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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    Results     Latest live report

Stage 19 - September 27: Béjar - Avila, 177.8 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 12:49 CEST
Finish time: 17:00 CEST

14:45 CEST    74 km/104 km to go
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the 19th stage of the Vuelta España, the last stage with any sort of serious climbing in it, including the Cat. 1 Puerto de Serranillos (km 115). The stage started from Béjar, which also happens to be Roberto Heras' hometown, and his fans were out in full force this morning. The stage will finish in Avila after 178 km of racing.

The stage started with the Cat. 3 climb of Alto de la Hoya, and as expected there was an attack almost immediately. After 7 km a group of nine riders broke away: Aitor Osa and José Garcia Acosta (iBanesto.com), Carlos Garcia (Kelme-Costa Blanca), Jose Luis Rebollo (Relax-Fuenlabrada), Pietro Caucchioli (Alessio), Marcos Serrano (ONCE-Eroski), Rui Lavarinhas (Milaneza-MSS), Daniel Atienza (Cofidis), M.A. Martin Perdiguero (Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo). Osa won the mountain sprint, bringing him up to 84 points on the mountains classification. That puts him third behind Heras (99 pts) and Flecha (90 pts). But if he wins the Puerto de Serranillos, he will take over the jersey.

The leaders have a 7'07 minute lead, which will be quite handy later on.

14:53 CEST    84 km/94 km to go
The nine leaders are co-operating well, as they know they have a good chance of staying away for the stage win. US Postal don't have to chase them too hard, as the best placed rider is Carlos Garcia, who is 18th at 18'28. A total of eight teams have riders in the break, so that reduces the possibility of a chase being organised.

The first sprint at Barco de Ávila (km 26.6) was won by Atienza, from Osa and Caucchioli.

Speaking of Atienza, he nearly just took out Lavarinhas while he was fiddling with his feed bag. The Portuguese champion had quick enough reflexes to avoid the swerve.

15:08 CEST    94 km/84 km to go
The nine leaders, Aitor Osa, José Garcia Acosta, Carlos Garcia, Jose Luis Rebollo, Pietro Caucchioli, Marcos Serrano, Rui Lavarinhas, Daniel Atienza, and MA Martin Perdiguero are descending towards the foot of the Puerto de Serranillos, the day's main difficulty. It's a 16.7 km climb averaging 5.1%, with a maximum grade of 8%. Long, but not too steep.

The difference between the break and the peloton is now up to 8 minutes.

15:18 CEST    100 km/78 km to go
The leaders are now on the Puerto de Serranillos, and are setting a strong pace on the lower slopes of the climb. Aitor Osa is looking to get the 16 points at the top, which would put him into the lead in the mountains classification by one point.

Team Coast have taken up the chase, as they have no-one in the break, meaning that a stage win is out of the question unless they bring them back. But also Team Coast have a chance in the teams classification - they trail Kelme by 56 seconds in the overall teams classification, but will lose 8 minutes today due to Kelme's Carlos Garcia being in the break. The teams classification is calculated by summing the times of the best three riders from each team per stage.

The chase is having an effect, and the gap is back to 7'09.

15:28 CEST    105 km/73 km to go
The Coast chase is really eating into the break's lead, and is also starting to shed riders out the back of the peloton. Juan Antonio Flecha, who managed to hang on to Heras' wheel to take third in yesterday's stage, is one of the first out the back.

15:40 CEST    111 km/67 km to go
The leaders have lifted their tempo a little, and are keeping the gap at just under 6 minutes. Caucchioli looks strong as usual (he was 5th yesterday, and in the break).

Team Coast are down to three riders - Casero, Garmendia and Beltran - on the front of the peloton, with Heras and Rubiera in fourth and fifth wheel.

15:47 CEST    114 km/64 km to go
Joseba Beloki attacks! The ONCE rider puts 100m into the Team Coast led peloton, but there will surely be a reaction soon.

Here it comes - Toni Tauler and Oscar Sevilla get to the front and swallow Beloki. Casero counter attacks, but Sevilla and Beloki are right there. Heras is in 5th, and not in difficulty. The peloton is starting to stretch though, as Casagrande rides off the front.

