5. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard-Trek at 2-40
6. Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC at 3-06
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek at 3-08
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 3-49
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 4-03
10. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 4-18
Juan Jose Haedo wins the confusing finale
Even on today’s flat stage, race leader Juan Jose Cobo gained time on his rivals
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By Graham Watson
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