JJ Oroz went on the attack in today's 18th Vuelta a España stage. The lanky all-rounder went clear with a strong-looking 17-man group early on and they got to duke it out between them for the win as Geox decided to take it easy and rest up for tomorrow's potentially more taxing stage. Gavazzi and Vandewalle escaped on a small incline with 2500 metres to go and finished first and second, while the Euskaltel rider came home a solid seventh 10 seconds down. Though easily one of the strongest in the break, Oroz was easily the most unpopular one as well. As Euskaltel took control of the peloton inside the last 30km to avoid jeopardizing Nieve's hard-earned 10th place on GC, Oroz was naturally told by the team car not to take any pulls in the break. That's pretty standard. You don't contribute in towing along a break when your own team is pulling the pack behind you. That didn't go down too well with his fellow escapees, though, as Rodríguez, Kiserlovski and co. continuously remonstrated with him. The other riders just didn't seem to get it and vented their anger non-stop. Oroz did the right thing though no doubt. The pack, including Nieve, Verdugo, Martínez and Txurruka, came home 7:42 later, while Isasi came home 15 seconds further adrift. Antón and Cazaux ended up 9:44 in arrears, and Azanza 12:01. Oroz warned the rest of the peloton that Euskaltel will go all out to win tomorrow's stage into Bilbao, so be sure to don't miss out on what promises to be a spectacular day of racing in spectacular surroundings.
Cabedo struggled to keep up on today's fourth l'Avenir stage and came in 5:57 down on the peloton in 83rd place. Omar Fraile finishes two places back in the same time. Cabedo lies in 65th overall, 17:10 down on leader Boily of Canada.
The Vuelta a Salamanca came to a close today with the fifth and final stage. Spaniard Prades took the win from a small breakaway group. The young Naturgas youngsters once again failed to impose themselves but will no doubt have a learned a lot from competing in such a high-calibre race. Chetout and Larrinaga placed 35th and 42nd respectively, both at 19:01, while Merino, Carazo and Ocampos came home with a group 13:55 back. On GC, Larrinaga was 54th, Ocampos 59th, Chetout 64th, Merino 65th and Carazo 79th.