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Museo de Jamon Awards-Vuelta's Stage 7
By Manny Samaniego
Date: 9/13/2002
Museo de Jamon Awards-Vuelta's Stage 7
I was asked by the Site Goddess to fill in with the Museo de Jamon Awards because our own Locutus, creator of this coveted category, is on the scene getting things ready with our DP team for the San Francisco Grand Prix.

It was one of those transitions stages today, from Jaen to Malaga. A real scorcher of a day, which meant most of the peloton wanted to just cruise along and save as much energy as possible. But as it's usual in the Vuelta, you can bet your entire paycheck, that if there's a break, a Jazztel or Relax boy will be involved in the action.

A hard working break finally stocked and looked quite promising, with Nieto (Relax-Fuenlabrada), Van Goolen (Domo-Farm Frites), Piccoli (Lampre) and Portal (AG2R) each taking hard and quick pulls to keep their line moving. At the back, Telekom and a few Zebras were keeping the break honest and at a reasonable distance.

Another sprint gave the fans and TV viewers the opportunity to admire the fastest man on two wheels give the rest a lesson on how to win a sprint. I mean, if you haven't watched his displays so far, shame on you.

So, here I'm going to try and give my humble opinion of whom I think deserve the prizes:

Ham Gazer of the Day

Jerome Blijevens: For sending his boys to the front to line up the sprint and then he couldn't handle the Chief Zebra. Wasn't he the one who said that Cipo was finished?, but when was the last time ol' Jeroen got kissed on the cheeks by two pretty girls with flowers, some stuffed animal and a nice-cold bottle of champagne?

Erik Zabel: Probably the only sprinter who can give Cipollini a run for his money. The Telekoms did another super job to reel the break, but when it came time to deliver, he had to settled for second, riding shotgun to Mario. That makes it three in this Vuelta.

Golden Hams of the Day

Mario Cipollini: Showed again that he should be the SOLE leader of the squadra azzurra in Zolder. I know I will get Fabio's seal of approval on this one.

The Zebra Herd: With 4 kilometers to go, Telekom was in control, when someone opened the door and let the zebras out. They stampeded to the front, told the pink boys to take a hike, and made riding at 65kph look easy. This has to be considered art, at its maximum expression.

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