Marcel Wust's "Pain and Suffering" Vuelta Diary
Spain, September 4-26, 1999
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I did NOT win...but I did NOT crash either, so the first day was kind of a success. Sometimes I wonder why we have the race books where the last kilometres are drawn with precision and all dangerous stuff pointed out really well when there are still some guys going into the last corner as if it was not sharp and narrow but wide and open!!
Thanx to fabri "dork" guidi who took out like 15 guys and stuffed up the whole thing for most of us. Robby Hunter won 3 secs ahead of the first little bunch who made it around the crash and 11secs ahead of the rest. normally the first sprint is really important in a big tour as I see who had good legs and power...but today I did not see anything......maybe tomorrow.
The race: jacky Durand spent most of the day in front with a fuenlabrada guy and with the bonus seconds he took the jersey .. good on him.
The hotel: great 4 star place rite on the beach in Alicante...but lousy food How hard can it be to cook pasta 9 mins??
The quote of the day: "let's go right!!" mario traversoni from saeco as we rode past some awesome beach...on the right.
Pestoso of the day: see above, it's the guy who did not get the vuelta book.
hasta la vista
Winning days are great...especially if they happen early in a big tour. so now the team and myself we can relax a bit .. no pressure .. we've done what we planned and we did not even have to wait like last year when the first stage I won was #13.
winning days are busy too .. lots of phonecalls, interviews and stuff so the time to type is very reduced (its 10 to 11 right now and the last thing before bed is typing this and getting it on it's way)
the race: fast from the start, 3 cat 3 climbs, lots of breakaways and a bunch sprint.
I took in front of zanini, lombardi and robby (mac not hunter!) durand is still leader but I don't think he will be after tomorrow ... there are too many keen sprinters really close up his ass.
The hotel: allright - no more, no less...but it does not have a restaurant so we had to walk 500m for food. At least it did not rain.
Quote of the day: "he's an angry little man" robby mcewen about blijlevens who punched a lotto guy who was in the crash with him after stage 1
Pestoso of the day: fabio roscioli who attacked at km 0 when half the bunch was having a leak .. but actually it's our problem .. we know he always does it and the race starts at km 0.
short nite now and (hopefully) ready for the longest stage this year tomorrow la roda - fuenlabrada 229 kms
PS: pestoso of the day propositions will be taken every day from all of you guys at the vuelta.
What can I say??? winning is great, and winning PLUS taking the leader's jersey in a big tour is something not many people experience in their pro career .. I know what it is like now .. GREAT STUFF!!! So only 3 days in the vuelta I've won 2 stages and have the leaders jersey .. not much more to ask for. I got to the hotel really late because there was a transfer after the stage so now it's 8:45 and I'm still waiting for a massage. Luckily tomorrow we can sleep kinda in .. 9 am is the wakeup.
quickly the usual stuff:
the race: german nieto did a 200km break away suicide ride...we caught him 4 to go. the 2 robbies (mac and hunter) were taking the bonus secs in the intermediate sprints and I won the sprint in front of lombardi and luckily neither of the robbies was 2nd or 3rd so I could take the jersey (can I still come to your wedding rob??)
the hotel: good 4 star business like hotel. Firm beds and enough room for two people travelling with many many things .. all the stuff U need to get through a 3 weeks stage race (more about that some other day). Great food too and a big piece of chocolate cake with champagne to wash it down .. it doesn't get any better then this.
quote of the day: "this is the most straight, boring race I've done in my entire life" Chann McCrae (Mapei) when we were riding on roads where the turns were more than 30kms apart.
Pestoso of the day: dylan casey, usps, nominated himself after he ran into a benfica guy trying to give a bottle to his team mate. the benfica guys bike broke as did dylan's front wheel....which he changed on the LEFT side of the road...this should give him a 50 suisse francs fine too.
