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Vuelta a España - Stage 4 Roundup
By Podofdonny
Date: 9/9/2003
Vuelta a España - Stage 4 Roundup

Vuelta a España

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News Roundup Stage 4

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Unai Etxebarría of Euskaltel-Euskadi became winner of the fourth stage that covered the 151 kilometres between Santander and Burgos. Unai, along with other seven riders, was the main protagonist of the day. He was very brave when he broke away from the his group near Burgos and finally he took advantage of his deed. David Etxebarría, who rides for the same team was second and the Colombian rider Felix Cárdenas was third.

Isidro Nozal, of Once-Eroski, who was also one of the contenders in the break, has become new leader overall as the peloton was more than one minute behind. Alessandro Petacchi, who rides for Fassa Bortolo, had problems and his team could not help him get to the sprint. Oscar Sevilla, of Kelme-Costa Blanca, also had problems to reach the top of El Escudo climb during the first half of the race.

Isidro Nozal

“There have been no problems in the team about what happened yesterday in Santander. Our mission today lay in allowing a break to get away and to make sure that one of the team was up front in order to maintain first place in the General Classification”. The 25-year old cyclist went on to say: “I’ve dreamt about this moment since I was a small boy and I hope to be able to keep the Jersey for at least a few days, perhaps even until after the time trial”. When speaking of the time trial in Saragossa, the new leader recognised that, although he has competed in longer time trial stages (the Saragossa stage covers 43 km), “I have never felt this pressure before and I don’t know how I will respond”.

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Four riders retire during today’s stage

Two riders were unable to continue in the race today. Following the climbs of El Escudo and the Carrales Pass, both Giosué Bonomi (Saeco), who was involved in one of the crashes that took place during yesterday’s stage, and Jan Schaffrath (Telekom) decided to call it a day.

These two retirements join those of Cadel Evans (Telekom), who was also involved in a crash yesterday, and Oscar Mason (Vini Calidirola), neither of whom took the start this morning.

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Official Race Chronicle

by Osvaldo Menéndez

When talking about cycling, happiness, suffering and sadness are the three main protagonists. Everyday some win and others lose; but there are times when bad luck is very painful. In this fourth stage of the edition 58th of the Vuelta a España, the one which covered the way between Santander and Burgos, there was a higher number of riders who suffered than those who were successful.

Isidro Nozal, the rider from Cantabria, came out the happiest. Now he is the leader overall and with an advantage of nearly one minute. For Manolo Saíz´s rider, the most important thing is the time and not the position he gets at the finish line. Happier still in Burgos was the Venezuelan-born Basque, Unai Etxevarría. At the moment of truth Julian Gorospe´s rider was the bravest and cleverest one. He was one of the contenders in the break along with seven more riders and dared to leave them behind in the very moment when all of them are thinking that someone else will attempt the break.

Those who suffered most were Oscar Sevilla and Alessandro Petacchi. The young leader of Kelme- Costa Blanca paid today the consequences of the blows he suffered next to the beach of El Sardinero on Monday. Sevilla arrived at the Escudo climb very early and his team had to help him reach the peak without losing much time. Petacchi got more tired than he expected when the cross-wind came and Fassa Bortolo wasted more energy than predicted to keep him among the favourite sprinters who were incapable to catch up with the riders of the break.

Felix Cárdenas also made his team, Labarca2-Café Baque, happy. The Colombian rider has just returned with new strength and style from his country and he seems to be ready to fight for the great mountain prize. He was the best in el Escudo and in Carrales. Cárdenas initiated all the attempts to break and he formed the best group of the day along with David Etxebarría, Unai, Gutiérrez, Nozal, Laguna, Van Goleen and Fabian Jeker. It is very probable that the latter of these was the strongest out of the ones who managed to arrive in Burgos with an advantage, but in the last leg of the race he suffered an accident and fell over badly.

Unai and Nozal proved that anything is possible in La Vuelta and that there will be more tense stages to follow. It is evident that there are moments of strength and weakness in every situation.

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US Postal presented by Berry Floor happy

So why no chase down fromn the US Postal team on the eight escapees - Dirk Demol explains -

“Among those eight leaders there were no potential dangers for the g.c. That’s why we took it rather easy, while at the same time riding attentively, in order not to let the eight in front get too far ahead. All in all, this was rather a difficult stage, with a lot of wind, and the guys are glad it’s over.”

“It may sound strange we are satisfied, as we didn’t have one of our riders up front. We look further ahead in the future, to the full three weeks the Vuelta lasts. Heras and Beltran give a good impression and the team is going strong so we are very confident for the days to come.”(Official site)

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CSC look to tomorrow

“Bekim was part of a breakaway that was caught just as the group went away on the mountain. The sprinters’ teams were not interested in catching the front group and that was the end of that. Julian Dean placed 3rd in the peloton’s sprint and he was again able to demonstrate that he is among the quickest riders in the peloton. He will get a new chance tomorrow”, said Bjarne Riis. (Official site)

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Soria - Zaragoza 167kms

Since 1935 Zaragoza has been a reference spot in La Vuelta. The enthusiasts from this city will, no doubt, remember brilliant sprints and frantic fights along these streets that have the added risk of the tracks of the trams.

Among some other important riders, Van Poppel, Abdoujaparov, Mauri, Jalabert, Hermans, Gastón or Olano became winners in the streets of this city. In 1983, this stage was covered the other way round, from Zaragoza to Soria along 174 kilometres being the leader Julián Gorospe; that day the stage win was fought among Saronni, Heredia and Hinault.

In La Vuelta 1998, there was a stage between Soria and Lagunas de Neila whose absolute protagonist was Chava Jiménez. This will be a perfect day to check the speed record in the Vuelta a España. If there is a tail wind blowing the riders will probably "fly" over the road.

We have to remember that the fastest stage was the one between Logroño and Zaragoza in 2001 won by Igor González de Galdeano; the average speed was 55.176 km/h.

Will the speed record fall again?

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