Vuelta News for September 8, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry
Vuelta España news: Stage 1 wrap up
ONCE-Eroski started the Vuelta in the best possible manner, winning the
first stage team time trial in Valencia. The yellow clad squad directed
by Manolo Saiz rode the 24.6 km course in 26'21, an average speed of 56.01
km/h. They finished 14 seconds ahead of US Postal, and 15 seconds ahead
of Kelme, and Joseba Beloki was awarded the first leader's gold jersey.
Full report and results
Post stage quotes
Manolo Sáiz (ONCE-Eroski director)
Photo: © Yuzuru Sunada
"The victory was not easy...I am satisfied to have started in gold on
the general classification, it's very nice to begin this way. Above all,
I'm very happy with the 1'13 advantage that we have over Gilberto Simoni's
"We had a hard moment when we lost Mikel Pradera after a few kilometres
- and then Jan Hruska - and that left us with only eight riders."
On the decision to have Beloki in yellow: "It was determined for a number
of days because he is one of the favourites and I wanted that to gain
the attention of the Vuelta and at the same time to create the necessary
interest from the public."
Roberto Heras (US Postal)
"We started evenly and gradually gained our rhythm...I had very good
On Kelme: "They have improved, but it is a good sign to have finished
in front of them. What is important that we have done a good time."
Vicente Belda (Kelme director)
Vicente Belda's Kelme team finished third today, after setting a very
fast time at the first time check. "I am happy with the result," said
Belda. "In the last five kilometres we lost our rhythm, but we have improved
a great deal compared to other occasions. We knew that we could do well
and had a chance to win, but in front of us we had a team such as ONCE,
who have practically nine time trialists."
"Today's stage was in the terrain of ONCE, but as of tomorrow we will
race on other ground. In part, I feel bad not winning at home, but the
weight of the race will now be carried by ONCE."
Angel Casero (Team Coast)
"ONCE has shown itself to be the best team. We came with the intention
of losing the least amount of time possible. The Vuelta is not won at
the beginning, but at the end."
First Vuelta controls negative
This morning, prior to the team time trial, the first unannounced health
controls of the 2002 Vuelta a España were carried out. The following
teams were tested: Alessio, Jazztell-Costa de Almeria, Milaneza-MSS, Phonak
No riders tested were declared unfit to start the race.
Spanish directors optimistic
As this year's Vuelta gets underway, many are expecting the race to be
a battle for top honors among the Spanish teams. Pre-race favorites Angel
Casero, Roberto Heras, Oscar Sevilla, and Tour de France runner up Joseba
Beloki will all be looking to stake their claim. Nonetheless, Spanish
teams big and small will all be vying for glory throughout the three week
event, and several Spanish directors have let their optimism be known.
Eusebio Unzúe (iBanesto.com):
"(Francisco) Mancebo has arrived in good form, and I believe that this
season he has improved a lot over last year, where his results were not
as big. I think that he can be one of the protagonists of this Vuelta."
Commenting on race favorites Beloki, Heras, Seville, Casero and Simoni,
Unzúe added, "those five are often on the podium, and they are
the great favorites. But don't forget that there are maybe eight other
riders who are not far behind."
"The Vuelta is very balanced. The sprinters will have their four or five
opportunities and the days in the smaller mountains provide others with
Miguel Moreno (Jazztel-Costa De Almeria):
"By the Sierra Nevada I believe that the general classification will
be defined, which will give our riders the chance to look for breakaways."
"I hope to get two victories, because the Vuelta is a big objective."
"I believe that (Serguei) Smetanine can win in a sprint, or guys like
(Jorge) Ferriorrio can get a stage... or the champion of Spain, Juan Carlos
Jose Maria Perez (Relax-Fuenlabrada):
"My riders have good morale and are very fresh, having prepared very
well with about 40 to 45 days of competition."
Perez is counting on Antonio Colom and Benjamin Noval for the general
classification, "because they are two men who handle themselves well in
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)