Words from the Winner
Denis Menchov, the first golden jersey of the Vuelta 2005, said in a press
conference that he didn't expect this result and to win the stage. "This is my
sixth year as pro and I failed on other occasions".
The Russian rider explained that during the year he has worked really hard
and that he has had a good feeling about it. "I thought that I couldn't compete
with the specialists".
Menchov explains that after the Tour de France, he went to see his family in
Russia, which was excellent to help him recover. "After that I worked really
hard and it did work out," he added.
Asking if he was a candidate to win the Vuelta, he answered: "I'm feeling
good and I prefer to go from day to day. It's not yet finished. I have
confidence in my team".
The Rabo-man explained that he has to have great legs to do well in the
mountains and not have bad days - one bad day can ruin everything.
Stage 1 winner and first gold jersey, Denis Menchov. Photo (c) Unipublic.
Click for larger image.
The Russian Rabobank team rider Denis Menchov got in Granada the first time
trial stage win of this Vuelta a España, 60th edition, it was a 7 kilometres
stage, which climb difficulty was the Alto de la Alhambra.
Mechov had health problems, so he couldn´t do too well in the last Tour de
France, but he has come in shape for this year´s Vuelta, that´s why he is a good
candidate for the final victory in Madrid; we don´t have to forget that he knows
pretty well the ground - not in vain was he on the Banesto team for 5 years.
The stage, very technical in its climbing section as in the descent, counted
on a very solid leader during a long part of stage; it was Belgian Rik
Verbrugghe, who in 2000 won the Giro´s prologue. Finally, only Melchov was able
to overcome the Belgian, by only 1 second, while Australian Bradley McGee
completed the podium 3 seconds away from the leader.
Rik Verbrugghe, first Mountains jersey wearer. Photo (c)
Unipublic. Click for larger image.
Granada´s stage was difficult due to a double curve in the first metres of
the route which finished with the hopes of several riders, like one of the
Liberty Seguros´s leader Joseba Beloki,. The Basque assured after the stage, “My
elbow and my collar bone hurt, I hope it´s nothing.”
Last Vuelta a España´s winner, Roberto Heras, has shown that he is in shape
and he finished in the eighth position, only 15 seconds away from Menchov, a
good time for a climber.
Last year, Menchov won the Vuelta a España fifth stage, ending in Morella,
and he assured that right after finishing the stage, “the key has been climbing
up, controlling to be able to descend fast”. Facing the rest of the race, the
Rabobank rider commented “I know I have quality and will fight for the overall,
although I have to think day by day”.
Roberto Heras finished the prologue of the Vuelta a España in seventh, 15
seconds to the winner, Denis Menchov. Liberty Seguros-Würth's leader, very happy
with his result, said that, especially, "this gives me morale to begin the race
well". The team, according to Manolo Saiz, obtained " an unequal result, because
I have seen my riders show better times than they have obtained. Roberto has
been very good, as was Vicioso. On the contrary, Igor rode blocked".
Saiz explained that this time trial "was very complicated and it was
necessary to have a extraordinary day to do it well. Beloki's fall has been a
shame, because I have seen him ride very well".
Both Roberto Heras's result and the situation of the general classification
make Manolo Saiz satisfied. "I like how the race has started. For me it was
important that leader was on a team such as the Rabobank, one of that it has
been said that was not coming to dispute the Vuelta, because now it will be one
more team to control the race".
Joseba Beloki was the most unfortunate team rider, on having suffered a fall
just after the start, on second curve, owed probably to the dirt of the asphalt,
with fat and oil. Beloki struck in shoulder and right hip (the same place where
he got hurt in the fall of the Tour 2003). He jumped back on the bicycle and it
was at the time when he verified that handle bar had broken, which forced him to
change bicycles. Fortunatly, Joseba neither suffered wounds of consideration and
did not need to visit the hospital.
"My back wheel slipped away and I fell in a bad position, on my bad side.
I'm bitter", adds the rider, and says he had a lot of pain at his collarbone and
the side on which he fell, "but tomorrow everything will be solved".
"I am very satisfied with my race. It was one very explosive time trial, but
I have felt very well. To stay among ten first places in a prologue of less than
10 kilometres gives me motivation that the Vuelta a España is beginning well.
The times that have been marked today are not significant, you cannot come to
any conclusion on who is going to lose the Vuelta, but to make it well gives you
so much morale.
For me the important thing is that already I am in the Vuelta and this result
is a good symptom. Still there are many race days, but already I know that this
is the tone that I have to maintain. The parcours had certain dangers because
the asphalt was not in good condition, very dirty. Because of it I have taken
some precautions in the curves, especially in descent. Though I lost some
seconds, on balance it is very positive".
Photo (c) Unipublic. Click for larger image.
Today in the first stage of Vuelta a Espana in Granada: a prologue of 7 km.,
Gilberto Simoni, who is not a specialist of the Time Trials, made a very good
impression, finishing tenth at 20’’ from Menchov. He is the first Italian rider
on classification. The team also notes also the good results of Vila (14th) and
Maurizio Piovani, Sportive Director: “Gilberto did a great prologue: he went
very strong also in the flattest parts. We are very satisfied”
Francaise des Jeux
The team of today's second-placed Bradley McGee has Vuelta photo albums on
its team website -
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