Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

59th Vuelta a España - GT

Spain, September 4-26, 2004

Preview     Map    Profile and start times    Start List   Results  

Vuelta a España fantasy game

Vuelta a España fantasy game

Stage 21 - September 26: Madrid - Madrid (I.T.T.), 28.2 km

Commentary by Hedwig Kröner and Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Martin Hardie

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST

14:46 CEST   
Welcome the last stage of our three week journey around Spain - a final, decisive day on which the riders will race 28.2 km against the clock on the streets and boulevards of Madrid, the capital. This individual time-trial will pass through some of the City's most magnificent monuments, museums and galleries. The first 22 km will be the same circuit as planned for the Individual Time trial World Championships in 2005, so many of the riders today may already get acquainted with it for next year. But this year's Vuelta a España will be decided today, between the Casa de Campo, the Gran Vía and the Diosa Cibeles.

14:53 CEST   
Cyclingnews correspondent Martin Hardie reports canicular temperatures again in Madrid today: 30° Celsius, and no wind.

Not only the final winner of the Vuelta will be decided on this afternoon - the battle for the lanterne rouge between Aitor Silloniz (Euskaltel) and Matt White (Cofidis) is also on, with the Spaniard 3.31 ahead of White, who left the start ramp first at 14.22 CET.

15:04 CEST   
It will be at tight and thrilling fight for victory at about 17.00 p.m., as the GC favourites Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) and Santiago Perez (Phonak Hearing Systems) are separated by just 43 seconds.

Heras must feel a threatened like he was by Aitor Gonzalez in 2002.

15:07 CEST   
White and Silloniz have shaken hands now, as the Sydneysider stays last on GC. Final times: 39'35 for Silloniz, 40'35 for White.

15:09 CEST   
Ruslan Ivanov (Alessio-Bianchi) has departed, as well as David Herrero (Paternina), who starts with a big smile on his face. He's obviously not going to go out too hard.

15:13 CEST   
The battle for third place on GC will be interesting as well, with Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears) leading Alejandro Valverde (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme) by just 7 seconds.

Whether one of the two can close the gap to Heras or Perez is doubtful, but you never know...

Another Paternina rider, Joaquin Lopez, rolls down the ramp grinning. These guys are just glad it's over.

15:20 CEST   
Guennadi Mikhailov (US Postal Service p/b Berry Floor) has set out on the large boulevard covered by sycamore branches, as well as Cadel Evans (T-Mobile), who couldn't live up to his expectations at this Vuelta.

15:24 CEST   
Vladimir Gusev (Team CSC) has reached the finish, setting a new time to beat: 36.00.

15:31 CEST   
The last rider of the Ag2r team, Iñigo Chaurreau, has taken up the course. This year's Vuelta has lost a record number of 70 riders along the way.

15:37 CEST   
Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) has started to warm up on the trainer now.

Victor Hugo Peña (US Postal Service p/b Berry Floor) looks very determined at the start. Right after him, Jörg Jaksche (CSC) takes on the circuit, a very good TT rider too.

15:40 CEST   
Erik Zabel (T-Mobile Team) has departed. He will keep his sprint points jersey, unless Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) gets at least 6th at the finish to benefit from another 10 bonus points he would need to take it.

"Ete" said to Cyclingnews at the start, "The Vuelta's tough for a guy like me because the climbers get a lot of points in the points competition."

15:46 CEST   
The route is pretty flat today, not like the roller coaster which we can see nearby.

One winner is already clear: Felix Cardenas (Cafes Baque) has won the Vuelta's Mountains jersey for the second consecutive time. He is starting now, with nothing to worry about anymore.

15:47 CEST   
Cyclingnews correspondent Martin Hardie is following Jurgen Van Goolen (Quick.Step) on the undulating parcours. He's got it wound up to 60 km/h at the moment.

The course starts in Madrid's main park, then goes out into a semi-industrial area. There's a bit of wind now, and it's a headwind home.

15:53 CEST   
Bert Grabsch (Phonak) is leading the stage classification right now, with 35.39.

15:57 CEST   
Cadel Evans (T-Mobile) reaches the finish at 36.39, he is fourth now.

16:00 CEST   
Oscar Sevilla (Phonak Hearing Systems) is departing. As we slowly reach the top of GC, the riders will be starting 2 minutes apart.

16:06 CEST   
Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme) takes Evans' fourth place with 36.39 at the finish.

His teammate Eladio Jimenez is the 101st rider to push down the starting ramp. 18 riders still to go.

16:11 CEST   
Damiano Cunego (Saeco), winner of this year's Giro d'Italia, is on the parcours. He is also on the Squadra Azzura Italian team for the upcoming World's.

After the first 300 m, there are not many spectators left at the sides of the road.

