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2001 Vuelta

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Vuelta News for September 15, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry

Stage 8 wrap up

Stage 8 from Malaga to Ubrique presented a thrilling finale for cycling fans, as a select group of riders negotiated the torturous descent of the Puerto de las Palomas en route to the finish in Ubrique. One rider - Luis Perez (Team Coast) - tried his luck and succeeded in opening up what looked like a winning break. But behind him Kelme's Aitor Gonzalez was trying his hardest to close the gap, which he managed to do with not more than 200m to go. Gonzalez won the stage, a bit bemusedly as he wasn't sure he had crossed the line first. The front part of the peloton finished right behind him, with David Etxebarria in second and the luckless Perez settling for third.

Oscar Sevilla remained in the gold leader's jersey, while Roberto Heras lost nine of the 17 hard won seconds on Stage 6 by finishing just off the back of Sevilla's group.

Full results
Live report
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Post stage quotes

Aitor Gonzalez (Kelme, 1st)

Aitor Gonzalez
Photo: © AFP
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"I didn't know at first that I had won. We finished together, and I thought it was Perez that had won."

"I flew to the top to catch him. I felt bad for him because the same thing happened to me in the Criterium International, and it's hard to forget." (David Moncoutié caught Gonzalez on the hill top finish.)

Gonzalez is within striking distance of his teammate Oscar Sevilla's leader's jersey, come Monday's time trial in Cordoba. "The possibility of taking the lead is there. I hope the seconds I gained will serve for something."

"The finish was dangerous. The road was fine but it was necessary to take risks. In the last descent I put my foot out so as not to fall."

Luis Perez (Team Coast, 3rd)

"It was painful to be so close. In the end it went well, but now I only feel powerless. I knew my best chance was to arrive solo, so I went on the descent, but in the end I didn't succeed."

"I knew that it might come together, but it's never good to look back. From now on I will continue trying and someday I will get the victory."

Oscar Sevilla (1st GC)

"I dedicate the jersey today, in the same way that my director Vicente Belda has said, to the whole team, and in particular to the Ochoa brothers. Today we have remembered them since we passed by the place where they had the accident. It was very sad."

Oscar Freire (Mapei, knee problem)

"Seeing how things went today, I might not continue, because my knee is still hurting. Mainly I've noticed it in the last portions (of the race)."

"I was alone 5km from the summit, and then everything was downhill, so I was convinced to carry on. But tomorrow I might not start."

"The team doctor told me that it could be the meniscus. Now I need to work on curing it. I feel good and I want to go to the World's."

Siesta time for Cipollini

Cipo and pals
Photo: © Lavuelta.com
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As expected, Mario Cipollini has put an end to his brief yet brilliant Vuelta 2002. Already a winner of three stages, Cipollini abandoned after 75km in today's 8th stage, with plans to rest and continue specific training in advance of his ultimate goal, the World title in Zolder.

Mario's faithful teammate and namesake, Mario Scirea, ended his Vuelta at kilometre 98. Acqua & Sapone is not without further ambition, however, as Giovanni Lombardi hopes to achieve a stage victory of his own. Cipollini will line up at the Quattro Giorni di Lucca and Paris-Tours prior to heading to Zolder

Jazztel to get new sponsor?

The Jazztel-Costa de Almeria team, which has played an active role in the Vuelta so far, may be getting a new sponsor next year. The president of wine company Paternina, Marcos Eguizabal, was present at today's stage from Malaga to Ubrique, allowing him to negotiate with team manager Miguel Moreno on a deal for next season. Paternina may therefore replace Jazztel as the top sponsor.

Stage 9: Córdoba - Córdoba

Tomorrow's ninth stage is an "almost" sprinter's stage, starting and finishing in Córdoba. Flat for the most part, the stage features the cat. 2 climb of Alto de San Jeronimo with its summit 17 km from the finish. Although nothing like as tough as today's final climb which left most of the peloton behind, it may be enough to set up a daredevil attack on the descent, like Aitor Gonzalez and Luis Perez managed today.

The weather tomorrow is predicted to be around 22 degrees Celsius, with occasional showers.

Join our live coverage of the stage from 14:45 CEST/05:45 PDT/08:45 EDT/22:45 Aust. EST

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)

 

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