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Vuelta Stage 7 Race Coverage
By Jaime Nichols
Date: 9/12/2003
Vuelta Stage 7 Race Coverage

Welcome to the Daily Peloton's (not quite live) coverage of the Vuelta a Espana, the first of the mountain stages. Today the riders face 4 catagorized climbs, the Alto de Montrepot, the Alto de Portalet, the Col d'Aubisque and an ascension to the finish at Cauterets-Cam Basque in France.

6:35 am PDT. There's currently a break of 8 away: Joan Horrach, who now stands to take over the KOM jersey, Jose Vincente Garcia Acosta, Fabrizio Guidi, Chechu Rubiera, Francisco Cabello of Kelme, Telekom's Jan Schaffrath, Oscar Pereiro of Phonak, and Jose Jufre of Relax-Fuenlabrada. The riders are on the climb up the Col D'Aubisque, on French soil.

ONCE is all over the front of the pack - Jan Hruska is on the front, driving the chasing peloton.

Fabrizio Guidi has been dropped out of the breakaway, and Felix Cardenas, who is the current KOM, has joined to protect his lead in that classification.

Chechu Ruberia is not in the break, actually... he has been dropped from that, and is now suffering on the back of the peloton.

Big news today: Franck Vandenbroucke has abandoned. Vini Caldirola's Massimo Apollonio has abandoned as well.

Luis Perez of Cofidis has attacked. Manuel Beltran followed, but could not stick - now he's been followed by four men: Kurt Van de Wouwer, who was just a bit off the front is swallowed up by the four. Roberto Heras is with them, but interestingly, no ONCE.

5km left in the climb up the Col D'Aubisque...Angel Casero is well off the back. Felix Cardenas, who joined the break, is now putting the pressure on, and his effort has blown away the break. But that move kicked off by Perez, and including Heras has now joined the break, and there's a very serious group of about 20 chasers forming behind that.

Heras looks great - he is leading the charge.

6:57 am PDT. Cardenas is now sitting at the back of the break, Heras is looking good, He and Perez are setting the pace. ONCE leads the peloton - Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano is right on his shoulder...Isidro Nozal is there, as well.

Oscar Sevilla is in the pack - and they are just trying to limit the damage with that attack.

7:00 am PDT. 52 km to go. Heras is doing exactly what he needs to do to make this race happen for him - he has to attack, because there's another 50 km ITT ahead, and he's going to need a good cushion over guys like Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, who is right now leading the peloton in the chase.

After this climb, the riders head down into the valley, and up the final climb of the day Cauterets-Cam Basque.

3km away from the top of the climb, there's an attack on...A Euskaltel man and and iBanesto man are off, they are marked by Heras.

Michele Scarponi of Domina Vacanze and Kelme's Valverde have joined the front group. IGG is no longer on the it's Isidro Nozal, followed closely by Manuel Beltran.

7:07 am PDT. Klaus Moller and Joan Horrach of Milaneza MSS are suffering at the back of the pack. Carlos Sastre is in this group as well, as is Dario Frigo. It'a all the big boys, but interestingly, ONCE has been decimated there - they only have two mwn in the chasing pack - Nozal and IGG.

The pack is close to the summit, and the break is over it. It's foggy and dark at the top. Isidro Nozal, what a stud! He leads the pack over the top.

The descent is very narrow and twisting. Dangerous! There's no guard rail and a steep drop off the side - no room for error.

7:14 am PDT. Leaders: Heras, Scarponi...Cardenas is alone between the leaders and the pack. The pack is entering a tunnel... it's dark! That's a big test of nerve!

7:17 am PDT. Cardenas is a cautious descender, but he is latching on to the leader... but someone else had gone wide and fallen - thankfully on the side without the big drop! It's not Heras... I do know that.

Aitor Gonzalez... is trying to climb up to the break.

7:22 am PDT. Pereiro, who was falling off the back is now catching Gonzalez's wheel. Gonzalez de Galdeano takes over from Nozal at the front of the pack...

The crasher was Felix Cardenas. Cardenas got back up, and rejoined the leaders - he's fine. The chasing pack, led by Nozal and IGG have dragged Gonzalez back into the fold. The pack is letting ONCE do all the work. No one is giving them even a little bit of help on these climbs.