16:14 CEST   
"JJ" Jörg Jaksche is biting at the finish: 36.03.

Francisco José Lara (Paternina) is starting now. According to a press release, he and Marcos Serrano (Liberty) will be riding for T-Mobile next season.

16:17 CEST   
Manuel Beltran (US Postal) stretches during the last seconds before starting to race. He wanted to finish within the top ten on GC before the Vuelta started - he is 13th now.

16:21 CEST   
Mancebo warms up on the rollers beside his bus, 20 minutes before his departure.

In the last three years, the final TT has always changed the GC. The leader before the TT has never won the Vuelta. We are entering the final phase.

16:24 CEST   
All the great climbers that we have seen during the last weeks are embarking on the last 28 km of the Vuelta 2004.

Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) and Luis Perez (Cofidis) are speeding along the city's park roads.

16:30 CEST   
Seventh on GC, Carlos Sastre (Team CSC) departs. Next up is Carlos Garcia Quesada (Kelme).

16:35 CEST   
Tadej Valjavec (Phonak Hearing Systems) and José Luis Arrieta (Illes Balears-Banesto) get at the finish side to side, putting their thumbs up!

Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) has started. David Blanco (Kelme) marks a new best time at 10.5 km.

16:38 CEST   
Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears-Banesto) has engaged on the final parcours.

Here comes Santi Perez (Phonak) - let's see if he can beat Heras on this last stage!

16:39 CEST   
Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) concentrates on the ramp. He looks ahead, then starts.

16:41 CEST   
Cyclingnews correspondent Martin Hardie reports seeing Tyler Hamilton in the Phonak car behind his teammate Santi Perez. Hamilton said he would be helping out with the team, despite being suspended.

16:43 CEST   
Perez would just need to be over 1.5 sec/km faster than Heras to win the Vuelta.

16:49 CEST   
Heras is about 6 seconds faster right now than Perez.

Valverde reaches the 10.5 km mark. He is not doing so well - maybe Zabel gets to keep his jersey.

16:51 CEST   
Heras is being shouted at from the car behind by his directeur sportif, Manolo Saiz, as usual at time trials. He sticks his tongue out in search for refreshment - not easy when it's 30° in the shade.

16:51 CEST   
13.32 for Perez at the 10.5 km time check. Let's wait for Heras.

16:54 CEST   
13.36 for Heras at km 10.5. Not a very big difference between the two yet.

Manuel Beltran (USPS) reaches the finish tenth.

16:58 CEST   
From the times taken at this first time check, the top of GC would stay the same.

Heras pulls up a little hill, struggling as his gear is so big. It looks good for him so far.

17:03 CEST   
Carlos Sastre marks a new time to beat at the finish: 35.13!

17:05 CEST   
It is a winding course through dry woods within the city park. Heras and Perez are still at a regular distance around 6 seconds.

There are a few hills yet to come on the last kilometres.

17:07 CEST   
Second time check for Perez: 28.37!

It looks like Mancebo will take 3rd on GC ahead of Valverde, and Zabel will keep the points jersey.

17:09 CEST   
Heras is still 36 GC seconds ahead of Perez at the 23 km mark.

17:10 CEST   
Mancebo at the finish: 35.12!

17:12 CEST   
Santi Perez is on the finish line now, setting a new best time with 35.05!

17:13 CEST   
Heras is speeding toward the finish line of this year's Vuelta, teeth grinding.

17:14 CEST   
Heras wins the Vuelta again, cheered by the crowd on the last 100 metres.

17:14 CEST   
13 seconds behind Perez on the line!

17:16 CEST   
Perez loses with only 0.30 behind the winner. What a race!


Finish - 28.2 km
1 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems                 35.05
2 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto                0.07
3 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC                                 0.08
4 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros                          0.13
5 David Blanco (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme                0.18
6 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak Hearing Systems                    0.34
7 Victor Hugo Peña (Col) US Postal Service p/b Berry Floor     0.36
8 Luis Perez (Spa) Cofidis, le credit par Telephone            0.52
9 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team CSC                                0.55
10 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) Team CSC                                 0.58
11 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank                               1.09
12 Angel Gomez (Spa) Paternina-Costa De Almeria                1.10
Final general classification
1 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros                      77.42.46
2 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems                  0.30
3 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto                2.13
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme          3.30
5 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme       7.44
Intermediate times
10.5 km
1 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems                 13.32
2 David Blanco (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme                0.01
3 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto                0.03
4 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team CSC                                    
5 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros                          0.04
23 km
1 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems                 28.37
2 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros                          0.07
3 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto                
4 David Blanco (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme                0.08
5 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC                                 0.10

Mail the commentary team