Chris Horner takes stage 10 and the race lead

Fotoreporter Sirotti

The first really major mountainstage gave all the action and answers it promised. 42 year old Chris Horner taught the young kiddies Basso and Valverde etc. a lesson in climbing they won't soon forget. On the steep slopes up to Alto de Hazallanas he dropped all the others in the select group of favorites with about 5 km to go. Behind he left Basso, Nibali, Rodriguez, Pinot, Roche and Valverde to try and catch up. Nibali eventually made a counterattack to break clear of the chase but even then he never managed to make up any time on Horner who continued to climb out of the saddle all the way to the finishline, building his advantage.

The win secured the Radioshack rider the leaders jersey for the second time as Dani Moreno was an early victim of the brutal pace set by Movistar on the early steep parts of the climb. J-Rod who climbed with the favorites is thereby back in the driver's seat as the no 1 rider on Katusha, something that was questioned overnight after Moreno's superior performances thus far. The high mountains established the clear pecking order on the team though.

Nicolas Roche was the one in the frontgroup that seemed to struggle most to keep up. Always on the limit but still managing to hang on he only lost 2 seconds to the group in the end. Valverde and J-Rod seemed to have little surplus to try anything while Pinot, Basso and Nibali were the ones working (and attacking) to close the gap to Horner.

Tomorrow is restday and then it is up to Horner and RSLT to try and maintain the grip they have on the GC in this Vuelta. No one certainly expected the american to be in this position halfway through the race but he now very much looks like the man to beat in this race.

Top 10 Stage 10 :

1. USAHORNER, Christopher 184 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 4h 30' 22''
2. ITANIBALI, Vincenzo 31 ASTANA PRO TEAM 4h 31' 10'' + 48''
3. ESPVALVERDE, Alejandro 1 MOVISTAR TEAM 4h 31' 24'' + 1' 02''
4. ITABASSO, Ivan 71 CANNONDALE PRO CYCLING 4h 31' 24'' + 1' 02''
5. ESPRODRIGUEZ, Joaquin 121 KATUSHA TEAM 4h 31' 24'' + 1' 02''
6. FRAPINOT, Thibaut 101 FDJ.FR 4h 31' 24'' + 1' 02''
7. IRLROCHE, Nicolas 205 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 4h 31' 32'' + 1' 10''
8. ESPANTON, Igor 92 EUSKALTEL EUSKADI 4h 31' 47'' + 1' 25''
9. ITAPOZZOVIVO, Domenico 11 AG2R LA MONDIALE 4h 31' 47'' + 1' 25''
10. POLMAJKA, Rafal 202 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 4h 32' 14'' + 1' 52''

General Classification:

1. USAHORNER, Christopher 184 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 40h 29' 14''
2. ITANIBALI, Vincenzo 31 ASTANA PRO TEAM 40h 29' 57'' + 43''
3. IRLROCHE, Nicolas 205 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 40h 30' 07'' + 53''
4. ESPVALVERDE, Alejandro 1 MOVISTAR TEAM 40h 30' 16'' + 1' 02''
5. ESPRODRIGUEZ, Joaquin 121 KATUSHA TEAM 40h 30' 54'' + 1' 40''
6. ESPMORENO, Daniel 127 KATUSHA TEAM 40h 31' 18'' + 2' 04''
7. ITABASSO, Ivan 71 CANNONDALE PRO CYCLING 40h 31' 34'' + 2' 20''
8. FRAPINOT, Thibaut 101 FDJ.FR 40h 32' 25'' + 3' 11''
9. POLMAJKA, Rafal 202 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 40h 32' 30'' + 3' 16''
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