15:51 CEST    116 km/62 km to go
Casero catches Casagrande, and the rest of the peloton is right on his wheel. Casagrande keeps the tempo high though. There are about 25 riders left in the bunch.

Casero attacks again.

15:54 CEST    116 km/62 km to go
In the break ahead, Aitor Osa wins the sprint at the top of the Serranillos, giving him 100 points in the mountains classification. Perdiguero was second followed by Garcia Acosta. The nine men in the break look to have all made it over the top in front.

Rafael Casero (Jazztel) counters his brother's attack in the peloton, and rides ahead to take 10th place in the mountain sprint, some 3'25 behind the break. The 25-30 rider peloton follows at 3'35.

16:01 CEST    126 km/52 km to go
The leaders have reached the bottom of the descent of the Serranillos, and have 52 km to race. The peloton is bearing down on them, and seem to be interested in recapturing them for the finish.

16:06 CEST    127 km/51 km to go
Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta attacks the break, as he senses an easing in the tempo. That will give his teammate Osa a bit of a free ride, as the others will have to chase.

In the peloton, US Postal have three men at the front, in addition to Heras. Also Saeco's Gerrit Glomser and Fabio Sacchi are up there, presumably to set up a possible stage win for Di Luca or Simoni. The peloton is around 40 riders strong now.

16:14 CEST    130 km/48 km to go
Garcia Acosta has 17 seconds on the first chasing group (Aitor Osa, Carlos Garcia, Jose Luis Rebollo, Pietro Caucchioli, Marcos Serrano, Rui Lavarinhas, Daniel Atienza, and MA Martin Perdiguero) and 3'15 on Rafael Casero (Jazztel), who should be reabsorbed by the peloton. Saeco's red jerseys are leading the peloton on the descent of the Serranillos, and it looks to be getting larger again.

16:18 CEST    133 km/45 km to go
Garcia Acosta has increased his lead to 1'24 over the chasing group, with the peloton at 5'00.

16:23 CEST    139 km/39 km to go
Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (iBanesto) is the sole leader of the stage, passing through the sprint at Burgohondo with a 2 minute lead on the eight riders behind him. The peloton, now being led by Coast and Saeco, is at 5'00. Rafael Casero (Jazztel) has been caught by the peloton.

16:29 CEST    143 km/35 km to go
Vicente Garcia Acosta is approaching the last climb of the day, the Cat. 2 Puerto de Navalmoral, with a 2'20 plus lead on a chasing group with Aitor Osa, Carlos Garcia, Jose Luis Rebollo, Pietro Caucchioli, Marcos Serrano, Rui Lavarinhas, Daniel Atienza, and MA Martin Perdiguero. The peloton is another 2'45 back, and should catch the chasing group but perhaps not Garcia Acosta.

16:35 CEST    146 km/32 km to go
Garcia Acosta passes through the third and final intermediate sprint in Navalmoral de la Sierra, and is now on the climb. He has a good chance of hanging on to his lead, as the chasing group is 2'20 behind him. The peloton is still at around 4'30.

16:41 CEST    149 km/29 km to go
Aitor Osa keeps a watchful eye on the chasing group, as he wants his teammate Garcia Acosta to stay away. Osa also wants the remaining mountain points on this Cat. 2 climb.

Carlos Garcia (Kelme) attacks the chasing group, and straight away Caucchioli and Osa are on his wheel. The remaining riders also bridge up, somewhat painfully. Perdiguero counter attacks, with Garcia and Osa straight on him again. The others bridge up again.

Garcia Acosta's lead is down to 1'40, as Perdiguero attacks yet again. He's gone for good it looks like, as no-one reacts.

16:48 CEST    153 km/25 km to go
Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta is losing ground to Martin Perdiguero, with 1'28 lead as he nears the top of this climb. Perdiguero is pedalling smoothly, hoping to catch the banesto man for the stage win. Behind him are seven riders who are somewhat indecisive about chasing.

Further back, Jose Garrido (Jazztel) is about 20 seconds in front of the peloton, which is 4'08 behind the leader.

