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Museo de Jamon: Vuelta Stages 11 and 12
 
By Locutus
Date: 9/19/2002
Museo de Jamon: Vuelta Stages 11 and 12
 

Many thanks to Manny for filling in while I was away at the SFGP!

Stage 11

Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Francesco Casagrande (Fassa Bortolo). He is riding well, but has done little but suck on wheels and ass-watch so far in this Vuelta. Today he again watched as men like Sevilla, DiLuca, Simoni, Heras, Rubiera, Mayo, Zubeldia, and Møller duked it out over the climbs. What is he waiting for? He finished 5th on the stage when it didn't matter, and now stands in 12th on GC at 3' 57". But really, I couldn't even have told you that "the Scarecrow" was in the race if I didn't look at the standings sheets.
  • Felix Garcia Casas (BigMat-Auber 93). He put in some big attacks early in the race on the climbing stages. He was quiet today, likely content to let the big hitters dog each other while he saves his legs for the Angliru. Unlike Casagrande, Casas has earned his high GC placing (7th at 3' 05") from hard racing and daring moves. Look for him to turn aggressive again when he has an opportunity to take time on the uphill finish of Stage 15.
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Pablo Lastras (iBanesto.com). Do they have Wheaties in Spain? This guy has made the most of his golden opportunities this year, this time fighting back hard to pass Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and hold off the charging peloton for his second stage win. While his team leaders Juan Miguel Mercado and Francisco Mancebo have flopped, the young Lastras has shown his talent and saved iBanesto from obscurity in their national tour. His teammates Juan Antonio Flecha, Aitor Osa, and Santiago Blanco have also looked good in their several attacks. With their GC contenders out of it, look for the iBanestos to continue to shoot for stage wins while the big guns jockey for the podium.
  • Euskaltel-Euskadi. They sucked in the Tour de France, and I mean really sucked. But they have turned things around for the Vuelta, and have been a major factor throughout the race. Iban Mayo is in 4th on GC at 2' 04", and Haimar Zubeldia is in 6th at 2' 47". Today they had a great attack off the front, and after that fell apart both Extebarria and Zubeldia had a strong go. Zubeldia fell just short of the stage victory, but he and the Orangemen have shown that they have the class to put a man on the podium in Madrid. Look for more of their attacks to light up the race whenever the road goes vertical.
  • Danilo DiLuca (Saeco-Longoni Sport) . He put in a blistering attack on the final climb, and if it hadn't been for the counterattack by a resurgent Jose Luis Rubiera (US Postal), then he might have stayed away until the finish. As it was, he took 6th, and he might yet add another stage win to his palmares this year.
Stage 12

Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Erik Zabel (Telekom). He came in 2nd to an Italian in a sprint finish. Again. He only has a couple of more chances for a stage victory, but he is a bike slower than Petacchi right now. He is a good bet to win the points jersey, but he will have to find something special to win a stage.
  • The Climbers. After yesterday's stage, they now have only one thing on their minds: the Angliru. There are two more stages before that, but the big climbers like Heras and Sevilla will likely sit on until the big showdown. There will be some climbs tomorrow, but they will favor a long breakaway. The long descent to the finish will not allow any of the big guns to get away, so they will likely mark one another while some of the opportunists with climbing legs have a go.
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo). He finally got a big sprint victory in a grand tour after a few 2nds this year. He looks to be the fastest man in the race with Cipollini gone, and should take at least one more stage before it's all over.
  • Angelo Furlan (Alessio) and Gerrit Glomser (Saeco-Longoni Sport) They came in 3rd and 4th today, respectively. While not quite at the level of Zabel and Petacchi, these sprinters have shown their form and could surprise us with a win before Madrid.
 
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Museo de Jamon Awards: Vuelta Stage 1
Museo de Jamon Awards: Stage 9
Museo de Jamon Awards: Stage 10

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