7:27 am PDT. 39 km to go. The breakaway is speeding down the descent. There are seven riders away, including Heras, they have a gap of 58", and the last climb of the day is ahead.

The pack is on the descent, and they have the pressure on - they want that group back. And they've taken back 10" - the gap is 48".

Osa, Scarponi, Rassmussen, Heras, Perez and two more; those are the riders in the break.

They have just gone through town, and are heading out towards the last climb.

The pack is bunching up on the flat, as every one of the riders not on the ONCE team are declining to do a stitch of work. Nozal and IGG have the pressure on at the front of the pack. They are chasing hard. Nozal looks to be working for IGG.

Cardenas is in the front of the break...Valverde is the Kelme man in the break.

Nozal is burying himself for IGG. He is driving hard at the front of the pack. It looks like the pack is gaining on the break. It's going to be a tough and decisive climb ahead.

7:34 am PDT. Nozal is definitely not the protected man on ONCE; he is completely sacrificing himself on this chase. He is closely followed by IGG and Manuel Beltran.

7:38 am PDT. 30km to the finish. The break is now only 20" ahead... and Nozal has been leading the chase all this time. ONCE is getting no help from the pack, and Nozal is getting no help from his teammates.

The pack is all together again. Aitor Osa and Michael Rasmussen are the only two who are still ahead of the pack... everyone else is back in the fold. Osa and Rassmussen have a lead of about 28".

7:40 am PDT. The two leaders are speeding down a small descent, but the pack is right on their tail. Vladimir Belli is back in the cars getting water.

Aitor Osa is drilling it - Rasmussen too... they aren't caught yet.

7:45 am PDT. 18km to go. 10 of them are a climb, and the pack is gaining men - more ONCE men have joined up.

Osa and Rasmussen are still ahead, and there's a group of 6 in the middle. The leaders are 40" ahead of the chasers, and the chasers are 50" ahead of the pack. Osa and Rasmussen are cooperating well with one another.

In the break - Cuesta, Cardenas... and four others. They're going through the town that lies just before the climb kicks up.

7:50 am PDT. 17 km to go. The gap is opening. The leaders have 1'10" over the chasers. There's a good string of ONCE all over the front.

The chasers are 21" ahead of the pack - their effort is soon to be over. Meanwhile the leaders are gaining time.

4 ONCE man on the front leading Nozal and IGG. Oscar Sevilla is still in the front pack... so are Heras and Beltran, Sastre...Cardenas is putting on the pressure as the climb kicks up. Cardenas likes this climb, and as the KOM, he wants to stay ahead.

7:52 am PDT. The chasers are shattering under the pressure of Cardenas, but the pack is right on them. The helmets are off and the climb is on.

7:56 am PDT. ONCE is driving the pace on the climb. Osa and Rasmussen are still ahead by 1'24". Rasmussen has turned the screws, and he's dropped Aitor Osa.

ONCE is working really hard to bring back the chasers, but now Kelme joins the leadership of the pack.

The lead is 1'15, and there are 12 km to go.

Perez is attacking again, and Nozal is going with him! Manuel Beltran is joining them... and Kelme's Gutierrez is dropping back.

8:00 am PDT. Nozal is amazing! Whatever he's eating, I want some! There's Kelme attacking...It's OSCAR!

Oscar is on the attack! He's ahead of the pack!

Nozal is now in trouble...he's falling out the back, and Beltran is steaming on ahead...

8:04 am PDT. Rasmussen is still ahead... he is going for the biggest victory of his career, and Nozal is still in trouble.

7 km to go! Oscar Sevilla was flying up, but now he's back with the pack.

Rasmussen has 7km to go - Manuel Beltran and Perez are together on the chase. Beltran looks like he's just waiting for the road to kick up. Meanwhile, the ONCE team is chasing desperately - Beltran is a danger. There's one ONCE domestique left, along with Nozal and IGG.

The tough climb of the race is ahead.

8:10 am PDT. The break has 1'27", the break meaning Rasmussen. Kurt Van de Wouwer is making his effort... He's trying to catch up to Beltran and Perez.

