Vuelta a España
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Kelme-Costa Blance team leader and one of the favourites for the overall, Oscar Sevilla, was involved in the crash that effected several riders in the final section of the third stage and came in using the kilometre rule to finish same time as the leaders.
As a result of the fall, Sevilla has a strong contusion on the left hip and side, according to the doctor of the Vuelta, Fernando Astorqui, who also assured that there was no danger that the rider would not be able to continue the race.
"I got a good scare. I hope that it does not affect me over the next stages, but certainly my left hip, knee and side are painful at the moment", said Sevilla. "The day has been quite difficult due to the fast speeds and the rain. At this point of the race the teams are still all intact and everyone wants to be at the front of the race".
"My main problem is to know how sleep tonight, because I have a lot of road rash", he added.
Julian Dean went for a long sprint on the slippery finishing straight and that gave him the 4th place on the 3rd stage. Fassa Bortolo’s Alessandro Petacchi was in a league of his own and had no trouble denying Erik Zabel (Team Telekom) the victory.
”Once again, we are at the front of the race and think that we have made a good start to this race. We are competing with a relatively young squad but I think that they are ready for the challenge. Julian does a good sprint and he is only beaten by the most strongest sprinter’s in the peloton”, said Bjarne Riis after a windy stage along the coastline of Northern Spain.
Petacchi -King of the Road
Upon becoming the first man since 1958 to win stages in each of the major Tours -
"I am very happy because I wanted to win stages in each of the major Tours and dedicate this victory to my team. I do not have anything any more to prove. I did not win because the standard of racing has dropped. The finish was very dangerous with the rain pouring down. I was very afraid. I was worried about falling on the turns. My wheels did slip a little but fortunately all went according to plan.”
Joaquin Rodriguez - In Gold not happy
In keeping with the all for one attitude of the ONCE squad it had been decided Isidro Nozal, would take over the Golden jersey from his team mate.
However the well laid plans went astray in the rain soaked finish -
"I do not know how it happened. With the falls and the tension it was a very complicated finish. I am really sorry for Isidro", commented Rodriguez. Still, no real worries for ONCE though - 4 men in the top 4 and a team spirit to be envied.
Stage Four 09/09/2003
Santander - Burgos.151 kms
The escudo climb will probably be the first invitation to break away in this race, though all the teams will try to control the situation on the way to Burgos along a short route. In 1997, the 17th stage of La Vuelta covered a very similar route but that time was a bit longer, 182,7 kilometres.
The control showed by the sprinters helped a very exciting end with the victory of Jan Svorada, in front of Marcel Wust and the German rider Teutenberg. The race was being controlled by Zülle and the Once and the Swiss rider was able to keep his Gold Jersey until he arrived in Madrid. Bruyneel, now team manager, achieved the stage win in Burgos in 1992 though that time the stage had started in Pamplona; he won in front of Pacho Rodríguez and Sunderland, being Montoya the leader overall in that moment.
Last year we arrived in Burgos from Segovia; that day the final sprint was more than exciting with Petacchi, Zabel and Furlan as protagonists.
One for the sprinters - Can Petacchi add to his record?