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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 6 - Thursday, September 11: Zaragoza - Zaragoza, 43.8km ITT

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: 12:37 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:30 CEST

14:41 CEST    
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of Stage 6 of the Vuelta a España, the first individual ride against the clock in this year's edition. Today's stage is a 43.8 kilometre time trial starting and finishing in Zaragoza. It's fairly flat, although there are a few undulations in it. It should suit the time trial specialists, who will be looking to put as much time as possible into the mountain goats.

Candidates for the stage win include Aitor Gonzalez (Fassa Bortolo), Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE), David Millar (Cofidis), and perhaps Klaus Möller (Milaneza) or Dario Frigo (Fassa).

The first rider off was Jose Maestre (Relax Funelabrada), who left at 12:34. Riders departed at one minute intervals until the last 40, who go at two minute intervals. The fastest time so far is David Millar, who rode a very quick 54:54, 2:05 ahead of Rubens Bertogliati (Lampre) and 3:24 ahead of David Canada (Quick.Step).

14:48 CEST    
David Millar's time is a good one, and it's expected to stand for some time. Despite the course being fairly flat today, there is a lot of wind: against the riders on the outward leg and with them coming home. Millar's average of 47.86 km/h is thus a couple of km/h off what he is capable of in better conditions.

Jose Luis Rubiera (USPS) has left the start house now, and is immediately into his rhythm as he fights the wind. He is followed by his teammate George Hincapie, who should do a good time today as he's a big, powerful rider.

14:54 CEST    
Jan Hruska (ONCE) follows Hincapie, a minute later. The Czech is good against the clock too, and will try and give Igor Gonzalez an idea of the conditions.

Alessandro Petacchi, in the polka dotted points jersey, finishes in a time of 1:00:34, which will give him 35th place so far.

Rubiera is really hurting in this first section against the wind. Even the small climb over the bridge seems like a mini-mountain. And there is no rest at the top.

14:57 CEST    
Gorka Arrizabalaga (Euskaltel) finishes in a good time of 57:37, which puts him in fifth place behind Millar, who holds a two minute plus lead at the moment over Julich and Bertogliati.

15:00 CEST    
Aitor Gonzalez (Fassa Bortolo), last year's Vuelta winner has just left the start house. He is definitely a candidate for the stage win if he's having a good day. He's wearing one of those long aerodynamic helmets that looks like it was modelled off one of the Alien movies.

Alex Zuelle finishes in 56:35, a good time which will put him in 2nd place.

15:04 CEST    
Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank) has already finished, and did a time of 58:24. At the moment that puts him in 7th overall, and he should move up a little on GC.

Angel Casero (Bianchi) is next to start - he's another candidate for the final victory, although he lost some time in the first mountain stage.

15:10 CEST    
Pedro Horrillo (Quick.Step) is home in 58'23, which puts him in eighth behind Millar.

Peter Farazijn (Cofidis) sets off for his 43.8 km against the clock.

Santos Gonzalez (Domina Vacanze) has set a faster time than Millar at the 10 km check with 14'38 (Millar was 14'40). It shows you how strong the headwind is in this first 20 km.

15:15 CEST    
Aitor Gonzalez has caught his minute man Cristian Werner (Telekom) just after the 10 km point, where he passed in 14'48, 0'10 slower than Santos Gonzalez.

15:22 CEST    
Angel Casero reaches the 10 km check in just under 15 minutes, which will put him in 8th place provisionally. A little further up the road, Aitor Gonzalez is picking up speed as the wind is not directly against him.

Jose Luis Rubiera reaches the halfway check (21 km) in 30'31, which is 8th fastest.

15:26 CEST    
Santos Gonzalez reaches the halfway point in 29'18, and has lost 31 seconds to Millar now. He did start very fast, and has paid for it.

Bert Grabsch (Phonak) is having a good ride, passing the 21 km point in 29'01, just 14 seconds slower than Millar.

Aitor Gonzalez comes past that point in 29'17, the same time as Jan Hruska and one second quicker than Santos Gonzalez. These three are sharing 3rd to 5th positions at the moment.

One of our diarists, Floyd Landis is just about to leave. He is motivated for a good Vuelta, and is typically not bad against the clock.

15:35 CEST    
Angel Casero reaches the second check (km 21) in a time of 29'39, the 7th fastest at this point. He's not going brilliantly, but he is certainly not going badly.

Jose Azevedo (ONCE) has set off. Klaus Moller (Milaneza) is also on his way.

Jan Hruska (ONCE) has taken back time on Millar in the second half. After 31 km the Czech is just 9 seconds behind Millar. Grabsch is in third at this point at 39 seconds.

