59th Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, September 4-26, 2004
Stage 2 - September 5: León - Burgos, 207 km
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Martin Hardie
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the second stage of the Vuelta a España,
which also happens to be the longest of the entire tour. It's 207 km, starting
in León and finishing in Burgos, with no categorised climbs at all. There are
three intermediate sprints, at Moratinos (km 72), Melgar de Fernamental (km
138.8) and Buniel (km 189). It's a classic sprinters stage, and with very little
wind at the start, it won't be a surprise if the entire peloton comes into Burgos
14:36 CEST 67km/140km to go
By Vuelta standards, it's been an incredibly slow start to the second stage.
Only 31.7 km were covered in the first hour, as opposed to the usual 50+. Obviously
the peloton has decided to ease into things gently. The lack of wind has also
helped keep the bunch together, as there is no real advantage to be gained by
riding hard on the front at the moment.
The first attack was launched by Mariano Piccoli (Lampre) after 40 km. That
got things animated for a while, until Kelme got on the front and closed things
Cyclingnews caught up with Cadel Evans at the start of stage 2 while
he was worrying about his front wheel. Perched on the front step of the T-Mobile
bus he told us that he was "happy with yesterday's TT...a good start and a pleasant
surprise" after last year's effort.
Evans added that he was "certainly concerned" about the next few stages. "The
crosswinds always make it hard and the Spanish teams have a lot of local knowledge."
He described them as "unpredictable days with crafty stages...you have to watch
Evans is also looking forward to his move to the newly merged Davitamon-Lotto
team. "It will be the first time since a national team that I have raced with
Aussies," said Evans, who has ridden the past two seasons for T-Mobile.
14:58 CEST 75km/132km to go
The pace picks up a bit for the first intermediate sprint at Moratinos (km 72),
with Max van Heeswijk (USPS) winning ahead of Mariano Piccoli (Lampre) and Benoît
Joachim (USPS). Illes Balears has got to the front to control the peloton, which
is still together after this very measured start.
15:10 CEST 93km/114km to go
It's really a perfect day for riding today, with temperatures now up to 26 degrees
at the finish in Burgos, where the crew are setting things up for the finish.
The wind is fairly weak still.
After the sprint in Moratinos, two riders have attacked: Bram Tankink (Quick.Step-Davitamon)
and Ricardo Serrano (Cafes Baque). The pair get clear of the peloton, which
is still not in a hurry, and have built up a 1'25 lead.
15:13 CEST 96km/111km to go
The peloton looks very uninterested, as it rolls along as a solid block behind
the two breakaways. The speed has picked up a little, but it's not chase speed
15:19 CEST 98km/109km to go
The two leaders take advantage of the peloton's slow pace, and now have a lead
of over five minutes.
The second hour was raced at 36.4 km/h.
15:23 CEST 106km/101km to go
At the moment, a couple of Cofidis riders are sitting at the front of the bunch
with a few Fassas next to them. Fassa Bortolo should be interested in setting
this stage up for Petacchi, but won't want to ride hard just yet.
The wind is from the right hand side at the moment, but not too strong.
The two leaders, Tankink and Serrano, have about 6 minutes lead at the moment
and are making good their escape.
15:26 CEST 108km/99km to go
The two leaders are now at the feed zone, with Tankink grabbing a feed bag full
of stuff. Serrano doesn't take anything on board and takes the lead while Tankink
unpacks his lunch.
15:28 CEST 110km/97km to go
The peloton passes through the rather pleasant town of Carrion de los Condes
7 minutes behind the two leaders, but the pace is starting to pick up just a
fraction. Out of town, it's back to the barren Spanish countryside.
Serrano misses his feed bag...oops.
It's time. The bunch stretches out in a long line, with Cofidis at the helm.
Vasseur drives the tempo up.
15:31 CEST 112km/95km to go
Even though the wind is not that strong, this is hurting the peloton. There
are some small gaps at the back as the bunch lines out on the extreme left hand
side of the road.
This will spell doom for the break, which needed another few minutes before
thinking about staying away to the finish. The gap comes down to 6'24.
The pace at the front of the peloton is furious, and already about 70 riders
have been shelled from the main part of the bunch. There are about four groups
on the road at the moment. There's no shelter.
