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Vuelta a España - Stage 2
By Podofdonny
Date: 9/7/2003
Vuelta a España - Stage 2

Vuelta a España

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Stage Two

Luis Pérez wins in Cangas de Onís

Cangas de Onís, 7th September 2003

The Madrid-born rider Luis Pérez of the French team Cofidis, achieved the stage win of the second stage that covered 148 kilometres between Gijón and Cangas de Onís. Luis Pérez showed, as well as Carlos Sastre did, that he is one of the strongest men of the peloton and that he has arrived in very good form for this new edition of La Vuelta. Both riders fought for the stage win in the climb to Alto del Mirador del Fito and their rivals were not able to catch up with them.

The stage has been hard and many riders had to give in to the attacks by Once-Eroski, Kelme-Costa Blanca and The new leader overall is the Cataluña-born rider Joaquín Rodríguez, who has beaten his team- mate Igor González de Galdeano both of Once-Eroski.

"© Unipublic".

Official Stage Chronicle

by Osvaldo Menéndez

There is a very popular song in Spain that says something like "don´t call me a dreamer because I have a dream". This song is very well known all over the country. Everybody knows the words and of course the riders could not help singing it when they were climbing the Mirador del Fito. Yesterday, in the second stage of La Vuelta 2003, Carlos Sastre and Luis Pérez, two emigrants of the Spanish peloton, worked together along the ramps of the climb which leads to Arriondas and finished fighting for the victory at Cangas de Onís, very near the Covadonga Sanctuary. Sastre already knows what winning a stage means, but Luis Pérez of Cofidis has been dreaming about this victory for eight years. He came to the Vuelta ready to realize his dream and he did: in Cangas he achieved the bunch of flowers and a position on the podium.

"© Unipublic".

The stage was exciting. Fortunately for everyone, Santi Blanco, José Mestre and Nacor Burgos could start the race in spite of the injuries they suffered last Saturday in the streets of Gijón. Sadly for cycling, Mario Cipollini has gone to Italy and he did not start the race affecting this sport and the World Champion Jersey very badly. From the Alto de la Madera to the Alto del Fito the attempts to break away were continuous. Not a moment of calmness or a second of breathing space. All the riders contributed to this stage´s success. Once-Eroski managed to keep his leader Jersey, Kelme-Costa Blanca imposed a fast pace when the going got tough and the riders worked hard.

Everybody knew that the Mirador del Fito climb was going to decide the outcome of the stage. All of them were aware that Sastre and Pérez were in good shape. They were undoubtedly the two great protagonists of the day meanwhile stars such as Aitor González or Angel Casero did not manage to get in among the best.

"© Unipublic".

Igor González de Galdeano and all his team-mates worked hard all day to keep the Gold Jersey and, although at the end Pérez and Sastre fought alone for the victory, the time differences were not big enough to overtake Once-Eroski. The Cataluña-born rider Joaquín Rodriguez did however manage to beat his team-mate González de Galdeano in the overall standings and he became second overall. It is almost certain that the young Joaquín had the famous song in mind "don´t call me a dreamer….." as he was riding.

On the way to Santander it will be his turn to defend the Gold Jersey.

"© Unipublic".

Meanwhile CSC were more than happy how the stage had progressed -

“I was very motivated today and that means everything in a race like this. I did not feel particularly well on the climb but I could see that the others were suffering more than I did so I took the chance. It is a good way to show that we are here to do a good race. I tried to take the stage victory but Perez was much faster than me in the sprint”, said a satisfied Carlos Sastre who climbed into a much better position in the general classification with today’s aggressive effort.

“It was good to see that Carlos had the legs to split the peloton apart. I am convinced that he is ready for this race. Luttenberger had an unfortunate puncture right before the final climb and he lost time because of that. The rest of the team did an okay stage and I think that they will show good form on the coming stages”, said Bjarne Riis after the 148 kilometres from Gijón to Cangas de Onis. (CSC Official Site)

Likewise U S Postal presented by Berry Floor were happy how the day had progressed-

“I warned the team today’s stage would be very tricky and the facts proved me right”, Assistant Director Sportif Dirk Demol tells us. “The result is somewhat surprising because top riders like Gonzalez and Casero lost more than one minute and a half. This is of course to the advantage of both Heras and Beltran, who did excellent today. During the stage, it became clear Roberto and Manuel had good legs and would easily follow the rest of the pack.”

“Now we get a number of less dangerous stages, in which we will have to watch out we don’t lose ‘stupid’ seconds. I think Once will control well in order to safeguard the leader’s jersey. If you ask me, we will witness a bunch sprint tomorrow.” (US Postal/BerryFloor)

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