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2001 Vuelta

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Vuelta News for September 12, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Vuelta España news: Stage 5 wrap up

The first mountain stage of the Vuelta greeted the riders on day 5 of the three week tour, taking place from El Ejido o Almeria to Sierra Nevada over 198 km. With the final climb measuring 37 kilometres, it was a matter of survival of the strongest. Surprisingly, many of the favourites were happy to let 10 riders get away on the climb to contest the stage, with Guido Trentin (Cofidis) winning in front of Felix Garcia Casas (BigMat). Oscar Sevilla and Danilo Di Luca both put around 40 seconds into Joseba Beloki and his group, but it was ONCE's Mikel Zarrabeitia (4th today) who ended up in the gold jersey as race leader.

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Guido Trentin (Cofidis, 1st stage)

Guido Trentin
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"I have to give thanks to Mauro Giannetti who has supported me a great deal and marked my steps, and at the same time I dedicate this victory to my daughter who will be born next November."

"I chose the Cofidis team because at the international level it is important and we have a magnificent squad, including Massimiliano Lelli."

"As for what happened on the climb, there were many attacks with a natural selection. I got in one of the breaks and I took the wheel of Garcia Casas. When I saw that Zarrabeitia was coming, I attacked and therefore could take the victory."

Mikel Zarrabeitia (ONCE, 1st GC)

I have never been the leader before and this was a coincidence, but I am very happy. I have always done well in this stage, in 1994 I finished third in Sierra Nevada, but I never thought that I would win the leadership of the Vuelta at the end of my career."

"Although I will wear the jersey tomorrow I will work to make the race hard for my two captains Beloki and Gonzalez de Galdeano. Manolo Saiz hasn't got a lot of faith in me, and nor do I, my work in this team is to help these two riders."

Oscar Sevilla (Kelme, 7th stage)

"The whole team did a great job and we have done some damage although the differences were not great, there was a lot of vigilance today. The important thing is that I feel good and have good morale. I will continue fighting for the victory and attacking when I am able."

No start for Savoldelli

Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli (Index-Alexia) decided not to start the fifth stage of the Vuelta. Savoldelli was lying in 198th place following a bad start to the tour, including a crash near the end of stage 4 which resulted in a dislocated right shoulder.

Savoldelli had indicated that he was only riding the race at the request of his sponsors, and to assist Ivan Quaranta in the sprints and his withdrawal was no surprise. Nor was the abandonment of Ivan Quaranta (who also fell heavily yesterday) in today's first mountain stage.

Another rider to abandon after his crash yesterday was Benjamin Noval (Relax-Fuenlabrada), who came to grief on a roundabout with 10 km to go. Noval fractured his thumb and his withdrawal from the race will hurt the Relax team for their GC chances.

Cipollini out on Sunday

Double stage winner Mario Cipollini has announced that he will retire from the Vuelta on Sunday, in order to continue his preparation for the World Championships in Zolder. Cipollini won the third and fourth stages of the Vuelta, and will have possibly two more chances (Friday and Sunday) to win a stage.

More climbing tomorrow

Stage 6 of the Vuelta will be another mountain top finish, although the final climb will be significantly shorter than the 37 kilometre drag up to Alto de Sierra Nevada today. Instead the riders will be faced with the steeper La Pandera, a new climb in the Vuelta. It's 8.3 kilometres long at an average gradient of 6.4%, with a maximum of 15% in a section at 3 km to go, reaching an altitude of 1840 metres. La Pandera comes at the end of a 153 kilometre stage, with the Cat. 2 climb of Puerto de los Villares preceding it.

Expect to see Sevilla, Simoni, Casagrande, Beloki, Gonzalez de Galdeano, Mancebo and Heras in action tomorrow.

Mariano Piccoli turns 32

Today's Vuelta birthday boy is Mariano Piccoli (Lampre-Daikin) who was born on September 11, 1970. Piccoli has been a professional for 11 years, winning a stage in the Giro as well as two stages in the 2000 Vuelta.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)


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