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Vuelta Espana Stage 17 Roundup
By Podofdonny
Date: 9/24/2003
Vuelta Espana Stage 17 Roundup

Vuelta a España

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Stage 17 - Granada-Córdoba

David Millar wins at Córdoba

By Osvaldo Menéndez

Granada, 24 September de 2003--The Alto de San Jerónimo second category climb was the key point in this 17th stage of Vuelta a España 2003 that covered 188.4 kilometres between Granada and Córdoba. David Millar of Cofidis broke away at the first ramps of the climb, and he showed his best skills when climbing down. The stage was characterized by the continuous attempts to break away, but the Phonax riders were in charge of controlling those who wanted to arrive on their own to the city.

The balance of strength made the peloton travel in one group until the streets of Córdoba; there was when Millar made use of his extra strength. He became the winner. Kelme-Costa Blanca wanted the stage win for Valverde but they could not beat the Scottish rider. Isidro Nozal had no problem to keep his Gold Jersey of Leader Overall.

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Official Race Chronicle

David Millar used the ramps and climbs of this mountain to prepare his success today. The Scottish rider achieved the victory after having covered 188.4 kilometres between Granada and Córdoba. He knew that the ramps of this very well-known mountain would be the place where he was going to start winning the stage.

Therefore, when the peloton arrived in the streets of Córdoba in one group, Millar decided to face the climb on his own, surprising everyone, even the Kelme riders who were getting ready for the victory of Alejandro Valverde. The last 20 kilometres of the stage were decisive and it was there that David used his most brilliant skills.

He broke away very suddenly and managed to achieve certain advantage at the Alto de San Jerónimo climb. Then he risked too much when he climbed down and, even though, Oscar Sevilla, Unai Osa, Ramussen and Oscar Martínez did the same, they were unable to catch up with him. Millar got to the finish line with 36 seconds of advantage over his followers and with 41 over the group of favourites where the Leader, Isidro Nozal, of Once-Eroski, was travelling.

There were many protagonists today, but those who suffered a lot were the riders of Phonak with Alvaro Pino. They had to pull ahead of the peloton for a long time as there was not any Phonak rider in the break and they wanted to catch them up. Pedro Horrillo was the one who suffered the most. He fell down in the middle of the way and he needed the doctors to go on riding.

This was a very fast stage too, the average speed was 47.48 kilometres per hour. It was a difficult stage too, many punctures and arguments. Alvaro Pino talked very clear about what he wanted to his riders and the same did Joxean Fernández with his team Saunier Duval. All of the riders need to win something in this Vuelta and that is why there are such tense moments. Now they have to face the last of the battles in Madrid.

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Millar: "My plans were to do a good job during the last week"

British rider David Millar won the 17th stage of the Vuelta a España, which has concluded in the city of Córdoba.

Cofidis' rider has obtained victory in a road stage, when his initial objective was winning a time trial stage. Millar attacked with Michael Rasmussen, Unai Osa, Óscar Sevilla, José Alberto Martínez and Juan Miguel Mercado in the "Alto de San Jerónimo", close to the finnish, and he managed to arrive on his own.

David Millar has remarked to the Spanish TV channel Televisión Española that his plans were to do a good job during "this last week".

The British Cofidis rider, who has renewed his contract with this team until 2005, was "very, very happy" for his third stage victory at the Vuelta a España, after the two wins that he obtained in 2001.

"I attacked at the right moment. I wanted to try it today, and I have been thinking where to attack during the whole stage", he added.

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14 of the 22 teams have still not obtained any victory

While there are only four stages left of this 58th edition of the Vuelta a España, 14 of the 22 teams which take part in the race have still not obtained any victory.

Fassa Bortolo and ONCE-Eroski with four each, Cofidis, Kelme-Costa Blanca and Telekom with two each and Euskaltel, Rabobank and Labarca 2-Café Baqué (one each) have shared the 17 stages disputed so far.

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Roberto Heras

“Without any doubt, the Vuelta 2003 will go down in the history-books as the fastest ever. Today, the peloton sped towards Cordoba at an average speed of 47,5 km. The team supported Manuel and me perfectly and brought us in an excellent position to the climb of the Alto de San Jeronimo. It was impossible for me to attack. On a col of second category it’s very difficult for a climber to make the difference anyway. What’s more, the Once team stuck to my side as glue and gave me any chance to try anything. It’s going to be difficult, but on Friday and Saturday there are still possibilities to try something.”

“A lot of people ask me why my name is not among the 16 Spanish riders that were preselected for the coming world championships in Hamilton, Canada. There’s a simple explanation for that. The selection committee knows I’m not very interested because my season normally ends with the Vuelta. This year, they asked me once again if I felt like riding, but I indicated I preferred not to go to Canada. For the moment, Manuel is selected and he’s happy about that. Should he be in the final selection of 12, he will be motivated one hundred percent to show what he’s got in Hamilton.” (US Postal Site)

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CSC News

“Sastre was again part of a breakaway. Unfortunately, his effort was in vain as the breakaway was caught. The stage suited him but his group was not allowed to open the necessary gap. The pace was kept very high and the parcours was much tougher than the route map revealed. We tried to stay at the front of the race and Calvente and Luttenberger came in with the 40 riders that formed the peloton," said Bjarne Riis after the stage.

The riders boarded an express train bound for Madrid after the stage. The final four stages of the race will take place in and around the Spanish capital.(CSC Official Site)

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Tomorrow's Srage

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18th Stage. Thursday, 25th September 2003. Las Rozas - Las Rozas. 143.8 Kilometres

The people in Madrid will have the chance of following the last part of The Vuelta 2003 as these last stages are going to cross several towns around the city of Madrid. In 1998, a time trial was started in Las Rozas and ended in Collado Villalba.

That was a very exciting stage where Sean Kelly achieved the stage win in front of Dietzen and Pedersen; that day Kelly won the Gold Jersey from Anselmo Fuerte who, finally, was third in the podium of La Castellana. This time it will be a flat stage with a lot of incentives and several alternatives. The Madrid - born riders will try hard to break away and the sprinters will look for a massive arrival once again...

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