Vuelta a Espaņa - Moncoutie reigns in Spain
Eurosport - Sat, 04 Sep 15:57:00 2010
The French rider was involved in a five-man group that broke away from the main field after 20 kilometres and never looked back.
After the category one climb of Xorrent del Cati four kilometres from the finish Moncoutie outrode his rivals to record a sweet victory.
The day began with the sad news of the death overnight of Team Sky assistant Txema Gonzalez.
The peloton observed a moments silence before rolling out of Villena under brilliant sunshine.
For the first time this race the peloton continued to pay its respects to Gonzalez with the real racing not starting until 10 kilometres into the stage.
The decisive break of the day came by luck rather than design. Quickstep's Dario Cataldo attacked causing panic in the main field.
A crash ensued bringing several riders down - none seriously - including HTC-Columbia's Mark Cavendish, which allowed Cataldo's group, now 10-strong, to create a gap.
When these riders were reclaimed by the peloton eventual stage winner Moncoutie jumped away and was joined by Johann Tschopp (BBox).
The quintet sensed their opportunity and set about creating a gap they hoped would give them enough protection when tackling the final category one climb of the day - Xorret del Cati.
Their hard work was rewarded with a lead of around eight minutes with 45 kilometres remaining.
As they began the final climb the peloton had organised a substantial pursuit with Liquigas and Katusha heading the pack.
The main contenders all came to the front with Igor Anton, Joaquin Rodriguez and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) determined to make time on overall leader Philippe Gilbert who suffered inside the final five kilometres.
But it was Moncoutie who held his nerve to ride the rest of the breakaway off his wheel to seal a notable victory by 54 seconds from Martinez and Tschopp.
After initial confusion, Igor Anton Hernandez (Euskaltel), who finished seventh, and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) were both handed the lead at the expense of Gilbert.
The Vuelta finishes in Madrid on September 19.
Video: Last minute