Vuelta a España Cycling News for September 13, 2006
By Shane Stokes in Granada, edited by Anthony Tan
Riis: Still possible for Sastre to win
With five days of racing yet to go, CSC head honcho Bjarne Riis believes
that Sastre could still stand on the top step of the podium. "We will
race with what we have and try the possibilities," he said this morning.
"We will see if we can do something for Carlos, where that can end up.
It is still possible for him to win. Valverde and Vinokourov look strong...
but we will see."
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Riis said he wasn't sure what the situation currently was with Ivan Basso,
who is under investigation on suspicion of being involved with the Operación
Puerto affair. If it is shown that he has been involved with Dr Eufemiano
Fuentes in blood doping or other such practices, he will face a two-year
ban from cycling and a four year ban from the ProTour.
Should this be the case, CSC will clearly need a big leader for the Grand
Tours. Sastre has fared well thus far, finishing fourth in the Tour (third
if Floyd Landis loses his title) and is looking likely to take a podium
place in this Vuelta. Although he is now 31 years of age, Riis feels he
can step up to a higher level next season. "Yes, of course he can," he
said. "Carlos is always stable, always there."
Valverde can win says Pereiro
Caisse d'Epargne rider Oscar Pereiro has said that he will forget any
personal ambitions of a stage win in order to pave the way for his team-mate
Alejandro Valverde to take the Vuelta title in Madrid this coming Sunday.
"I will be riding for my team. Today and tomorrow will be a lot of work.
Yesterday, Alejandro was very strong and for us, it is important to work
for him now. I think that with just three big days left he is a very possible
winner in Madrid, so the morale on the team is very good now."
Sastre to fight on
Carlos Sastre attacked on yesterday's final climb up to the summit finish
of Calar Alto but was distanced slightly by the repeated accelerations
by Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne).
He finished fifth, five seconds behind his two biggest GC riders, but
had the satisfaction of seeing Andrey Kashechkin drop from second to fourth
Although it is looking increasingly likely that the battle for the final
race victory is between current leader Valverde and second-placed Vinokourov
- who is now equal on time to Sastre - the affable Spaniard told reporters
this morning that he will keep battling.
"I will fight on and see where that takes me. If I win or don't win,
if I finish first or third or fifth, we will see. I think aggressive racing
is spectacular and also good for the Tour of Spain. I will do what I can
do in the days ahead.
"All my team-mates are here to back me. We have a common goal, to try
to win this Tour of Spain. The team has supported me in that aim from
the first day. Valverde and Vinokourov are two very strong riders and
have shown so far that they are maybe a little stronger than me. But they
are not very far ahead and I will see what the next days bring."
Tom Danielson diary: Feeling the difference
Tom Danielson (Discovery)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Hi there Cyclingnews readers,
I am getting better and I hope to improve more today and tomorrow, and
then in the time trial. I felt good yesterday and tried to go in a lot
of breakaways at the beginning of the stage. I wasted a lot of energy
doing that but I was hoping to be in a break and try for the stage win
Now it is not possible for me to be in the early breakaway, so I will
just be concentrating my efforts on the end of the race.
It was good for the morale to be attacking at the end. I didn't quite
have the confidence to follow those big attacks - I would kind of hesitate
and watch them attack, thinking, 'wow, that is impressive'. Then I would
start pedalling and see that I could be there [and get back to them].
That is going to be good for my confidence from now on, and for me, I
am entering the last week very motivated.
to read the rest of Tom's diary.
Beltran: Top ten is a nice goal
Discovery Channel's Manuel Beltran finished 7th yesterday, 42" back and
starts the second-last day in the mountains today in sixth place overall,
5'34 off the maillot oro.
"The next two stages are difficult," he told Cyclingnews at today's
stage start in the seafront town of Adra, west of Almeria. "I know I am
going well but I think it is a question of matching the riders with the
very good form. I hope to stay with them."
"I think it is a nice objective to aim for the top ten [in Madrid]. Now
it is day to day, see how it works out."
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