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2001 Vuelta

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Photo ©: Bettini

57th Vuelta a España

Spain, September 7- 29, 2002

Main page    Start List    Map    Stage Profile     Latest live report

Stage 3- September 9: San Vicente del Raspeig-Murcia , 134.2 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 14:00 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST

15:00 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the third stage of the Vuelta España, a short 134 km journey between San Vicente del Raspeig and Murcia. In fact, today is the second shortest road stage of the Vuelta, and will be a prime opportunity for the sprinters to shine. Today is iBanesto.com rider Aitor Osa's 29th birthday, though it's unlikely a stage win will be his birthday gift. There are no categorized climbs today, but three intermediate sprints should help keep things fast and furious.

An update on the race: After 5km, A group of five riders escaped, including Jurgen Van Goolen, Juan Carlos Guillamon, Antonio Tauler, Elio Aggiano, and Mikel Zarrabeitia. Not long after, this group split up and Jurgen Van Goolen decided to go it alone.

15:10 CEST - 36km/ 98km to go
The lone man up front is now Jurgen Van Goolen, who has left his breakaway companions behind and now has a 5'12" advantage. The peloton is not chasing with any resolve just yet. US Postal is riding up front but not setting a tough tempo.

15:20 CEST - 42km/ 92km to go
An Ag2R rider, Nicolas Portal, has had a run-in with a post at the side of the road. He went down but after a bike change is back up and riding. Otherwise the peloton continues at a calm pace, with Van Goolen still alone out ahead.

15:35 CEST - 48km/ 86km to go
Domo's Van Goolen has stretched his lead to 6'37", though he still poses no great concern for the peloton. ONCE has made a brief appearance at the front, but they're not chasing. Van Goolen passed the first sprint in first place. When the peloton reached the sprint it was Telekom's Schaffrath in second.

Another crash, this time on the right side of the peloton. Domo's Bram Tankink has fallen hard, with some nice looking cuts on his elbow and knee. After a few moments of pain on the side of the road, he's back up and chasing.

15:40 CEST - 56km/ 78km to go
Bram Tankink is riding, but hanging onto the medical car. He's looking quite banged up, with cuts to his knee, arm, side, and face. Not a happy man. Meanwhile up front, teammate Van Goolen is still at it on the wide straight roads. His lead rests above the six minute mark.

15:48 CEST - 62km/ 72km to go
The Index-Alexia and Mapei teams have started to ride up front, making sure the race stays under control for an eventual sprint finish. The effort has reduced Van Goolen's gap to 5:09. US Postal is joining in the mix up front.

15:55 CEST - 67km/ 67km to go
We're about halfway through today's stage, cruising along on the rather large roads which are typical in the Vuelta. Not surprisingly, with the sprinters' teams chasing, the gap to the lone leader is tumbling rapidly. Van Goolen is plugging away, but his lead is barely 4 minutes by this point. His teammate Tankink is making another trip to the doctor's car behind the peloton to treat his multiple flesh wounds.

16:05 CEST - 71km/ 63km to go
The question now seems to be whether the teams chasing Van Goolen are going to bring him back too soon, thereby creating a situation ripe for counter-attacks. Van Goolen's lead is under 4 minutes, but he's carrying on fairly well considering his slender odds. The peloton is riding tempo, but is somewhat bunched up in the front, indicating that the chase may in fact be easing a bit.

16:12 CEST - 78km/ 56km to go
With the wind coming from the riders' left, the peloton is fanning out a big. Index-Alexia and Telekom have riders at the front, but they have not reached the point of mounting an all-out chase behind Van Goolen, who persists up front but appears to be slowly succumbing to the heat. A number of race vehicles are beginning to move ahead of Van Goolen. His moment in the sun will soon be drawing to a close.

16:19 CEST - 82km/ 52km to go
Kelme's Santiago Botero has been delayed by mechanical problems, but rejoined the peloton thanks to a slightly relaxed pace through the feed zone. Oscar Freire has made an appearance near the head of the peloton, riding alongside overall leader Joseba Beloki. Van Goolen's lead is a mere 50" ahead of the chasing bunch, meaning the sprinters and their teams will have to be attentive at the front when the inevitable junction is made.

