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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

58th Vuelta a España - GT

Spain, September 6-28, 2003

Main page    Start List    Stage profile     Map     Latest Live Report    Results

Stage 19 - Friday, September 26: La Vega de Alcobendas - Collado Villalba, 164km

Complete Live Report

Commentary by Chris Henry, 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: 13:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:30 CEST

14:16 CEST    
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Vuelta a España. Including today, just three stages remain in the tour, with the final stage into Madrid theoretically inconsequential for the general classification. That leaves the two mountain climbs in today's stage and tomorrow's uphill time trial as the only occasions for GC contenders such as Roberto Heras to challenge the overall leader Isidro Nozal of ONCE.

Two first category and two third category climbs are featured in the last half of the stage, and despite the long downhill run into Collado Villalba, these mountains could make a difference.

14:39 CEST    50 km/114 km to go
There is a big break that's away with over six minutes on the main field. The move went clear around the 35km mark, and in the break are the following riders: Juan José De Los Angeles, Floyd Landis, Angel Vicioso, Cristian Moreni, Jose Manuel Maestre, Filippo Simeoni, Eladio Jimenez, Pablo Lastras, Jesus Manzano, Constantino Zaballa, Mariano Piccoli, Javier Vila, Claus Michael Möller, Angel Edo, Oscar Pereiro, Karsten Kroon, José Lara, Michael Sandstod.

14:51 CEST    
There's been a crash at the back of the peloton, and Matt White (US Postal), Rubens Bertogliati (Lampre) and Niki Sorensen have gone down, but they all are up and chasing.

Another crash earlier in the race was a bit more serious. Domingo Sanchez (Paternina) crashed at the 26km mark and was taken to the hospital with a possible dislocated shoulder.

14:53 CEST    
Is this Spain or Belgium? The peloton is climbing up through a town with several sections of pavé, and in true Belgian style several riders are finding the sidewalks a smoother ride, catching a few roadside spectators by surprise.

14:54 CEST    
The peloton is content to let this big break do its thing for now. Labarca 2-Café Baque has a few riders at the front of the main field, but they're not exactly chasing.

14:58 CEST    64 km/100 km to go
The main field has crested the summit of the Alto San Lorenzo, a third category climb which did no damage, but did see a number of riders at the back challenged a bit by the pavé.

The next climb, the Cat. 1 Alto do los Leones, will likely be a more serious affair although the break's advantage is still quite large at 7 minutes.

15:03 CEST    
The results of the first intermediate sprints are as follows:

Hoyo de Mnazanares (km 35): Karsten Kroon, Möller, Manzano.

Galapagar (km 50): Manzano, Pereiro, Lastras.

For such a large break, the leaders appear to be cooperating well, and their advantage has grown nicely. The peloton is still not chasing too hard since there are no great threats to the general classification in the move.

15:09 CEST    
The breakaway is on the lower slopes of the Alto de los Leones, led by Oscar Pereiro. The time gap has stabilized at around seven minutes.

Bingen Fernandez (Cofidis) has come to the front of the peloton, perhaps eager to get the chase going. Cofidis missed out on the big break and will have to take some responsibility to narrow the time gap.

15:14 CEST    80 km/84 km to go
And now the attacks begin in the break. It's Claus Michael Möller of Milaneza who decides to break away first and the break slowly begins to thin out behind.

In the peloton things are getting more active as well, and interestingly it's Kelme and iBanesto forcing the pace despite having riders up front.

15:18 CEST    
The gaps are opening at the back of the peloton as the pace increases under the pressure of Kelme's Antonio Tauler and Oscar Sevilla. King of the mountains Felix Cardenas is up front, as usual.

15:21 CEST    
Kelme and iBanesto have something in mind as they try to thin out the ranks of the peloton on the Alto de los Leones. They're trying to isolate some of the team leaders, and one who is not looking so good is Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, who is slowly getting detached with a small group as the field hits the steepest portions of the climb.

15:23 CEST    84 km/80 km to go
Apart from Gonzalez de Galdeano, most of the big favourites are still present up front (Heras, Nozal, Rasmussen, et. al.).

Möller crosses the summit of the climb, still out alone.

15:25 CEST    
The first peloton is down to about thirty riders, with Gonzalez de Galdeano the notable absentee. Nozal still has Marcos Serrano with him, and is looking comfortable on the climb. Currently Leonardo Piepoli and Roberto Heras are forcing the pace.

15:28 CEST    
Gonzalez de Galdeano in fact has Manuel Beltran for company in the second peloton. The top positions in the general classification are still very much in play.

Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Domina Vacanze) takes over the pace-setting in the peloton and Roberto Heras puts in an acceleration to get on his back wheel. This group is 5'35 behind the lone leader Möller at the summit of the climb, as the remainder of the big break remains in flux. Gonzalez de Galdeano's group is 45" behind Heras.

15:34 CEST    
Gonzalez de Galdeano has two teammates to help pace him back to the lead group, which should be feasible.

