55th Vuelta a España - Grand Tour
Spain, August 26 - September 17, 2000
Stage 16 - September 12: Oviedo-El Angliru, 168 km
Live coverage start time: 13:15
Welcome to the 16th stage of the Vuelta Espa˝a, finishing on the top of El Angliru with a climb sometimes over 17 percent in grade. The race has been on for half an hour and it has started with several attacks. Fabio Roscioli (Jazztel) is some 50 seconds up the road after attacking at the start (It's TV all the way today) The peloton is splitting up in groups on the flats.
Leading rider, Roberto Heras' team Kelme is trying to keep the peloton together. They would probably like to use their powers in the coming five climbs instead trying to boil overall second placed Casero (Festina). Heras, on equal time, must put some time between him and Casero before the finishing TT stage in Madrid Sunday.
13.25 CET - 138 kms to go
First sprint in Avila goes to Roscioli whose margin lessened and he was soon caught by a group with, among others, Lombardi (Telekom), Bramati (Mapei) and Petacchi (Fassa B). Others spotted in the group: Trenti (Cantina Tollo), Simoni (Lampre), Huser (Festina) and more.
13.45 CET - 123 kms to go
Sourkov (LA Pecol) is stuck alone right between the front group and the Kelme lead peloton. The smaller Kelme riders like Heras and Escartin are riding sloped Look 281 carbon frames today while their bigger team mates ride traditional diamonds, probably aluminium. And at least Heras has three front chain wheels.
14.15 CET - 100 kms to go
The gap is growing considerably, it's over seven minutes now. More names in the front: Brochard (J Delatour), Miceli (Alessio), Brozyna (Banesto), Gerrakoitia (Euskaltel). Kelme driving the peloton but without any panic.
14.28 CET - 90 kms to go
Fog is reported from the last eight kilometres of El Anglir¨. It is still green, white and blue of Kelme in the front of the peloton. Simoni is normally the best climber in the leading group but his form hasn't been too great so far in the Vuelta. Miceli used to be a good climber as well but has declined somewhat. Sourkov is finally caught by the peloton while Lombardi up there takes the sprint at Olloniego.
14.35 CET - 84 kms
The front now starts the first climb of the day, El Padrun (Cat 3). Lombardi is suffering a bit at the back of the group now more than ten minutes ahead of the peloton. Hruska (Vitalicio) and Diaz Justo (Once) are also in the 13 men group. Back in the peloton Kelme is taking it easy, dealing bottles. Heras is all smiles so far. After this there is a cat 2 climb at 82 kms, two category 1 at 119 and 147 kilometres before the final ascent to El Angliru. Roscioli takes the mountain prime at El Padrun.
14.45 CET - 79 kms to go
Front group at the foot of the second climb. All riders managed to hang on in the first climb. Eleven minutes behind, Kelme is driving the peloton upwards on their first climb but they are just keeping the pace. But nevertheless Glenn Magnusson (Farm Frites) is left behind. He is reported to have caught a slight cold and this might very well be the last time we see the Swedish sprinter in this Vuelta
15.00 CET - 73 kms to go
Santo Emiliano climb sees Fabio Roscioli at the front and then Petacchi takes over for a while. Then Roscioli takes over again, just as in the first climb and wins the mountain prime ahead of Petacchi. In the peloton, 11.49 behind, Magnusson is back.
15.10 CET - 63 kms to go
It's still a well assembled peloton up the second category climb of Santo Emiliano. Kelme at the front but since Brochard is the highest placed rider in the group as 42nd at 39.11 there is no reason to panic.
15.20 CET - 57 kms to go
The front group has reached the first major climb, Alto de la Colladiella at 119 kms, 6.5 kilometres long with a maximum grade of 11.7 percent. Here some riders will be left behind, in the group as well as the peloton.
15.30 CET - 52 kms to go
On la Colladiella Glenn Magnusson finally steps off the bike. Earlier today Jean Delatour's Christophe Oriol abandoned.
15.40 CET - 50 kms to go
Kelme is raising the speed in the peloton. It's Vidal doing the job and then Botero takes over. The gap is closing In the back Ralph Grabsch (Telekom) in trouble. Rafael Casero (Festina) and Nieto (Fuenlabrada) as well. The peloton is splitting in two halves. Cabello (Kelme) lets Cardenas take over at the front of the peloton. They have gained one minute already on this climb. The peloton counts some 25 riders. Petacchi takes the mountain prime.
15.50 CET - 45 kms to go
Cardenas is almost driving the Kelme train too hard. The team is losing riders. They are three left to aid Heras. Cardenas, Escartin and Rubiera. Sevilla is hanging on still in the back. No major riders are left behind so far except Belli (Fassa Bortolo) who also takes help of a car in the caravan. Santiago Blanco (Vitalicio) is also suffering.
