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Brent Bookwalter's day in the breakaway came on the longest stage of the race. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Brent Bookwalter's day in the breakaway came on the longest stage of the race. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Vuelta a España, Stage 18: Bookwalter's Day In The Breakaway

6. September 2012

On the longest stage of this year's Vuelta a España, BMC Racing Team's Brent Bookwalter and four others spent more than 170 kilometers Thursday working to hold off the chasing peloton.

Seized The Opportunity
Bookwalter's breakaway enjoyed its largest lead of the day – five-and-a-half minutes – after 55 km on a day that grew increasingly warm and was run on long, straight, wide-open roads. "Once I got out there, I realized these were terrible roads for a break," Bookwalter said. "I probably could have seen that from the map. But the way this race has gone and the crazy stuff that has happened and the days that have ended not out of a break when we expected them to, and vise versa, I figured it didn't hurt to try. There's fewer and fewer opportunities as we get to Sunday. So I was happy I was able to get out there and put my nose in the wind a little." The chasing efforts of the peloton brought their escape to an end with 17 km left in the 204 km race and Daniele Bennati (RadioShack-Nissan) narrowly edged out Ben Swift (Sky Procycling) to take the stage as Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) kept the overall lead. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Max Sciandri said Bookwalter's effort was impressive despite long odds of making it to the finish. "They were doing 50 kph an hour and they couldn't do any better than that," he said. "It's really hard for the concentration on the long, straight, flat roads."