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Vuelta News forSeptember 5, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry & Jeff Jones

Heras is here to win

Roberto Heras, leader of US Postal Service's Vuelta team, has declared himself to be in good shape and ready to ride to win. "If I thought I couldn't try to win the Vuelta or did not have the ambition to win, it would be better not to race," he said in Europa Press. "I intend to fight to win."

US Postal directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel said his team line up is " probably the strongest we have ever sent to the Vuelta in our history," and 2000 Vuelta winner Heras is eager to avenge his loss to Aitor Gonzalez last year. "Last year I was close and I'm still annoyed not to have won," he said.

The parcours is varied throughout the three week Vuelta, and Heras expects a Spanish podium, with protagonists such as Gonzalez, Oscar Sevilla, Angel Casero, and Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano. "There's a 50% chance the Vuelta will be won by a climber, and a 50% chance it will be won by a rouleur," he explained. "It's a tour in which the climbers will have good opportunities, along with the time trialists. What I like are the stages in the French Pyrénées, with long climbs like the Aubisque, Cauterets, Aspin, Peyresourde..."

Look for Cyclingnews' full Vuelta preview and stage descriptions, as well as full race coverage beginning Saturday, September 6.

Vuelta blood tests OK

Blood tests were performed on Thursday morning between 7:15 and 9:20 by the UCI on the 22 teams taking part in the Vuelta a España. All riders were declared fit and healthy to take the start on Saturday in Gijon.

Orbea steps up for Cyclingnews Vuelta Fantasy Game

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The start in Gijon is less than two days away, but there is plenty of time to join the Cyclingnews Vuelta a España Fantasy Game. The first prize is an Orbea Vertex, featuring an O3 Lobular Voop+Zaccs frame, Zeus Ziccs FCM fork, Campagnolo Chorus and Centaur 10s components, and Mavic Ksyrium rims. It could be yours, if you pick the winning team combination in the game.

The Fantasy Vuelta follows the same rules as our Giro d'Italia and Tour de France games, where you select a team of 15 riders worth a maximum of 9,000 UCI points, from which you pick nine for each stage, the overall, points and mountains classifications. It's a great way to get involved in following the Vuelta stage by stage and you can increase your chances by adding more teams.

The closing date to register teams is midnight European time on September 10 (i.e. after stage 5 but before stage 6). You must build and pay for your teams before stage 6 begins to be eligible for the prizes.

Join now at fantasy.cyclingnews.com.

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