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Vuelta News for September 9, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry & Jeff Jones

Unlucky Evans injured again

Cadel Evans (Telekom) has seen a season of bad luck continue, fracturing his clavicle in Stage 3 of the Vuelta a España. This is the third time Evans has sustained the injury this season, and Team Telekom confirmed Monday night that he would not start the fourth stage of the Vuelta.

Cadel explained the incident to Cyclingnews after having x-rays taken at the hospital in Spain. "After my last crash, I got a big plate attached to my collarbone, and it's fastened by six screws," he said. "Today I managed to break it in the one place where there's no plate. The plate runs from underneath my shoulder blade all along my collarbone, and the bone snapped on the neck side, just where the plate stops. It is slightly displaced, and I'll return to the hospital Tuesday for further examination."

The crash took place after about 75 kilometres of racing, before the feed zone. Despite the distance remaining, and the pain, Evans was able to finish the stage. "I wasn't even in the peloton, but a bit behind because riders were coming back from punctures and a few calls of nature, and I was just turning around to look for a teammate behind me," he said, describing how the crash took place. "There was no one in front of me when I turned around, but all of a sudden this rider appears and takes out my front wheel."

For Evans the accident is a major disappointment, and another scar on a difficult first season with Team Telekom. "Right now I can't believe I broke it again," he said. "At first, after the crash I didn't admit to myself that it was broken, but when the pain started to come, I started to think "Yep, it's indeed possible to break the same collarbone three times in a season!"

Although able to finish the stage, the pain was sufficient to prompt his abandon from the race. "I could probably take the start Tuesday, but then I would have to abandon or get eliminated during that stage, so my Vuelta is over. There's no way I can ride out of the saddle with this collarbone."

Now Evans will have to evaluate the remainder of his season. If he is able to train indoors within the next few days with his arm in a sling, there is a chance he could return to racing for the Giro di Lombardia in October.

"I would like to be able to do one good race this season, so I'm not all desillusioned," he concluded. "But I have to focus on getting better first, and then I'll find out if it will be possible to enter another race this season."

Stage 3 results and report
Live report

Early scare for Sevilla

After passing a first day of climbing successfully in Sunday's Stage 2, Oscar Sevilla crashed in the final kilometre of Stage 3 and suffered an early scare in this year's Vuelta a España. Sevilla with a number of riders on a left hand bend in the road just inside the 1km to go banner. The Kelme leader did not lose any time to his general classification rivals, nor did he appear to sustain serious injury, but nonetheless it was an unpleasant end to the day.

"I had a good scare. I hope it doesn't cause a problem for the next few stages, but I did hurt my left knee and hip," Sevilla said, quoted in Todociclismo. "Everything seems ok, and now my biggest problem will be getting a good night's sleep."

ONCE According to plan... Almost

Joaquin Rodriguez
Photo: © Unipublic
Click for larger image

Having already declared his intentions to see his team go out on a positive note (with sponsorship ending this year), ONCE-Eroski director Manolo Saiz couldn't have asked for a better start to the Vuelta than victory in the opening team time trial. As race leadership passed from Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano to Joaquin Rodriguez after Stage 2, Saiz had hoped to see regional native Isidro Nozal take over the jersey after Monday's stage finish in Santander. Stage 3 passed through Torrelavega, home to both Saiz and Nozal, and the ONCE plan was to demonstrate its strong team spirit by sharing the race lead among the team members still on equal time.

Things didn't quite go according to plan, however, and Rodriguez emerged in the golden jersey at day's end. Clearly this could not be deemed a disappointment for the team, but Saiz was nonetheless quick to affirm that there were no internal squabbles preventing Nozal from taking the lead.

"There was no misunderstanding," Saiz told Europa Press. "It was raining, one rider fell in the last two kilometres, another in the final kilometre, and it was very difficult to control the race. We would have preferred a different outcome but the important thing is that the leader is still in our team."

Rodriguez himself had hoped to pass the race lead to his teammate, and seemed uncomfortable donning the jersey for a second day. "Nozal fell back in the peloton in the final meters and I couldn't help but keep my momentum," he explained after the stage. "I'm not happy that Isidro isn't the first in the general classification right now. My moment of glory was yesterday, not today."

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