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2001 Vuelta

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Vuelta News for September 16, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry

Stage 9 wrap up

Today's ninth stage starting and finishing in Cordoba was a classic Vuelta stage: short at 130 km and very fast, with 49 km being covered in the first hour. The brutal pace combined with the wind saw the peloton split into two big groups after 19 km, with Francisco Mancebo and Danilo Di Luca being caught in the second group, never to see the front again. In front, Kelme, ONCE, and Telekom piled on the pressure, and the group started to split again on the final climb with 20 km to go.

iBanesto's Pablo Lastras made up for an otherwise bad day for the team when he caught and passed Fabian Jeker (Maia) and Luis Perez (Coast) on the descent, eventually winning the stage solo. Oscar Sevilla remained in gold, but will have to defend it in tomorrow's time trial from the likes of Vinokourov and teammate Aitor Gonzalez.

Full result & report
Live report

Post stage quotes

Pablo Lastras (iBanesto.com, 1st stage)

Pablo Lastras was one of the few Banesto riders to make it to the front group today, while the team captain Francisco Mancebo languished in the second group, eventually abandoning. Lastras made up for this in part with a fine stage win, doing what Luis Perez could not yesterday.

"It was a difficult stage. It was hard from the beginning for the whole team. I have only done what is expected of me, so I tried on the descent and worked on the flat to maintain my advantage. Today I came physically and mentally prepared."

"I do not win very often, but when I win I do it well. I have remembered all my victories." [Note: Lastras has won 6 races including this one and a stage in the 2001 Giro d'Italia].

"I have had four knee operations, and with this victory I have remembered the help of many people. I had to work hard to be picked for the Vuelta. I hope to take advantage of this occasion, since at the moment I am at 100%."

Oscar Sevilla (Kelme, 1st GC)

"Mancebo and I are friends, but in competition if you can eliminate a big rival, it's good."

"People think about other riders that they consider more important, but anything can happen."

Aitor Gonzalez (Kelme, 3rd GC)

"I am feeling very good. I don't think I'll win (the time trial), but I think I have the possibility of gaining some time."

Freire and Mancebo quit

Francisco Mancebo (iBanesto.com) and Oscar Freire (Mapei-Quick Step) were two of the biggest names to leave the Vuelta today, along with the unfortunate Ricardo Valdez (Jazztel) who crashed and fractured his hip at 56 kilometres.

Freire was already complaining of knee problems, and today's fast paced stage saw him in the second group early on. The World Champion called it quits after 35 km, and hopes to recover fully to concentrate on defending his title in Zolder next month.

Francisco Mancebo, who was 15th on GC before today's stage, simply missed the cut and couldn't face seeing his hopes for the overall vanish in a matter of a few kilometres. His team director Eusebio Unzue said that he "lost his motivation" as he knew he would not be able to compete for a top position any more.

Hruska and Barry don't start

Czech Jan Hruska (ONCE) and Canadian Michael Barry (USPS) were forced to abandon the Vuelta today before the start of the ninth stage, due to injuries sustained after they crashed in stage 8. Dario Gadeo (Jazztel-Costa de Almeria) was also involved in the fall, but did start stage 9.

Mauri retires

36 year old Melchor Mauri has announced his retirement from cycling, following the ninth stage of the Vuelta. Mauri won the Vuelta in 1991 while riding for ONCE, and rode for them between 1990-1992 and 1995-1998. In 1999 he signed for the ill fated Benfica team, moving to Maia-Milaneza in 2001, his current team.

Mauri has won 49 races throughout his distinguished career, nearly all of them in Spain and Portugal. He also finished second in the World Time Trial Championships in 1998 in Valkenburg.

"I haven't felt good this season and I'm not performing at the level I would like to in this edition of the Vuelta," said Mauri at a press conference today. "After so many years, it’s difficult to find the motivation necessary to train, and that obviously means that racing is more difficult and less enjoyable than it used to be."

Stage 10 preview: Córdoba - Córdoba time trial, 36.5 km

Córdoba has another day of racing with stage ten, with the first individual time trial of La Vuelta 2002. The 36.5 km course is considered quite fast, slightly undulating between 100 and 150 metres above sea level.

Favourites for the stage include Santiago Botero (Kelme), David Millar (Cofidis), Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE), and Victor Peña (USPS). In the general classification, Oscar Sevilla could see himself lose the gold jersey if Alexandre Vinokourov (2nd at 14 seconds) or Aitor Gonzalez (3rd at 41 seconds) have good rides against the clock.

As always, you can follow the stage live on Cyclingnews starting 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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