57th Vuelta a España Preview
Spain, September 7- 29, 2002
Vai Dani! Danilo Di Luca's Vuelta diary
Danilo Di Luca
Photo: © Sirotti
Team: Saeco-Longoni Sport
Italian speedster Danilo Di Luca from the Saeco-Longoni Sport Team will be
writing a diary for Cyclingnews.com during this year's Vuelta a España.
The classy rider has been in excellent form leading into the 2002 Vuelta, with
a recent victory in the Giro Del
Veneto showing he has hit Spain's major tour with motivation and speed.
With his consistent performances in Italy during August, Di Luca is looking
to the Vuelta with confidence. "The Giro del Veneto was my last race before
the Vuelta... we've got big plans for the Spanish race. Simoni will be going
for the overall and I'm looking for stage wins."
Index to all entries
Stage 5 - September 11: El Ejido o Almeria - Sierra Nevada, 198 km
What a stage!
Today has been a truly intense stage.
My Saeco team spent the whole day at the front of the peloton, trying to limit
the advantage of the seven-man escape.
My companions in the job of closing the gap were Sacchi, Galletti and Fuentes
we chased for about 100km. This was a dangerous breakaway as it contained
a man each from ONCE, Kelme, USPS, and iBanesto. Our objective was to get to
the foot of the climb with a maximum disadvantage of two minutes, so that we
could catch them as the road rose.
The climb of the Sierra Nevada is truly long. It doesn't have any very steep
sections, but the problem comes when you get above 2,000 metres. The lack of
oxygen makes a big difference! On the first part of the climb I spun gently
in 39/21 to try and save my legs.
After an incredible series of attacks by Spanish riders there were 12 men at
the front. Now it was up to the other teams to close the gap to the breakaway
we of Saeco had done the main work for the day and Simoni and I did not
have anyone with the strength left to close the gap.
Heras worked hard to limit the peloton's disadvantage but at this point the
stage victory looked in the hands of the riders in the break. Five kilometres
from the finish Oscar Sevilla and Jaske of ONCE launched a strong attack. The
situation was now complex I knew I had some strength left. The question
was, do I use it now, or wait and maybe miss my chance?
I shifted up into 39/16 or 17 and tried to get away. I gave it my maximum effort
and after 3.5km I could see Sevilla's number in front of me. I had succeeded
in making 30 seconds on the great Spanish rider!
We're pleased with my performance. A better result than ninth would have been
even more pleasing, but the placing is less important than being strong on a
climb and earning some seconds in the general classification.
And tomorrow is another day...
Danilo Di Luca
Danilo Di Luca's official
website - www.danilodiluca.com
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