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Vuelta Stage 14 Open Thread

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Tough one: 207 km over bumpy roads, so we may not see the obligatory break-catch-sprint stage today. However, the two cat-3 and one cat-2 climbs are hardly the kind of stage to break up the gridlock in the top 10; just a day to be aware of where people are. And maybe sprint it out, though a better guess is that a small group stays away, or a larger peloton but minus some sprinters.

The points race is officially on: with each stage yielding 25 points to the winner (and so on down), Paolo Bettini's lead is down to 22 over the hard-charging Daniele Bennati and Alessandro Petacchi. Moreover, Bettini missed today's sprint entirely, and can't really be expected to insert himself much in the regular field rushes. On the other hand, today is a day where maybe he can get to the line, and minus a few of his sprinting countrymen, so this may be his last best chance to extend his lead.