15:36 CEST 115km/92km to go
The rear group contains three Euskaltel riders as well as a few Rabos, Alessios,
Paterninas, Libertys, Quick.Steps... The Italian champion Moreni is among them.
The gap is about 40 seconds to the front peloton.
In between there are another two small groups, but they don't have much hope
in getting back to the front group.
Illes Balears is doing a bit of damage, as are US Postal. The front group is
about 80 riders strong.
A crash at the back: Guido Trenti (Fassa Bortolo) and Daniele Righi (Lampre)
come down, but are unhurt apart from torn shorts. They are on their bikes again,
but won't see the front group until after the finish. Trenti is not going to
be able to lead out Petacchi today, as he catches the dropped Pavel Tonkov.
With Righi, the three will try to regain the front group.
The pace is still on, with Illes Balears doing most of the work. Phonak is also
Heras, Gonzalez de Galdeano, Sevilla, Hamilton, Vinokourov, Botero, Cunego are
all in the front group, and are not afraid to work.
Tankink and Serrano are still out in front, but they won't last too long at
Petacchi is in the third group, together with most of the Fassa team.
Beloki is chasing with the second group, and his Saunier Duval teammates have
done a good job in bringing him back to the peloton, which has eased off slightly.
39.6 km were covered in the third hour.
US Postal is controlling the front of the peloton with Landis well protected.
Beloki is now up near the front.
15:47 CEST 119km/88km to go
The second group is not working well, but it is closing the gap to the front
peloton, which is now maybe 100 riders strong and slowing down. The gap between
the two groups is 30 seconds.
15:49 CEST 128km/79km to go
The leading pair are in Osorno with 79 km to go, still working well together
but with a somewhat reduced lead. They'll have news from their team directors
that there have been some fireworks behind them, but they can only hope that
it will stop and give them a chance to stay clear.
The second group is now 15 seconds behind the front. They will catch them, surely.
15:53 CEST 131km/76km to go
The groups come back together again, after the front riders stepped off the
gas. That caused more than a small degree of panic.
As soon as the groups reform, attacks begin anew. The two front riders have
15:54 CEST 132km/75km to go
Righi, Trenti and Tonkov have also made it back to the peloton, and maybe Petacchi
can count on Trenti to lead him out. It'll probably be Velo though.
Scott Sunderland (Alessio) is the counter attacker. He has about 10 seconds
lead but is being hunted by the bunch. He looks back and sees them coming.
Sunderland is still a little way in front of the peloton, which is not riding
hard yet. About 2km up the road, he can see Tankink and Serrano.
15:57 CEST 134km/73km to go
The slow pace allows riders to drop back to the team cars to get bottles and
Tankink and Serrano have 2'17 of their lead left.
16:01 CEST 136km/71km to go
Sunderland, having no-one for company, sits up and waits for the bunch to catch
16:08 CEST 140km/67km to go
The peloton passes across a narrow bridge, just before the second intermediate
sprint at Melgar de Fernamental, with Iñigo Cuesta and Santos Gonzalez chatting
to each other on the front.
The two leaders are 2'46 ahead of the bunch at the sprint. Mancebo cheekily
takes the points and two second time bonus for third.
16:09 CEST 141km/66km to go
Race leader Floyd Landis is sitting near the front of the bunch, next to his
future teammate Tyler Hamilton. There is no chasing being done now.
16:11 CEST 143km/64km to go
Full results of the sprint at Melgar de Fernamental: 1. Bram Tankink, 2. Ricardo
Serrano, 3. Francisco Mancebo.
16:13 CEST 145km/62km to go
The pace is picking up again in the peloton as US Postal and T-Mobile get to
The leading pair are now in Padilla with 61 clicks to go. They are still cooperating
well, even though the chances of staying away are slim.
David Canada (Saunier Duval) punctures, but it doesn't take him long to get
a wheel change and is chasing back on. He takes advantage of the Quick.Step-Davitamon
car (his former team).
16:20 CEST 150km/57km to go
The leading pair are holding about a 2'40 advantage over the Postal-led peloton,
which is picking up the pace as we approach the final hour. Guido Trenti, wearing
two thirds of a pair of shorts, is still working hard, bringing his Fassa teammates
towards the front.
