Latest Vuelta News
T Mobile were happy with their performance in the GP Kanton Aargau in
Gippingen on Sunday (to read the race report, click
"We gave a good account of ourselves and used the tough cycle course as a
dress rehearsal for the Vuelta", explained directeur sportif Giovanni Fidanza.
On the penultimate lap T-Mobile rider Steffen Wesemann was in front of a five
rider breakaway group and reached the Loorholz ascent in second behind the
Italian Dario Frigo. However, in the final phase no rider managed to jump clear
and so the 41st edition of this race was decided by a bunch sprint finish.
Fidanza: "'Wese' had a great race. In this form, he is is a contender for a
stage win at the at the upcoming Vuelta".
Ángel Casero, winner of the Vuelta in 2001, will not take part in the race.
Although a member of the CV-Kelme team, he has not raced this season due to
'bureaucratic problems' between the team and the UCI over his licence. Vicente
Belda has made his final selection for the Vuelta which is: Valverde (dorsal 11); David Blanco (12); Francisco Cabello (13); Carlos García Quesada (14); Eladio
Jiménez (15); José Cayetano Juliá (16); David Latasa (17); Javier Pascual
Rodríguez (18) and Rubén Plaza (19).
The Quickstep team have confirmed their team for the Vuelta – it will be
Laszlo Bodrogi, Josè Antonio Garrido, Pedro Horillo, Kevin Hulsmans, Luca
Paolini, Josè Antonio Pecharroman, Patrik Sinkewitz, Bram Tankink, Jurgen Van
Goolen - the notable absence being Juan Mercado.
Vuelta a España winner in 2002 Aitor Gonzalez will lead the Fassa Bortolo
team; he will have ample support from Dario Cioni who may well be looking for a
high General Classification place himself. Alessandro Petacchi will be looking
for the sprints while the team will also include Volodimir Gustov, Alberto
Ongarato, Fabio Sacchi, Julian Sanchez, Guido Trenti and Marco Velo. Neither
Dario Frigo or Tom Danielson, who were earmarked for the race, will ride.
Carlos Sastre will lead Team CSC with Paris-Nice winner Jörg Jaksche, who was
unfortunate to miss the mid season after several accidents. Top climber Peter
Luttenberger will be also ride along with Thomas Bruun Eriksen, Manuel Calvente,
Vladimir Gusev, Frank Høj, Fränk Schleck, and Brian Vandborg. Frank Schleck and
Peter Luttenberger both did well in the GP Kanton on Sunday - "Fränk again
showed himself to be on form…. For Fränk this result shows great promise for the
oncomming Vuelta,” said CSC sports director Alain Gallopin after the race.
Vuelta a Espana Stages 6-10
Read our stage 1-5 preview and analysis
Thursday, 9th September
6th stage: Benicarló – Castellón. 157,0 Kilometres
One team will have definite motivation to do well on this stage. Saunier
Duval have been in orange blossom time through out the 2004 season. The
Castellón Costa de Azahar (the Spanish word for orange blossom is Azahar) name
will feature on their shirts (well, actually on the sleeves of their shirts) in
2004. Throughout the race, be aware that the local teams have local sponsors and
this can sometimes explain why teams make a big effort on stages in the towns
and regions of their benefactors.
Saunier Duval will be hoping that Beloki
can return to race winning ways.
Courtesy Saunier Duval-Prodir.
This will be a difficult stage for the race leader and his team to control, a
hard day in the saddle and the second category climb of Desierto de las Palmas
25 kilometres from the finish line will no doubt act as a spring boards for
stage hunters looking for a victory.
Daily Peloton Man to Watch - As well as the Saunier Duval boys, look
out for World Road Race Champion Igor Astarloa - he will be hoping to save his
World Champion Igor Astarloa in the Saeco colours in Vuelta 2003.
Friday, 10th September.
7th stage: Castellón – Valencia, 170,0 Kilometres
In spite of the two climbs in the middle of the stage, this will probably end
in a mass sprint. However, the sprint king Petacchi crashed in the recent Eneco
Tour of Holland, injuring the same shoulder that forced him to abandon the Tour
de France and he may not be at full fitness.
Galdeano meets a Barcelona Cat in Vuelta 2003. Courtesy Unipublic.
Daily Peloton Man to Watch - Angelo Furlan, the Alessio rider, has
recently regained his winning ways (to read about his last victory, click
here.) He has
also been linked to the new team next year of Gianluigi Stanga (a combination of
Domina Vacanze and De Nardi); riders who have new teams for the next season tend
either to quit races early on or go out with a winning run, we suspect the
latter from Angelo.
Furlan ahead of Petacchi Vuelta 2002. Courtesy Unipublic.
Saturday, 11th September
8th stage: I.T.T. Ford (Almufases), 40,1 Kilometres
La Vuelta 2004 returns to former hunting grounds with the first individual
time trial stage with a start and finish in Almufases Ford factory. The route is
completely flat so expect speeds of over fifty kilometres per hour. A big day
for the specialists against the clock to gain some ground on the mountain men.
Daily Peloton Man to Watch - There are some great men against the
clock in this race: Nozal, Galdeano, Hruska, Zubeldia, Frigo, Bodrogi,
Jörg Jaksche, Pena and Landis will all be looking to impress, but provided he
can avoid the dangers of the opening stages, Olympic Champion Tyler Hamilton
should be favourite.
Tyler Hamilton. Courtesy Phonak.
Sunday, 12th September
9th stage: Xátiva – Alto de Aitana ( Alicante ), 162,0 Kilometres
An epic day with 7 climbs, the riders will have to climb the Tudons twice and
then Torremanzanas. Then they will have to tackle the Alto de Benifallím, with
33 kilometres to go before then the Alto de Aitana will give the crowds a
grandstand finish. In La Vuelta 2001, Möller finished ahead of Simoni and Sastre.
Klaus Moller (Maia-Milaneza) wins stage 15 of the 2001 Vuelta on
Alto de Aitana (Alicante) ahead of Gilberto Simoni.
A tremendous display of climbing talent in this year's race - Félix
Cárdenas (winner of last year's KoM competition), Claus Möller, Oscar Sevilla,
Stefano Garzelli, and Paolo Savoldelli - will be looking to soar like eagles
over the summits. Or Casagrande and Garate, to name but two.
When the Vuelta hits the mountains – the mountains hit back!
Daily Peloton man to Watch – Roberto Heras – he finished fourth on the
stage in 2001 – and will want to stamp his authority on this race.
Roberto Heras in the 2003 Vuelta. Courtesy Unipublic.
Monday, 13th September
10th stage: Alcoi – Xorret de Catí. 159,0 Kilometres
A stage dedicated to José María “Chava” Jiménez.
Chava won here 1998 and then, Eladio, who rode for
Banesto as well, won in 2000. Courtesy Sportec.
The last 70 kilometres of this stage are very brutal with Alto de Tibi,
Carrasqueta and finally Alto de Xorret del Catí.
Daily Peloton Man to Watch – Félix “The Cat” Cardenas, winner at
Sierra Nevada in 2003!