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Photo ©: Bettini

58th Vuelta a España - GT

Spain, September 6-28, 2003

Main page    Start List    Stage profile     Map     Latest Live Report    Results

Stage 17 - Wednesday, September 24: Granada - Cordoba, 188.4km

Complete Live Report

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting by Hernán Alvarez Macías

Time conversion guide: GMT = CEST - 2 hrs, AEST = CEST + 8 hrs, EDT = CEST - 6 hrs, PDT = CEST - 9 hrs

Start time: 12:55 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST

14:26 CEST    
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of stage 17 of the Vuelta, the first of two transitional stages before two more days in the mountains. Today's stage takes place over 188 km between Granada and Cordoba, over a gradually downhill parcours with a number of undulations along the way. The biggest of these is the Cat. 2 Alto de San Jeronimo, which is located just 12 km from the finish and could mess things up for the sprinters.

Prior to the climb there are three intermediate sprints at Venta de Algarra (km 20), Ventas del Carrizal (km 58.5) and Cordoba (km 153). These could be an opportunity for Erik Zabel and Alessandro Petacchi to continue their battle for the points jersey, which currently belongs to Zabel with a 5 point advantage.

14:36 CEST    89 km/99 km to go
After another fast start (47.8 km in the first hour), we have a large breakaway of 19 riders sitting 2'35 in front of the peloton, which is controlled by ONCE and Phonak. The riders in the break:

Fabian Jeker (Milaneza-MSS), Antonio Tauler (Kelme-Costa Blanca), Jose Luis Rebollo (Colchon Relax-Fuenlabrada), José Garcia Acosta (iBanesto.com), David Cañada (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Iker Flores (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Addy Engels (Rabobank), Fabrizio Guidi (Team Bianchi), José Gutierrez (Kelme-Costa Blanca), Oscar Laguna (Colchon Relax-Fuenlabrada), Angelo Lopeboselli (Cofidis), Volodymir Gustov (Fassa Bortolo), Carlos Sastre (Team CSC), Unai Etxebarria (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Aitor Osa (iBanesto.com), Floyd Landis (US Postal-Berry Floor), Patrick Sinkewitz (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Pedro Diaz Lobato (Paternina-Costa de Almeria) and Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Domina Vacanze-Elitron). The best placed rider in the break is Aitor Osa, who is 25th on GC at 51'38, so the break really poses no threat to the GC leaders.

The first sprint in Venta de Algarra was won by Toni Tauler, from Jose Rebollo and Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta. The second sprint in Ventas del Carrizal was taken by Fabian Jeker from Unai Etxebarria and Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta.

14:43 CEST    96 km/92 km to go
The chase is now being taken up by Saunier Duval-Vini Caldirola, who together with Phonak have brought the gap down to 1'50. The 19 man break is working well, but without a lot of urgency.

14:52 CEST    106 km/82 km to go
Two of the breakaway riders, Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (ibanesto) and Toni Tauler (Kelme) have attacked and have a small lead over the other 17 riders. The rest of the break is now just 1'17 in front of the peloton.

The two leaders are being chased by David Cañada, Perdiguero, Lopeboselli and Landis. And then the rest of the break comes up to them.

The second hour was ridden at an average of 48.3 km/h! It's going to be a quick stage.

15:00 CEST    113 km/75 km to go
Oscar Laguna and Pedro Diaz Lobato have attacked the break now, which is slowly but surely being caught by a determined Phonak/Vini Caldirola chase. The gap is just a minute now.

Pedro Horrillo (Quick.Step) has a mechanical problem, and it takes a long time to correct it. He's going to have a big task trying to get back on to a bunch that's moving at 50 km/h.

Horrillo has to stop a second time, but gets some "mechanical assistance" from the Quick.Step car, involving a long tow. He even changes his shoes!

15:07 CEST    117 km/71 km to go
The break is falling apart as Kristensen (CSC) attempts to bridge up to it from the peloton.

Fabrizio Guidi (Team Bianchi) attacks the break, and gets a small gap. Diaz Lobato, who was in front previously, has sat up and is swallowed by the peloton.

Gustov, Perdiguero, Canada, and Jeker have now caught Guidi, forming a group of five in front of the peloton.

15:15 CEST    126 km/62 km to go
We still have five leaders: Fabian Jeker (Milaneza-MSS), David Cañada (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Fabrizio Guidi (Team Bianchi), Volodymir Gustov (Fassa Bortolo), Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Domina Vacanze-Elitron), who are the remnants of the earlier break of 19.

