Vuelta a España
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Riders To Watch
Part Two of a three part series, we have a look at the riders and their teams about to do battle in Spain.
All team listings are provisional...
David Millar, time trials and climbs
The French Team Cofidis has a rider who shows a very good performance in the time trials but who is also brilliant at the mountains. The British rider David Millar was born on the 4th of January in 1977 in Malta and became a professional rider in 1997.
In the last Tour de France he achieved the 19th stage win between Pornic and Nantes, near Paris. One failure in his bike deprived him of the victory the very first day of the Tour next to the Eifiel Tower. But this year he won the Tour de Picardie and was third in the Dauphine Libére and the Alps Classic.
Millar already knows what succeeding in Vuelta a España means as he was the first leader in the Vuelta 2001 when he won in Salamanca. After that victory he won again in Torrelavega
41 MILLAR David , 42 ATIENZA URENDEZ Daniel, 43 BESSY Frédéric, 44 CUESTA LOPEZ DE CASTRO Iñigo, 45 FARAZIJN Peter, 46 FERNANDEZ BUSTINZA Bingen, 47 FOFONOV Dmitriy, 48 PEREZ RODRIGUEZ Luis, 49 TRENTIN Guido.
Stage 5 Vuelta 2002 Felix Casas and Guido Trentin. © Unipublic
Santi Pérez, the rider born in Grado
Alvaro Pino is happy to have a rider with a real competitive spirit in his team. The Galicia-born Team Manager trusted the rider born in Asturias and now he seems to be obliged to become one of the stars in this new edition of the Vuelta a España. Santi Pérez is the leader of the Phonak Team and he is completely ready for a race that is very suitable for him.
Besides, he will be very well supported in the Swiss team. There are many people who have bet on his good job; this twenty-six-year-old rider has now the chance of showing that he is good in every field. He has already got a very special stage win, as in the fifth stage of the Giro 2002 he was one of the protagonists of the best breakaway along with Stefano Garzelli, Gilberto Simoni and Francesco Casagrande. Even though Garzelli arrived in the first position, a "not negative" gave the Grado-born rider the triumph, who had managed to leave his two breakaway mates behind. It was between Fossano and Limone Piemonte.
Santi Pérez did his best when he was riding for the Kelme-Costa Blanca team and now he will do the same for Phonak. He is said to have a heart beat of just 33 beats per minute.
Phonak Hearing Systems
141 ZUELLE Alex, 142 AEBERSOLD Niki, 143 BAYARRI ESTEVE Gonzalo, 144 DESSEL Cyril, 145 DOMINGUEZ Juan Carlos, 146 GRABSCH Bert, 147 PEREIRO SIO Oscar, 148 PEREZ FERNANDEZ Santiago, 149 USOV Alexandre.
Stage 11 2002 - The first break forming. © Unipublic
Sastre, original winner
Carlos Sastre will always be remembered as the "dummy rider". The Madrid-born rider wanted to dedicate his first victory in the third stage of the Vuelta a Burgos 2001 and he took out a dummy before crossing the finish line. This scene was filmed by all the media all over the country.
During the Tour 2003 he achieved another stage win, the one that covered the way from Toulouse to Domaines and he placed his dummy in his mouth again, this time this photograph was seen all over the world. At 28 he is already a star.
In 1997 he became a professional rider with Manolo Sainz in the Once Team. In 2002 he moved to the CSC and he is a stronger man. He lives in El Barraco and is married to Chaba Jiménez´s sister. He started riding with his own father, Victor Sastre, very well-known for having taught riders such as Mancebo or Lastras.
191 SASTRE CANDIL Carlos, 192 BRUUN ERIKSEN Thomas, 193 CALVENTE GORBAS Manuel, 194 CHRISTENSEN Bekim, 195 DEAN Julian, 196 LUTTENBERGER Peter, 197 SCHLECK Frank, 198 SORENSEN Nicki, 199 VAN HYFTE Paul.
Virenque, an amazing climber
Virenque is one of those riders who faces the mountains in the old style; once he starts he does not stop fighting until the end. This year he is in his best form again. Lefebre hired him and with the Quick Step he got one stage win in Morzine Avoriaz as well as he got the Gold Jersey during the Tour de France. He was born in Casablanca on the 19th of November 1969, becoming a professional rider in 1991, and is nicknamed the “Scorpion”.
He has been "King of the Mountains" for six times in the Tour and has won mythical stages such as Luz Ardiden in 1994, Cauterets in 1995, Courchevel in 1997, Mont Ventoux in 2002 or Morzine in 2000 and 2003. At 33 he can be considered as a nonconformist rider. He loves riding alone and that is why he attacks constantly when he is in good shape. He has a lot of followers and does not usually disappoint those who are at the tops of the climbs waiting for him.
QUICK STEEP - DAVITAMON
151 AMORISON Frédéric, 152 BOONEN Tom, 153 CANADA GRACIA David, 154 CLERC Aurélien, 155 SINKEWITZ Patrik, 156 TANKINK Bram, 157 VAN DE WOUWER Kurt, 158 VANDENBROUCKE Frank, 159 VIRENQUE Richard.
Stage 15 2002 - Kelme leading the pack on the Alto de Tenebredo.
