Vuelta News for September 29, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry
Stage 20 wrap up
Alessio's sprinter Angelo Furlan recorded his second Vuelta stage win,
beating Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel in the sprint in Warner Bros
Park in San Martin de la Vega. Furlan burst from the front of the pack
in the final 50 metres to claim victory by over a bike length.
Other than that, the stage was fairly uneventful, with the GC riders
thinking of tomorrow's time trial and the sprinters teams banding together
to close a nearly 10 minute gap to the lone breakaway, Oscar Laguna. The
Relax-Fuenlabrada rider was rewarded with some TV time, but no stage win.
Full results & report
Post stage comments
Angelo Furlan (Alessio, 1st stage)
Photo: © AFP
"Coming into the sprint up a slight rise, I knew I had an advantage because
I'm a bit heavier. Also in this sprint I had more freedom to manoeuvre
than in Salamanca."
On his chances of World's selection, Furlan said that "The fact that
I've won two stages does not mean anything for the selection of the Italian
team for the World's. I am in form, but I am not going to give advice
to the selector. I'll respect his decision."
Roberto Heras (USPS, 1st GC)
Photo: © Lavuelta.com
Heras will be defending a 1'08 lead going in to tomorrow's time trial,
with Aitor Gonzalez (Kelme) sure to close some of that gap. Heras can
lose 1.6 seconds per kilometre and still win overall. That's certainly
achievable, but he will have to have the time trial ride of his life.
"We are both very strong. I hope to have a good result, as Sunday will
be the day that decides everything."
"The key to the time trial is to not lose much time in the first 10
or 15km, then to attack the second part. I would like very much to win
Oscar Sevilla (Kelme, 3rd GC)
Sevilla saw his chances of Vuelta victory slide away on the treacherous
slopes of l'Angliru, where he lost nearly 3 minutes to Roberto Heras and
slipped to third overall.
"I was hoping to arrive in Madrid in the lead, but it wasn't possible.
This situation is ok, and I have to look at it from a positive perspective."
"I have finished well, and hope to ride at a good level (in the time
trial). I'm not going to take it easy. I'm doing what I like, which is
enjoying cycling. People have supported me, and that's a source of pride."
Oscar Sevilla turns 26 tomorrow
Kelme's Oscar Sevilla, who wore the leader's jersey for 10 days, will
celebrate his 26th birthday tomorrow on the final day of the Vuelta. Sevilla,
currently in third place overall, has come close to winning the Vuelta
before. Last year he was in a similar position to Heras, holding the lead
by a slender margin until the final day's time trial, when Angel Casero
took it. This year his best hope is a podium finish, as he will likely
find it impossible to close the 2 minute gap to Heras.
Sevilla has surprisingly not won a race this season. He finished second
in the Classique des Alpes behind teammate Santiago Botero, second in
the 10th stage of the Vuelta, and third in the Subida a Naranco this year.
However the soon to be 26 year old is still to reach is physical peak
as a cyclist, and the next few years could see him win a major tour.
Zabel and Osa claim points and mountains classifications
Photo: © Lavuelta.com
Erik Zabel (Telekom) and Aitor Osa (iBanesto) wrapped up the points and
mountains classifications today, having merely to complete the distance
tomorrow in Madrid to claim their respective jerseys. Zabel has been pushed
all the way by Alessandro Petacchi, but his consistency proved superior
to the Italian's, and he should finish with a 25 point lead. Osa has done
what Jalabert did in the Tour, attacking early in the stage to take as
many mountain points as possible before the peloton catches him. He is
not a bad climber - not at the same level as Heras but certainly able
to hold his own in a mountain stage. Today he took four points to finish
with 107 points, 8 more than Heras who is undeniably the best climber
in the race.
Stage 21: Warner Bros Park - Stadion Santiago Bernabeu ITT, 41.2 km
The Vuelta ends tomorrow with what's expected to be a thrilling finale,
as Roberto Heras and Aitor Gonzalez go head to head in a 41.2
km individual time trial starting from Warner Bros Park and finishing
in Real Madrid's home of Santiago Bernabeu stadium. The stadium will be
open from 14:00.
The parcours is undulating, with a couple of small hills in the first
part before the final uphill finish into Madrid. The weather is expected
to be perfect, with temperatures around 26-28 degrees celsius and a light
southerly breeze, which will assist the riders for most of the way.
The first rider (Sven Teutenberg) will leave at 14:24 CEST, with the
next 111 riders following at 1 minute intervals. The final 20 riders will
start at two minute intervals, with Heras the last to go at 16:55 CEST.
Besides the top GC riders, favourites for the TT include Santiago Botero
(Kelme), who is definitely riding better in the final week than he did
the first two weeks, Botero's teammate Antonio Tauler, who rode well in
the first TT, Christian Vandevelde (USPS) who did likewise, and David
Plaza (Team Coast) who is good against the clock.
Join us tomorrow at 15:00 CEST/06:00 PDT/09:00 EDT/23:00 Aust. EST for
live coverage of Stage 21.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)