33rd Setmana Catalana (Catalan Week), Cat 2.1

Spain, March 24-29, 1997

1996 Results and Reports

  • Preview
  • Stage 1
  • Stage 2
  • Stage 3
  • Stage 4
  • Stage 5 and Final GC


    Abraham Olano, Bjarne Riis, Alex Zulle, Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani, top the list for the racing of the 34th edition of Setmana Catalana (2.1) which will be disputed between March 24th and 28th. The race from Catalunya has been raised by the UCI to its maximum category for a five day race, after showing good organization on the last editions. Setmana Catalana will start at Lloret de Mar (Gerona) and will finish at the Barcelonan mountain of Montjuic and will count on the participation of 18 teams, 5 of them from Spain. Here is a list of the teams that will participate: ONCE, Banesto, Kelme- Costa Blanca, Cafes Toskaf and Euskadi from Spain, plus: Brescialat, Lotus, Asics, Gan, Casino, Saeco, Mercatone Uno, Recer Boavista, Maia, Postal, Telekom, Rabobank and TVM.

    Stage 1, Lloret de Mar-Lloret de Mar 165 km:

      1. George Hincapie (Usa) US Postal              4.11.40
      2. Fabrizio Bontempi (Ita) Brescialat
      3. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Gan
      4. Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom
      5. Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom
      6. Neil Stephens (Aus) Festina
      7. Rolf Jdrmann (Sch) Casino
      8. Mario Traversoni (Ita) Mercatone
      9. Luis Diaz de Otazu (Spa) Once
     10. Andrea Noe (Ita) Asics                      all s.t.

    Overall (after bonuses):

      1. George Hincapie (Usa) US Postal              4.11.34
      2. Fabrizio Bontempi (Ita) Brescialat              s.t.
      3. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Gan                      + 0.04
      4. Rolf Jdrmann (Sch) Casino                     + 0.05
      5. Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom                     + 0.06
      6. Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom
      7. Neil Stephens (Aus) Festina
      8. Mario Traversoni (Ita) Mercatone
      9. Luis Diaz de Otazu (Spa) Once
     10. Andrea Noe (Ita) Asics                      all s.t.
     29. Jonker
     43. Breukink
     47. Boogerd
     73. Boven 			 2.49
     97. Van Heeswijk
    106. Voskamp
    111. De Koning 			 8.23
    114. Van der Steen
    127. Moerenhout 		10.03
    142. Dubbeldam 			16.11
    144. Blijlevens

    Stage 1 Report

    The climb of Alt de Sant Grau hung up the sprinters and allowed the American, living in Girona, to become the first overall leader of the race. Zarrabeitia also showed that he didn't come to the race to pass the time and that his anxious for victory. But this time he was lacking the final kick, which American (of Colombian origin) George Hincapie, gave his team, the US Postal Service. Hincapie is a strongly built athlete, born and raised in Colorado, his mother is a taxi driver and his father is a businessman. But for now he has decided to live in Girona since the start of the season.

    THE DECISIVE CLIMB - The first stage of la Setmana, of 160 kms. with start and finish at Lloret, had as decisive point the ascent of Alt de Sant Grau, whose peak was at 35 kms. from the finish. That's where the peloton broke up, which until there had remained together. Only the two intermediate sprints had any influence in the classification until then. Italian Martinello, who won both of them, earned six seconds for that and the overall leadership was his, all he had to do is to be in the final sprint and it would be his. But then they reached Sant Grau and all the sprinters, including Martinello, paid the consequences and were dropped. It also happened to some of the important riders of the race: Olano, Mauri and the recent Milano-San Remo winner, Eric Zabel. Olano and Mauri were able to hook up with the front group after an impressive 'hunt', but Zabel remembered that he was a sprinter and the delay was too big to re-hook.

    'ZARRA'S' TURN - Zarrabeitia was one of the most aggressive on the climb and after the last and tough kilometer he formed a quartet composed of Virenque, and Francesco Casagrande. Dangerous riders for the overall, but not as much as Ullrich. The German has come here to win. But before that there was a tremendous chase by Kelme which strung out the first peloton, while in front the three foreigners pulled on Zarrabeitia. ONCE's rider would show his claws with an attack on a climb on a tunnel located at 6 kms. from the finish, regretfully, too far away. The man from Vizcaya was captured with three kms. to go and Ullrich attempted to join the quartet, but all of them would succumb to the peloton with Asics and Mercatone pulling in front. Anything could happen in the sprint which was disputed by 69 riders, none of them sprint specialists. Riis tried to launch his teammate Ullrich, but surprisingly Hincapie was stronger and beat Bontempi and O'Grady. The three earned 6, 4 and 2 second bonuses.

