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Vuelta a Espaņa - Museo de Jamon Report: Stage 11
 
By Locutus
Date: 9/17/2003
Vuelta a Espaņa - Museo de Jamon Report: Stage 11
 
Golden Hams of the Day

  • "The Big E-Z," Erik Zabel (Telekom). The German Champion has won two stages in a row, and has now taken a nice lead in the race for the strangely Polka-Dot Points Jersey. He survived the climb of the Cat 3 Alto del Castillo just fine, and his mates led the chase of the small breakaway to put him in position for the win. Once again, Zabel's climbing has put him a step above his other big sprinting rivals
  • Alejandro Valverde (Kelme-Costa Blanca). He came in 4th in today's sprint, and is still 2nd in the points competition at 11 points behind Zabel. He holds the lead in the all-around competition, and stands in 7th on GC at 3' 57". His ability to climb and sprint is reminiscent of riders like Laurent Jalabert, and he is really making his mark on this Vuelta.
  • Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Davitamon) and Angel Edo (Milaneza-MSS). They came in 2nd and 3rd respectively, and each showed that he is still a big threat for a stage win. As sprinters who can climb, they will have a few more chances to finally put one over on Zabel and the rest before the race hits Madrid. The way Zabel is going, however, this will be a difficult task.
Ham-Gazers of the Day

  • Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo). He's still in the race, but he got dropped on the final climb and missed the party at the finish. Tomorrow, the only climb will come in the first 15km, so he will have more time to recover and mix it up with Zabel once again. Then we'll see how much sprint he still has left in those tanned legs of his.
  • Giovanni Lombardi (Domina Vacanze) and Fred Rodriguez (Vini Caldirola). These two sprinters have been riding well, but they got dropped along with Petacchi on that final climb. The flatter stage tomorrow should give them a chance to finally steal a win.
  • Angel Casero (Bianchi). The former Vuelta champ finished 3' 41" behind the winner today, and he was tailed off long before the final climb. He was either inattentive or ill, and this will put the final stake through the heart of his Vuelta podium chances for this year. Well, okay, he was way out of it before this point. But still, this has got to be embarrassing. He's sticking it out, however, and maybe he'll come around enough to be a factor in the 2nd individual time trial.
Grazed Hams of the Day

  • Manuel Beltran (United States Postal Service presented by Berry Floor). He seemed to get caught in a late crash that cost him 1' 02" by the end of the stage. Race radio said that Heras had gone down, but Heras finished with the main group, which seems to indicate that they got the riders confused. Beltran is still in 3rd on GC at 3' 03", but this time loss has got to hurt. Here's hoping he can rebound and continue his excellent ride in this Vuelta.
 
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