Foto by Roberto Bettini
Vuelta A La Comunidad Valenciana
Stage 1 San Vicente del Raspell, Ind.Time Trial: 9,7 kms
By Fabio and Podofdonny
Dario Frigo was back to his winning ways on Tuesday as he clinched victory in the opening stage of "Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana", a 9.7-km Individual Time Trial in the town of San Vicente del Raspeig.
The Italian clocked a time of 10 minutes and 58 seconds to beat an excellent Alez Zuelle by 6", with Czech Time-triallist René Andrle of O.N.C.E-Eroski snatching third at 06". The Manolo Saiz boys had another good performance in the Time-Trial, as they got four riders in the stage Top 10, and even seven in the Top 15, but couldn't grab victory this time.
A bit of a disppointment also for one of the stage red hot favourites, Britain's David Millar, who ranked fifth, at 8" behind Frigo.
The Fassa-Bortolo rider also became the first overall leader of the competition.
“The distance was suited to Dario’s characteristics, said Sport Director Stefano Zanatta after the race. "It was 9 kilometres, fairly flat and not very technical, a course suited to high power. Dario was one of the last to set off and went very strongly.”
Other Fassa men to go well were Petacchi, Velo and Tosatto (14th), however Bruseghin had a fall but fortunately was not hurt too badly. It was the first victory of the season for Dario Frigo and the fourth for the Fassa Bortolo Team.
"Alex’s main aim is the Paris Nice," said Coast DS Wolfram Lindner. "He is in good form and will try to ride at the front on the big mountain stage on Friday to test around his form for Paris Nice."
The youngster's sixth place surprised many people, but not Team Coast DS Wolfram Linder. "One could expect a Top-10-placing from him." The young German (12/03/1978) has been a pro since 2001 and has one victory to his credit, the Stauder-Preis Essen in 2001.
Speaking on his website this evening David Millar said -
"5th was good today, I'm quite pleased with the way I rode. I haven't really done any top end training since last year and the World Championships was my last TT so I wasn't expecting to cruise to victory.
"I felt good but I was just lacking that extra bit of pace and power. For the first TT of the season it isn't a problem because I will be focusing more on the TT training over the coming months."
For more of Millar's comments on the race please visit his very excellent website here.
The Cofidis line up in this race is particularly strong:
Inigo CUESTA, Bingen FERNANDEZ, Robert HAYLES,
Andreï KIVILEV, Massimiliano LELLI, Angelo LOPEBOSELLI, David MILLAR, Guido TRENTIN.
DS Alvaro Pino chose the following riders for the 5 stage tour:
Bayarri Gonzalo, Camaño Iker, Fertonani Marco, Grabsch Bert, Kupfernagel Stefan, Moos Alexandre, Salmon Benoît, Strazzer Massimo.
Tomorrow's Stage is from (Xorret del Catí) Castalla to Vila-Joiosa. The climb of Alto de Tudons is crossed twice, the first time at 42km where it is ranked Cat 2 (since the riders start at an altitude of 650 metres so “only” have to climb about 300 metres). The race then drops nearly 900 metres befors a steady climb over the Alto de Confrides (Cat 2 at 112 km) and again over the Alto de Tudons (Cat 1).
There is then a 30 kilometre descent into the finish. Whether the sprinters will have the legs to catch up is doubtful - expect a peloton of around 35 riders to contest the finish.
Stage One Results and General
1. Dario Frigo (Ita - Fassa-Bortolo) - 10'58" (50.8 km/h)
2. Alex Zulle (Swi - Team Coast) - at 05"
3. René Andrle (Cze - ONCE-Eroski) - at 06"
4. Jörg Jacksche (Ger - ONCE-Eroski) - at 07"
5. David Millar (GBR - Cofidis) - at 08"
6. Daniel Becke (Ger - Team Coast) - at 10"
7. Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa - ONCE-Eroski) - at 13"
8. Alvaro González Galdeano (Spa - ONCE-Eroski) - at 14"
9. David Bernabeu Armengol (Spa - Milaneza-MSS) - at 15"
10. Javier Pascual Llorente (Spa - Kelme-Costa Blanca) - at 15"
11. David Cañada Gracia (Spa - Quick-Step Davitamon) - at 18"
12. Rafael Diaz Justo (Spa - ONCE-Eroski) - at 19"
13. Xavier Florencio Cabré (Spa - ONCE-Eroski) - at 20"
14. Matteo Tosatto (Ita - Fassa-Bortolo) - at 22"
15. Jan Hruska (Cze - ONCE -Eroski) - at 23"