16.00 CET - 35 kms to go
The peloton passed the top at 9.50. Olano has lost one minute to Heras & co. All the riders in the front group seem to have survived the first category 1 climb. In the peloton there are now 20 riders left rolling down, Belli has caught on in the back.
16.10 CET - 29 kms to go
Lombardi takes the last meta volante sprint in Villalana. Roscioli seems to have lost contact with the front group but all the others are along when Hruska attacks in the front group when the fourth climb starts. Simoni, Miceli, Diaz Justo and Broszyna hangs on. In the peloton more riders are joining from behnd. Among them Olano who handles a bottle to Sastre in the blue and white climber's jersey.
16.20 CET - 26 kms to go
Gerrikagotia has joined the new smaller front group. In the peloton five Kelme riders are now at the front with Heras as sixth. Festina riders follow. Olano is out at the back again. And now also Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano is losing ground at the back. Casero looks good so far though.
16.25 CET - 21 kms to go
Twelve riders remain in what once was the peloton. Three of them from Kelme: Rubiera, Escartin and Heras. Tonkov, Santos Gonzalez, Jeker and Rumsas are still around and so is Laiseka. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano is completely out now and looks as he would like to abandon. He has problems making the legs move. Simoni won the GPM on top of this penultimate climb.
16.33 CET - 19 kms to go
Sastre and del Olmo (Euskaltel) are also in Heras' group. Of the top ten riders Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, Belli and Beltran are out. Rubiera in front ahead of Escartin and Heras. Casero has Jeker to support him. Santos Gonzales has Sastre. They pass Roscioli now, the first from the original leading group to be caught.
16.40 CET - 13 kms to go
Rubiera actually gets a gap going down from Alto de el Cordial. The front group is at the foot of the climb to Alto de Anglir˙. Hruska wants to talk to his sports director, Gerrikagotia also. Simoni seems strong but then suddenly almost stops. Odd.
16.45 CAT - 10 kms to go
Santos Gonzales is out at the back and so is Sastre, the last two ONCE's. Casero still looks good though.
16.50 CET - 8 kms to go
Simoni has attacked at the front alone. Broszyna and Hruska comes next some 80 metres behind. Way back Casero and Jeker still hangs on the Kelme train with Rubiera hammering ahead of Escartin and Heras. Then there are Laiseka and del Olmo, Rumsas and Tonkov.
16.55 CET - 6 kms to go
Escartin launches an attack at ten kms and only Heras can follow, Tonkov tries but is ubnable. The others disappear immediately. Laiseka is able to catch them though. But who cares? He is too far behind overall.
17.00 CET - 5 kms to go
Tonkov is able to catch up now and Huser being caught from the first leading group is helping Casero. And then Tonkov attacks! Heras is in trouble now. Casero is definitely off. He is missing a gear but comes back to the Russian. And Heras is able to leave Tonkov behind.
Simoni is in the worst part now in the fog.
17.05 CET - 4 kms to go
Roberto Heras is even closing in on Simoni now. Casero is along with Escartin now and hasn't really cracked. He is trying to keep the damage at a reasonable level. Heras is catching Miceli now to gain some new powers. They are still a kilometre behind at 4.10. Casero another 1.15 behind.
17.10 CET - 3 kms to go
Heras keeps catching the early break aways but he is not closing in on Simoni at 3.55. Broszyna and Hruska are also up there somewhere. Rumsas has joined Casero from behind
17.15 CET - 2 kms to go
Simoni has just passed the worst, 17 per cent, part of the climb. Heras I still going at full speed, standing up, 3.30 behind. It should be more than two minutes back to Casero who is alone now at 2.09 who almost stops! It's too steep.
17.20 CET - 1 km to go
People are out in the road now waving and shouting at Heras in the fog. Sports director Belda in the car drives up alongside. Simoni up front is also going good so it should be a victory for him today.
17.25 CET - Finish
The sun is shining on the Angliru on Simoni when he wins his fourth pro victory. Meanwhile Heras is catching and passing Broszyna. Then suddenly he sits down and slows down. But then he is up standing again. There is a short flat the final 800 metres and he is approaching that now. Hruska takes second though at 2.19, and then Heras comes at full speed, 2.58 behind, who comes next? And when?
Unofficial results: 1. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 2. Jan Hruska (Cze) Vitalicio Seguras 2.19 3. Roberto Heras (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 2.58 4. Tomasz Broszyna (Pol) Banesto 3.20 5. Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Mapei-Quick Step 4.26 6. Roberto Laiseka (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 7. Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean Delatour 4.45 8. Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Fassa Bortolo 5.18 9. Gorka Gerrikagoitia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 10. Fernando Escasrtin (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 5.45 11. Rafael Diaz Justo (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank 12. Txema del Olmo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 5.49 13. Richard Virenque (Fra) Team Polti 6.40 14. Angel Luis Casero (Spa) Festina General classification: 1. Roberto Heras (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 55.49.53 2. Angel Luis Casero (Spa) Festina 3.41 3. Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Mapei-Quick Step 4.50