15:39 CEST    
Grabsch finishes in 55'31, which will give him second place behind Millar.

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) has started. He's the best placed Rabo rider on GC.

Aitor Gonzalez is looking very smooth as he hammers along the tailwind section. He needs to average about 60km/h from now on to get close to Millar.

15:40 CEST    
Guido Trentin (Cofidis) has ridden well, finishing in 57'00 flat, just over 2 minutes slower than his teammate Millar.

Aitor Gonzalez is just 21" slower than Millar at the 31 km mark, and is on track for a third place at least. Santos Gonzalez is in fourth at the same point.

15:45 CEST    
Michele Scarponi (Domina) has also ridden well up to the first time check at 10 km. His time is 14'42, just 4" slower than his teammate Santos Gonzalez, and 2" slower than Millar.

15:47 CEST    
Chechu Rubiera finishes in 57'47, which will put him in 9th place overall. He is closely followed by Jan Hruska, who has ridden fantastically to finish in 55'00 flat, just 6 seconds slower than Millar who still is the best.

15:50 CEST    
Dario Frigo (Fassa) has had a good start to his ride, passing 10 km in 14'39, second best so far.

George Hincapie finishes in 59'00, 26th place. He triple checks the time, but it's correct.

Santos Gonzalez (Domina) is home now, finishing in 55'57, 1'03 slower than Millar.

15:55 CEST    
Aitor Gonzalez finishes his good ride in 55'15, still 21" slower than David Millar, who has led since the very early stages. Only Hruska was faster than Aitor, who sits in third overall.

Oscar Sevilla (Kelme) leaves the start house. This is an important test for him, as he can't afford to lose much time.

16:01 CEST    
Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) ends his ride in 58'25, for 24th place. He punctured early in the ride, which didn't help.

He's followed by Angel Casero, who finishes in a respectable time of 55'59, for 6th place.

16:07 CEST    
Unai Osa (ibanesto) has left now, followed by his teammate Aitor Osa. Roberto Heras (USPS) is next up.

Heras is now on his way, pedalling a small gear as he makes his way into the headwind. Last year in the first TT he lost less than 2 minutes to Aitor Gonzalez. What can he do this year?

He is followed by teammate Manuel Beltran, who is also a good candidate for a top GC place.

16:12 CEST    
Carlos Sastre (CSC) is at the halfway point now, suffering a bit as his passes in 31'01, well off the pace of Millar.

Marcos Serrano (ONCE) is next off. Just four more riders to come after him.

16:15 CEST    
Heras gets out of the saddle as he climbs on the first part of the course. He's looking fast, which is a good sign for him.

The fourth last rider to go is Cyclingnews diarist Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, who is a big candidate for the jersey today, as he is very accomplished against the clock.

16:20 CEST    
Joaquin Rodriguez (ONCE) has left the starting gate, followed by David Etxebarria (Euskaltel), who if you remember was eliminated in the first Tour de France time trial for riding too slowly (and being penalised for drafting!). He'll hope for a better result today.

Igor Gonzalez takes the sharp corner onto the motorway, and stays in the saddle all the way.

Oscar Sevilla has lost 49 seconds to Millar after 10 km. It's not a good start for him.

16:22 CEST    
Isidro Nozal (ONCE) in the golden leader's skinsuit has left the start house. He has a 50 second GC lead on Etxebarria, Gonzalez de Galdeano, Serrano and Rodriguez. Can he keep hold of it today?

16:24 CEST    
Heras is suffering a bit now as he punches into this uphill headwind section. He needs to stay as aero as possible into this wind, otherwise he will lose the advantage. Time trialling is a lot about aerodynamics.

Heras has done well, passing in 15'00 and losing just 22 seconds to Santos Gonzalez at that point.

16:27 CEST    
Sevilla has reached the halfway point in a time of 31'24, 2'38 slower than Millar for 62nd place. This won't be a good day for him.

Isidro Nozal is now in his rhythm, having been on the road for 6 minutes. Up the road his teammate Igor Gonzalez is looking very smooth.

Manuel Beltran (USPS) is just 2" slower than Santos Gonzalez at 10 km - not bad at all!

16:29 CEST    
Dario Frigo finishes in 55'55 for 6th place so far, just 1'01 slower than Millar.

Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano is 26" faster than Santos Gonzalez at 10 km! His time is 14'12, and he is still looking very smooth as he hammers into this headwind.

16:31 CEST    
Floyd Landis update: His finishing time was 58'07, which is good for 22nd place so far. Not bad going at all.

His team-mate Heras is really fighting with his TT bike. He's looking like he wants the course to go uphill. A lot.