    The second stage will be contested today starting at noon from Lloret to reach L'Hospitalet de Llobregat at about 5:30 PM, after covering 202 kms. and climbing the Santa Fe del Montseny.

    Stage 2, Lloret de Mar-Hospitalet de Llobregat, 202 km:

     1. Serguei Smetanine (Rus, Cafes Toscaf)           5 h 11:43.
     2. Stuart O'Grady (Aus)                                  
     3. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus)                              
     4. Fabrizio Bontempi (Ita)                               
     5. Angel Edo (Spa)                                       
     6. Serguei Ivanov (Rus)                                  
     7. Bjarne Riis (Den)                                     
     8. George Hincapie (USA)                                 
     9. Andrea Noe (Ita)                                      
    10. Marco Artunghi (Ita)          all same time as winner 
     18. Voskamp
     30. Van Heeswijk
     32. Boogerd
     34. Jonker
     43. Breukink
     96. Moerenhout 				17.41
     98. De Koning
     99. Dubbeldam
    103. Van der Steen
    126. Blijlevens
    131. Boven
    Erik Zabel didn't start: influenza

    Overall standings after bonuses added

     1. Fabrizio Bontempi (Ita)                          9.23:15
     2. Stuart O'Grady (Aus)                    		0.02
     3. George Hincapie (USA)                        	0.02
     4. Rolf Jaermann (Swi)                              	0.03
     5. Juan Carlos Dominguez (Spa)                         0.05
     6. Christophe Moreau (Fra)                             0.06
     7. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus)                            0.06
     8. Andrea Noe (Ita)                                    0.08
     9. Jens Heppner (Ger)                                  0.08
    10. Bjarne Riis (Den)                                   0.08
     25. Jonker
     33. Boogerd
     40. Breukink
     71. Voskamp 						2.57
     72. Van Heeswijk
    107. Boven 					       20.38
    112. De Koning 					       26.12
    113. Van der Steen
    123. Moerenhout 				       27.52
    135. Dubbeldam					       34.00
    136. Blijlevens

    Stage 2 Report

    On Tuesday, the Russian rider Sergei Smetanine won the second stage of the Catalan Week. He won in a mass sprint from Australian Stuart O'Grady and the Russian Ekimov. Italian, Fabrizio Bontempi took over the leader's jersey from the American Hincapie.

    Bart Voskamp in 18th place was the best Dutch rider. The stage was over 204 kms from Lloret de Mar to l'Hospitalet de Llobregat. Smetanine from the Deportpublic team won in a photo finish.

    Stage 2 Report

    Manolo Saiz, the sport director for Team ONCE, rightly declared that the routes were designed backwards at this edition of la Setmana. The mountain is at the beginning, so in the kilometers left to the finish, any breaks that might have taken off get caught, which has broken up the combativity on the riders. This is why there was a big froup to contest the sprint at Hospitalet de Llobregat with the win by Russian Smetanine. And by way of the bonus seconds, Italian Fabrizio Bontempi took the overall lead away from George Hincapie. The curious thing about this stage was the suspense of the riders after the end of the stage, the sprint between Smetanine and O'Grady was so tight that the winner had to be decided by photo-finish. The few minutes after the stage were confusing since it was unknown who the stage winner had been and who was the overall leader. The times are so tight that the bonus seconds are crucial. When it was made public that Smetanine had beat O'Grady, the Australian from Team GAN received a big hit on his morale since he thought that he had won. But he still had the hope of becoming the overall leader. But that wouldn't be: the four seconds given to him by the second place, tied his time with Fabrizio Bontempi, who had better stage placings which earned him the overall. What the Australian ignored was that Bontempi had been second on the intermediate sprint at Cornella, which were vital to give him the maillot.

