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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    Latest live report

Stage 21 - September 29: Warner Bros Park - Stadion Santiago Bernabeu - ITT, 41.2 km

Complete Live Report

Start time (first rider): 14:24 CEST
Finish time (last rider): 17:45 CEST

15:00 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the final stage of the Vuelta España, the 41.5 kilometre time trial that finishes in Madrid's San Bernabeu stadium. It should be a spectacular end to what has been an exciting tour, with the race by no means over. The situation on GC is that Roberto Heras (USPS) leads Aitor Gonzalez (Kelme) by 1'08, with Oscar Sevilla (Kelme) in third at 1'45 and Joseba Beloki (ONCE) in fourth at 2'09. These four riders will be fighting it out for the podium, as fifth placed Iban Mayo is over 4 minutes back. However the order of the podium remains to be seen.

First rider off at 14:24 CEST was Phonak's sprinter Sven Teutenberg, who has shown consistency in the bunch sprints in the Vuelta without recording a win. He is last on GC, hence his start time.

The weather is much better than the rain that accompanied the riders in the first time trial. It's sunny and 27-29 degrees celsius, with a light southerly wind blowing, which will help the riders for most of the stage. Expect some fast times.

15:12 CEST
With the first rider yet to complete the 41.5 km course, a look at the intermediate times at other points shows that Daniel Becke (Team Coast) and David Zabriskie (USPS) are the top two riders. Becke, a member of the German sub-4 minute pursuit team in Sydney, has already put 3 minutes into Teutenberg at km 35.5, coming through in 42'56, an average speed of 49.6 km/h!

15:22 CEST
Becke finishes in 50'37, an average of 49.19 km/h. That might give him a good spot overall, as it's not slow for this gradual uphill course. The finish in the stadium is interesting - it's after a U turn and through a narrow tunnel - not conducive to a sprint!

Zabriskie comes through with 51'17, the second best time behind Becke.

15:28 CEST
Juan Guillamon (Jazztel-Costa De Almeria) comes into the stadium, closely followed by Robert Sassone (Cofidis). Neither of them are close to Becke's time.

Jaime Hernandez (Team Coast) finishes in 53'07, which gives him 3rd best time.

15:40 CEST
Mapei's Dario Cioni starts his ride in the warm afternoon sunshine, destination Madrid. He is followed by Domo's Dave Bruylandts.

The fastest time so far is still Daniel Becke (Team Coast) with an impressive 50'37. In second is US Postal's Dave Zabriskie, winner of the U23 GP des Nations a couple of years ago.

Santi Botero has gone through 12 km 18 seconds faster than Becke. Botero is certainly a candidate for the win today.

15:45 CEST
Chechu Rubiera (USPS) is under way, not bothering with a time trial bike (although he is wearing one of the special USPS skinsuits).

16:00 CEST
As predicted, Santi Botero is the fastest at 24 km, clocking 28'14, an average of 51 km/h. He's on track for what could be a winning time. It's too early yet, as the favourites have yet to start, but it's certainly quick.

16:11 CEST
After 12 km, Botero still has the best time with 14'18, but Santos Gonzalez and Toni Tauler have moved into second and third on the intermediate standings, 15 and 16 seconds behind Botero. And at 24 km, Gonzalez is only 12 seconds behind Botero.

Aitor Osa (iBanesto) has just overtaken Dave Brulyandts at km 24.

16:16 CEST
The first of the final top 20 riders has started: Danilo Di Luca (Saeco). Di Luca has been keeping an online diary for Cyclingnews, and if you haven't read it, here's the link to all entries so far. New ones coming soon!

Di Luca is followed by Kelme's Carlos Garcia, one of the best climbing domestiques in the Vuelta so far.

16:21 CEST
Botero finishes well in a time of 49'49, a shade under the 50 km/h mark. Not bad for an uphill course. He now has the best time, pushing Daniel Becke off the top.

16:28 CEST
Santos Gonzalez (Acqua e Sapone) finishes 32 seconds behind Botero, to put him into 2nd overall.

David Plaza (Team Coast) has just started, and will be aiming for a good time to try and pull back the 1'08 gap on Kelme in the teams classification. Coast have Plaza, Perez and Casero (maybe Becke instead of Perez), while Kelme have Gonzalez, Sevilla , Botero, and maybe Tauler. Kelme looks to have the strength to win the teams classification.

16:33 CEST
Speaking of Toni Tauler, the Kelme man is third fastest at km 24, with a time of 28'36.

Christian Vandevelde (USPS) has just gone through 24 km in 29'19, which will give him 9th so far. It's not going to be quite as good as his first time trial, but he has had a pretty tiring last week.

16:41 CEST
Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) starts his ride. He's lying 8th overall at 6'12, and is in danger of losing that to Angel Casero, who is 9th at 6'18. Casero is a very good time trialist, and should overhaul Simoni.

Casagrande is now on his way, as is Felix Garcia Casas (BigMat), who has had a good Vuelta to be in 6th overall at this stage.

16:47 CEST
Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) is next to go. He is the fifth rider on GC, and will be followed by Beloki, Sevilla, Gonzalez and Heras in that order.

Rafael Casero (Angel's brother, riding for Jazztel) finishes in 51'21, 6th best time so far. He is followed by Jose Gutierrez (Kelme) in just under 52 minutes, which will give him 9th best. The crowds in Bernabeu stadium are impressive - it's not packed but there are plenty of people all around the stadium.