8:12 am PDT. So the situation on the road: Rasmussen is alone, he is chased by Beltran and Perez, Kurt Van de Wouwer is chasing those two, and the pack is behind... and it's all uphill from here.

Roberto Heras attacked, and was caught, but the pack is a small select group now. Isidro Nozal and Aitor Gonzalez have been dropped....

Only 9 men in that group now...Isidro Nozal is done - he is far back, and is pedalling squares.

8:16 am PDT. Nozal has dropped anchor and the lights are out... but he's put in a brave ride, and he is now leaving it all to ONCE team leader IGG. Beltran, at this point, is looking good to take the gold jersey. About 5 to go.

Oscar Sevilla is ahead with Perez.... Sevilla is joining the Beltran group. Rasmussen still ahead...

8:19 am PDT. Valdimir Belli is at the front of the pack - IGG is there, Heras is there...The race is going to pieces behind that pack of 9 select men. Aitor Gonzalez is trying to catch back onto the pack, but he's drifting back...

Rasmussen has 2km to go - he looks good. The lead is 1'02".

8:22 am PDT. Rasmussen is in front... He is driving it. He looks strong, and he looks to have it.

But where is Oscar? He's either ahead or behind the Beltan group, alone. Beltran has the pressure on, too.

Rabobank's Rasmussen has it... he has won the day! He is crossing the finish line now. He's celebrating, waving to the crowd! A big victory for him.

Cardenas is second on the road... Beltran is chasing him...Beltran is giving it every ounce of strength - his face is ALL PAIN.

Cardenas is second - Beltran sprints all the way to the line for third. Frigo is next...The clock starts.

We need 3'26" on the clock to Nozal's time and Manuel Beltran will take the lead.

Nozal!!! He is fighting his ass off! He is going to KEEP THE JERSEY!!!! Nozal's face! HE is drooling and exhausted. What a fight!!! Seriously, the man is frothing at the mouth.

8:30 am PDT. So, another amazing day in the saddle for Isidro Nozal, fighting like mad! Incredible.

