Vuelta a España
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News Roundup Stage 5
Zaragoza, 10 September 2003
Alessandro Petacchi 6,4,2 and counting
The real "master of the sprints", the Italian Alessandro Petacchi, achieved the fifth stage win of the Vuelta 2003, that covered 166.7 kilometres between Soria Natural factory in Soria and Zaragoza. There was a fall just before reaching the last kilometre banner that helped the work carried out by Fassa Bortolo. Angel Edo, of Milaneza MSS, was second today. Isidro Nozal, of Once-Eroski, is still the leader overall. The great protagonists today have been Igor Astarloa, Mariano Piccoli, David Navas and Karsten Kroon who broke away from the group at the 9th kilometre mark and rode together until they were caught at the 153rd kilometre.
Alessandro Petacchi thus obtained his 2nd victory in this year’s Vuelta and his 23rd of the 2003 season. As he crossed the line - with time to spare he signalled with his fingers a 6 (Giro) a 4 (Tour de France) and then a 2 (Vuelta).
Petacchi outsprinted Angel Edo after safely navigating a crash just over a kilometre from the finish line. Alessandro Cortinovis (Lampre) was treated by the doctors before being taken away in the ambulance with neck injuries. The crash caused the peloton to split into various groups, Petacchi was left with his team and Catalan rider Edo as companions at the finish. Isidro Nozal kept the leader’s Golden Jersey for a second day.
The break of the day took place between kilometres 9 and 153 and was made up of four riders: David Navas (Colchón Relax-Fuenlabrada), Mariano Piccoli (Lampre), Karsten Kroon (Rabobank) and Igor Astarloa (Saeco).
A fear of strong crosswinds kept the peloton alert and the high speed to which the sprinters’ teams wound up the race during the last kilometres was finally responsible for bringing the break back shortly before the finish. The Telekom and Fassa Bortolo teams were especially active in the chase.
During a press conference held after his stage win today in Saragossa, Italian Alessandro Petacchi declared that he aims to finish this year’s Spanish race. “My idea is to make it to Madrid wearing the Points Jersey, although I know that it is going to be difficult. I’ve had a very hard season and I haven’t had enough time to prepare myself for the mountain stages, so we’ll first have to see how I get on in the Pyrenees. I have been studying the route closely: There are several stages in the second week that look good for me, so I’m going to try and make it through these three mountain stages”.
When speaking about his stage win in Saragossa, Petacchi was full of praise for his team mates: “Their work was fundamental in bringing back the break and for me to be able to win. At the end of the stage I was left alone with Angel Edo, so the victory wasn’t as difficult as it has been on other occasions”.
José Antonio Pecharromán retires from the Vuelta
José Antonio Pecharromán abandoned the Vuelta at kilometre 81 of today’s 5th stage, climbing off his bike as just as the riders were picking up food.
Pecharromán, who took the start of the race as theoretical team leader of the Paternina-Costa de Almeria team, had shown a lack of form for some before the Vuelta. His best results this year were obtained in June, when he took overall victory in the Euskal Bizikleta and the Volta a Catalunya.
The Castilian rider is to ride for the Belgian Quick Step team during the coming two seasons
The Council for the Prevention and Fight against Doping gives Galdeano and del Olmo the all-clear
The Council for the Prevention and Fight against Doping (CPFD), a French organisation responsible for drug-taking sanctions, is to allow Igor González de Galdeano (ONCE-Eroski) and Txema del Olmo (Milaneza-MSS) to compete on French soil, in spite of both riders having received drug-taking sanctions.
Although the 7th and 8th stages of this year’s Vuelta are to pass through France and Andorra, the CPFD will not obstruct the development of the race given that it is not organised by a French entity.
Official Race Chronicle
by Osvaldo Menéndez
Sportmen all over the world know that the records are there to be beaten, Petacchi is fully aware of this and that is why he has achieved so many victories in the three major Tours in the world. Six at the Tour, Four at the Giro and two at the Vuelta so far. He became part of the history of Cycling in Santander and increased his list of achievements in Zaragoza. He won quite easily in a day highlighted by the wind, the high speed and the audacity of four men who did not give in until the 53rd kilometre.
All the riders were slightly afraid of today´s stage; the peloton had already shown in stages near the river Ebro that they usually reach a very fast speed. The battle started in Soria. The first kilometres were so frantic that even Oscar Sevilla lost the control of the situation and had to be helped by his experienced team mate Paco Cabello. The Granada-born rider managed to take his leader back into the peloton and what could have been a disaster was just a fright.
Igor Astarloa, Mariano Piccoli, David Navas and Karsten Kroon tried to break all the predictions. They worked as a team from the very first moment and they managed to get an advantage of six minutes. Although they hoped to arrive in Zaragoza alone, the strong team did not allow their dream came true.
When the cross-wind started to blow, when Fassa Bortolo and Telekom decided to work only for Petacchi and Zabel, the dream of the adventurers started to vanish. The advantage was decreasing little by little in the same way as Pecharromán was losing his strength. He withdrew from a race that would have meant his chance to become a cycling star and he chose to wait for next season and for another team..
Petacchi´s power was clearly seen at the finish line. Even though the final sprint was not spectacular due to a fall, Angel Edo carried out a perfect pursuit. He followed him very close until the very end, but he was unable to overtake him at any moment. Petacchi is such a brilliant sprinter that very few can beat him.
Isidro Nozal did not disappoint anyone in the leader´s role. He controlled all the dangers and did not allow anyone snatch the Gold Jersey out of his hands. Once-Eroski and Banesto behaved as very professional riders. The stage was a very complicated one so all those who were able to reach the finish line deserve to be congratulated.
US Postal presented by Berry Floor happy and looking forward to the TT
“Today’s stage went exactly as planned”, we learn from Assistant Director Sportif Dirk Demol. “There was a lot of wind and the pace was high, but we managed to make it to the finish-line without any accidents, which is what it’s all about in the end. The sprinters again faced an untouchable Petacchi. The Italian is so fast this season, most of the other sprinters know all their efforts are only good for second place…”
“Tomorrow will be extremely important, because of the first long individual time trial. Our main men, Roberto and Manuel, may not be specialists against the clock, but I’m sure they will give it all they’ve got to reduce their loss of time to an absolute minimum. Friday they ride on their favourite terrain, where they will want to show how good they really are.” (Official site)
CSC Dean in the points again
”The wind played a big role today but we paid attention in the finale. Many teams were put to hard work. Julian Dean dead another good sprint but Petacchi is quite a mouthful at the moment. This is our 3rd top-10 result and we have reason to be satisfied. Tomorrow will be an important day for Carlos. It will be exciting to see how he is placed after the time trial. From now on, the race will be very tough”, said Bjarne Riis after the stage.
Zaragoza - Zaragoza Ind. Time Trial 43.8 kms
In Zaragoza, the riders will have to face their first important test. They will have to cover nearly 44 kilometres in a time trial along a very flat route. This will be the first moment of balance between the timetrialists and the climbers.
The former ones will have to save time and the latter will have to lose the less possible time. Last year in this city, Aitor González from Kelme-Costa Blanca started to win the Vuelta 2002 when he got 40 seconds of advantage over Sevilla, one minute over David Millar and 1:34 over Roberto Heras. He covered the distance with a time of 45:32.
In 1993, there was a similar time trial in Zaragoza that covered 37 kilometres and where Mauri, Rominger and Breukink got the best times, being the leader Alex Zülle. In 1995, the Vuelta started in Zaragoza and the best rider that time was Abraham Olano in front of Alex Zülle and the Italian rider Baffi.