Möller, Portuguese spirit
Claus Möller was riding for several Spanish Teams but now he is enjoying of a great success in Portugal. The Milanezza MSS leader was trained by Maximino Pérez in Castellblanch, Mx Onda and Toscaf. Then he was hired by Manuel Ceferino in Portugal and this has meant a change for the rider as he has had much less pressure.
Last year he was the winner of Vuelta a Portugal with a difference of just five minutes over Horrach. Möller is very good at the time trials and not bad at all at the mountains. The Spanish fans will remember him because he achieved the stage win in Alto de Aitana the first time it was climbed after a difficult climb with Jose María Jiménez. That meant a lot for Möller because he had tried to win in Pla, but Santi Blanco was better than him. He is going through a very good moment, he has just won the Vuelta al Algarbe in front of Victor Hugo Peña, Pedro Cardoso and David Bernabéu.
Möller was born in Hiorring in Denmark on the 3rd of September 1968 and became a professional rider in 1994. This year he has got the seventh position in the Paris-Niza and the eleventh in Romandy.
MILANEZA - MSS
121 MOLLER Claus Michael, 122 AMORIM VALADA Gonçalo José, 123 BARROSO Paulo, 124 CARDOSO Pedro, 125 DEL OLMO ZENDEGI Txema, 126 EDO ALSINA Angel, 127 HORRACH RIPPOLL Joan, 128 JEKER Fabian, 129 SILVA Renato.
Stage 14 - 2002 - An early breakaway ©Unipublic
Alessandro Petacchi, new leader
Nobody doubts that Alessandro Petacchi is a brilliant protagonist when talking about massive finishes. He has clearly stood out in two of the three major races this year. The rider from La Spezia was born on the third of January in 1974, this year he is riding for Fassa Bortolo.
The Spanish fans had already discovered him in the Trofeo Luis Puig and then in the fifth stage of the Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana, in the streets of Valencia. In the Vuelta Aragón, he won in Sabiñago, Borja and Zaragoza.
Then he imposed his supremacy in Lecce, Catania, Avezzano, Marostica, Pavia and Asti during the Giro and in Meaux, Saint-Dizier, Nevers and Lyon during the Tour. Now it is the time of the Vuelta a España and Petacchi has already showed that he feels quite comfortable in this Spanish race; he will be the hard rival that everyone will want to beat.
1 GONZALEZ JIMENEZ Aitor, 2 DE LOS ANGELES SEGUI Juan José, 3 FRIGO Dario, 4 GUSTOV Volodymir, 5 IVANOV Serguei, 6 PETACCHI Alessandro, 7 TOSATTO Matteo, 8 TRENTI Guido, 9 VALJAVEC Tadej.
Stage 12 - 2002 Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortola) crosses the line, his pursuers still in full force. Courtesy of lavuelta.com
Oscar Sevilla, dreaming of Gold
Oscar Sevilla, once again, is going to be one of the absolute protagonists of the Vuelta a España. Although he is struggling with the final triumph of the Vuelta a España, his youth makes him a good bet.
The young rider from Ossa de Montiel has suffered a lot because of a surgical operation. He could not attend the important races and he gets to the Vuelta a España not in his best shape. In spite of that, everybody remembers that in the last edition he lost his Gold Jersey because of a bad day. Even though he has improved a lot in the time trials, in 2002 he was not ready for Aitor González´s strength.
If he shows he is in good shape and his body is ready, he will, no doubt, be among the great riders fighting for the final triumph in Madrid. Sevilla is very lucky to have so many fans who always support him whatever happens.
Kelme Costa Blanca
91 SEVILLA RIBERA Oscar, 92 CABELLO LUQUE Francisco, 93 GARCIA QUESADA Adolfo, 94 GARCIA QUESADA Carlos, 95 GUTIERREZ CATALUNA José Enrique, 96 LATASA LASA David, 97 TAULER Antonio, 98 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro, 99 ZABALLA GUTIERREZ Constantino.
Stage 12 - 2002 Oscar Sevilla with Spanish beauties, in gold. Courtesy of lavuelta.com.
Erik Zabel, thinking of the sprint
The Telekom keeps on betting on Erik Zabel. He controls the peloton and works for his leader. Zabel is always a star. At 33, the Berlin-born rider knows by heart what he has to do to become winner in the massive arrivals. He has been a professional since 1993 and nobody doubt he is one of the best sprinters nowadays.
His list of achievements is long; he won the Milán-San Remo in 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001. He won the German Championship in 1998 and this year as well. He succeeded in the Amstel and Tours and he achieved the bronze medal in the World Championship last year.
This season he won in Caravaca, in the Vuelta a Murcia, in Lloret de Mar and in Vic during the Setmana Catalana. In the Tour he was second in Bayona, third in Meaux, fourth in Sedan, Saint Dossier and Nerves and fifth the last day at the Champs Elysées, so he could get his own back in this edition of the Vuelta a España
201 ZABEL Erik, 202 AERTS Mario, 203 EVANS Cadel, 204 FAGNINI Gian Matteo, 205 HIEKMANN Torsten, 206 JULICH Bobby, 207 SCHRECK Stephan, 208 WERNER Christian, 209 WESEMANN Steffen.
“Ete” in the points jersey - Vuelta Espana 2002.
All photos and some text copyright © Unipublic.