|Vuelta a España
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Aitor González starts this year’s Vuelta with the added pressure that comes with wearing the number 1 dorsal and, for this reason, is cautious in his forecasts of the race’s outcome. Following his poor performances in the Giro and the Tour, the Fassa Bortolo team leader’s only wish is for his health to hold out during this year’s race and to be able to compete with the best riders for the overall victory. Such is his aim, as he expressed to Spanish cycling magazine Meta 2Mil this week:
- Will you be taking the start with the idea of winning the general classification in Madrid?
- Yes, but that isn’t my main objective. My first aim is to recover the sensations that I had during the 2002 Vuelta. Then we can start to think about winning.
- Is this year’s route more suited to climbers or to time trial specialists?
- I see it as being very balanced. There are two long time trials, but there are also seven mountain finishes. If a time trial specialist such as myself wishes to win this year’s Vuelta, he’ll have to put in a good performance in the mountain stages.
- Which stage do you like least?
- The La Pandera stage. It is a very steep pass and the worst type of finish for a rider of my characteristics. The other climbs are longer and less steep, they are better suited to my abilities.
- Who do you see as your rivals during this year’s race?
- Well, I think that you will have to tell me as I’m not really sure who will finally be on the start line, although I imagine that the Vuelta will be a contest between Spanish riders: Heras, Sevilla, Casero, Igor...
- And the main rival?
- We won’t know that until the race starts, but I have a hunch that it will be Casero. I was surprised during the Tour of Burgos to see that neither Sevilla nor Heras were able to keep up with the best riders during the climb of Lagunas de Neila, they are usually very quick at picking up form, but they still have time to improve. I also saw that Casero was riding very well indeed. It wasn’t a case of him outperforming everybody else, but we cyclists pick up on these things quickly and it was easy to see that he was going well, very relaxed, and this makes me think that he’s going to be the man to beat.
- Will the Abantos hill climb favour a climber or a time trial specialist?
- At that stage of the Vuelta, the hill climb will favour the strongest rider. The winner will be the winner of this year’s Vuelta, because he will be the strongest rider at the end of the race and that could be a climber or a time trial specialist.
Aitor Kintana eliminated from the Vuelta after failing a second drug-test
Aitor Kintana (Baqué-Labarca 2) will be unable to take the start in this year’s Vuelta after showing positive for EPO in a counter analysis carried out for drug use.
Kintana, winner of the third stage of the Volta a Catalunya, was declared positive after a drug test carried out by UCI commissioners on 21st June.
His team, which was prepared for a possible second positive result, has replaced Kintana with Valencian rider Iván Herrero.
Riders to consume 250,000 bottles of Nestlé Aquarel water during the Vuelta
Nestlé Aquarel has reached an agreement with Unipublic, the company responsible for the management of the rights related to the image of the Vuelta, to sponsor the race during the coming three editions. During the present edition, Nestlé Aquarel, which is to act as official water supplier to the event, is to distribute 250,000 bottles to riders, members of the public and the race organisation. Likewise, the brand’s image is to be present throughout the race and during the show “El Gran Guiñol”, which the organisation has prepared for children at the end of each stage.
Drinking water and maintaining a good level of hydration whilst practising a sporting activity are crucial in order to obtain an optimum performance, given the body’s need to replace the liquids and mineral salts lost during exercise.
Additionally, cycling fans attending this year’s Vuelta will be able to hydrate themselves in the same fashion as their idols by receiving water from the Nestlé Aquarel distribution points located at the start or finish of each stage.
Similarly, Nestlé Aquarel will supply water to children enjoying the “El Gran Guiñol” show at the end of each stage.
Our team will be the 14th team of the 22 taking part for the starting times of the Vuelta 2003.
The Vuelta starts at 15,35, with Ibanesto.com ready to launch the 30km of the first stage of the Gijon-Gijon, and closes with Fassa Bortolo at 16,59.
Here is the list of our riders and the numbers they will be wearing.
111 – Belli, 112 – Bertoletti, 113 – Bertogliati, 114 – Cortinovis, 115 – Garate, 116 – Piccoli, 117 – Righi, 118 – Svorada, 119 – Villa
The route invisioned by our sporting directors, Bontempi and Pirovani, is judged by both as being "Fast, with a brief rip of 1500 metres, not too demanding. The route between highway and motorway can permit a constant speed. For Lampre the hope is to finish the trial in the first ten teams".
Our riders will utilize a technique, double plateau 54x44 and 11x21.
Team Time Trial - The Bookies Choice
Gijón - Gijón Team Time Trial 30kms
After the great success achieved last year in Valencia, La Vuelta 2003 can break all the records next to the beautiful beach of San Lorenzo in Gijón on the 6th of September. The sea and the sand will be the witnesses of a spectacular beginning this year. If we take into account the data of the previous year when the teams were able to get an average speed of fifty-two kilometres per hour, everything is possible in 2003.
Last year in Valencia, after having covered the first 24.6 kilometres of the opening time trial, the Once-Eroski placed Joseba Beloki as leader after having covered the distance in 26 minutes and 11 seconds. That day the US Postal lost 14 seconds, the Kelme-Costa Blanca 15, the Telekom 18 and the ibanesto.com 27 seconds.
In Gijón they all will have to cover 30 kilometres with a climb of 155 metres on the way to Tremañes but then the time trial will end with a spectacular descent towards the beach. In the last Tour de France, over a distance of 69 kilometres, the US Postal with Roberto Heras, Rubiera and Beltrán used 1:18:17, just 30 seconds less than the Once-Eroski, 43 seconds less than the Bianchi and 1:05 less than the iBanesto.com.
But this year with less kilometres, the times will be even closer.
Starting Order Team Time Trial Gijón, 6th September 2003
iBanesto.com 15.35 h.
Relax-Fuenlabrada 15.39 h.
Domina Vacanze-Elitron 15.43 h.
Paternina-Costa de Almería 15.47 h.
CSC 15.51 h.
Milaneza 15.55 h.
Labarca 2-Cafés Baqué 15.59 h.
Bianchi 16.03 h.
Kelme-Costa Blanca 16.07 h.
Phonak 16.11 h.
Euskaltel Euskadi 16.15 h.
Saeco 16.19 h.
Rabobank 16.23 h.
Lampre 16.27 h.
Alessio 16.31 h.
Telekom 16.35 h.
Cofidis 16.39 h.
Saunier Duval 16.43 h.
Quick Step-Davitamon 16.47 h.
ONCE-Eroski 16.51 h.
US Postal Service-Berry Floor 16.55 h.
Fassa Bortolo 16.59 h.