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Vuelta News for September 11, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Sevilla hangs on

Kelme-Costa Blanca leader Oscar Sevilla revealed the extent of his injuries from his stage 3 crash, which have made his Vuelta start a far greater challenge than expected. In an interview with Spanish paper AS, Sevilla confessed that he has been on the brink of abandoning the Vuelta.

"I've had a tough start, and I admit I've been thinking about stopping," he said. "Thank heavens I have an excellent team; the team has saved me with its support."

Sevilla's injuries include pain in both knees, bruising of his hip and elbow, and other muscle damage. "I'm quite annoyed," Sevilla said. "All year I've been having problems with the cyst (in the groin), and now the Vuelta has started like this. I'm concerned, but I'll give it everything and won't give up."

Petacchi eyes Madrid

Already winner of two stages in the Vuelta a España, this year's top sprinter Alessandro Petacchi hopes to reach Madrid and complete the three week tour. Petacchi has won a total of 12 stages in all three grand tours thus far this year.

"My idea is to make it to Madrid wearing the points jersey, although I know that it is going to be difficult," Petacchi said after his Stage 5 victory. "I've had a very hard season and I haven't had enough time to prepare myself for the mountain stages, so we'll first have to see how I get on in the Pyrenees. I have been studying the route closely. There are several stages in the second week that look good for me, so I'm going to try and make it through these three mountain stages."

Repeatedly caught in the splits behind the main field in Stage 4, yesterday's stage to Zaragoza was a better showcase for Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo team. "Their work was fundamental in bringing back the break and for me to be able to win," Petacchi said of his teammates, while also acknowledging that Alessandro Cortinovis's crash in the finale helped create a gap at the head of the field, putting Petacchi several lengths ahead of his primary rivals.

"At the end of the stage I was left alone with Angel Edo, so the victory wasn't as difficult as it has been on other occasions," Petacchi admitted.

Bad fall for Cortinovis

Alessandro Cortinovis crashed out of the Vuelta a España Wednesday as he worked to position Lampre teammate Jan Svorada for the final sprint in Zaragoza. Cortinovis sustained several fractures, including facial injuries and a multiple fracture to his clavicle. The Italian clipped a barrier just outside the 1km to go banner and fell heavily, along with Kelme's David Latasa, who was able to continue in the race.

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