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Vuelta a Espana - The Favourites, the story so far
By Podofdonny
Date: 9/8/2003
Vuelta a Espana - The Favourites, the story so far

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Stage Three 08/09/2003

Cangas de Onís - Santander 154kms

Santander is one of the cities that has welcomed the Vuelta on many occasions. This time the route invites the riders to increase their speed. History reminds us of the brilliant and spectacular sprints and some remarkable breakaways that ended here. Hermans, Edmons or Di Basco became winners in the streets of this city but some other stages wins achieved here with a great effort such as the one got by Bontempi in 1991 or by Lauritzen in 1993 are worth a mention. The Madrid-born rider Roberto Torres climbed to the top of the podium in this beautiful city.

Angel Casero and his team controlled very well the 13th stage of the Vuelta 2000 that started and ended in Santander; that stage covered 143 kilometres and ended with Piccoli, Halgand and Paco Cabello in the first three positions.

One for the sprinters...

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The Favourites, what happened?

Before the start of the race we looked at the bookies favourites. To read that article click here.

After a torrid two days in Spain we look at how those favourites have fared.

GONZALEZ J. Aitor (SPA - FAS) - Joint favourite - now 46th at 2.44. Not a good start to the defence of the jersey. Bad luck on stage one in the team time trial and unable to hang on in stage two sees last year's winner well off the pace. Not entirely eliminated but will have to pull out an extraordinary performance to recover lost ground.

HERAS Roberto (ESP - USP) - 6th place at 10 seconds. Every thing going to plan for the Bejar-born rider.

GONZALEZ DE GALDEANO Igor (SPA - ONC) - 2nd place. The ONCE look strong. Virtual leader, he and 4 team mates have 10 seconds on everyone.

SEVILLA Oscar (ESP - KEL) - 13th place at 45 seconds. “El Nino,” in spite of lack of racing, is looking up to the job in hand; just as good news, his team is looking stronger than expected.

CASERO M. Angel-Luis (SPA - TBI) - 41st at 2.20. Lack lustre performance by his team and lost ground in stage two - like Aitor Gonzalez, will have to pull of a great recovery to figure.

MANCEBO Francisco (SPA - BAN) - 9th at 24 seconds, things going well for the Banesto boys - strong team performance and Mancebo was on the attack in stage two.

LEIPHEIMER Levi (USA - RAB) - 141st at 14.02, disaster for Levi; got in the wrong split yesterday and saw any hopes for GC disappear.

EVANS Cadel (AUS - TEL) - 81st at 5.31, stage glory the only hope for Cadel in this year's Vuelta now.

PECHARROMAN José Antonio (SPA - ALM) - 187th at 18.52. Even bigger disaster for Pecharroman - dropped by his team in the TTT and now looking forward to joining Quickstep as opposed to the Vuelta, one would guess.

FRIGO Dario (ITA - FAS) - 25th at 1.24. Bad luck in the TTT gave him an early disadvantage, but the "Iceman" showed good legs on stage 2.

AZEVEDO José (POR - ONC) - 18th at 1.19 - Looking after Galdeano will now be his priority.

SASTRE C. Carlos (SPA - CSC) - 21st at 1.13 - Poor TTT gave the Madrid born rider a disadvantage, but yesterday showed that he has the legs and ambition to reverse that earlier poor fortune.

MILLAR David (GB - COF) - 174th at 17.44 - The flying Scotsman stalled badly yesterday - will be looking for TT triumphs only from now on.

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Vuelta a España - The Favourites
Vuelta to the Max.
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