55th Vuelta a España - Grand Tour

Spain, August 26 - September 17, 2000

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Complete live report

Stage 11 - September 5: Alp-Arcalís (Andorra), 136.5 km

14.30 CET - 80 kms to go

Welcome to the eleventh stage of the Vuelta a Espańa, from Alp (in the Pyrenees despite the name) to Andorra, a little sovereign state squeezed in between France and Spain in the high Pyrenees. We have an early attack by a trio: German Champion Rolf Aldag (Telekom), Andrej Zintchenko (LA Pecol) and Andrea Peron (Fassa Bortolo). Behind them three riders, Tafi (Mapei) and Roscioli (Jazztel) and Lobato (Fuenlabrada) are trying to catch them but they only hzave some 20 seconds to the peloton. The gap for the leaders is 2.43 to the second trio.

14.45 CET - 75 kms to go

On the first climb Aldag has problems on the 11 percent rise at the beginning and soon Peron is alone up front. In the peloton, that caught the intermediate trio right away, it's a Kelme show again just like yesterday. Sevilla (Kelme) attacks, splitting the bunch up into small groups. After Sevilla, di Luca (Cantina Tollo), Beltran (Mapei), de Munain (Euskaltel) and Herve (Polti) follow in a group with a couple more. It's Escartin (Kelme), Laiseka (Euskaltel) and Cerezo (Vitalicio) and more are coming.

15.00 CET -

There are more attacks in the peloton and even Alex Zülle (Banesto) tries something. A revenge for yesterday. Along comes de Munain, Beltran and Gutierrez (Kelme). ONCE group themselves around the leading Santos Gonzalez a bit further back. But Peron prevails up the road. Gonzalez covers some attacks himself. Finally some ten riders get a gap to the peloton but none of the top riders in the overall classification.

15.10 CET - 70 kms to go

Andrea Peron is riding well, at the mountain top he passes without having lost anything, the gap is around two minutes to the next followers. Among them: di Luca, Beltran, Gutierrez, Cardenas in the climber's jersey and a handful more. Aldag was caught some metres before the mountain prime.

15.15 CET - 65 kms to go

On the way down nobody seems interested in catching the leading Italian. Everybody looks behind towards the leader's group and soon there is one huge peloton. Laurent Brochard (J Delatour) is trying to escape on his own though.

15.25 CET - 55 kms to go

The riders are approaching the capital Andorra la Vella. Andrea Peron is still leading the stage and he is a decent climber. Mikel Zarrabetia, one of ONCE's most valuable riders and seventh overall, has crashed on the way down. He sits at the roadside though. Escartin has had a puncture and is alone behind the field in the streets of Sant Julia de Loria.

15.35 CET - 50 kms to go

Peron is riding strong alone at the front, Brochard has gained 15 seconds only on the little piece of flat roads while the peloton's interest in the two riders is limited. They have given Brochard 1.18. Zarabeitia was taken care of by ambulance with a bandaged hand.

15.40 CET - 45 kms to go

Brochard is losing ground. In the peloton Sevilla (Kelme), di Luca (Cantina Tollo), Sastre (ONCE) and Aitor Osa (Banesto) gets a little gap. Escartin (Kelme) bridges up. Kelme is going to attack today. Di Luca is left behind. While Rubiera (Kelme) and Laiseka (Euskaltel) join from behind. Three Kelmes in this group but ONCE can stay cool. The field is splitting right now as it usually does at the beginning of a climb.

15.45 CET - 40 kms to go

Peron wins the second sprint of the day, or let's say as the Spanish do, "intermediate finish", because there is not much of a sprint for Peron of course. Escartin's group now has 1.22 to the peloton. They are four Kelme riders now and they do all the job. It's Botero that has joined also. And there is less time to Peron now.

15.55 CET - 35 kms to go

Escartin is 6.49 behind Gonzalez overall and maybe this his last attempt to come back into the race again. Right now Festina is driving the peloton for Casero with Ullrich high and all the other top riders except the fallen Zarrabetia. Zülle is also along so far.

16.00 CET - 30 kms to go

Botero is no longer in the chasing group, we haven't mentioned Teteriouk (Liquigas) and though who is on last wheel in the group letting the Kelmes do the job. There are eight in the group: Sevilla, Escartin and Rubiera (all Kelme), Laiseka (Euskaltel), Sastre (ONCE), Aitor Osa (Banesto) and Cerezo (Vitalicio). Teteriouk is in trouble.

16.10 CET -

Aitor Osa is also in trouble and he and Teteriouk are together a hundred metres behind the others in the group where Santiago Blanco is the Vitalicio rider. Peron is still in front after 80 kilometres in the lead. They are only seconds behind Peron now and he is caught before the top.

