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2001 Vuelta

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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti


57th Vuelta a España

Spain, September 7- 29, 2002

Main page    Start List    Map    Stage Profile     Results

Stage 2 - September 8: Valencia - Alcoy, 144.7 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 13:44 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST

15:00 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the second stage of the Vuelta España, a relatively short 145 km journey between Valencia and Alcoy. Today's stage takes the riders over two categorised climbs, the first coming after 69 km - the Cat. 1 Alto del Portillol. This is not an easy climb, and the sprinters will be hoping that they won't have to race too hard up it. This is followed by the Cat. 3 Alto El Revolcat which comes at 18 km to go.

An update on the race: German Nieto (Relax Fuenlabrada - remember him from last year?) and Mederic Clain (Cofidis) have escaped the fairly sluggish peloton, and currently have a 10'40 lead with 95 km to go. The pair rode away after 10 km, and quickly established a gap, with the maximum lead hitting 11'04 after 40 km. It's slowly coming down now as they near the foot of the Alto del Portillol.

15:15 CEST - 57 km/88 km to go
The peloton is still moving at a fairly relaxed pace, as Mario Cipollini (Acqua e Sapone) drops back to the team car to get something tightened or turned on his machine. Cipo looks to be enjoying things at the moment, taking the opportunity to work on his tan.

Clain and Nieto still have a 10 minute lead.

15:28 CEST - 63 km/82 km to go
The two leaders, Mederic Clain and German Nieto are riding fairly steadily, in no hurry to get to this climb first. 10'15 behind them, there is not much happening in the peloton, which is riding as a solid block, rather than the racing arrowhead.

15:36 CEST - 68 km/77 km to go
Suddenly, as the peloton gets close to the bottom of the Alto del Portillol, there is some action. US Postal and ONCE get to the front of the bunch, picking up the speed and starting to string things out. Meanwhile, Clain and Nieto are in Vallada, and have just started the climb. Nieto takes the points for the bonus sprint, which will put him into the lead in that competition by the end of the day.

The climb is 8 km long, gaining 440m in altitude at an average of 6.1 percent. Not one of the tougher climbs that the riders will face, but the hot conditions will make things hard enough.

15:44 CEST - 71 km/74 km to go
ONCE has taken over from US Postal at the front of the peloton, but Kelme decides that they want to be at the front at the foot of the climb. The gap is coming down rapidly, and is 7'29 at the intermediate sprint in Vallada.

In front Clain is setting the pace, with the bald headed Nieto hanging on to the small French rider.

15:49 CEST - 73 km/72 km to go
The back of the peloton is having problems getting up this climb, with its narrow roads and hairpin bends. A number of riders have to stop and put their feet on the ground until hte traffic clears. Jose Azevedo is setting the pace for his team leader Beloki, with Casero, Bruylandts, Di Luca, Casagrande all well placed at the front.

Clain and Nieto are struggling up one of the steepest parts of the climb.

Dario Pieri has abandoned. He was looking a tad out of condition yesterday...

15:53 CEST - 74 km/71 km to go
Danilo Di Luca and Francesco Casagrande take over in front, as the peloton gradually fragments behind them. However, no-one has yet attacked.

Paolo Savoldelli is at the back, with Jeroen Blijlevens and Ivan Quaranta. Not a good start for the Giro champ.

You can follow Danilo di Luca's progress via his exclusive diary on Cyclingnews.

15:56 CEST - 75 km/70 km to go
Savoldelli is not having a good day at all. Blijlevens has dropped him and his Index-Alexia teammates. Yesterday they finished well behind the others in the team time trial, and are going to struggle a lot if they are to get into this race.

In front, the pace has lifted with the peloton down to about 70 riders. The climb has flattened out now.

16:01 CEST - 77 km/68 km to go
Clain wins the sprint for the climb of the Portillol in front of German Nieto. That gives him 16 points and of course the lead in the mountains classification. The peloton is in several large pieces, with Saeco setting the pace in the front group.

Paolo Savoldelli is going to struggle to make the time cut today.

16:05 CEST - 80 km/65 km to go
As Nieto and Clain hurtle down the other side of the climb, the Saeco boys led by Gerrit Glomser are at the front part of the peloton, 5'10 behind the two leaders at the top of the climb.

The Savoldelli group has grown, and contains several Ag2r, Index and Big Mat riders. Maybe Savoldelli is trying to nurse his sprinter Ivan Quaranta over the climb - there are five Index-Alexia riders in the group.

16:11 CEST - 85 km/60 km to go
The Savoldelli/Quaranta group crosses the Portillol at 9'53 behind the leaders, meaning that they are already nearly 5 minutes down on the peloton.

Daniel Schnider (Phonak) and Jesus Manzano (Kelme) have decided to attack the peloton, in pursuit of Clain and Nieto, who are still 5'06 in front.

16:20 CEST - 88 km/56 km to go

German Nieto and Mederic Clain are, for the time being, holding off the peloton behind them, maintaining their 5 minute lead. There are two chasers: Schnider and Manzano, who are not managing to close the gap. They decide it's useless, and go back to the peloton. ONCE has put the whole team on the front.