Meanwhile up front, Möller has been caught by the remnants of the early break, which still includes the likes of Landis, Moreni, Simeoni, and several others.

In the peloton, Sevilla has put in a strong attack as the race hits the town of San Rafael.

15:39 CEST    92 km/72 km to go
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano has rejoined the main peloton, which is gliding through the feed zone. In the break, Landis takes a turn at the front of a group which looks to be down to around 10 riders.

15:44 CEST    
The peloton has grown in size and most riders dropped on the Alto de los Leones are back in the group, including points leader Erik Zabel.

15:47 CEST    
Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) has sparked a new move off the main field, along with Felix Cardenas, Fabian Jeker, Luis Perez, and others. The group has just crossed the summit of the climb just under five minutes behind the break. The peloton is an additional 30" back.

15:51 CEST    
In the Valverde group are David Etxebarria, Mariano Piccoli, Felix Cardenas, Unai Osa, Fabian Jeker, among others. They're not cooperating, and will likely be caught by the first peloton.

Still left in the early break are Juan José De Los Angeles, Floyd Landis, Angel Vicioso, Cristian Moreni, Filippo Simeoni, Constantino Zaballa, Claus Michael Möller, Oscar Pereiro, and JoséLara.

Jörg Jaksche leads the charge for ONCE and catches Valverde's group.

15:55 CEST    109 km/55 km to go
The peloton, and notably race leader Nozal's ONCE team, is taking advantage of the more stable profile before tackling the final mountain of the day, the Alto de Navacerrada.

The leaders have 55km left to race.

15:59 CEST    
Karsten Kroon (Rabobank) has rejoined the lead group after having been dropped on the climb along with his teammate Beat Zberg, who evidently was in the early move as well. Zberg goes straight to work as the agitator, having a few words with Zaballa over who should be working in the group. Moreni, Pereiro, Vicioso, and Landis appear more eager to work than the others.

16:04 CEST    115 km/49 km to go
Karsten Kroon has attacked the leaders shortly after rejoining the group. He gets a gap, which is quickly bridged by Zaballa. The rest of the break is not eager to take up the chase.

16:13 CEST    
At the back of the field, Oscar Sevilla drops back to have a chat with his directeur sportif, all the while protected by José Gutierrez, who brings him back in contact with the group.

The peloton remains under the control of ONCE, with a lone CSC rider inexplicably pulling at the head of the line.

Kelme's Gutierrez is covering a lot of ground, quickly moving from the rear to the front and attacking the peloton alone.

16:17 CEST    126 km/38 km to go
The leaders are nearing the foot of the Alto de Navacerrada, still together and with just over four minutes in hand over the peloton.

The Vuelta has enjoyed sunny skies and nice warm weather thus far today. Temperatures Are around 30 degrees at the finish, but could dip to the low teens in the upper portions of the Navacerrada climb, with light showers possible.

16:20 CEST    128 km/36 km to go
Matt White is keeping Roberto Heras well protected near the front of the peloton, which is steadily picking up speed. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano is also alongside Isidro Nozal and the ONCE train. The question is whether or not Igor will be able to maintain contact on the final climb after his early difficulties. If both Beltran and Gonzalez de Galdeano drop off the pace again, the general classification could have a different look tomorrow.

The break is hitting the first slopes of the Navacerrada.

16:22 CEST    
Just before the sprint at La Pradera, Kelme's Zaballa rockets clear and not only takes the points but opens up a gap and keeps going. Now is the moment when the members of the break will have to give everything they have to maintain a sufficient advantage over the peloton, which surely will attack the climb.

16:27 CEST    
Zaballa is still clear and pressing on with his attack, looking strong. The road is undulating a bit and the pace is still fast before the real climbing begins. The riders in the chase group are not cooperating perfectly, but they're slowly bringing Zaballa back.

16:28 CEST    
The counter attacks in the break come from Karsten Kroon, followed by Francisco Lara, but these moves aren't sticking. Zaballa is hanging on out front.

16:32 CEST    
Having already shown themselves on the first climb, the Domina Vacanze riders are setting the pace in the peloton on the early part of the Navacerrada, with ONCE riding in formation just behind.

Zaballa has been caught by Möller and Vicioso. Zaballa gets on Vicioso's wheel as the rest of the break drags itself up behind.

Lara accelerates with Floyd Landis on his wheel. Along with Vicioso and Möller, this quartet has a small gap over the rest of the break. Floyd's looking very calm as Lara and Vicioso are digging deeper. Simeoni makes contact with the first four.

16:35 CEST    
ONCE once again leads the peloton, but with plenty of company. Chechu Rubiera (US Postal) is helping set the pace, along with Antonio Tauler (Kelme).

On Tauler's wheel are Leipheimer and Rasmussen. Leipheimer looks strong and ups the pace, but Rasmussen doesn't quite look ready for the extra effort.

Tauler takes the front position once again, now with Cardenas on his wheel.

16:36 CEST    
Heras comes to the fore and puts in an acceleration, noticing that ONCE had slipped from the first positions. He's quickly opening up a gap as Cofidis' Luis Perez tries to give chase.