Stage 7 Full Results

1 Rasmussen, Michael Den Rab 5:01:14
2 Cardenas, Felix Col L2c a 55
3 Beltran, Manuel Esp Usp a 59
4 Perez, Luis Esp Cof a 1:08
5 Osa, Unai Esp Ban a 1:10
6 Frigo, Dario Ita Fas a 1:17
7 Mancebo, Francisco Esp Ban a 1:24
8 Valverde, Alejandro Esp Kel a 1:26
9 Garcia Casas, Flix Esp Tbi a 1:26
10 Heras, Roberto Esp Usp a 1:29
11 Del Olmo, Txema Esp Mil a 1:31
12 Etxebarria, David Esp Eus m.t.
13 Gonzalez, Aitor Esp Fas m.t.
14 Scarponi, Michele Ita Dve m.t.
15 Glez. Galdeano, Igor Esp One a 1:40
16 Belli, Wladimir Ita Lam a 1:50
17 Piepoli, Leonardo Ita Ban a 1:53
18 Cuesta, Iigo Esp Cof a 1:58
19 Gonzalez, Gorka Esp Eus a 2:12
20 Flores, Iker Esp Eus a 2:16
21 Sevilla, Oscar Esp Kel a 2:30
22 Sastre, Carlos Esp Csc m.t.
23 Trentin, Guido Ita Cof m.t.
24 Nozal, Isidro Esp One a 2:46
25 Van De Wouwer, Kurt Bel Qsd a 2:46
26 Gutierrez , Jos Esp Kel a 3:17
27 Mller, Klaus Den Mil a 4:24
28 Gonzalez, Santos Esp Dve a 4:39
29 Serrano, Marcos Esp One a 4:45
30 Calvente, Manuel Esp Csc a 5:27
31 Garcia Quesada, Carlos Esp Kel a 5:45
32 Pereiro, Oscar Esp Pho a 5:58
33 Jufre, Jos Esp Crf a 5:58
34 Ferrio, Jorge Esp Alm a 6:27
35 Jimenez, Eladio Esp Ban a 9:05
36 Torrent, Carlos Esp Alm a 10:54
37 Werner, Christian Ger Tel m.t.
38 Luttenberger, Peter Aut Csc m.t.
39 Sinkewitz, Patrick Ger Qsd m.t.
40 Amorim, Gonalo Por Mil m.t.
41 Martinez, Jos Luis Esp Alm m.t.
42 Azevedo, Jos Por One a 12:02
43 Rodriguez, Joaquin Esp One a 12:14
44 Horrach, Joan Esp Mil a 12:46
45 Lopez, David Esp L2c a 12:46
46 Osa, Aitor Esp Ban a 13:14
47 Atienza, Daniel Esp Cof a 13:47
48 Virenque, Richard Fra Qsd a 18:17
49 Lopez, Joaquin Esp Alm m.t.
50 Garcia Calvo, Cesar Esp L2c m.t.
51 Zaballa, Constantino Esp Kel m.t.
52 Martin Perdiguero, Miguel Esp Dve m.t.
53 Cardoso, Pedro Por Mil m.t.
54 Aerts, Mario Bel Tel m.t.
55 Gerrikagoitia, Gorka Esp Eus m.t.
56 Noval, Benjamn Esp Crf m.t.
57 Latasa, David Esp Kel m.t.
58 Pospyeyev, Kyryl Ukr Dve m.t.
59 Rebollo, Jose Luis Esp Crf m.t.
60 Lastras, Pablo Esp Ban m.t.
61 Vila, Francisco Esp Lam m.t.
62 Navas, David Esp Crf m.t.
63 Gustov, Volodymir Ukr Fas m.t.
64 Zberg, Beat Sui Rab m.t.
65 Martinez, Alberto Esp Eus m.t.
66 De Los Angeles, Juan Jos Esp Fas m.t.
67 Cheula, Giampaolo Ita Vin m.t.
68 Diaz Lobato, Pedro Esp Alm m.t.
69 Golbano, Carlos Esp Alm m.t.
70 Moreni, Cristian Ita Als a 18:22
71 Blanco, Santiago Esp Crf a 18:22
72 Fofonov, Dmitri Kaz Cof a 20:03
73 Fuentes, Juan Esp Sae a 25:48
74 Garate, Juan Manuel Esp Lam a 27:27
75 Arrieta, Jos Luis Esp Ban m.t.
76 Zabel, Erik Ger Tel m.t.
77 Garcia Acosta, Jos Esp Ban m.t.
78 Schleck, Frank Lux Csc m.t.
79 Silva, Renato Por Mil m.t.
80 Lunghi, Denis Ita Als m.t.
81 Sanchez, Domingo Esp Alm m.t.
82 Otero, Gustavo Esp L2c m.t.
83 Bertoletti, Simone Ita Lam m.t.
84 Grabsch, Bert Ger Pho m.t.
85 Edo, Angel Esp Mil m.t.
86 Cabello, Francisco Esp Kel m.t.
87 Casero, Rafael Esp Alm m.t.
88 Astarloa, Igor Esp Sae m.t.
89 Barry ,Michael Can Usp m.t.
90 Cerezo, Francisco Esp L2c m.t.
91 Laguna, Oscar Esp Crf m.t.
