Stage 2 - León-Burgos 206 kms - Read the live coverage
Petacchi Wins the Longest Stage
Fastest man on two wheels – Petacchi
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
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.
Mariano Piccoli, The First Breakaway
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
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.
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.