16:37 CEST    
Heras looks to be testing the waters, keeping a small gap but not quite crushing his rivals. Cardenas jumps across and gets Heras' wheel and the two start to go clear. The reactions are slow to come, but Leonardo Piepoli (iBanesto) manages to join the duo.

16:39 CEST    
Gonzalez de Galdeano and Beltran, marking each other, both look to be in trouble again. Nozal is still in the first group, but isolated and without an ONCE teammate nearby.

Heras, Piepoli, and Cardenas maintain a slight advantage as Valverde chases for Kelme, about 200 metres behind.

16:44 CEST    
Heras' group is caught as a number of riders put in strong accelerations. Michele Scarponi (Domina Vacanze) takes the lead with Fabian Jeker on his wheel, as Sevilla works to pull them back.

Isidro Nozal is steadily drifting back in the main group and looking to be in trouble. He's losing contact and up front Heras knows it, putting in another acceleration.

Heras is looking behind to see where Nozal is, and realizes the race leader is unable to maintain the same pace. ONCE director Manolo Saiz is looking nervous, speeding ahead of Nozal to pas the message to Vicioso that his leader is in trouble, then finding himself in a dispute with a camera motorcycle.

16:47 CEST    
Landis, Simeone, Vicioso, and Möller are still clear, with Heras leading a group behind. The race is splitting up, as Valverde and Sevilla are behind Heras' group.

Nozal now has Serrano to help pace him, but he's having trouble holding his teammate's wheel. He's 37" behind Heras already. Serrano is trying to motivate Nozal to hang in, with another group a short distance ahead.

16:50 CEST    141 km/23 km to go
Simeone is now the leader of the race, dropping his breakaway companions. Möller is sticking close by, slowly closing the gap to get Simeoni's wheel.

Nozal is now more than a minute behind Heras! Serrano continues to wait for him, but Nozal is working on willpower alone now because his legs are shot.

Up front, Heras is alone and chasing the last two leaders (Simeoni and Möller), who have just crossed the summit.

16:53 CEST    
The race is on, and Heras is making the big move everyone's waited for, hoping to take as much time as possible from the suffering race leader Nozal.

Heras crosses the summit 1'11 behind the two leaders. In fact several riders from the early break are still mixed up in between the action, so Heras may even have company for the long descent.

Nozal crosses the summit in a bigger group, 1'30 behind Heras.

16:57 CEST    
With perfect timing, Heras finds Floyd Landis, who was among the last in the lead group, for some help on the descent.

The Heras group now contains (among others) three Kelme riders and two US Postal riders, all riding flat out on the descent to put time into ONCE. Cardenas is also in the move.

Nozal's group is pulling back some time, and the gap is 1'21.

16:59 CEST    150 km/14 km to go
The Nozal group, which is fairly large, contains Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano and Manuel Beltran. Nozal may lose more than a minute, but now that the climbing is done he will likely hold onto about half of his advantage over Heras.

17:02 CEST    156 km/8 km to go
On more comfortable terrain (flat/descending), Nozal and Gonzalez de Galdeano both take pulls along with their ONCE teammates, chasing Heras' group. ONCE is saving its Vuelta lead now, pulling back a few seconds but more importantly not letting the gap get any bigger than it already did.

17:04 CEST    
The two leaders, Claus Michael Möller and Filippo Simeoni, are still clear despite all the fireworks behind. They're talking to each other, and Simeoni looks less inclined to pursue the move since he has Scarponi in the chase group behind.

17:06 CEST    158 km/6 km to go
Cardenas takes a pull on the descent at the head of the Heras group, as this group pulls to within 29" of the two leaders out front. Heras still has over a minute in hand over Nozal.

17:08 CEST    
The two leaders are just 2km from the finish with the Heras group breathing down their necks.

17:10 CEST    
Zaballa has gone down in a roundabout as the Heras group enters the finishing town. Landis looks to have gone down as well but both are ok.

The two leaders are hanging on and should be clear to contest the stage win.

17:11 CEST    
Simeoni starts the sprint from very far out and holds it all the way to the line, taking the win ahead of Möller, giving Domina Vacanze a much-needed stage win.

17:12 CEST    
Heras' group comes in just seconds behind, and ONCE continues to pace its leader Nozal home.

At the line, Nozal and Gonzalez de Galdeano have lost over a minute to Heras, though Beltran has lost this time as well. Heras' gain was 1'13.


1 Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron          3.51.18
2 Claus Møller (Den) Milaneza-MSS                              
3 Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Domina Vacanze-Elitron    0.16
4 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio                                
5 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank                                    
6 Felix Cardenas (Col) Labarca-2-Café Baqué                    
7 Unai Osa (Spa) iBanesto.com                                  
8 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank                             
9 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca                  
10 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca                      
11 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal-Berry Floor                   
31 Isidro Nozal (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski                      1.30

General classification after stage 19

1 Isidro Nozal (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski                   65.13.30
2 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal-Berry Floor                1.55
3 Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski          3.03

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