    Stage 3, Hospitalet Llobregat-Andorra la Vella, 206 km:

      1. Vjatjeslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal          5.24.32 
      2. Serguei Smetanine (Rus) Cafis Toscaf        + 0.01
      3. Mario Traversoni (Ita) Mercatone
      4. Adriano Baffi (Ita) US Postal
      5. Silvio Martinello (Ita) Saeco
      6. George Hincapie (USA) US Postal
      7. Alex Z|lle (Sch) Once
      8. Fabrizio Bontempi (Ita) Brescialat
      9. Rolf Jdrmann (Sch) Casino
     10. Andrea Noe (Ita)  Asics                   all s.t.
     11. Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Saeco
     12. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Gan
     13. Christophe Moreau (Fra) Festina
     14. Bart Voskamp (Ned) TVM
     15. Craig Jemison (Usa) US Postal
     16. Marco Villa (Ita) Brescialat
     17. Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) Euskadi
     18. Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom
     19. Tyler Hamilton (Usa) US Postal
     20. Johan Bruyneel (Bel) Rabobank
     21. Sergei Ivanov (Rus) TVM
     22. Luis Sarreira (Por) Recer-Boavista
     23. Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone
     24. Erik Breukink (Ned) Rabobank
     25. Juan Carlos Dominguez (Spa) Kelme
     38. Abraham Olano (Spa)
     49. Richard Virenque (Fra)
     51. Bjarne Riis (Den)                         all s.t.


      1. Fabrizio  Bontempi (Ita) Brescialat       14.47.46
      2. Vjatjeslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal           + 0.01
      3. George Hincapie (Usa) US Postal             + 0.04
      4. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Gan                    + 0.04 
      5. Rolf Jdrmann (Sch) Casino                   + 0.04
      6. Juan Carlos Dominguez (Spa) Kelme           + 0.06
      7. Alberto Eli (Ita) Casino                    + 0.07
      8. Christophe Moreau (Fra) Festina             + 0.08
      9. Melchor Mauri (Spa) Once                    + 0.08
     10. Andrea Noe (Ita) Asics                      + 0.10

    Stage 3 Report

    Russia's Viacheslav Ekimov won the third stage of the Catalan cycling event here Wednesday comprising a 207km run from L'Hospitalet de Llobregat to Andorra la Vella.

    Ekimov, riding for US Postal Service, burst through to edge the pack by fully one second as he completed the run in 5hrs 24min 32sec.

    The day's action saw numerous unsuccessful attempts to escape the peleton before Marco Pantani of Italy and Ekimov began a final push for the front after 172 kilometres.

    In the final kilometre it was Ekimov who found the extra ounce of stamina to edge into the tiniest of leads which he just held onto despite the last-ditch challenges of compatriot Sergei Smetanin and Italy's Mario Traversoni.

    Italy's Fabrizio Bontempi, who finished in the pack behind Ekimov, retained the leader's jersey just one second clear of Ekimov, who holds a three-second advantage over George Hincapie of the United States and Stuart O'Grady of Australia.

    Stage 3 Report

    Russian riders prevented the stage to Andorra from finishing in a sprint for the first time in its history. US Postal Service rider, Viatcheslav Ekimov won the third stage of la Setmana Catalana, from Hospitalet de Llobregat to Andorra la Vella (207 kms) and placed himself in second place overall behind leader Fabrizio Bontempi, becoming the main threat for the win of this edition of the Catalan race. Ekimov achieved his magnificent victory by jumping from a very fast peloton headed toward the sprint, right before the triangle marking the one kilometer to go. The Russian, who has already won this year the final ITT at Paris-Nice, prevented for the first time in the history of the Andorran stage, a sprint finish. Not even Team Saeco which worked really hard to place their sprinter Martinello were able to bring him back.

    With his victory and six second bonus, the Russian places himself at one second from the leader Bontempi, he would have been dethroned had he not passed the intermediate sprint at Sant Eloy in second position. Anyway Ekimov becomes a threat for Zulle, Casagrande, Dominguez, etc., that is, the riders looking to win the overall by using their time trialling abilities. Lets not forget Ekimov's win at Paris-Nice, less than 15 days ago. Yesterday's stage, "was designed backwards", assures Manolo Saiz, the same as all the other ones, with difficulties close to the start instead of towards the end. At Les Estenalles the peloton didn't even bother to move and passed together, the same at the other two climbs for points, Cardona and Clara. Close to Seu D'Urgell, Team Toscaf, which won the day before the stage with Smetanine, launched their other Russian, Zintchenko. He showed to be in form, but Saeco ended his dreams on the constant climb to Andorra la Bella.