There are some rain clouds on the horizon.
16:24 CEST 153km/54km to go
A correction to the first intermediate sprint results: Max van Heeswijk (USPS)
won (not Joaquin Rodriguez), which means that he is the virtual leader at the
moment, assuming the front two riders will get caught.
16:28 CEST 155km/52km to go
The two leaders are coming back to the bunch, which is being led at a steady
tempo by three US Postal riders. The latest time check is 1'40 as the clouds
overhead become more threatening and the roads show signs of earlier rain.
16:37 CEST 161km/46km to go
The two leaders are definitely tiring, as the peloton is not chasing particularly
hard but is now just 1'03 behind Tankink and Serrano. The pair broke away after
the first sprint at around the 75 km mark, and have been out there for nearly
16:40 CEST 165km/42km to go
Dariusz Baranowski (Liberty) signals to his team car for a front wheel change,
and gets one very quickly. He'll have no problems in regaining the peloton,
which is not really riding yet.
The sun is out again, and the riders should have a dry run to the finish.
Toni Colom gets some adjustment to his shoe straps(?!) from his team car. That's
a bizarre mechanical!
Tankink and Ricardo Serrano are climbing up a long, steady drag over the motorway,
and are looking tired.
Julien Laidoun (Ag2r) sees an opportunity to go and attacks hard on the hill.
He's out of the saddle for a good 300m before sitting down. He has a good sized
16:44 CEST 168km/39km to go
Laidoun's attack has caused the peloton to wake up a bit, and the pace picks
up on the descent as he flies off. He should be able to close the gap to the
two leaders, if the peloton let him.
16:46 CEST 170km/37km to go
The two leaders sit up but Laidoun doesn't bother to slow down for them and
flies right past. Tankink takes his wheel, while Serrano realises that it's
over and goes back to the peloton, which is about 20 seconds behind.
16:48 CEST 172km/35km to go
The bunch rides through Villaneuva de Argaño, 21 seconds behind Laidoun and
Tankink, who is sitting behind the Frenchman. The peloton is not in chase mode
16:54 CEST 177km/30km to go
Tankink is holding onto his fresher companion's wheel but not doing a turn,
which is understandable. 30 km to go and the leaders have 40 seconds on a relatively
calm peloton, which has Postal at the front still.
A horse rider is successfully keeping pace with the breakaways (until the horse
runs out of gas after about 1km)
16:58 CEST 178km/29km to go
It's stretching out again as various teams start to manoeuvre themselves towards
the front of the peloton. Tankink now does a turn, which will help Laidoun a
lot. These guys want to get to the finish in front!
17:00 CEST 180km/27km to go
The gap is steady at 36 seconds, as the bunch starts to form the arrow head.
After 190 km, there is an uphill drag of about 10 km - more of a false flat
than anything else - but if the pace is on by then, it's going to hurt.
Postal has stretched things out a bit more, helped by Liberty Seguros.
That horse was the first official Livestock sighting of this year's Vuelta.
But no cows...
17:04 CEST 182km/25km to go
The peloton can see the two leaders in its sights, just 22 seconds ahead. Laidoun
is soldiering away with Tankink on his wheel.
In the bunch, O'Grady has moved up. He's a good chance for the stage win today,
if he can get around Petacchi and Zabel.
17:08 CEST 183km/24km to go
The gap is steady at 20 seconds - the peloton is just letting these two hang
out there. Laidoun is suffering a bit now, and Tankink isn't much use. They'll
start the 10 km drag shortly.
17:11 CEST 184km/23km to go
Laidoun and Tankink finally sit up, and the peloton is together again. Tankink
was away for nearly 110 km. We can probably expect a few more attacks now, although
US Postal is keeping a tight rein on things. T-Mobile is also moving up.
17:14 CEST 187km/20km to go
The bunch is massed together, still not really strung out, with Guennadi Mikhailov,
Benoît Joachim and Tony Cruz on the front for Postal. It's getting nervous...
The next intermediate sprint is due in 2 km.
17:15 CEST 188km/19km to go
Jurgen Van Goolen (Quick.Step) counter attacks on a small climb, carrying on
the work of his teammate Tankink who was caught a few km ago.