At the moment, Kelme and ONCE are controlling the peloton, after Phonak and Vini Caldirola stopped chasing. The gap to the five is just 28 seconds.

15:18 CEST    128 km/60 km to go
The five leaders stop working as they realise the peloton is serious about keeping things together until the final climb. They are all caught with 60 km to go. The attacks will no doubt begin anew, and they do...four riders break clear immediately as the other five are caught. Renato Silva (Milaneza-MSS), Jorge Ferrio (Paternina), German Nieto (Relax) and Stefano Casagranda (Alessio) are the four, and they immediately get a small gap and work to increase it.

15:26 CEST    133 km/55 km to go
Kelme continues its tempo setting on the front of the peloton, with the help of one Vini Caldirola rider. ONCE is next in line with Nozal well protected. The pace is not too high at the moment.

The four man break leads by 42 seconds now.

15:36 CEST    140 km/48 km to go
More Vini Caldirola jerseys are moving to the front of the peloton now to help the Kelme chase. Vini Caldirola's Fred Rodriguez has been riding well in the sprints, and if he makes it over the Cat. 2 climb while Petacchi and Zabel don't, then he is a big chance for the stage victory.

The breakaways: Renato Silva (Milaneza-MSS), Jorge Ferrio (Paternina), German Nieto (Relax) and Stefano Casagranda (Alessio) have 48 seconds lead.

15:46 CEST    148 km/40 km to go
The four men in front are doing their best to stay clear of the hungry peloton, but it's not much good. Two teams are working in front of the peloton and the gap has been reduced to 30 seconds. The leaders are about 5 km from Cordoba, the location of the last intermediate sprint.

15:51 CEST    150 km/38 km to go
The average speed for the third hour is a rather brisk 47.9 km/h, meaning that today's stage has averaged 48 km/h so far. The average speed for the whole Vuelta has been 42.4 km/h, above record pace for any grand tour.

The leaders are around 20 seconds in front of the peloton now.

15:53 CEST    154 km/34 km to go
The four leaders ride past an Eroski supermarket as they enter Cordoba. Casagranda takes the final sprint in front of Nieto and Ferrio, as the peloton comes through 24 seconds behind, all the time led by Kelme and Vini Caldirola. The day's main climb, the Alto de San Jeronimo, starts in about 10 km.

In front, Nieto and Silva have attacked Casagranda and Ferrio.

15:58 CEST    157 km/31 km to go
Casagranda and Ferrio are swallowed by the peloton, which is rapidly coming up to Nieto and Silva. ONCE has joined Kelme in front.

Pablo Lastras, who won this stage last year, has a problem and drops off the back of the peloton. His teammates Vicente Garcia Acosta and Jose Luis Arrieta go to help him.

Nieto and Silva are now caught. Peloton agrupado.

16:02 CEST    160 km/28 km to go
Lastras, Garcia Acosta and Arrieta are trying hard to get back to the peloton and they succeed, but not without effort. That's going to hurt on this climb. ONCE has assumed the position in front of the peloton as it approaches the foot of the climb at a rapid pace. Quick.Step is also up there for Tom Boonen.

16:05 CEST    162 km/26 km to go
The peloton takes a right hand turn onto a small road, and gets ready for the San Jeronimo. The first part is quite steep, around 10 percent, but then it levels off. The summit is at 12 km to go, followed by a very technical descent.

16:08 CEST    163 km/25 km to go
Joaquim Lopez (Paternina) is the first rider to attack on the climb, and the peloton lets him get a small gap. Petacchi is dropped immediately, which will help the chances of Zabel, Boonen and Rodriguez. Frigo is also dropped. Guido Trenti waits for him and Petacchi.

16:10 CEST    164 km/24 km to go
Lopez is caught and David Millar (Cofidis) is the next rider to attack, followed by Juan Miguel Mercado (iBanesto). No reaction from ONCE - they're only worried about Heras.

16:13 CEST    168 km/20 km to go
Nozal is climbing well, in third wheel behind his teammates. An Euskaltel rider - Alberto Martinez - attacks and bridges up to Millar and Mercado. As soon as he catches them he puts the hammer down. Millar and Mercado hold his wheel.