    With Saeco working, with Arenas and Alberto Elli, this last one trying to surprise on two occasions, but couldn't do it. Finally it was Ekimov who attacked, obviously he's in good form and his advantage was so much that it allowed him to come in with his arms up high from a few meters before his bike passed the finish line. There are two stages left to conclude this Setmana Catalana. Today, the stage designed like the others. The climb of Supermolina, is at halfway of the route and the finish is all a descent. Tomorrow there will be two sectors, the morning one practically flat and in the afternoon the decisive time trial at Montjuic. All the emotion will be concentrated on that day, which is not usual for la Setmana Catalana. Ekimov is optimistic: "It is possible that I will be the winner, because the time trial on the last day will be very important. This last finish was suited for me. There were many attacks before and the straightaway climb of one kilometer benefited me. It is a win that already makes it a good Setmana Catalana for our team".

    Stage 4, Andorra la Vella-Santa Coloma de Gramanet 208 km:

      1. Silvio Martinello (Ita) Saeco             5.08.07 (40,504 km/h)
      2. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Gan                     s.t.
      3. Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) TVM                + 0.02
      4. Adriano Baffi (Ita) US Postal
      5. Henk Vogels (Aus) Gan
      6. Frederic Moncassin (Fra) Gan
      7. Serguei Smetanine (Rus) Cafis Toscaf
      8. Mario Traversoni (Ita) Mercatone
      9. Bart Voskamp (Ned) TVM
     10. Marty Jemison (Usa) US Postal
     11. Gilles Bouvard (Fra) Festina
     12. Neil Stephens (Aus) Festina
     13. Alex Z|lle (Sch) Once
     14. Marco Villa (Ita) Brescialat
     15. George Hincapie (Usa) US Postal           all s.t.


      1. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Gan                 19.55.51
      2. Fabrizio  Bontempi (Ita) Brescialat        + 0.03
      3. George Hincapie (Usa) US Postal            + 0.05
      4. Vjatjeslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal          + 0.05
      5. Rolf Jdrmann (Sch) Casino                  + 0.08
      6. Andrei Zintchenko (Rus) Cafis Toscaf       + 0.08
      7. Juan Carlos Dominguez (Spa) Kelme          + 0.10 
      8. Alberto Elli (Ita) Casino                  + 0.11
      9. Christophe Moreau (Fra) Festina            + 0.12
     10. Melchor Mauri (Ita) Once                   + 0.12
     11. Andrea Noi (Ita) Asics                     + 0.14
     12. Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom
     13. Serguei Ivanov (Rus) TVM
     14. Gilles Bouvard (Fra) Festina
     15. Alex Z|lle (Sch) Once
     16. Neil Stephens (Aus)
     17. Francesco Casagrande (Ita)
     18. Bjarne Riis (Den)
     19. Craig Jemison (Usa)
     20. Abraham Olano (Spa)
     30. Marco Pantani (Ita)                     all s.t

    Stage 5a, Santa Coloma de Gramenet-Rubl, 75 km:

      1. Mario Traversoni (Ita) Mercatone
      2. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Gan
      3. Alex Z|lle (Sch) Once
      4. Adriano Baffi (Ita) US Postal
      5. Henk Vogels (Aus) Gan
      6. Frederic Moncassin (Fra) Gan             all s.t.


      1. O'Grady

    Stage 5b, ITT Montjuich, 12 km:

      1. Juan Carlos Dominguez (Spa) Kelme
      2. Alex Z|lle (Sch) Once                 	+ 0.01
      3. Henk Vogels (Aus) Gan                  	+ 0.27
      4. Vjatjeslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal      	+ 0.29
      5. Vitor Gamito (Por) Cafis Toscaf        	+ 0.34
      6. Johan Bruyneel (Bel) Rabobank          	+ 0.37

    Final overall:

      1. Juan Carlos Dominguez (Spa)  Kelme
      2. Alex Z|lle (Sch) Once                 	+ 0.04
      3. Vjatjeslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal     	+ 0.24
      4. Vitor Gamito (Por) Cafis Toscaf      	+ 0.38
      5. Johan Bruyneel (Bel) Rabobank          	+ 0.41
     10. Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone         	+ 0.51