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Museo de Jamon: Vuelta Stage 15
 
By Locutus
Date: 9/22/2002
Museo de Jamon: Vuelta Stage 15
 
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Gilberto Simoni (Saeco-Longoni Sport). Simoni won the Angliru stage of the 2000 Vuelta, and was looking for more glory today. His team came to the front and rode hard in the lead-up to the last two climbs. Then his teammate DiLuca attacked to soften up the field. Unfortunately, Simoni didn't have the legs to finish it off. He didn't ride poorly, coming in a respectable 7th at 2' 16" behind winner Heras. But worse than not winning the stage was the blow that this delivered to his chances for a high GC finish. Still, he is in 8th on GC at 4' 55", and holds a 1 point lead over Heras for the Climber's Jersey. With one more mountaintop finish on Stage 18 and Heras focused on the Golden Jersey, Simoni can still consolidate his lead in the Climber competition and move up the GC a bit before the final time-trial in Madrid.
  • Oscar Sevilla (Kelme-Costa Blanca) He really picked a bad time to have a bad day, crossing the line 11th at 2' 50". Still, the leader of the Kermits dug deep and minimized his losses, falling to only 3rd on GC at 1' 08". There is still time for him to make up his lost time and take the top position in Madrid. He just needs to rebound and refind his legs before the mountaintop finish on Stage 18 and the final time trial in Madrid.
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Roberto Heras (US Postal). He stormed to his second mountaintop stage victory, showing that he is by far the best climber in the race. The "flyweight flyer" took the Golden Jersey, but he knows as well as anyone that he has to take out more time on Stage 18 if he is to hold off men like Gonzalez, Sevilla, and Beloki in the final time trial. With his team showing poor form so far in the race, he will be hard pressed to hold on for the final victory.
  • Aitor Gonzalez (Kelme-Costa Blanca). The man who smoked everybody in the first individual time trial was able to limit his losses today, coming across in 5th at 2' 16" behind Heras. He is still in 2nd on GC, and he can easily make up his 35" deficit to Heras in the final time trial. He just has to hold on and stay close on Stage 18, and he will be perfectly placed for the final victory in Madrid.
  • Kelme-Costa Blanca. While Sevilla struggled, the Kermits still managed to retake the lead from Coast in the Teams classification. They now hold a slim 31" lead, and will battle Coast all the way to the line for the all-important automatic bid for all of next year's grand tours. The abandonment of Fernando Escartin hurt Coast today, but Coast still has the advantage, as Kelme will be distracted by their pursuit of the Golden Jersey.
Grazed Hams of the Day
  • Guido Trentin (Cofidis). Today was disastrous for Cofidis before they ever even hit the Angliru. Trentin began the day in 8th on GC at 3' 34", and his teammate David Millar was 9th at 3' 36". Both Trentin and Millar crashed hard on the descent of the Alto del Cordal in separate accidents. Millar pulled out under bizarre circumstances. Trentin remounted and struggled across the line in 27th at 8' 03", dropping him to 16th at 9' 55" in the GC. Still, in the terrible rain and with such a hard crash, Trentin showed guts in fighting his way to the finish. Hopefully he can recover enough to compete for another stage win down the road.
 
Related Articles
Museo de Jamon: Vuelta Stages 11 and 12
Museo de Jamon: Vuelta Stage 13
Vuelta Stage 15 Live Coverage: L'Angliru! HERAS!!!

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