Savoldelli's group is now riding a team time trial, another 5 minutes behind the peloton.

16:30 CEST - 98 km/46 km to go

The two leaders, Nieto and Clain, have lifted their speed, as they attempt to steal this stage from the sprinters in the peloton. ONCE is still leading the chase.

16:42 CEST - 107 km/39 km to go

German Nieto (Relax) and Mederic Clain (Cofidis) are continuing their great escape, which started after 10 km. Nieto has won all the intermediate sprints, putting him in the jersey this evening, while Clain won the day's Cat. 1 climb, giving him 16 points. Behind them, the ONCE team is riding tempo in the peloton, but have some help from Mapei-Quick Step now, who are hoping to get Oscar Freire up for the stage win.

16:52 CEST - 111 km/33 km to go

The leaders Clain and Nieto are still holding off the peloton, with the latest time check being 3'45. It's coming down gradually, as the sprinters teams take control.

Savoldelli's group is still 5'10 behind the peloton, so he will fight to see another stage.

17:01 CEST - 117 km/27 km to go
Telekom, Mapei and Acqua e Sapone jerseys are at the front of the peloton, trying to close the gap to the two fugitives. They're running out of distance though.

Nieto and Clain cross the start finish line in Alcoi with 27 km to go. The peloton follow at 1'43 - they should catch them.

17:12 CEST - 124 km/20 km to go
The gap is a minute as they make their way up the Cat. 3 Alto el Revolcat. Mederic Clain is hoping to hold on for some mountain points, as he and Nieto certainly won't stay away for the stage win.

Savoldelli's group cross the line for the first time, 9'36 behind the leaders - approximately 8 minutes behind the peloton.

17:18 CEST - 126 km/18 km to go
Clain and Nieto only have 45 seconds with 2.5 km of climbing to go, and their lead is falling rapidly. Dario Gadeo (Jazztel-Costa De Almeria) catches them just before the top, with the peloton very close behind. Clain hangs on the front of the peloton, determined to take some mountain points. He is helped by a sudden easing in the tempo, but he can't contest the sprint anyway.

17:22 CEST - 128 km/16 km to go
Benjamin Noval (Relax) takes the points at the top, followed by David Etxebarria (Euskaltel). The pair have a small gap to the peloton as they descend towards the finish.

17:27 CEST - 133 km/11 km to go
Noval and Etxebarria have 15 seconds on a very strung out peloton. Can the sprinters teams close the gap on this very technical run in?

17:31 CEST - 135 km/9 km to go
Sevilla, Valverde, Azevedo and Carlos Torrent have attacked the peloton on the descent, and are 11 seconds behind the leading pair with 9 km to go. Interesting move by Sevilla!

17:33 CEST - 138 km/6 km to go
With 6 km to go it's David Etxebarria (Euskaltel) and Benjamin Noval (Relax) leading the race by a slim margin of 11 seconds to a group of four riders with Oscar Sevilla, Alejandro Valverde, Jose Azevedo and Carlos Torrent. The peloton is at 31 seconds, meaning that Azevedo is the virtual leader of the race.

17:36 CEST - 140 km/4 km to go
Sevilla's group catches Etxebarria and Noval just after 5 km to go, forming a group of six 22 seconds in front of the peloton.

Acqua e Sapone are at the front of the peloton. They've narrowed it to 18 seconds.

17:39 CEST - 142 km/2 km to go
Juan Antonio Flecha (ibanesto) tries to attack and gets a small gap to the peloton which is struggling with this uphill finish. The six leaders - David Etxebarria (Euskaltel), Benjamin Noval (Relax), Oscar Sevilla, Alejandro Valverde, Jose Azevedo and Carlos Torrent - have 14 seconds.

Francisco Mancebo (iBanesto) bridges the gap with ease. The now seven leaders are looking at each other, with Noval trying to attack. They can't afford to do this.

17:42 CEST - 143 km/1 km to go
No dice. The break is caught with 1 km to go. It will be a bunch sprint.

The Acqua e Sapone train doesn't quite get it right, and it's up to Saeco to lead it out. Here comes Zabel, but it's Danilo Di Luca who wins! Second is Zabel, third is Camenzind (Phonak).

Results

Provisional
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport        3.59.35
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom
3 Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems
4 Angel Edo (Spa) Milaneza-MSS
5 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
6 Nicola Loda (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
7 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
8 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
9 Juan Guillamon (Spa) Jazztel-Costa De Almeria
10 Massimiliano Lelli (Ita) Cofidis
11 Santos Gonzalez (Spa) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
12 Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Index Alexia                      
13 Aitor Osa (Spa) iBanesto.com
14 Pablo Lastras (Spa) iBanesto.com
15 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites

General classification after stage 2

1 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
2 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
3 José Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski
4 Mikel Zarrabeitia (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
5 Marcos Serrano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski

Results    Mail the Cyclingnews commentary team!

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