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Vuelta a Espana Stage 2 Roundup
By Podofdonny
Date: 9/5/2004
Vuelta a Espana Stage 2 Roundup

Stage 2 - León-Burgos 206 kms - Read the live coverage here.

Petacchi Wins the Longest Stage

Fastest man on two wheels – Petacchi © Unipublic.

Having taken nine victories in the last Giro d`Italia, where he was unbeatable by his rivals, Alessandro Petacchi has returned to winning ways in the second stage of the Vuelta 2004. He certainly did not let down his fans in Burgos who enjoy a risky last thousand metres. In the longest stage of the current edition of the Vuelta, Petacchi has not only lived up to predictions but he has added yet another victory to his impressive curriculum.

The US Postal Service team of Johan Bruyneel also had another happy day although the riders were not indifferent about the bonus points offered by the Intermediate Sprint, in which 6, 4 and 2 seconds are shared out. In the first Sprint of the day, the Dutch rider, Max Van Heeswijk attacked which put him at the top of the Overall Standings. Consequently, the leader changed and so did the owner of the Gold Jersey.

Break of the day came courtesy of the rider from Valladolid, Ricardo Serrano (Cafés Baque) and the “Tank”, Bram Tankink, of Quick Step who lead the race for one hundred kilometres in each other’s good company. The wind, as predicted, did cause moments of panic and for a while echelons formed. Joseba Beloki was the big name to miss out, but his Saunier Duval team worked well to bring him back. During the last kilometres, Liberty Seguros tried to break the peace in the group but the Fassa Bortolo team are not in the mood for taking prisoners in this race. Although Petacchi and Guido Trenti suffered a fall, the “Silver Train” was in top form and nobody could stop them. The finishing line was on a road called Victora and Petacchi lived up to the roads name.

He’s quick Max Van Heeswijk takes over the
Gold jersey from teammate Floyd Landis.
© Unipublic.

Mariano Piccoli, The First Breakaway Rider

Lampre rider Mariano Piccoli, well known for his liking of Spain, was the first break away rider of the Vuelta a España 2004. Piccoli attacked in the 40th kilometre of the stage that ran from León to Burgos. The adventure only lasted nine kilometres before Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme decided to pull him back.

The other Lampre rider in the news was Daniele Righi, who crashed with Guido Trenti (Fassa Bortolo). The USA rider went on to give Petacchi the perfect lead out. © Unipublic.

Freire: "The team has worked hard for Petacchi"

Rabobank rider Oscar Freire cast an envious eye towards the Fassa Bortolo team after Stage 2 saw Alessandro Petacchi tear up the tarmac. "Petacchi finished the last metres easily which is fundamental in order to win the stage. The wind was putting me at a disadvantage continuously while the Fassa Bortolo team protected their team-mate all the way. If the team was not as strong as it is, things would be different and I would have more opportunities. I am still strong enough to try again. The Vuelta is hard work, but I feel well and fit."

Good to see Beloki back in the saddle. © Unipublic.

Close Shave for Joseba Beloki on Stage

Saunier Duval team leader Joseba Beloki had a close shave today with the high winds that affected the day´s stage. “I was dropped during the stage, but it was my fault. There is no one else to blame and the incident goes to show that the rest of the team was perfectly placed in the bunch”.

Saunier Duval reacted rapidly to the potentially dangerous situation and Beloki was soon back in the heart of the "pelotón". His options with regard to the General Classification, therefore, remain intact: “I’m not too concerned about the General Classification. What I really want is to see myself back up among the leading riders, to find out if I am fully recovered from my accident. Theoretically, I could end up with a good overall placing and feel disappointed for not having been able to keep up with the best riders, or alternatively finish well down in the General and feel happy for having been able to fight for stage wins with the best".

The echelons in Spain fall mainly on the plain. Eusebio Unzúe's strategy has worked for his team Illes Balears-Banesto as it produced a number of echelons in the peloton which fanned out into three groups. © Unipublic.

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