In the peloton Abraham Olano is losing the grip now. He is already 100 metres behind, but we know that Olano never breaks down completely. He has the ability to let the others go and go on climbing in his own tempo. But today he is on his own.

16.15 CET - 28 kms to go

Olano is coming back again when the road flattens for a little while when Polti, that is Hervé and Virenque, drives the peloton now. It looks like an attempt to win the stage. The peloton splits again with Olano in the back. In the front Rubeiro leads on a little downhill slope before the last climbing kilometre up to 1980 metres at Coll d'Ordino.

16.20 CET - 25 kms to go

Sastre takes the mountain prime while the peloton split a little on the final climb with Olano back among the cars but he will probably come back on the way down. Virenque attacks at the top and Cardenas comes along to take some more points to defend the climber's jersey.

16.25 CET - 22 kms to go

The leading group rides at full speed down to Ordino in the valley. It's Escartin and Rubeira in the front while Sevilla and Laiseka seems troubled going down and they are caught by Peron and they are still in contact with the others.

16.30 CET - 17 kms to go

Time for the final climb, the ski station at Ordino de Arcalis. Virenque and Odriozola attacked down hill but they haven't really gained on the leaders and they have Sgambelluri along. This is a HC climb. The toughest of the day. In the front there are seven now with Peron. Sevilla in a last effort at the front.

16.35 CET - 14 kms to go

Sevilla passes the final sprint first. Virenque's group now catches those left behind by the front group, they have about half a minute to the peloton.

16.40 CET - 12 kms to go

Zülle is still riding high in the peloton and all the other top riders are along also. The final climb starts quite reasonably and gets tougher towards the end. It's Festina and ONCE at the front now. ONCE has a problem here. Should they defend Gonzalez' jersey or help Olano?

16.45 CET - 9 kms to go

The chasing group is splitting under attacks from Beltran and then Sgambelluri (Cantina Tollo) . The Italian is catching Odriozola who has been up the road for a while. Tonkov is pulling the peloton now, Gonzalez is on third wheel. From 10 kms on the climb gets steeper. Laiseka launches the first attack.

16.50 CET - 7 kms to go

Escartin and Sevilla still in charge at the front. In the peloton Hervé is riding hard and Olano is in trouble once again. Sevilla attacks but Laiseka counters and gets a good gap. Escartin rises the speed chasing Laiseka.

16.55 CET - 5 kms to go

Heras is attacking in the peloton and Belli is the only one that can follow. First his mates forces the other teams to drive hard and when they are enough boiled Heras, top best placed in the general classification, attacks. Even Belli has to give up. Heras is just increasing the speed. He is on heavy gears. Will he be able to get away for good? He is about to catch Beltran. Up front a lone Escartin is still behind Laiseka who might take his second stage win in the Vuelta.

17.00 CET - 4 kms to go

Laiseka is still in front but for him it is "only" a stage win at stake. In the shrinking peloton Gonzalez is still along as is the other top riders except Olano. Sevilla is coming down from the front to help Heras. What a day for Kelme.

17.05 CET - 2 kms to go

Santos Gonzales is under pressure now with Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano attacking. But also Ullrich is in trouble now, side by side with Santos Gonzalez. Laiseka is still in the lead. Angel Casero is in an overall leading position now. Also Rubiera is down to help Heras. Ullrich is cracking Santos Gonzalez.

17.10 CET - 1 km to go

Gonzalez is left behind now and he will lose the leader's jersey. But who will take over the golden jersey? Heras raises the tempo now with only Beltran able to follow. They are catching Escartin!

17.15 - Finish

Igor de Galdeano and Casero are somewhere between Heras and Ullrich while Roberto Laiseka passes the finish line as stage winner his second win ever and his second stage win in the Vuelta. Carlos Sastre comes second and takes over the KOM jersey. Farther back Beltran (Mapei) is actually helping Heras a bit but Heras is third at 1.40 and Escartin comes in at 1.59. But Casero makes it at 2.56 and takes over the overall lead.

17.20 CET

Ullrich came in at 4.15, Santos Gonzalez at 6.19 and Olano at 6.40, Zülle at 8.11 with Peron.

Unofficial results:

1. Roberto Laiseka (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi         3.43.25
2. Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank      1.04
3. Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca   1.50
4. Manuel Beltran Martinez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step     1.50
5. Fernando Escartín (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca         1.59
6. José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa)  Kelme-Costa Blanca  2.37
7. Óscar Sevilla Ribera (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca      2.39
8. Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Mapei-Quick Step                2.40
9. Richard Virenque (Fra) Team Polti                  2.56

General classification after stage 11:

1. Angel Casero Moreno (Spa) Festina Watches            
2. Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca   1.16
3. Igor González de Galdeano (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros  1.42
4. Jan Ullrich (Ger) Deutsche Telekom                 2.21
5. Santos Gonzalez Capilla (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank   2.24

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