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2001 Vuelta

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Photo ©: Sirotti

57th Vuelta a España

Spain, September 7- 29, 2002

Main page    Start List    Map    Stage Profile     Results

Stage 1 - September 7: Valencia - TTT, 24.6 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 15:18 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST

15:00 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the 57th Vuelta a España, the third and final of the three Grand Tours this season. At 3,128 kilometres, it's the shortest of the three, but makes up for that with a high level of intensity every stage. The peloton is larger with 207 riders from 23 teams taking part. They will face a fairly mountainous route as they travel around Spain, starting in Valencia and finishing in Madrid.

The first stage is a 24.6 kilometre team time trial, held around Valencia. It's entirely flat and will certainly be very fast. ONCE are the favourites of course, but one of their biggest rivals, US Postal, should also turn in a good time.

The first team is due to start at 15:18.

15:15 CEST
This morning, the first surprise controls of the Vuelta were carried out. Alessio, Jazztel-Costa de Almería, Milaneza-MSS and Phonak Hearing Systems were all tested, and none of the riders were declared unfit to start the race. The entire peloton was tested mid week last week, with a similar result.

The first team to set off is Relax-Fuenlabrada. It's a perfect day, with bright sunshine and warm conditions.

15:22 CEST
As Relax-Fuenlabrada get into their rhythm on the highway, the next team gets ready to start. Jazztel-Costa del Almeria, resplendent in their orange, blue, white and black strip get the countdown and set off. They are a little ragged to begin with, but it doesn't take long before they get the double pace line rolling.

15:26 CEST
Big Mat, the first of the French teams, are next to go. They were a late entry for the Vuelta, and the organisers extended the number of teams to 23 to allow them to start. They have a couple of good local riders: Felix Garcia Casas and Aitor Kintana.

15:30 CEST
Next team off is the Portuguese squad, Maia-Milaneza-MSS, led by Danish rider Claus Moller, and featuring sprinter Angel Edo, Swiss climber Fabian Jeker, Rui Sousa, Melchior Mauri and Joan Horrach. This team dominated the Volta ao Portugal in August, with Moller, Horrach and Sousa taking the first three spots. Let's see what they can do in the Vuelta.

Relax Fuenlabrada go through the 12.5 km check in 14.34 (51.48 km/h).

15:35 CEST
Euskaltel-Euskadi is the fifth team to start, and they will be hoping for some good result in the Vuelta after a bad showing in the Tour. With riders such as Roberto Laiseka, Iban Mayo, Haimar Zubeldia and David Etxebarria, they certainly have the talent.

Jazztel passes the 12.5 km check in 14'18, 16 seconds quicker than Relax.

15:38 CEST
The first Italian team, Index-Alexia, featuring Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli, sets off, also choosing to use a double paceline. Savoldelli hasn't shown a great deal of form since winning the Giro (not uncommon) and so this will be an interesting test for the future Telekom man.

BigMat are slightly quicker than Jazztel at 12.5 km, crossing in 14'12.

15:44 CEST
Ag2r-Prevoyance are next to depart. Milaneza-MSS come through the 12.5 km check in 14'07, again faster than all the previous teams.

Relax Fuenlabrada finish their ride in 27'51.9 (52.96 km/h). That's fast, for one of the slower teams.

Saeco-Longoni Sport have started.

15:48 CEST
Euskaltel go through 12.5 km slightly slower than Milaneza, in 14'10, the second best time so far.

Jazztel finish their ride in a good time of 27'42.8, with all nine riders present.

Phonak start their ride - they're hoping for a good performance, with Oscar Camenzind, Juan Carlos Dominguez, Gonzalo Bayarri and several other strong riders.

15:54 CEST
Index-Alexia have already lost a minute at 12.5 km, coming through in 15'01. Meanwhile, BigMat finish in 27'37.4, the fastest so far.

The Tacconi riders get ready to set off.

15:58 CEST
Ag2r are a little off the pace at 12.5 km, coming over in 14'22. Milaneza finish their ride in a good time of 27'15.3, definitely fastest to date.

Now it's the turn of the zebra train - Acqua e Sapone, with Mario Cipollini at the helm.

16:01 CEST
Saeco are on track for a good time, crossing 12.5 km in 14'12, third best so far. Euskaltel-Euskadi finishes in 27'24.2, second best.

Acqua e Sapone have not got into a double pace line - it's one long train.

The Alessio squad starts its ride. The team's top rider is Pietro Caucchioli, third in the Giro d'Italia.

16:05 CEST
The Phonak team pass 12.5 km in a very good time - 14'04.9, the best time to date.

The Belgian Domo-Farm Frites squad is next off the blocks. Index-Alexia come home in 28.59, which is probably not going to be good enough for a top 20 place.

16:10 CEST
As Tacconi go through 12.5 in 14'18, the blue and black Ag2r Prevoyance riders come to the finish. They end up with a time of 27.47.

Kelme-Costa Blanca, with Santi Botero and Oscar Sevilla, are next off the ranks. They are one of the big favourites in this tour.

Acqua e Sapone aren't going too badly - they beat Phonak's time at 12.5 km with a 14'03. Still in one long line.

16:14 CEST
Saeco finish in 27'34, third quickest to date. Lampre-Daikin set off for their 24.6 km. The opt for a one paceline approach.

Kelme are going very fast, although not all riders are taking turns.

Alessio are over 12.5 km in 14'22. Phonak finish very well, with 27'08.9 - best time.

