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2001 Vuelta

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Vuelta News for September 19, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry

Stage 11 wrap up

Stage 11 of the Vuelta saw the riders fresher after the rest day, and it was another very fast start from Alcobendas in quite wet conditions. The early breakaway did not gain much time as a result, and the gap back to the peloton was never more than 3 minutes. Danilo Di Luca made a bid for the stage win, bridging up to the break in the company of David Etxebarria and Alberto Lopez de Munain, and attacking on the last climb of the day. But he couldn't hold off the front of the peloton and was caught near the top of the climb.

20 riders were in contention for the stage, but with 4 km to go an attack by Klaus Møller, Haimar Zubeldia and Pablo Lastras was successful, with Lastras winning the sprint to take his second stage win in four days. Oscar Sevilla kept the leaders jersey, with the next showdown due on Sunday's Angliru stage.

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Pablo Lastras (iBanesto.com, 1st stage)

Pablo Lastras
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"The challenge was to cross the Puerto de Navacerrada, but I climbed it better than expected. I had a lot of friends in the town, who were celebrating and waving signs. I thought I had a chance, and when I got to the top, on my home territory, I knew that I could win."

"During the rest day I was very relaxed. I ate a lot and felt very good. I arrived at the Vuelta a bit thin, and since then I have gained more than a kilo. I am in good form, though my weakness is still the high mountains."

Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2nd stage)

A visibly disappointed Zubeldia had to settle for second place behind Lastras on today's stage, commenting afterwards that "I wanted to win the stage and to dedicate it to Roberto Laiseka. Plus, our president Jose Antonio Ardanza was in the car with Julian Gorospe."

"We knew that the stage was complicated. We rode the last the five kilometres yesterday to survey the course. Iban Mayo and I are the best placed on GC, so we decided to try something. We'll try again another day if we have the chance."

Juan Antonio Flecha (iBanesto.com, protagonist)

"I knew that it would be difficult to stay in the break since Danilo Di Luca is a strong rider and he dropped me from his wheel on the climb. He made me constantly change my rhythm, and I couldn't maintain the pace."

Vinokourov pulls out

Telekom's Alexandre Vinokourov did not start the 11th stage as he was still suffering from the fever that knocked him flat in the time trial stage. Vinokourov was in 6th overall after the TT, but did not feel recovered enough on the rest day to go on. He has had an up and down year, winning the Paris-Nice and a stage in the Tour de Suisse, but also crashing in that race and missing the Tour de France. He was placed 2nd in the Vuelta after the Pandera stage, but slipped down the rankings due to his illness.

More blood tests, all OK

12 riders from four teams were blood tested today before the start of stage 11. Cyclists from Kelme-Costa Blanca, Lampre-Daikin, Acqua&Sapone-Cantina Tollo and Telekom were tested, with none being declared unfit to start. The UCI's medical team also carried out surprise controls during yesterday's rest day.

Big crowds expected for the Angliru stage

Sunday's key stage to the Alto L'Angliru is expected to draw crowds in excess of 100,000 people along the route. As such, the organisers Unipublic are putting in place special measures to avoid accidents and increase security during the stage.

Over 600 members of the Civil Guard will be responsible for the security of the stage and the 800 metre stretch known as "Cueña de las Cabres", with its maximum gradient of 23.5% will be protected by crowd barriers. The Cabanes and Abiru stretches will also separated the public.

The reason behind this is that the organisers want to avoid having the public push the riders up this savage stretch of road. Unipublic has warned that a repetition of this practice will lead to this being the last stage finish on L'Angliru, a finish that also leads to numerous logistical problems.

The Mayor of Riosa, José Antonio Muñiz, has launched a campaign under the slogan "Support the riders, but don't push: the future of L'Angliru is in your hands", with the aim of making the spectators aware of the need to respect the riders during the climb.

Stage 12: Segovia - Burgos, 210.5 km

It's back to the flat for tomorrow's 12th stage from Segovia to Burgos, over 210 km. With the weather expected to be a pleasant 24 degrees, tomorrow's stage will be ideally suited to the sprinters, who haven't had much joy in recent stages.

Join us tomorrow at 14:45 CEST/05:45 PDT/08:45 EDT/22:45 Aust. EST for live coverage of Stage 12.

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


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