92 Schreck, Stephan Ger Tel m.t.
93 Hincapie, George Usa Usp m.t.
94 Farazjin, Peter Bel Cof m.t.
95 Van Goolen, Jurgen Bel Qsd m.t.
96 Garmendia, Aitor Esp Tbi m.t.
97 Jaksche, Jrg Ger One m.t.
98 Mercado, Juan Miguel Esp Ban m.t.
99 Joachim, Benoit Lux Usp m.t.
100 Bayarri, Gonzalo Esp Pho m.t.
101 Fernandez, Bingen Esp Cof m.t.
102 Etxebarria, Unai Ven Eus m.t.
103 Manzano, Jesus Maria Esp Kel m.t.
104 Jeker, Fabian Sui Mil m.t.
105 Montgomery, Sven Sui Fas m.t.
106 Hruska, Jan Cze One m.t.
107 Lara, Francisco Jos Esp Tbi m.t.
108 Isasi, Iaki Esp Eus m.t.
109 Rubiera, Jos Luis Esp Usp m.t.
110 Leipheimer, Levy Usa Rab m.t.
111 Schweda, Raphael Ger Tbi m.t.
112 Laiseka, Roberto Esp Eus m.t.
113 Landis, Floyd Usa Usp m.t.
114 Engels, Addy Ned Rab m.t.
115 Vicioso, Angel Esp One m.t.
116 Pugaci, Igor Mda Sae m.t.
117 Lopeboselli, Angelo Ita Cof a 27:39
118 Casero, Angel Esp Tbi a 29:54
119 Simeoni, Filippo Ita Dve a 29:55
120 Guidi, Fabrizio Ita Tbi a 29:55
121 Herrero, Ivan Esp L2c a 33:35
122 Pepoli, Christian Ita Sae m.t.
123 Piccoli, Mariano Ita Lam m.t.
124 Barroso, Paulo Por Mil m.t.
125 Calcagni, Patrick Sui Vin m.t.
126 Sandstod, Michael Den Csc m.t.
127 Brognara, Andrea Ita Als m.t.
128 Petacchi, Alessandro Ita Fas m.t.
129 Lombardi, Giovanni Ita Dve m.t.
130 Mondini, Gianpaolo Ita Dve m.t.
131 De Jongh, Steven Ned Rab m.t.
132 Aebersold, Niki Sui Pho m.t.
133 Mutsaars, Ronald Ned Rab m.t.
134 Pradera, Mikel Esp One m.t.
135 Horrillo, Pedro Esp Qsd m.t.
136 Perez, Sergio Esp L2c m.t.
137 Boonen, Tom Bel Qsd m.t.
138 Van Heeswijk, Max Ned Usp m.t.
139 Caada, David Esp Qsd m.t.
140 De La Fuente, David Esp Vin m.t.
141 Gomez Gozalo, Jos Javier Esp L2c m.t.
142 Zucconi, Pietro Sui Vin m.t.
143 Hayman, Mathew Aus Rab m.t.
144 Julich, Bobby Usa Tel m.t.
145 Trenti, Guido Usa Fas m.t.
146 Tankink, Bram Ned Qsd m.t.
147 Tosatto, Matteo Ita Fas m.t.
148 Nieto, Germn Esp Crf m.t.
149 Casagranda, Stefano Ita Als m.t.
150 Hernandez, Jaime Esp Tbi m.t.
151 Ivanov, Ruslan Mda Als m.t.
152 Bertolini, Alessandro Ita Als m.t.
153 Rund, Thorsten Ger Tbi m.t.
154 Tauler, Antonio Esp Kel m.t.
155 Wesemann, Steffan Ger Tel m.t.
156 Sironi, Gianluca Ita Vin m.t.
157 Boven, Jan Ned Rab m.t.
158 Sorensen, Nicki Den Csc m.t.
159 Bruun, Thomas Den Csc m.t.
160 Maestre, Jos Esp Crf m.t.
161 Perez, Santiago Esp Pho m.t.
162 Arrizabalaga, Gorka Esp Eus m.t.
163 Masciarelli, Simone Ita Vin m.t.
164 Righi, Daniele Ita Lam m.t.
165 Vanov, Serguei Rus Fas m.t.
166 Furlan, Angelo Ita Als m.t.
167 White, Matthew Aus Usp m.t.
168 Hiekmann, Torsten Ger Tel m.t.
169 Bertogliati, Rubens Sui Lam m.t.
170 Vinale, Alberto Ita Als a 33:45
171 Dominguez, Juan Carlos Esp Pho m.t.5
172 Rodriguez, Fred Usa Vin m.t.
173 Kroon, Karsten Ned Rab m.t.
174 Millar, David Gbr Cof a 33:47
175 Christensen, Bekim Den Csc m.t.
176 Usov, Alexandre Blr Pho a 33:49
177 Zuelle, Alex Sui Pho m.t.
178 Gutierrez, Francisco Esp L2c a 37:50
179 Burgos, Nacor Esp Crf a 40:22
180 Bucciero, Antonio Ita Sae m.t.
181 Dean, Julian Nzl Csc a 45:10