I don't wanna bore anyone but I won again .. it's late now and I'm really tired so for today just the four usual things:
The race: hilly in the first bit then flat. Telekom chased down a 12 man break and we just caught them as we were going into Salamanca. The led Lombardi out really well and I jumped out of his wheel with 200m to go .. still leading the vuelta .. dream on marcel until the wakeup call in the first bigger mountains tomorrow.
The hotel: in the middle of nowhere owned by ex pro laude cubino .. great for 12 hour nights of sleep after filling up with great food at the restaurant .. pool for 40+ degree days also available.
Pestoso of the day: look stefano zanini...it's probalbly not the 2 or 3 pushes my teammates gave me up the cat 2 climbs that made me win again today. so don't pull my team mates' jersey and scream the usual italian stuff at him and stop insulting me while I'm on the podium.
Quote of the day: juan carlos is the king of spain, but marcel wust is the king of the vuelta. some radio reporter from the "cope" interviewing me after I won
good night .. I really need it!!
First day in the mountains and a grupetto of 80-100 guys .. why isn't it always that easy??
After the stage we had a transfer back to the hotel...it took 2 hours with the bus and as I was last for the massage I went to dinner at 10 p.m. Now it's almost 11 and I sit on my bed with the computer on my knees and type.
The race: another german win .. good to see that Ullrich is recovering and today's stage win should be good for his morale. I haven't seen a result yet but there were about 20 guys in the front. None of us but Brochard took the climber's jersey over from Pascal Herve and spent half the day out there with Diaz from "once"
Zulle blew up and lost heaps .. first big surprise of the vuelta.
The hotel: it is still the same.
The pestoso of the day: no points for any riders today .. everyone behaved very well.
5 points for the "alto del portillo" the first cat 1 climb of the Vuelta.
Quote of the day: "the thing is, that if you get eliminated, if you stop or if you finish the vuelta: the bonus you get is the same.....an airline ticket to go home" said by some rider who is probably not gonna finish the vuelta tomorrow the first "rest"day...46km time trial with a 30% time cut.
Free 'phones and smelly cigars
I thought I'd have heaps of time today to do what I needed to do all week ... well I didn't.
It was an hour to go to the race, then I had to wait at the finish for two hours before they did the podium presentation for the points jersey, so by the time we were ready to go back the traffic chaos caused by the Vuelta broke down and it took one and a half hours to get back to the hotel. Then massage, dinner and a quick interview with German TV and here I am back in my room at 10pm typing this.
The race: it was almost a rest day for me. I lost more than nine minutes on Olano who showed that he's the time trial man of the moment. No warm up before the race. I sat in the village where the main sponsor Telefonica provides free phone calls for all Vuelta people - always busy before the normal stages but today I rang home and a few friends around the world, then took off easy in the TT, got a sweat going about half way through and then wound it down towards the finish: I trained for tomorrow.
The hotel: they cooked the pasta too long and in the mess of our room Fabian Jeker and I could not find the remote control for the air conditioner, so we pinched Kivilev's from the room next door. Quote of the day: not sport related at all, but it made me laugh: "how can a president of the government have a head like this?" Said a Spanish Vuelta rider while watching the news as Jose Maria Aznar appeared on the screen. Pestoso of the day: the guy who was in the waiting area for the podium where we were watching the race. With the stinky cigar in his mouth he was trying to convince me that the guy on television was Ullrich (it was Casero) and to top it off he blew a mixture of cigar smoke and rotten teeth smell in the middle of my face. I left!
Tomorrow: Salamanca to Leon, 217km. Last winner in Leon: me, last year! Wish me luck.
Bagging a fourth & gearing down for Angliru
It looks like the only way to have some spare time at the hotel is to do the stage at crazy averages (46 today) and get into the finish one hour ahead on schedule.
Typing now it's only 8:20 and I've had my massage already ... great feeling having won four stages after the first Vuelta week already but with all the mountains ahead this might be as good as it gets - good enough though.