16:55 CEST    155 km/23 km to go
Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta takes the points on the Cat. 2 Puerto de Navalmoral, with a 1 minute lead to Acqua e Sapone's Miguel Martin Perdiguero, who is slowly but surely closing the gap.

Aitor Osa has attacked the rest of the break to try and secure third place in the mountain sprint.

Garcia Acosta shifts up a few gears and starts his descent. The gap at the top is 56 seconds back to Perdiguero.

16:59 CEST    158 km/20 km to go
No word on Osa and his group, who presumably took third in the mountain sprint. But the peloton catches Jose Garrido at the top and follows race leader Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta at 3'25.

17:02 CEST    163 km/15 km to go
Garcia Acosta is an impressive descender, and he is flying towards Avila for what looks to be another iBanesto stage win. The peloton is 3 minutes behind him, with Perdiguero now at 1'10.

It's been confirmed that Osa took third in the mountain sprint on Navalmoral, which gives him 106 points in total and a 7 point lead over Heras in the mountains competition.

Luis Perez (Team Coast) and Jorge Ferrio (Jazztel) have attacked the peloton on the descent.

17:09 CEST    169 km/9 km to go
The peloton, which is now shooting for 12th place on the stage, is 3'13 behind Garcia Acosta, but is in two pieces. Luis Perez and Jorge Ferro have picked up one of the early breakaways.

So we have Garcia Acosta in the lead, with 1'40 on Perdiguero, and 2'30 on Aitor Osa, Carlos Garcia, Jose Luis Rebollo /Daniel Atienza, Marcos Serrano, and Rui Lavarinhas, and 3'10 to Luis Perez/Jorge Ferrio/Pietro Caucchioli who are just in front of the peloton.

17:11 CEST    170 km/8 km to go
Martin Perdiguero is in danger of being caught by Osa's group of six, as he only has 30 seconds on them with 8 km to go. Garcia Acosta has 2 minutes on them, and will stay away to win.

The peloton, at 3'07, has caught Perez, Ferro and Caucchioli.

Mijholevic (Alessio) decides to attack the peloton, now going for 9th place.

17:15 CEST    173 km/5 km to go
Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (iBanesto) has 5 km to go with a 2'12 lead to Osa's group, which has just caught Perdiguero.

Paolo Tiralongo (Fassa Bortolo) attacks the peloton, but US Postal will probably chase him down.

17:18 CEST    175 km/3 km to go
3 km to go for Garcia Acosta, who is still rolling along 2 minutes in front of the Osa group. The peloton is now just 44 seconds behind that group.

The finish is gradually uphill and cobbled, but that won't be a problem for Garcia Acosta.

17:20 CEST    177 km/1 km to go
Garcia Acosta gets a big cheer from the crowds on the side of the road as he nears the finish. 1 km to go for him, while the peloton has 3 km to go. Osa's group has 35 seconds on the peloton.

17:23 CEST    178 km/0 km to go
The cobbles stop with 1 km to go and Garcia Acosta can enjoy his ride to the finish. He takes plenty of time to celebrate, punching and clapping the air.

As Osa's group is caught, Aitor Gonzalez attacks the peloton on the uphill cobbles. Nice move.

Gonzalez comes off the cobbles and puts it into a big gear, trying to gain seconds on Heras. He succeeds, finishing second on the stage at 2'02, and taking 4 seconds on Heras.


1 José Garcia Acosta (Spa) iBanesto.com                       4.24.27
2 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca                        2.02
3 MA Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo      2.06
4 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
5 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal Service
6 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
7 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8 Klaus Möller (Den) Milaneza-MSS
9 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
10 Angel Casero (Spa) Team Coast

General classification after stage 19

1 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal Service                      71.24.42
2 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca                        1.08
3 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca                         1.45
4 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski                                2.09
5 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                              4.15
6 Félix Garcia Casas (Spa) Bigmat.Auber 93                       4.43
7 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                       4.48
8 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport                      6.12
9 Angel Casero (Spa) Team Coast                                  6.18
10 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Team Coast                               7.08

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