17:16 CEST 189km/18km to go
Van Goolen has a good gap now, as no-one else in the peloton reacted. He's not
really a threat to the leader's jersey unless he can get 3 minutes, and that's
not going to happen.
17:18 CEST 190km/17km to go
Van Goolen takes the sprint in Buniel, 19 seconds ahead of Piccoli (Lampre)
and one of the Posties. Piccoli also took second in the first sprint, which
should give him the sprinters jersey today.
17:22 CEST 193km/14km to go
Van Goolen gives it full gas as he reaches the main road into Burgos with 15
km to go. The peloton, ready to pounce, is being led by Cofidis with Vasseur
The gap is about 15 seconds.
17:24 CEST 194km/13km to go
The Cofidis train picks up speed as a alternative Phonak train comes up the
right hand side of the road. Then Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme, for Valverde.
A few Fassa jerseys are spotted, then Garcia Acosta leads Mancebo up to the
Van Goolen is caught.
17:26 CEST 195km/12km to go
The speed is now picking up as various teams vie for position in front. Kelme,
Fassa, Postal, Illes Balears... Landis is still well placed in about 10th wheel.
Moreni is now near the front as Phonak's Gutierrez takes over. Jalabert (CSC)
gets his wheel.
17:28 CEST 197km/10km to go
The bunch rides under the 10 km to go banner, doing a good 50 km/h along the
fast, wide road. As predicted, a bunch sprint is on the cards today.
17:30 CEST 199km/8km to go
Fassa Bortolo has assumed the position in front now, with Phonak up there as
well. How good is PEtacchi?
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano lifts the pace even more, with a couple of Liberty
teammates on his wheel. Maybe trying to cause a break. The wind is sufficient,
and everyone is in the right side of the road.
17:31 CEST 200km/7km to go
The Liberty Seguros pace is dropping a few riders out the back, but there are
no big splits yet. An interesting move to try and gain a few seconds. The peloton
is in a very long line now.
Beloki's men are moving him up the bunch too.
17:32 CEST 201km/6km to go
Fassa has several riders near the front, driving the tempo up with 6 km to go.
Zabriskie is sitting in second last wheel.
17:33 CEST 202km/5km to go
It's Cioni on the front now for Fassa, doing his job for Petacchi. The peloton
takes an exit onto another motorway, and there are about 25 riders off the back.
They're not returning.
17:34 CEST 203km/4km to go
A suicide break is made by Inaudi (Ag2r) with 4.5 km to go on a descent. He
gets about 20m, but it's not going to work.
17:35 CEST 204km/3km to go
The Fassa train swallows Inaudi and there are eight of Petacchi's teammates
in front. The wheel to be on is Petacchi's.
17:36 CEST 205km/2km to go
Vini Caldirola is moving Marco Zanotti up, taking over from Fassa with just
under 3 km to go. The pace is extreme as Milesi hammers.
17:37 CEST 206km/1km to go
Milesi does a turn until the 2 km to go banner but then the Fassa train takes
over and jacks up the speed to over 60 km/h on a slight descent.
Fassa has five men in the last kilometre with Petacchi in fifth wheel.
Petacchi is getting a perfect leadout. He has Zabel and Freire behind him.
17:38 CEST 207km/0km to go
Trenti begins the sprint for Petacchi, who takes over with 200m to go. Zabel
on his wheel, but doesn't get much room from Trenti when he pulls off. Then
Freire goes the long way round but doesn't get close. Petacchi wins the first
stage!! Zabel second, then Freire and O'Grady.
That means Max van Heeswijk (USPS) will take over the leader's jersey from his
teammate Floyd Landis, by virtue of the 6 bonus seconds he picked up in the
first sprint. Benoît Joachim will move up to second overall.
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 5.02.05
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile
3 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
4 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis
5 Pedro Horrillo (Spa) Quick.Step
6 Giosue Bonomi (Ita) Saeco
7 Antonio Cruz (USA) US Postal-Berry Floor
8 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Vini Caldirola
9 Erki Putsep (Est) Ag2r
General classification after stage 2
1 Max van Heeswijk (Ned) US Postal-Berry Floor
2 Benoit Joachim (Lux) US Postal-Berry Floor
the commentary team