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Vuelta a España: Museo de Jamon Report - Stage 2
By Locutus
Date: 9/5/2004
Vuelta a España: Museo de Jamon Report - Stage 2
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Alessandro "The Italian Stallion" Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo). He's had a rough season since kicking so much butt in the Giro. In the Tour, he just didn't have the legs, and a recent crash put his Vuelta in jeopardy. Then today, another crash and the high pace made his chances of winning seem slim, but the Stallion rose to the occasion and rallied to win the sprint. He's beat up, so it will be very difficult for him to take many more stages. Still, when he's got that winning form and sees the line, it's like all the pain goes away as he floats past his rivals.
  • "The Big E-Z" Erik Zabel (T-Mobile). Today, the classy German master was a distant second to Petacchi in the final sprint. However, the fact that he got second and the fact that he's a better climber than most of the other sprinters makes Zabel my favorite to take the Points Jersey come Madrid. He pulled that jersey on for the first time after today's stage due to a slim 3 point lead on Petacchi, and he also closed to within 25" of the Gold Jersey. I'm still thinking that if there are no successful breakaways over the next few days, we could be seeing Erik in Gold by the end of the week as well.
  • "Miracle" Max van Heeswijk (United States Postal Service presented by Berry Floor). He took the first intermediate sprint and a 6" time bonus, and then coasted across in the same time as the winner to take the Gold Jersey. He said that today's stage didn't suit him, but he's looking forward to mixing it with Petacchi and Zabel tomorrow. That should be interesting to see.
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Alejandro Valverde (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme). The amazingly talented Spanish sprinter who is also a GC threat was neither today, coming in 14th at the finish. Still, his team's solid time trial yesterday has him in a good position, as he in 23rd at 1' 04". There is a long way to Madrid, and Valverde is too talented to stay quiet for long.
  • Jose Antonio Pecharroman (Quick Step – Davitamon). Today was another disaster for the Spanish GC favorite, as he missed the split in the field near the finish and lost another 1' 14" to most of his rivals. He now sits in 139th at 3' 33" back on GC. Pecharroman is crazy talented, but his injuries and bad luck over the past year have continually seemed to get the better of him. Now he has a huge hole to try to climb out of if he wants to see the podium in Madrid.
  • Stuart "Red Stallion" O'Grady (Cofidis). Big Stuey came in 4th in the sprint, which he won't be happy about. However, today was a tough day, and coming across the line in such good shape bodes well for his form. He's been on a tear this season, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him snake another win or two before Madrid. 153rd at 1' 14"
Related Articles
Vuelta a España: Museo de Jamon Report, Stage 1
Vuelta a Espana Stage 2 Live Coverage
Vuelta a Espana Stage 2 Roundup

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