16:25 CEST - 86km/ 48km to go
It had to happen, and now it has. Domo's Van Goolen, away since the 4km mark, has been reeled in by the peloton. Cipollini has sent his Acqua & Sapone teammates to the front to keep the pace high and discourage new attacks. Mapei and Telekom also have one rider each working at the front.

16:30 CEST - 93km/ 41km to go
The domestiques are making the rounds at the back of the peloton, stocking up on bottles from the team cars. Erik Zabel is hanging out a bit farther back in the pack, while Andreas Kloden has joined Schaffrath up front to get the pink train rolling. The speed looks to be steadily picking up as the pack becomes more stretched out.

16:40 CEST - 100km/ 34km to go
The bunch is still cruising along and no riders have yet tried their luck with a counter attack. Given the presence of the sprinters' teams up front, and the wide open roads, an escape would be difficult at the moment. There are two intermediate sprints remaining in the stage. It's worth noting also that without time bonuses, the intermediate sprints may be of little importance for enterprising riders who might otherwise search for a few seconds on GC.

16:46 CEST - 104km/ 30km to go
The peloton is still together, picking up steam towards the next sprint at the 115km mark. No change at the front, as Telekom, Acqua & Sapone, and Mapei work to keep the group intact.

16:49 CEST - 106km/ 28km to go
Lampre's sprinter Jan Svorada was last seen at the back of the peloton, chasing back in the company of several of his teammates. Meanwhile, up front, ONCE has begun to move closer to the head of affairs to keep Beloki out of trouble. Several more teams are sending riders to the front, including US Postal, Phonak, and Fassa Bortolo.

16:57 CEST - 115km/ 19km to go
The second intermediate sprint of the day at El Raal has been taken by Mariano Piccoli (Lampre), ahead of Victoriano Fernandez (Milaneza- MSS) and David Etxebarria (Euskaltel). After the sprint ONCE resumed its place at the front of the peloton and is keeping the pace quite high.

17:05 CEST - 126km/ 8km to go
The speed is only getting faster, but Jazztel's Gageo tried nonetheless to make a move off the front. He was instantly marked by Rolf Aldag, and the two briefly held a gap of about 20 meters before ONCE dragged the group back up. The sprinters are beginning to get anxious.

17:09 CEST - 128km/ 6km to go
Mapei is leading the charge as the finish draws near. The speed is high yet the peloton is rather bunched up still at the front. Fabio Sacchi (Saeco) has taken the last intermediate sprint, ahead of Mapei riders Bramati and Noe.

17:12 CEST - 130km/ 4km to go
A classic sprint is in the making, with Cipollini, Freire, Zabel, et. al. making their way to the front behind their leadout men. Petacchi is trying to get himself in the mix with his Fassa Bortolo teammates.

17:15 CEST - 132km/ 2km to go
Mario Scirea is leading the train for Cipollini, followed by two teammates. Freire is still up front, but his Mapei men seem to be disappearing quickly. Through the last corner there's a bit of chaos but Acqua & Sapone are still charging at the front.

17:16 CEST - 133km/ 1km to go
Will anybody get past Cipo and his leadout men? Petacchi is trying to get into position, Zabel is in third position.

17:17 CEST - 134km/ 0km to go
The answer is no! Cipollini wins his first Vuelta stage of the year, ahead of Erik Zabel and Alessandro Petacchi. Oscar Freire followed in fourth place, but nobody could match the Lion King's run for the line. Sven Teutenberg (Phonak) rounded out the top five. Total time for today's stage was 3'07".


1 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua e Sapone                    3.07.37
2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom
4 Oscar Freire (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step
5 Sven Teutenberg (Ger) Phonak Hearing Systems
6 Zoran Klemencic (Slo) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
7 Angel Edo (Spa) Milaneza-MSS
8 JosŽ Garrido (Spa) Jazztel-Costa De Almeria
9 Juan Guillamon (Spa) Jazztel-Costa De Almeria
10 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre-Daikin

General classification after stage 3

1 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski                          7.33.39
2 Mikel Zarrabeitia (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
3 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
4 JosŽ Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski
5 Marcos Serrano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski

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