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57th Vuelta a España
Spain, September 7- 29, 2002
Stage 16 - September 24: Avilés - León, 154.7 km
Complete Live Report
Start time: 13:17 CEST
14:40 CEST 62 km/93 km to go
Two riders did not start today: Oscar Camenzind (Phonak) and Leif Hoste (Domo). After 13 km, Antonio Colom (Relax) fell and abandoned. At km 32, Rafaele Ferrara (Alessio) abandoned.
No early attacks were able to stay away today, but after 53 km a group of six riders escaped. They were joined by another six, and we have a group of 12 riders away, including two Kelme riders (Botero). They have a gap of 55 seconds.
14:48 CEST 68 km/87 km to go
Their gap is 3'08 now, as US Postal sets a relaxed pace on the front of the peloton. The Posties are running with a reduced lineup, having lost three men already. The last was Victor Hugo Pena, who was disqualified for holding onto the USPS second team car on the Angliru. The jury also disqualified the team car. A similar incident happened in the Tour de France when Jacky Durand and a FDJeux.com team car was DQ'd.
14:58 CEST 74 km/81 km to go
Melchor Mauri (Maia) has abandoned the race.
15:06 CEST 77 km/78 km to go
15:10 CEST 80 km/75 km to go
The gap to the leaders is down to 5'40. Torrent, Moerenhout and Diaz Justo have all been dropped by the front riders.
15:17 CEST 83 km/72 km to go
The breakaways (now eight) are on a false flat section of the climb.
Zarrabeitia, De Los Angeles and Zubeldia (10th on GC) are dropped from the peloton.
15:21 CEST 84 km/71 km to go
Tauler and Quesada lift the tempo, forcing Sevilla to bridge the gap. Heras is right on Sevilla's wheel, followed by Casagrande and Beloki, then Aitor Gonzalez.
15:25 CEST 86 km/69 km to go
The gap to the leading break is 4'49. The riders in the break: Luis Perez and David Plaza (Team Coast), Aitor Osa (iBanesto.com), Santiago Botero and José Gutierrez (Kelme-Costa Blanca), Joan Horrach and Rui Lavarinhas (Milaneza-MSS), and Daniel Schnider (Phonak Hearing Systems).
15:30 CEST 88 km/67 km to go
The peloton which numbers around 20 contains five Kelmes, four ONCEs, race leader Roberto Heras and mountains leader Gilberto Simoni. The top nine on GC are all there.
15:34 CEST 89 km/66 km to go
Osa takes the points from Plaza, Botero, Gutierrez and Perez. Lavarinhas should get back on on the short descent. Horrach and Schnider take 7th and 8th, then Moerenhout.
David Etxebarria (Euskaltel) has given up.
15:37 CEST 91 km/64 km to go
Simoni comes by everyone but doesn't take any points on the climb (Morenhout was 9th). He obviously wasn't suffering as much as he looked!
The leaders have 4'10 on the peloton.
15:40 CEST 94 km/61 km to go
15:48 CEST 102 km/53 km to go
15:53 CEST 108 km/47 km to go
16:02 CEST 117 km/38 km to go
The leading five: Santi Botero and Jose Gutierrez (Kelme), Aitor Osa (iBanesto), David Plaza and Luis Perez (Team Coast) now have 6 minutes, meaning they won't be caught.
Botero is obviously having a much better day than he did during the first two weeks. Also Luis Perez has got himself into the winning break again - can he convert it into a stage win at last?
16:10 CEST 123 km/32 km to go
The five leaders look to be cooperating well for the stage win, as behind them Lavarinhas and Horrach (at 4'30), Schnider, and Moerenhout are chasing in no-mans land. The peloton is at 7'09.
16:17 CEST 128 km/27 km to go
Heras has a puncture, and gets a quick wheel change from Bruyneel and Jean Marc Vandenberghe. He gets going and starts chasing with Vandevelde and Rubiera. The peloton is not going fast, and he will get on easily.
Botero wins the sprint at the Alto del Rabizo in front of Osa and Gutierrez.
16:25 CEST 132 km/23 km to go
After three hours of racing, the average speed is 41.96 km/h. That's quick, given that the peloton gained 1000 metres in altitude.
16:32 CEST 136 km/19 km to go
The Plaza group is gaining time, with the gap over 9 minutes now.
16:38 CEST 145 km/10 km to go
The leading five (Botero, Gutierrez, Plaza, Perez and Osa) have 7 minutes on Lavarinhas and Horrach, and 9.25 on the peloton. Most of the last 65 km of this stage is downhill.
16:41 CEST 147 km/8 km to go
16:43 CEST 149 km/6 km to go
ONCE, Kelme and Team Coast are swapping at the front of the peloton, which is very nervous.
16:46 CEST 151 km/4 km to go
16:47 CEST 152 km/3 km to go
Plaza attacks first, and Botero gets on his wheel.
16:48 CEST 153 km/2 km to go
Perez looks at Botero, who won't roll through with Gutierrez behind.
16:49 CEST 154 km/1 km to go
16:50 CEST 155 km/0 km to go
Perez and Plaza were really stuck against the Kelmes in that situation. Botero was strong enough to counter both attacks, and was rewarded with the win. Quite a turnaround after a very ordinary first two weeks of the Vuelta.
Lavarinhas and Horrach are trying to hold off the peloton with 3 km to go. They'll have to work for it. Aldag and Kessler are pulling them back very quickly.
16:58 CEST 155 km/0 km to go
The general classification remains the same, with Heras leading Gonzalez by 35 seconds. Aitor Osa has taken the lead in the mountains classification from Simoni by 3 points, while Erik Zabel has extended his lead in the points classification. Heras is also the leader in the regularity (best all round) classification.
Provisional 1 Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca 3.32.07 (43.76 km/h) 2 Luis Perez (Spa) Team Coast 3 José Gutierrez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 0.05 4 Aitor Osa (Spa) iBanesto.com 5 David Plaza (Spa) Team Coast 6 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom 8.58 7 M.A. Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo 8 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Saeco-Longoni Sport General classification after stage 16 1 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal Service 58.55.13 2 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 0.35 3 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 1.08 4 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 1.57 5 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 2.16 6 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 3.56 7 Félix Garcia Casas (Spa) Bigmat.Auber 93 4.05 8 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 4.55 9 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Team Coast 5.20 10 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 5.26