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Museo de Jamon Awards: Vuelta Stage 4
By Locutus
Date: 9/9/2002
Museo de Jamon Awards: Vuelta Stage 4
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Jeroen Blijlevens (Domo-Farm Frites) and Oscar Freire (Mapei-Quick Step). Domo kicked Jans Koerts off of the Vuelta team to make room for Blijlevens, but his 10th place today was the grouchy sprinter's best showing so far. I don't think that's exactly what Domo had in mind. Freire came in 8th today, and while not riding poorly, he has yet to show the spark that led him to a stage win in the Tour de France. He is still recovering from the crash that took him out of the Tour, and he has some serious ground to make up on men like Cipollini if he plans on successfully defending his World Champion's Jersey this year on the flat course in Zolder.
  • Kelme-Costa Blanca, U.S. Postal, and They've only shown themselves briefly to ensure that their leaders were in good position coming into the dangerous parts of the courses. Otherwise, they've been pretty much hiding amongst the hams for the last few days, but that will change tomorrow when they hit the mountains. Look for Botero and Sevilla (Kelme), Rubiera and Heras (U.S. Postal), and Mancebo and Mercado (iBanesto) to attack the ONCEs and one another tomorrow on that 37 km Special Category monster known as the Sierra Nevada. And look for their teams to do a lot of work throughout the stage to set things up for their leaders. Let the pain--and the fun--begin!
Golden Hams of the Day.
  • Mario Cipollini and his Acqua e Sapone Team. Once again, Mr. Sprint got a perfect leadout from his big zebra train to take the stage win. Yesterday the Sapones were challenged by several other trains in the final kilometers, but asserted themselves and took control with 2 km to go. Today there was no such challenge, as the other teams simply tried to position their riders on Cipollini's wheel at the back of the zebra train. Italy should seriously consider taking every Italian on Acqua e Sapone's Giro and Vuelta squads to Zolder with them to support the Lion King's attempt to claim the World Championship for his homeland: they have proven themselves against the best competition in the world time and time again this season. And because I have him on all my fantasy cycling teams, I must say Viva Mario!!
  • Gerrit Glomser (Saeco-Longoni Sport). After helping lead Danilo DiLuca out for a win in Stage 2, Glomser sprinted himself to 13th place in Stage 3 and 3rd place today. His kick at the line put him ahead of men like Zabel, Svorada, and Freire today, no mean feat for the Austrian. It will be interesting to see what he can pull out of his hat in the sprints to come.
  • Dario Gadeo (Jazztel-Costa de Almeria). The brave Spaniard attacked from the bell today and stayed away for most of the stage. Most importantly, he was alone off the front when he entered the town where his sponsor's headquarters is located, making a nice impression on the brass before getting pulled back by the peloton. Though he didn't win, this was an extremely impressive and professional performance by Gadeo.
Grazed Hams of the Day.
  • Ivan Quaranta and Paolo Savoldelli (Index-Alexia). This has not been Quaranta's year. After a promising start where he won a couple of stages at the Tour of Qatar, he suffered a training crash that ruined his Giro. He has shown poor legs so far in the Vuelta, and to make matters worse, he crashed in one of the many dangerous roundabouts that lined the route at the end of today's stage. The crash also took out Savoldelli, and so both of Index-Alexia's leaders limped across the line banged up (Savoldelli 193rd @ 5' 01", Quaranta 201st @ 6' 31"). Here's hoping that both men survive tomorrow's difficult mountain stage and recover enough to make a difference down the road in this Vuelta.
Related Articles
Museo de Jamon: Vuelta Stage 3
Vuelta Stage 4 - Live Coverage
Vuelta Stage 4 Official Tour Notes

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