The race: fast with attacks, but we were lucky and had Vladimir Belli in a break of four so the team had a day of chasing. we caught everyone at about 10km to go and it came to a sprint with Telekom doing it the opposite this time: Lombardi was setting it up for Hondo. At 250 to go Robbie (Mac not Hunter!) went on the left and only myself came past him in the last couple of metres. It was like a 5cm decision ... lucky I had my 54 chainring on today!! The hotel: no AC, hot like hell in the room and mozzies outside ... can't win tonight ... great food though.
Quote of the day: "What in the hell is this? A cycling team or a cemetery on wheels." Vladimir Belli on the bus drive to the start when everyone was having a little nap and no one talked. Pestoso of the day: It looks like Piccoli is coming back on Roscioli. He was in every break, did sprint flat out for the meta volantes and got caught with only 10km to go.
Believe it or not after all the publicity this "Angliru" received I'm really keen to find out what it is like! I've got a 30/26 as the smallest gear...just to make sure.
Real pain and suffering
Really hard, really wet, really cold the stage was and really tired I am ... what more can you ask for? I'm not in the typing mood at all, sorry daily readers. The last five kilometres of this Angliru is the steepest and toughest I've done in 11 years of pro cycling.
The race: thanks for attacking at the start Jacky "pestoso of the day" Durand. A 43 kmh average before we started the real climbs. Jimi won and I lost 33 minutes. Came in no worries before the time cut.
The hotel: great - rooms, food, TV channels etc, including a BIG bed. Pestoso of the day: See above. Quote of the day: "It's not only a bad day for me and for you, it's a really bad day for everyone in the bunch...just a bad day for cycling" Joona Laukka during the never-ending chase through a really pestoso area.
Sliding in the rain
We won again, but for a change it was Brochard who took it and we were all really happy about it. Typing this the rest day is over already and I'm ready for bed.
The transfer after the stage was no worries, not like last year flying over from Mallorca. Here we go for the usual stuff:
The race: never saw that much rain in a bike race. It felt like a five hour thunderstorm with flooded roads and as an extra it was freezing cold, too. Just one of the days you wanna stay in bed! An early break made it to the finish and brochard attacked the leftovers at 1.5 km to go and won by three seconds.
The hotel: four star place in Zaragoza, great suites and brilliant food. I had a menu to choose from and I did NOT go for salad and pasta! It was more like chorizo, calamari rings and spinach cream with parmesan cheese. The best: we'll be here another day after tomorrow's stage.
Pestoso of the day: Vicario from Fuenlabrada. He took off his rain jacket, it got caught in his back wheel and he came sliding across the street in a downhill straight into me and I came off at about 70km/h - OUTCH - and lucky we had the rest day today.
Quote of the day: "a mi me gusta el football(I like soccer). There is no rain jackets, breakaways to chase down or crashes on slippery downhills. A match only takes an hour and a half and they only play once a week." Vladi Belli before starting in above mentioned condititons.
Quote of the restday: "halla, halla, halla, dada" the first words my son Alexander said when he saw me. He'll be a year in two weeks. It's great to have the family here during the rest day, otherwise these days get really long and boring.
I did a half hour on the rollers around 12 o'clock to see how my body responds after the crash and it felt all allright. No way I would go out in the rain like I've seen many other guys doing. I'm saturated of water running in my shoes and spray up my ass.
That's all you get for today.
A crash-and-chase kind of day
No, I don't wanna talk about this day any more. I was really hurt from the crash, got dropped and if there were not 5 of my team mates waiting for me I would have pulled out. Finally got into the finish with another 54 guys...all got dropped in the big crosswind section after 80km.
The race: the early break after 33km made it to the finish. They saved just under half a minute after being chased all day. Outchakov won it and the never-stop-attacking dude Roscioli came second. I lost more than 13mins and a lot of morale ... hope I'll be better tomorrow.
The hotel: still the same ... The pestoso of the day: all the guys who thought that my five team mates and me would give them a free ride to the finish. It's just not on to wheel suck your way through the last 90km of the stage. If everyone would think like those guys no grupettto would ever make it into the time cut.
