The 142 kilometres long route from Segovia to Carlos Sastre's hometown of Avila was won by his CSC teammate Karsten
Kroon won the sprint, but since the finish line was placed just after a three-kilometer climb the actual sprinters were
long gone. The CSC rider was the only rider to keep up with the powerful acceleration of Rabobank's Thomas Dekker on the uphill
cobbled roads to the finish. The real surprise was that the complete podium was Dutch with 2007 Tour de l'Avenir winner Bauke
Mollema (Rabobank) coming in third.
"I've done this finish in Avila a couple of times before in the Vuelta and it
suits me really well – especially considering my present form. So I decided to go for the victory and everything worked
out perfectly," said Karsten Kroon, who also demonstrated top form recently in Paris-Nice, where he came close to snatching
the leader's jersey after a string of good results.
With his own top form in mind Kroon was not exactly modest
about his victory:
"It was about time! I've been close a few times now, but I haven't had that last bit of luck. I've been
in the top-10 three times and then today was finally my lucky day," said Kroon.
A Dutch podium in a difficult Spanish stage-race; it has seldom been demonstrated. Hence, Rabobank sports director Adri
Van Houwelingen was not too bothered by the fact that Kroon went on to win the stage. "Of course I would have preferred to
win the race with my own team, but it is not like we want to take anything away from Karsten, in spite of the fact that some
people do think differently about this. This definitely would have bothered us had this been the Tour of Flanders. Right now,
we are just enjoying the excellent podium places of Thomas and Bauke and particularly their great style of riding," smiled
On the cobbled stone roads to the finish, Mollema managed to protect his lead. Thomas Dekker perhaps took over the
lead a little bit early at around three-hundred meters from the finish, after which Kroon blasted past the rest. Before that
Mollema launched himself like a rocket from the fourteenth position all the way to the front ranks. Only Kroon and Dekker
were not within reach for the Dutch young gun, who surprised several followers.
Astana's Alberto Contador (fifth in the stage) maintained his leading overall position with teammate Levi Leipheimer still
second. Rabobank's Thomas Dekker is third overall.
Van Houweling concluded: "Karsten [Kroon, editor] has promised us some champagne as well. We and CSC are staying at the
same hotel, so it is going to be a fun evening."