16:19 CEST
Telekom has started its ride, led by the rangy figure of Rolf Aldag. They are aiming for sprint stage wins in the Vuelta, and have built a team around Erik Zabel.

There are some gaps appearing in the Kelme line.

Domo-Farm Frites go past 12.5 km in 14.09, not bad at all, and it gives them the third best behind Acqua e Sapone and Phonak. Tacconi Sport finish in a time of 27'34.1 with just six of their nine riders present.

16:24 CEST
The gaps in the Kelme team can be explained: 12.5 km in 13'35(!). That's an incredible time.

Cipo leads the Acqua e Sapone squad home in 27'04, which will be the best time until Kelme comes in.

US Postal are next to go. Can they get close to Kelme?

16:28 CEST
Lampre-Daikin come past 12.5 km in 13'51, a little ragged - perhaps a technical problem for one of the riders.

Alessio finish in 27'45, well off the pace. Meanwhile, ONCE-Eroski have started, in very bright yellow colours. They should challenge Kelme and USPS. Both ONCE and USPS are using double pace lines. Kelme are using a single one.

Telekom are riding very well - 13.37.8 for 12.5 km, which is just slower than Kelme.

16:33 CEST
Domo-Farm Frites finish with just 5 riders, and this has hurt their time a little. They cross in 27'20, having lost a bit to Milaneza over the final half.

Here comes Kelme. All nine riders are still together, and they cross in 26'36.3, easily the best time.

Fassa Bortolo are now on the road - what can Casagrande do in this race? No word on Cofidis, who have gone past 12.5 km.

16:38 CEST
Mapei-Quick Step is the next team to lead off. They have a squad built around sprinter Oscar Freire.

US Postal come past 12.5 km in 13'46, already conceding 11 seconds to Kelme.

Cofidis were through in 13'47 - fourth fastest. Lampre-Daikin come to the finish in 27'15, with only 5 men and losing a lot of time in the final 12 km.

16:43 CEST
iBanesto.com are away, with some very good candidates for the mountains. Juan Miguel Mercado and Francisco Mancebo to name a couple.

ONCE-Eroski are over 12.5 km in 13.32.9 - that's the fastest to date, but only by 2 seconds. They lose a rider with technical problems.

Telekom come to the finish in 26'39.7, a great time but not quite good enough to beat Kelme.

16:47 CEST
The last team set off. Team Coast, with defending champion Angel Casero at the helm. They know the time to beat, but that doesn't make it easy to ride at 55 km/h!

Fassa Bortolo come past 12.5 km in 13.48, 6th fastest so far.

Cofidis, with David Millar at the head of affairs, finish in 26'47.1, third fastest. They finished with eight riders.

16:50 CEST
What can ONCE do? They have 5 km to go, and are still with eight riders.

The Mapei-Quick Step team come through 12.5 km in a fair time of 14'06. As they do, US Postal charge towards the finish, with Antonio Cruz crossing first. The time: 26'35 - that's one second quicker than Kelme and the new best time!

ONCE are charging to the finish. Serrano has a few problems, but is hanging on.

16:56 CEST
ONCE-Eroski are quicker than US Postal, with Jackshe leading the way before being taken over by Beloki before the finish. The time is 26'21.6, and it's going to be hard to top that.

iBanesto.com's intermediate time is 13'52.

17:00 CEST
Team Coast, the final team, passes the 12.5 km mark in 13'55, which will not be good enough.

Fassa Bortolo finish in a respectable time of 26'44.5, fifth fastest so far.

17:05 CEST
Mapei-Quick Step are over the 27 minute mark, finishing in 27'03, seventh fastest. Team Coast have just 5 km to go, as ibanesto.com finish in a decent time of 26'48.4, seventh fastest.

17:10 CEST
Team Coast have 3 km left, and are looking at a time in the top 10.

17:13 CEST
All nine riders finish in a time of 27'00.6, losing 39 seconds to ONCE. That means Joseba Beloki is the first leader of the Vuelta Espana. Then seven of his teammates, followed by Antonio Cruz, of US Postal.

Provisional results

                              12.5 km  24.6 km
1 ONCE-Eroski                   13.32    26.21
2 US Postal                     13.46    26.35
3 Kelme-Costa Blanca            13.35    26.36
4 Telekom                       13.37    26.39
5 Fassa Bortolo                 13.48    26.44
6 Cofidis                       13.47    26.47
7 iBanesto.com                  13.52    26.48
8 Team Coast                    13.55    27.00
9 Mapei-Quick Step              14.06    27.03
10 Acqua e Sapone               14.03    27.04
11 Phonak Hearing Systems       14.04    27.08
12 Lampre-Daikin                13.51    27.15
13 Milaneza-MSS                 14.07    27.15
14 Domo-Farm Frites             14.09    27.20
15 Euskaltel-Euskadi            14.10    27.24
16 Saeco Longoni Sport          14.12    27.34
17 Tacconi Sport                14.18    27.34
18 Big Mat-Auber 93             14.12    27.37
19 Jazztel-Costa del Almeria    14.18    27.42
20 Alessio                      14.22    27.45
21 Ag2r-Prevoyance              14.22    27.47
22 Relax Fuenlabrada            14.34    27.52
23 Index Alexia                 15.01    28.59
General classification after stage 1

1 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski               26.21
2 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 
3 Jose Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski 
4 Rafael Diaz Justo (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 
5 Jorg Jacksche (Ger) ONCE-Eroski 

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