Vuelta News for September 13, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry

Vuelta España news: Stage 6 wrap up

US Postal's Roberto Heras produced his best climbing form today as the Vuelta finished atop the Alto de la Pandera, a steep, narrow 8 km climb with pinches close to 15%. Heras left Gilberto Simoni and Iban Mayo behind with 4 km to go, winning the stage by 17 seconds. Oscar Sevilla charged up the climb to catch Simoni and Mayo, taking third on the stage and the leader's gold jersey.

Telekom's Alex Vinokourov showed what he could do, finishing fifth in the stage and moving to second overall. The Kazakh is well and truly recovered after falling in Stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse fracturing his coccyx. He had to miss the Tour de France as a result, but has seemingly been able to come back to top form for the Vuelta. Another ace for Telekom.

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Post stage quotes

Roberto Heras (USPS, 1st stage)

Roberto Heras
Photo: © AFP
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"It's the first time in two years that I've won a stage of the Vuelta, and it's always good to win at home. I did not feel so good yesterday on the Sierra Nevada. Nevertheless, this is a signal that I have recovered well."

Oscar Sevilla (Kelme, 1st GC)

"I didn't intend to get the leader's jersey so soon, but I can't complain. Perhaps one of my teammates could take it next to relieve the pressure. That's something that I must discuss with (Kelme DS) Vicente Belda."

"I have to congratulate the whole team because this jersey is for all of them, not only of the leader."

"The important thing is to be strong and consistent. Now we have to wait for the time trial, the Angliru, and the Covatilla."

Angel Casero (Team Coast, 19th stage)

"For me it went OK. The climbs were very hard, but the team worked very well. Nevertheless, Sevilla and Heras were above the rest."

"Roberto is the strongest on paper with this parcours and now it will be necessary to make up time in the time trials and to lose as little as possible in the mountaintop finishes."

Johan Bruyneel (USPS director sportif)

"Roberto knew the climb well even though it was the first time the climb was in the Vuelta. He did the climb in training twice and it's very steep. We were a little disappointed after yesterday (when Heras finished 20th, 1:45 off the pace to the summit of Sierra Nevada) and needed to see a reconfirmation of his fitness today. Today was good for Roberto's confidence, good for the team's confidence and good for my confidence in him as well. He is definitely one of the 2-3 best climbers in the Tour of Spain and I think this is a race for climbers, so we are back on track."

"Another good thing is that Sevilla showed that he is solid as well. He is one of the big favorites in the race and is riding very strong and has a good team here also. It is not up to us to carry the race - if we have to do something, we will - but we are in a good situation in third overall. In theory, we can wait until the mountains (to next attack)."

Laiseka stitched up

Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was able to leave hospital today after undergoing treatment (42 stitches) for cuts to his lips and face, and a broken elbow following a fall during stage 5. Laiseka fell after a piece of debris on the road became entangled in his front wheel. Although he was bleeding profusely as a result of the crash, he was not as seriously injured as was thought. On the bright side, Laiseka will be married at the end of the month.

Birthdays for Camenzind and Belda

Swiss rider Oscar Camenzind (Phonak) and Kelme director Vicente Belda both celebrated their birthdays today, September 12. Camenzind turned 31, and had a good day in the saddle, finishing 9th at 1'04 to Roberto Heras. Belda turned 48, and is the director of the oldest running team in the peloton. He enjoyed success too, as Oscar Sevilla claimed the gold leader's jersey for Kelme.

Luis Pérez loses bike

Team Coast's Luis Pérez had the misfortune to have his Bianchi stolen from the team hotel after stage 5 on Wednesday. Despite this Perez had a good ride today to finish 16th, but the team is minus one 4,800 euro bike.

Vuelta 2005 to start in Granada

With the organisers revealing earlier that the next Vuelta will start in Gijon, and the 2004 Vuelta in Leon, news comes today from Unipublic that the 2005 Vuelta will start in Granada. The 2006 start point has yet to be decided, but the Dutch town of Groningen is seeking to host the 2007 or 2008 departure.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)