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Museo de Jamon: Vuelta Stages 16-17
By Locutus
Date: 9/25/2002
Museo de Jamon: Vuelta Stages 16-17
Ham-Gazers of the Day
Stage 16
  • ONCE-Eroski. When Kelme attacked on the big climb, they shredded Postal and isolated Heras. On the descent there were five ONCEs and five Kelmes in the group with the lonely Heras. Kelme couldn't really attack any more than they had, because they had two men in the break up the road. But ONCE didn't have anyone in the break. So why didn't they attack Heras? They rode passively in the Tour, and they are riding that way again in the Vuelta. They are a wildly talented team with strong riders who seem capable of tearing the legs of most everybody. So why don't they? What are they afraid of? Several great riders have said over the years that you have to risk losing to win. ONCE doesn't seem willing to do that, which is why they keep placing riders on the lower steps of the podium but haven't hit the top spot in a grand tour for quite a while. Kelme has risked everything several times in this race, as has the fearsome Heras. That's why Heras, Sevilla, or Gonzalez will win the race in Madrid.
Stage 17
  • Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo). His team came to the front and controlled the stage for over 100 km, but he came in 3rd in the sprint. Still, this has been a breakout Vuelta for Petacchi. Everyone has known his talent for quite a while, but he has languished in the shadow of other sprinters like Zabel and Cipollini on the big stage. Not anymore. He has been a dominating presence in this race, taking one stage victory and several other top three finishes. His team believes in him, and he believes in himself. The fact that he's getting a ham-gazing award for coming 3rd is a testament to the talent and form he has shown so far in the Vuelta.
Golden Hams of the Day
Stage 16
  • Santiago Botero (Kelme-Costa Blanca). He had looked horrible in this year's Vuelta until today. The way he has struggled with his form would have led most big riders to drop out, but not "The Battler"...he has hung in there to try to help his team in any way he can, and look how it turned out. He wins the stage, defends his the Kermits' lead in the team competition, and looks like a hero. He deserves every accolade they throw at him.
Stage 17
  • Roberto Heras (US Postal). While his team has struggled, the "Flyweight Flyer" has looked like a man of iron. While Kelme and Euskaltel have constantly attacked and ONCE has ironed their skirts, Heras has effortlessly stayed near the front undaunted in defense of his Golden Jersey. He looks like he's ready to win another stage tomorrow, and if he takes the top spot in Madrid, he will certainly deserve it.
  • Angelo Furlan (Alessio). Where the hell did he come from? That must be what Erik Zabel must still be saying tonight. Zabel finally gets the better of Petacchi, then BAM! Furlan comes flying around him on the right for the stage win. The young speedster has just announced himself as a dangerously fast finisher on one of the biggest stages in the world. We'll see if he can repeat this wonderful victory down the road.
Related Articles
Museo de Jamon: Vuelta Stage 15
Vuelta Stage 16 Live Coverage
Vuelta Stage 17 Live Coverage

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