16:36 CEST    
Race leader Isidro Nozal (ONCE) is having a great ride too, passing the 10 km mark in the fastest time: 14'04. He has already caught David Etxebarria! That's two minutes in 10 km... Etxebarria can't hold Nozal either, he'll have to do the rest of this TT on his own.

16:39 CEST    
Heras is at the halfway point now, and has lost a bit more time. He passes in 30'19, 1'32 slower than Millar. Beltran is much quicker, passing in 29'10 for third fastest.

16:44 CEST    
Marcos Serrano passes the 21 km check in a time of 30'21 (17th). There will be no gold jersey for him today.

His teammate Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano is better, but has lost time to Millar. He passes in 29'03, just slower than Grabsch for third best. What can Nozal do?

16:47 CEST    
Nozal mistimes a corner, and loses a couple of seconds. He is on his way to the halfway check.

Joaquin Rodriguez is first though, passing in 31'51 (99th fastest). No gold jersey for him.

Nozal is flying!! 28'02 at the 21 km check. He will certainly keep the jersey today. He has caught Rodriguez for four minutes!

16:54 CEST    
Nozal is on his way back to the finish now, with 20 km to go of mostly tailwind. There are still a few headwind stretches however, and he has to suffer into them.

Oscar Sevilla finishes, suspiciously close to a teammate but he won't be penalised. His time is 59'25, for 52nd place. He's lost about 4'30 to Millar today.

16:55 CEST    
We're back with Heras now, who is on the fast tailwind section now and enjoying it a bit more.

Manuel Beltran is 16 seconds slower than Millar after 31 km (3rd best), and is on track for an excellent time.

16:57 CEST    
Luis Perez (Cofidis) sprints home in 58'15, for 25th place. A good ride for a climber today.

Igor Gonzalez has got it wound up and it looks like is going 70 km/h on a downhill tailwind section. He is 15" slower than Millar at km 31, and just 1" faster than Beltran.

Juan Miguel Mercado (iBanesto) finishes in 58'37, for 40th place.

17:00 CEST    
Race leader Isidro Nozal is still having a great ride, and has a beautiful medium/low profile on the bike. So does Manuel Beltran, who will be US Postal's best rider today and a real danger for the GC.

Nozal is past 31 km in 40'28 - that's 1'10 faster than Millar. He'll have a 2'30 lead on GC at the end of the day, which will come in very handy in the mountains. He's not a bad climber either.

Up the road, Igor Gonzalez catches and passes teammate Marcos Serrano.

17:03 CEST    
Unai Osa (iBanesto) finishes in 58'30, about that same time as his teammate Mercado. That puts him in 39th place.

Unai's brother Aitor Osa is home in 58'15, for 26th place. He is followed by Roberto Heras, who finishes in 57'10, while Beltran is right behind him in 55'16 (4th so far).

17:08 CEST    
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano has just 1 km to go now, and he is maintaining his smooth style. He will finish in a very good time, but it won't be the best.

Igor takes the last corner and sprints for the line. He won't beat Millar or Hruska, as he finishes in 55'11, for third.

17:11 CEST    
Nozal is in the final throes of this time trial now, and he has really scored a big blow. He will win the time trial and increases his lead on GC, but there is still a lot of racing to come.

His finishing time is 53'34, 1'20 faster than Millar! He rode the final km in 1'05, sprinting out of the last corner to the line. He has a 2'27 lead over Igor Gonzalez and 2'42 over Beltran on GC. If he can hold his own in the mountains, he has a great chance, however there is a long way to go.

Speaking of mountains, the first real mountain stage of the Vuelta is tomorrow's stage 7, from Huesca to Cauterets via the Alto de Portalet and the Col du Aubisque. The finishing climb to Cauterets is also quite tough, and the climbers who lost time today will be looking to attack tomorrow. Join us at 14:30 for the seventh stage.


1  Isidro Nozal (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski                      53.34
2  David Millar (GBr) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone      1.20
3  Jan Hruska (Cze) O.N.C.E.-Eroski                         1.26
4  Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski          1.37
5  Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Fassa Bortolo                       1.41
6  Manuel Beltran (Spa) US Postal-Berry Floor               1.42
7  Klaus Möller (Den) Milaneza-MSS                          1.56
8  Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak Hearing Systems                1.57
9  Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                          2.21
10 Santos Gonzalez (Spa) Domina Vacanze-Elitron             2.23

General classification after stage 6

1  Isidro Nozal (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski                      
2  Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski          2.27
3  Manuel Beltran (Spa) US Postal-Berry Floor               2.42
4  Klaus Möller (Den) Milaneza-MSS                          4.16
5  Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal-Berry Floor                4.35

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