60th Vuelta a Espana – Course Preview Part 2
Stages 7 to 11 , like the famous Team, a difficult time trial, two mountain top finishes, two days for the sprinters and the famous rest day quiz, what more could you want from a race!
TERUEL – VINARÒS, 212.5 kms.
Hushvod, Steels . Van Heeswijk, Cadamuro, Petacchi, Eisel, Backstedt, Boonen and Zabel this years Vuelta will field arguably the strongest Sprinters competition in any of the major Tours this year.
These men and their teams, however have limited opportunities to shine and will have ear marked this day as one for the fast men. The short small climbs at the start of the stage will encourage breakaways but the sprinters teams should have it all under control in the long descent into Vinaros.
However, the stage could be complicated by the sea side weather and the wind could break the rhythm of the peloton, as it did the last time the race visited here in 2001, when Juan Manuél Gárate won the stage in absolutely appalling conditions.
TARRAGONA/RAMBLA NOVA – LLORET DE MAR, 189.0 Kms.
Another day for the sprinters and breakaways to shine, and the chances are that the sprinters will again have the upper hand so a battle royale between fast men like Boonen and Petacchi is on the cards.
So far this season Petacchi has won 20 races and Boonen 13, and that total of 33 victories is far more than most complete teams have managed so far ( Discovery Channel for example have won 18 races).
However, if the sprinters teams dither too long before taking up the responsibility of chasing down the escapees, it is possible that a hard working small group could hold off the charging pack to the finish.
LLORET DE MAR - LLORET DE MAR (C.R.I.), 48.0 kms.
A major test for the contenders for the overall rankings. The Cat 3 climb of Alto de Tossa in the middle of the stage means that all riders must judge their effort very carefully, and also slightly reduces the advantage of the specialised time trial men in favour of the mountain goats.
Defending champion Roberto Heras knows that he must be at the top of his game, or riders like Floyd Landis, Santiago Botero, Jose Azevedo or Bradley McGee will gain the upper hand. Two other former winners will also like their chances today, Aitor Gonzalez and Angel Casero. Both these riders have won the Vuelta Espana on the last day of the competition due to their prowess against the clock.
VALL D´EN BAS – ESTACIÓN DE ESQUÍ DE ORDINO-ARCALÍS (Andorra), 206.3 kms.
If there is no rest for the wicked then some of the cyclists in the peloton must have been very naughty indeed. Immediately after the ITT the riders face their most serious climbing test in the race so far.
The Collet de Montaup will no doubt see a flurry of attacks from riders wishing to gain an advantage before the final climb, which promises to be both spectacular and dramatic.
In 1999 stage 12 saw the riders face a the same two mountains used as a finish. That day Olano, who had crashed earlier, found himself in all sorts of trouble on the Collet de Montaup, and Igor Galdeano launched an attack just before the final climb.
Roberto Heras, Jimenez, and Piepoli were the next riders to cross the line. But Jan Ullrich was the man to take over the race leaders Golden jersey, which he then held all the way to Madrid. 1999 was the year that the “jersey oro” was first introduced to the race to distinguish the leader in the Overall Standings, and so Ullrich became the first rider to win the Golden shirt of Spain.
ANDORRA – E. E. ARAMÓN CERLER, 186.6 Kms.
The second consecutive mountain stage with a very demanding route and thirteen kilometre climb to the ski station in Cerler. A favourite route in the race it was last used in 1998. The three first riders to reach the top were José María Jiménez, Roberto Heras and Fernando Escartín, three great climbers which gives an indication of the stages difficulty.
Winners at the ski station form a veritable list of honour for the race, stars like, Cubino, Parra, Delgado, Farfán, Ivanov and Rominger have all shone on this mountain.
The stage shows no mercy with the 1st Cat Port del Cantó right at the very start of the stage , followed by the Coll de Bretui, Coll de la Creu de Perves , Coll de la Espina and the Coll de Fadas to warm the riders legs up before the final climb of the day.
So after an exciting opening phase the riders will have covered three mountain stages , a time trial and the teams searching for the Golden Fleece of the Vuelta Espana will deserve a much needed rest day -
REST DAY QUIZ
Name these Vuelta winners- (Answers at bottom of page – no peeking)
Photo 1 - Gustave Deloor has the great honor of having been the first winner in Vuelta a España. It was in 1935, beating the brilliat rider, Mariano Cañardo; he showed himself to be such a good rider that he even repeated his victory in 1936
Photo 2 - Luis Ocaña should have won more than just one Vuelta a España, as well as he should have won more than one Tour de France. His only victory in the Spanish race was in 1970 when he beat the rider Tamames. The previous year he had achieved the second position after Pingeon.
Photo 3 - Tony Rominger is the only rider who has been able to win Vuelta a España three consecutives times, and was so dominant he was nicknamed “the hammer” by the Spanish fans .In 1994 he did it for the third and last time, though in 1996 he was the third classified rider
Photo 4 - Altig was the first German rider to win the Vuelta a España, beating such good riders as Antequil, Poulidor and Pérez Francés .The well-built Teutonic rider obtained three stages as well. His superiority, as in many other occasions, was remarkable
Photo 5 - Eddy Merckx was lacking the victory in Vuelta a España on his list of achievements. In order to obtain this title, he enrolled himself in Vuelta a España 1973 and won it very easily, as it was expected. Because of that, that year he did not take part in Le Tour and as a consequence, a Spanish rider was the winner in Le Tour de France. La Vuelta 73 was "La Vuelta de Merckx".