Quote of the day: "an unnamed rider will sign his new contract with an unnamed team, he'll do it on an unnamed day for an unnamed amount of money and an unnamed period". This statement was made by an unnamed rider, but I know who he is and the rest too. He just did not wanna tell me how much money he makes.
wish me luck tomorrow
I was the worst of the bunch today...by far!! made it to the finish in the last group but if I'm not way better tomorrow I might be home b4 I wanted....just depends on the way they race up the first climb...right from the start.
The race: early break, they stayed up front and Nardello won, our Garcia Casas was third. 40 average after 3 climbs and a top of the mountain finish.
The hotel: 4 star, good food but all I need today is a bed anyway...
The pestoso of the day: mainly all the guys attacking from the gun all day....viva "il giro d'italia" where after 2 days of attacking from the gun we always had a day where there was at least 2-3 hours of piano and cruising....the worst thing : these guys are always the same.
Quote of the day: "no quiero mas bici" (don't want any more cycling) - myself when the spanish radios asked me for a quote when I grovelled in the finish at pla de beret.
The worst...short...little time cut and 4 big climbs!
The race: 38th in the stage lost more than 29 mins...this says it all, no? Olano cracked, Jan took gold and the top 3 are within a minute...should be interesting.
The hotel: spa bath!!! just what I needed after saving my ass into the cut and a big comfortable bed...what more do I need?
The pestoso of the day: Vicario from Fuenlabrada (the one who caused my crash the other day) attacked first after 6k into a cat1 climb and more points to Piccoli for riding too hard in the grupetto up to Arcalis. GC after almost 2 weeks.1 Vicario, 2. Piccoli, 3. Rocioli
Quote of the day: "how many minutes we have?" the most asked question in all groups of the day...thanx commisaires to make the cut from 12% to 14%...otherwise the vuelta would go with less the 90 riders in the last week.
Special balls of the day: Jalabert finishing last together with Sorensen...you need big morale to grovel through the Vuelta he used to dominate. after his injury it's great to see a great champion making it back with good old fashioned guts...good onyer jaja!!
Pain in the afternoon - the hills also end
Downhill, this is what's going on. But not the roads, just my physical condition is pulling a disappearing act ... and there is nothing I can do about it.
Suffered all day and made it in the cut. Nothing new from yesterday: the race: fast, hard but I didn"t bother about the things happening...too bad for legs.
The hotel: good bed and good food ... don't bother about anything else. The pestoso del day: room mate Fabian Jeker nominated himself ... first attack of the day and then a crash in the front of the bunch (yes just him!!!!!) but he almost took people like Ullrich and Tonkov with him.
Quote of the day:"marcel tu vas a ganar en la castellana" - optimistic fans yelling that at me going up the last climb....want my opinion? I don"t reckon, but I'll try.
The Sunday in Barcelona should have been a festival of cycling...it was a disaster. pouring rain, dangerous circuit and no one felt like racing and breaking a bone... we tried to negociate with the commisaires and organizers to find a solution...like having the stage but without applying any time changes for the general classification which they did not accept....so we started, went really slow, the spectators got pissed off, then stopped, restarted and finally we turned ourselves into clowns when someone attacked and we raced when we agreed not to....lets get this day out of everyones memory but not do the same mistakes again.
No more to say about this stage.... ...not even the usual stuff...just the hotel sucked as well, I could not even get online so that's why I'm late.
Banesto blow it up
It calmed down a bit after we, and especially myself received heaps of shit from the Spanish media. They reckoned I was the bad guy and did not wanna race because I was the one who went talking with the commisaire (he's Swiss and he understands German the best). Sometimes it can be a boomerang if you speak too many languages, just translate and try to help the situation.
The race: early break after the first intermediate sprint and they stayed away until the finish. Here you see the experienced guys knowing when to be in the front: Herve, Andreu, Ekimov, Piccoli - all these people were in the front when they had to be..and made the winning break.