Jose Azevedo finishes in 51'28, 7th fastest.

16:51 CEST
Both Beloki and Sevilla are under way now, navigating the technical, uphill first part of the parcours. Beloki looks to be in a good rhythm.

16:54 CEST
Aitor Gonzalez starts his ride. Will it be enough to overhaul Heras? He needs just over 1.6 seconds per kilometre.

Finally, Roberto Heras in his gold skinsuit, leaves the starting house. He starts well.

16:56 CEST
Sevilla has a flat - early in the time trial. He gets a new bike, but loses a good 25 seconds. That might cost him a podium place, and he is angry. He doesn't like his bike, and gets another change.

He's still not happy, and loosens the brakes on the rear wheel. A terrible way to finish this last stage, and he could get caught by Gonzalez. Gonzalez is doing 60-64 km/h, and nearly cleans up the two motorbikes in front of him, before they wake up and speed off.

17:05 CEST
Gonzalez is approaching the first time check at 12 km. Beloki went through 7 seconds slower than Botero, with Casero at 9 seconds.

Gonzalez goes through 12 km in 14'03! 13 seconds better than Botero. He currently has 33 seconds lead on Heras at the same point.

17:12 CEST
Casero is having a good ride, as is Plaza. Team Coast may close the gap to Kelme yet.

Unofficially, Gonzalez is 43 seconds in front of Heras now. He needs 1'08, and hasn't reached halfway.

Sevilla lost 49 seconds after 12 km, which is not bad considering he had two bike changes! He'll have his work cut out to hold off Beloki for third though.

17:17 CEST
Joseba Beloki comes through 24 km in 28'30, fifth fastest. He's going to have to work to get Sevilla.]

Plaza comes through the finish in 49'40, 10 seconds faster than Botero! Impressive stuff from the Coast rider, who also did well in the final Vuelta time trial last year.

Now Aitor Gonzalez has made up the 1'08 defecit on Heras, and is still increasing. Heras will have to have a good finish. It's 1'13.

He goes through 24 km in 27'38, 27 seconds quicker than Casero.

17:22 CEST
Roberto Heras is definitely finding it difficult today. No gold jersey wings just yet. He has lost 1'20 to Aitor Gonzalez, who is now the virtual leader in the Vuelta. Of course, a puncture or mechanical would change all of that. Lucky Gonzalez was not riding Sevilla's bike...

Heras goes by 24 km in 29'01, 1'23 behind Gonzalez.

17:25 CEST
Speaking of Sevilla, the former Kelme top man has just been passed by Aitor Gonzalez. Sevilla's aim now is to hold off Joseba Beloki for third overall.

17:28 CEST
Casero comes into the stadium with 49'17, a new best time. Team Coast is 1-2 now. Beltran is fifth.

Heras has effectively lost the Vuelta, as he trails Gonzalez by nearly 2 minutes now.

17:35 CEST
Team Coast is making a strong bid for the Team GC, with Casero, Plaza, and Beltran in the top 5.

Gonzalez goes past 35.5 km in 40'38, that's 1.08 quicker than Casero! Heras has lost 2'40 at the same point.

Beloki finishes in 50'04. Gonzalez is not that far behind him, riding into the stadium to massive applause. His winning time is 47.54!

Sevilla finishes in 50'43, losing his third overall to Beloki.

17:43 CEST
Heras has 2 km to go, and is already 40 seconds behind Gonzalez' time. He'll lose around 3 minutes to the super strong Kelme rider.

17:45 CEST
Heras rides along the crowd lined streets into San Bernabeu stadium. He gets a lot of support, but it won't give him the Vuelta. He makes the final U turn into the stadium, and sprints in a time of 51'16, 3'22 slower than Gonzalez, who wins the Vuelta. Second is Heras, and third is Beloki. You have to feel sorry for Sevilla, who only lost his third place by 15 seconds - two bike changes are definitely worth more than that.

Another winner today was Team Coast's Angel Casero, who jumped from 9th to 6th courtesy of his second place overall. Manuel Beltran also snuck into the top 10. Team Coast didn't end up winning the Team GC, courtesy of Aitor Gonzalez, Santi Botero and Toni Tauler's solid performances to all make the top 10.

Thank you for following the Vuelta with Cyclingnews.com. We'll have our final stage report, results and photos coming in the next couple of hours. Now back to the World Track Championships :-)

Intermediate standings

Km 24

Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme                     27.38
Angel Casero (Spa) Team Coast                   0.27
Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme                     0.36
Santos Gonzalez (Spa) Acqua e Sapone            0.48
David Plaza (Spa) Team Coast                    0.51

Km 35.5

Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme                     40.38
Angel Casero (Spa) Team Coast                   1.08
David Plaza (Spa) Team Coast                    1.26
Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme                     1.37
Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE                        1.42

Finish - km 41.5

Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme                     47.54
Angel Casero (Spa) Team Coast                   1.23
David Plaza (Spa) Team Coast                    1.45
Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme                     1.55
Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE                        2.10

Final general classification

1 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme                75.13.52
2 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal Service         2.14
3 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski               3.11
4 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca        3.26
5 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi             5.42
6 Angel Casero (Spa) Team Coast                 6.33
7 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo      6.38
8 Félix Garcia Casas (Spa) Bigmat.Auber 93      6.46
9 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Team Coast               8.28
10 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport    9.22

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