General Classification after Stage 7

1 Nozal, Isidro Esp One 20:08:37
2 Beltran, Manuel Esp Usp a 55
3 Glez. Galdeano, Igor Esp One a 1:21
4 Frigo, Dario Ita Fas a 3:07
5 Heras, Roberto Esp Usp a 3:18
6 Mancebo, Francisco Esp Ban a 3:40
7 Gonzalez, Aitor Esp Fas a 4:00
8 Valverde, Alejandro Esp Kel a 4:03
9 Rasmussen, Michael Den Rab a 4:24
10 Osa, Unai Esp Ban a 4:34
11 Perez, Luis Esp Cof a 4:35
12 Garcia Casas, Flix Esp Tbi a 5:14
13 Scarponi, Michele Ita Dve a 5:52
14 Mller, Klaus Den Mil a 5:54
15 Flores, Iker Esp Eus a 5:54
16 Etxebarria, David Esp Eus a 5:55
17 Sastre, Carlos Esp Csc a 6:31
18 Cardenas, Felix Col L2c a 6:41
19 Serrano, Marcos Esp One a 6:48
20 Sevilla, Oscar Esp Kel a 7:10
21 Gonzalez, Gorka Esp Eus a 7:17
22 Gonzalez, Santos Esp Dve a 8:07
23 Del Olmo, Txema Esp Mil a 8:51
24 Trentin, Guido Ita Cof a 9:01
25 Cuesta, Iigo Esp Cof a 9:45

Points after Stage 7

1 Petacchi, Alessandro Ita Fas 50
2 Nozal, Isidro Esp One 47
3 Glez. Galdeano, Igor Esp One 45
4 Perez, Luis Esp Cof 43
5 Zabel, Erik Ger Tel 42
6 Etxebarria, David Esp Eus 40
7 Dean, Julian Nzl Csc 37
8 Cardenas, Felix Col L2c 37
9 Beltran, Manuel Esp Usp 34
10 Rasmussen, Michael Den Rab 33
11 Hruska, Jan Cze One 32
12 Rodriguez, Joaquin Esp One 32
13 Etxebarria, Unai Ven Eus 31
14 Valverde, Alejandro Esp Kel 31
15 Edo, Angel Esp Mil 30
16 Frigo, Dario Ita Fas 24
17 Gutierrez, Jos Esp Kel 20
18 Millar, David Gbr Cof 20
19 Sastre, Carlos Esp Csc 20
20 Zaballa, Constantino Esp Kel 19
21 Vicioso, Angel Esp One 17
22 Lombardi, Giovanni Ita Dve 17
23 Svorada, Jan Cze Lam 17
24 Boonen, Tom Bel Qsd 17
25 Gonzalez, Aitor Esp Fas 15
26 Martin Perdiguero, Miguel Esp Dve 14

KOM after Stage 7

1 Cardenas, Felix Col L2c 86
2 Perez, Luis Esp Cof 58
3 Rasmussen, Michael Den Rab 33
4 Horrach, Joan Esp Mil 23
5 Nozal, Isidro Esp One 20
6 Heras, Roberto Esp Usp 20
7 Osa, Aitor Esp Ban 18
8 Jeker, Fabian Sui Mil 16
9 Valverde, Alejandro Esp Kel 12
10 Sastre, Carlos Esp Csc 12
11 Osa, Unai Esp Ban 11
12 Pereiro, Oscar Esp Pho 11
13 Piepoli, Leonardo Ita Ban 11
14 Garcia Calvo, Cesar Esp L2c 10
15 Etxebarria, Unai Ven Eus 10
16 Beltran, Manuel Esp Usp 10
17 Scarponi, Michele Ita Dve 8
18 Zaballa, Constantino Esp Kel 8
19 Etxebarria, David Esp Eus 7
20 Jufre, Jos Esp Crf 7
21 Pepoli, Christian Ita Sae 7
22 Hruska, Jan Cze One 6
23 Astarloa, Igor Esp Sae 6
24 Mancebo, Francisco Esp Ban 6
25 Serrano, Marcos Esp One 5
26 Frigo, Dario Ita Fas 4

Teams Classification after Stage 7 (incomplete)

1 Once - Eroski ONE 60:31:27
2 BAN a 7:07
3 Euskaltel - Euskadi EUS a 7:16
4 Kelme - Costa Blanca KEL a 10:57
5 Cofidis, le credit par telephone COF a 11:37

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