Too bad only one guy can win, so good onyer "jeki" Ekimov, but really big bummer for Frankie Andreu, who spent the last few days grovelling through the grupettos with me...he would have really deserved it as would Pascal Herve, who was in many breaks but hasn't pulled the lucky number in the Vuelta yet.
The hotel: great, 4 stars and 3 phone plugs...I could even send this from the toilet. I have the room for myself as my roommate Fabian Jeker had to pull out with the injuries of his crash 2 days ago. Tomorrow I'll be with Jaime Hernandez so I'll have to start hitting him with pillows in the middle of the night...when he starts snoring...
The pestoso of the day: equal points for all of the Banesto team...they blew the bunch apart in the last climb of the day at 35km to go. The reason? Gotta go and talk to the Banesto director tomorrow. I hope it was because of the crosswind we had the last 15km. If not I have NO idea!
Quote of the day: "thanx Banesto" - almost all the guys in the 2nd group said it after the above described happened in the last climb.
4 more days to go...then time trial and the last in Madrid...but it will NOT be a piece of cake...
The side-effects take hold
The side effects of high-level cycling for three weeks: intense muscle ache which does not even disappear after daily massage; loss of appetite; extreme loss of weight and power and disturbed sleep. After stopping the treatment all this disapears slowly but until I can stop my treatment next Sunday in Madrid (I hope I make it) there are three days of immense torture ahead, then a TT and the last one which is always nice to do.
The race: early break, got dropped with a small group @ 55km to go ... should try for different grupetto buddies tomorrow because except for the experienced guys no one really felt like taking the share of the work.
The hotel: great food but a bit "old". I stuffed the usual menue due to one of the side effects and orderd rice with gorgonzola sauce. This was the first time I really enjoyed eating in the last week. Had a beer to wash it down and will be asleep b4 10:30 tonight. As early as never b4 in the vuelta!
The pestoso of the day: Luis Perez from ONCE. Not ONE pull in the grupetto but going up all the hills in the big ring pretending to be a champion. If you don't pull dude go in the back and get out of everyone's way and don't split the grupetto in pieces by losing wheels all the time.
Quote of the day: "3 more days of torture" myself about how I feel about the rest of the vuelta Tomorrow is the most "pestoso" stage of all the race. 225km shit roads, never flat and cross winds....tomorrow's report might be really short too...
Roscioli - unattainable lead as pestoso on GC
Back home I'm typing this last one. After trying really hard and not making it I can't say I'm disapointed with the Vuelta but I definitely would have loved it to make it to Madrid, especially so close before the end. After doing so well in the first week making it through to the last one would have iced the cake. It was just one "pestoso" stage to much ...
The race: really hard and fast in the beginning ... that's when I got dropped and when I had 130km into straight head wind to go and was already 10 minutes behind the lead group, I realized I would not make it inside the time cut so I just climbed off before the feed zone ... the break went through and finished 12 minutes ahead of the bunch.
The hotel: HOME!!! I changed my ticked due for Sunday and came home the same night. Great feeling to sleep in your own bed after being away for so long AND being with the family!
The pestoso of the day: Roscioli attacked after 2 km and stuffed it all up, especially for me. He got bonus points for being dropped just after me but he was lucky to get back on through the cars. I did not, special thanks to the Vuelta commissaires who have been very correct until the Barcelona incident but since then I received "special treatment" due to the points jersey as well.
But don't get me wrong I was just to stuffed up to finish this hardest Vuelta in history. I don"t blame no one ....
After 17 stages the gc for the pestoso is Roscioli having so many points that no one can catch him until Madrid ... and you don't have to finish the Vuelta either to claim overall "pestoso" SO CONGRATULATIONS FABIO!!!
The quote of the day: "this must be some spanish retirement place ... all there is are old people" Frankie Andreu at the start line in "Bronchales" and 500 people, 80 houses placed in the middle of nowhere where we started stage 17.
I say bye for the Vuelta 99...good luck for all of you still hanging in there. Until the next time take care.