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Vuelta Stage 6 Roundup
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 9/11/2003
Vuelta Stage 6 Roundup

Nozal won the time trial with might in Zaragoza

11 September 2003 --The wearer of the Gold Jersey of the Vuelta 2003, Isidro Nozal, acted like a champion and won the sixth stage time trial stage which took place in Zaragoza over 43.8 kilometres. Nozal gave an astonishing performance, finishing with a time of 53:34, one and a half minutes ahead of David Millar of the Cofidis team. He was one of the first to start but finished second. Igor Gonzalez did well in the time trial and achieved second position overall. Manuel Beltran of US Postal also came out with a surprising result, achieving the third position overall. Klaus Möller of the Portuguese team, Milaneza MSS also gave an impressive performance and is now fourth along with Roberto Heras who is fifth. Oscar Sevilla had a very bad day and lost a lot of time which may be due to the fact that he is still suffering badly from muscular pains.

The Golden Fleece, Isidro Nozal, in today's ITT. Courtesy ONCE-Eroski

Daily Report by Osvaldo Menéndez

The ONCE-Eroski managers were feeling disappointed several days ago in Santander as they had wanted Isidro Nozal to put the Jersey on in front of his fellow men. He only missed it by a few points and even Joaquín Rodríguez climbed onto the podium with resignation. What was not expected at all was that Nozal broke away on the way to Burgos and even less that he behaved like a real champion on the streets of Zaragoza.

The Nozal family was born, among other things, to cycle and fight against the time. The youngest of the family can do it in the Canadian World Championship and Isidro did it exceptionally in today's sixth stage of La Vuelta. His was a remarkable time trial. From the moment he began he clenched his hands, focused his eyes on what was ahead and he went for the kisses and flowers of the podium. He had all the time references, a privilege always held by the Gold Jersey.

Nozal had to beat David Millar. The Cofidis leader set an exceptional time (54:54), all without references or rivals, just using his own style. They all fought against Millar. Noboby could improve his time. Only Isidro Nozal was able to break with the norm. Only thanks to his strength and ability was he able to beat the English rider by one minute and twenty seconds.

The day was full of good news. Jan Hruska only lost six seconds in relation to David Millar while Igor González lost seventeen. Aitor González, Manolo Beltrán, Klaus Möller and Santos González all got great results.

Some time trialists, such as Angel Luis Casero, lost nearly five minutes - did not live up to expectations and, for a change, Roberto Heras did do it. This was a stage for those who are good at flat stages, who got the advantage over those riders who are better at the mountains. The balance has been the most important thing and now the race is open. The overall standings have to be looked at with the sprinters and the climbers in mind to understand that nothing is clear yet.

What the Riders Say

Kelme's Oscar Sevilla, one of the favourites, did not have such a good day and frankly did quite badly due to lingering pain from his injuries. He was close to tears, though he plans that each day will go better. "I am very sore and have bruises all over the body. One is very bad and it has cost me in the warm up. Today I was more comfortable than yesterday. It seemed all black in the beginning, but now I hope that my recovery goes forward," Sevilla said.

Laiseka Robert of Euskaltel said yesterday: "I am convinced that we are going to gain stage in the Pyrenees. We were somewhat annoyed at the beginning of the race, when Enrique Franco said that since we came without Mayo and without Haimar Zubeldia, and said that we did not bring a good team. With the victory of Unai Etxebarria we have demonstrated that it is not the case. We have already won a stage, something other teams with a better reputation have not."

Angel Casero, 2001 Vuelta winner and Bianchi rider, commented: "Aitor González and I wasted time in El Fito, but now, in the race against the clock at Zaragoza, we have put ourselves back in the race."

Postal's Assistant Manager Dirk Demol said of 6th place finisher Manuel Beltran:

“Manuel rode incredibly well. To end so close to the real time trial specialists, that’s quite an achievement for a climber. Roberto managed to limit the damage on a parcours that was not only flat, but where the wind blew hard as well. That wind was no advantage to our lightweight riders.