16:14 CEST    
Millar rides away from Martinez and Mercado with 20 km to go on a flatter section of the climb. He leads the peloton by 20 seconds and is going quite hard.

16:15 CEST    169 km/19 km to go
Oscar Sevilla (Kelme), Unai Osa (iBanesto) and Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) are next to attack the peloton. They quickly catch Martinez and Mercado, and go on in pursuit of Millar.

16:17 CEST    170 km/18 km to go
Millar is flying as he reaches the false flat on top of the climb, and certainly doesn't want the give behind him to catch on. They are some 10 seconds back, with the 40 rider peloton at 20 seconds.

16:19 CEST    171 km/17 km to go
In the peloton, Milaneza tries to mount a chase, but they don't have many men. Cardenas is in second wheel. Tom Boonen is in last wheel...

16:21 CEST    173 km/15 km to go
Millar has reached another uphill part of this climb (which is not all uphill). He is still being chased by Sevilla, Unai Osa, Rasmussen, Martinez and Mercado at 10 seconds, with the peloton at 38 seconds. He has 15 km to go.

16:23 CEST    
The climb descends again and then goes up for its final section, and Millar puts his head down to try and hold his pursuers off. They are working well though, and are slowly closing the gap.

Milaneza has got a few more riders in front of the peloton (for Edo?) now.

16:25 CEST    175 km/13 km to go
Millar is still looking smooth as he hammers up the final section of the climb. Sevilla and co. are holding the gap at about 10 seconds. Once they reach the top, there's just 12 km to go of tricky descent.

16:27 CEST    176 km/12 km to go
Millar reaches the top of the San Jeronimo climb at last, and has extended his gap to 15 seconds. Juan Miguel has gone back to the peloton. There are now four chasers: Martinez, U. Osa, Sevilla and Rasmussen.

16:29 CEST    178 km/10 km to go
The peloton, led by Milaneza still, is not getting any closer to Millar. The big group is 40 seconds behind Millar, while the four chasers are 19 seconds back with 10 km to go.

16:31 CEST    180 km/8 km to go
Millar is now on the descent, and is giving it everything to stay away from the four chasers. It's working, as he increases his lead to 25 seconds, with the peloton at 54 seconds. 8 km to go for the tall Scot.

16:32 CEST    182 km/6 km to go
Millar is flying down this descent, which is very technical. The chasers can't close the gap, and are still at 24 seconds. Millar just has to stay upright and he'll win the stage.

16:34 CEST    183 km/5 km to go
Millar is now 5 km from Cordoba, and is 30 seconds in front of Sevilla, Rasmussen, U. Osa and Martinez. The peloton is now at a minute.

16:35 CEST    184 km/4 km to go
4 kilometres left and Millar is en route to his first Vuelta stage win in this edition, after being beaten in both time trials by Nozal. 37 seconds to the chasers now.

16:36 CEST    186 km/2 km to go
Millar pounds his big gear at 70 km/h and there's no way that anyone will get him. He's just gone under 2 km to go and is now on the flat.

16:37 CEST    187 km/1 km to go
Last kilometre, and Millar has been taking 5 seconds a kilometre out of the chasers. He takes the final corner and is into the finishing straight.

16:38 CEST    188 km/0 km to go
David Millar wins the stage with a very strong ride on the San Jeronimo. He is very happy and starts his celebrations from a long way out, finishing with a long, two armed victory salute.

Martinez wins the sprint for second from Sevilla, Osa and Rasmussen. The peloton follows close behind with Zabel winning the sprint for 6th and taking more points for the points jersey, which should be his in Madrid now.

Millar looks very happy on the podium as he gets his funny hat. No changes to the GC, although Rasmussen and Osa managed to take five seconds on the rest. It should remain that way for tomorrow's flat stage starting and finishing in Las Rozas, which should suit the sprinters more than today. Join us then for our live coverage commencing 14:30 CEST.


1 David Millar (GBr) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone   3.58.03
2 Alberto Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                 0.36
3 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca               
4 Unai Osa (Spa) iBanesto.com                      
5 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank                        
6 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom                            0.41

General classification after stage 17

1 Isidro Nozal (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski                   
2 Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski          3.03
3 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal-Berry Floor                3.09
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca              5.00
5 Manuel Beltran (Spa) US Postal-Berry Floor               5.16
6 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) iBanesto.com                     6.27
7 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank                         7.29

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