Today, after the ninth stage (Huesca to the ski resort Cerler), Denis Menchov took lead of the general classement, after finishing second to Piepoli. So now Menchov takes the leader’s jersey, followed by Efimkin and Cadel Evans. It was a huge disappointment for Stijn Devolder, who had hoped to stay the leader of the general classement. Tom Boonen came in towards the end (more disappointment for him).
Here’s a description of the 9th stage from the Vuelta official website:
The climb of Cerler is the first real opportunity this year for the climbers to win back some of the time lost following the Zaragoza time-trial. In addition to the final climb, the stage also includes two 2nd category climbs: MonrepÃ³s (km. 23) and Serrablo (km. 70). The stage should suit those riders looking to breakaway in search of a stage win. Any breaks today are also likely to include “domestiques” sent ahead of the main bunch in order to prepare the ground for their team leaders. However, the final outcome of the stage is sure to be decided on the climb to Cerler. The 12 kilometre climb stands out for the extreme difficulty of the first four kilometres, which includes slopes of 9.5% and 8.5%. It is during these first kilometres that the most important attacks are likely to occur, given that any rider who is able to break away early on in the climb should be able to maintain his advantage on the easier, final slopes. We should therefore expect to see a multitude of attacks during the initial section of this very difficult climb.