"Before the stage, we had agreed that Manuel, Roberto and Floyd would do everything they could and they rode splendidly. Floyd was a lit less good than expected, but all in all he didn’t do too bad. (He finished 30th.)

"Nozal is certainly someone we have to take into account. That man is very strong and has already realised an impressive advance. I can’t wait to see if he can maintain his position with all those mountain top finishes. You can bet on it we will keep a sharp lookout for that guy!”

Isidro Nozal. © Unipublic.

Isidro Nozal Palmares

1st: Stage 6 Vuelta Espana - Spain 11/09/2003
6th: Deutschland Tour -  Germany 03/06/2003
11th:  Vuelta Asturias - Spain 13/05/2003
18th:  Vuelta Aragon - Spain 16/04/2003
22th:  Clasica San Sebastian - Spain 09/08/2003
72th:  Tour de Francia - France 05/07/2003

1st: Stage 3 ITT Clasica Alcobendas - Spain 11/05/2002 
4th:  Vuelta Castilla y Leon - Spain 02/05/2002 
7th: Vuelta Asturias - Spain 15/05/2002
7th: Deutschland Tour - Germany 03/06/2002
7th:  Vuelta Burgos - Spain 12/08/2002 
8th:  Clasica Alcobendas - Spain 11/05/2002 
16th:  Setmana Catalana - Spain 25/03/2002
38th:  Tour de France - France  06/07/2002

Isidro Nozal in another time trial - at the Clasico de
Alcobendas 2002, which he won. Millar was a
bridesmaid that day too, coming in third.
Courtesy ONCE-Eroski.


Nozal and Galdeano joke around on the podium on a previous day. Courtesy ONCE-Eroski.

Alessandro Cortinovis Update

The Italian cyclist Alessandro Cortinovis, of Lampre, fell in yesterday's fifth stage, and suffered fractures that will require surgery. The 25 year old has two jaw fractures as well as a clavicle fracture. In Stage 5 he was out in front, leading out Lampre's sprinter Jan Svorada, and at a little more than one kilometer to go (1200m), fell into the barriers. He is not listed as one of the official retirements (see below), but he is obviously out of the race. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Retirements and Abandons to Date

Stage 5
131 Pecharroman, J.Antonio Esp Alm  Retired

Stage 4
203 Evans, Cadel Aus Tel  Did Not Start
218 Mason, Oscar Ita Vin Did Not Start 
172 Bonomi, Giosue Ita Sae  Retired
204 Schaffrath, Jan Ger Tel Retired 

Stage 3
176 Gavazzi, Nicola Ita Sae  Retired
187 Plaza, David Esp Tbi Retired 

Stage 2
61 Cipollini, Mario Ita Dve  Did Not Start

Stage 1
179 Quaranta, Ivan Ita Sae  Retired


Weather -  Sunny in the first half of the stage becoming partially cloudy sky later in the second half of the stage.  Light winds, northerly and northwesterly - the wind will be against the cyclists until the Aubisgue climb, from their left side until the Argelés-Gazost and a tailwind later. The temperatures will be much cooler in the mountains - 18C in the lower elevations and 9-12C in the passes.

The Stage--Tomorrow is the first real encounter with the mountains, the first of three consecutive leg-breakers Friday, Saturday and Sunday, when, after a long 190 km journey, the peloton arrives in Cauterets, France, new to the Vuelta this year. The stage has an uphill finish to the ski resort of Cauterets-Camp Basque.

The riders will traverse four mountains: 
Alto del Monrepós (1280 mt. Cat. 2)
Alto de Portalet (1790 mt., Cat. 2)
Col de Aubisque (1700 mt. Hors Categorie)
Cauterets (1350 mt. Hors Categorie).

Perhaps cycling fans will remember Laudelino Cubino, Montoya and Rominger from 1992 at Col d'Aspin, or Jalabert, Olano and Bruyneel (1995 at Luz Ardiden) as they watch this long and treacherous stage unfold.

Thanks to Unipublic, Contrareloj, Todociclismo, ONCE-Eroski, Lampre, USPS-Berry Floor.

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