59th Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, September 4-26, 2004
Stage 14 - September 18: Málaga - Granada, 167 km
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Martin Hardie
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:00 CEST
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of Stage 14 of La Vuelta, starting on the
coast in Málaga and heading inland to Granada for a total of 167 km. Today's
stage takes us back into the mountains again and will definitely not be a day
for the sprinters, who in fact only have one more stage to strut their stuff
Today starts out flat for the first 40km, but then it's back into the hills
for the Cat. 2 climb of Alto Ventas de Zafarraya and Cat. 3 Alto de los Bermejales,
before a brief 40km respite that precedes the Cat. 1 Alto de Monachil at 1490
meters; the first time this climb has been included in La Vuelta. The 14 percent
gradients with an average of over 9 percent of the Alto de Monachil will break
up the race for sure before the final 20km plunge down into Granada, 700m below.
There are three intermediate sprints on offer today, at: Rincon de la Victoria
(km 7), Arroyo de la Madre (km 64.6) and at the foot of the final climb in Monachil
14:43 CEST 65km/102km to go
Today's stage started without Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) who did not sign in,
claiming to be suffering from stomach problems. O'Grady has his eyes on the
World Championships in Verona, and wants to be fully fit in two weeks time.
In recent days, World's favourites Igor Astarloa and Oscar Freire have also
pulled out in order to rest up. It looks like the battle for the sprinters jersey
here will be between Erik Zabel and Alessandro Petacchi, with the former having
the clear advantage at the moment.
147 riders set out in 30 degree temperatures from Malaga, and straight away
there was an attack by Francisco Garcia (Cafes Baque), but he was caught. The
first sprint at km 7 went to Alessandro Cortinovis (Lampre) ahead of Constantino
Zaballa (Saunier Duval) and Jorge Ferrio (Paternina).
After 16 km, there was a crash that brought down Aitor Perez (Cafes Baque),
among others, and this prompted the peloton to slow down for a few kilometres.
The attacks restarted after 25 km with Jose Antonio Pecharroman (Quick.Step)
the most active. He was joined by: Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval-Prodir),
Joan Horrach (Illes Balears-Banesto), Benoît Joachim (USPS), Thorwald Veneberg
(Rabobank), Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile Team), Joaquin Lopez (Paternina-Costa
De Almeria), Pietro Caucchioli (Alessio-Bianchi), José Julia (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme)
and Aitor Silloniz (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
The group lost Veneberg and Silloniz, reducing it to eight riders as the Cat.
2 climb of Alto Ventas de Zafarraya started. At the top of the climb, Ferrio
took the points ahead of Vinokourov and Zaballa, with the rest of the break
going back to the peloton. Eladio Jimenez (Kelme) was fourth over, followed
by Felix Cardenas and Paco Mancebo. The gap to the three leaders was 1'24 at
14:50 CEST 68km/99km to go
Fabio Sacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has crashed heavily. He was attended to by doctors
and taken away in an ambulance with a suspected broken hip.
Ferrio and Vinokourov are now together, having dropped Zaballa. Chasing them
at 47 seconds are: Jimenez, Zaballa, Cardenas, Joachim, José Enrique Gutierrez
(Phonak) and David Latasa (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme). The peloton follows
The riders were not hanging around this afternoon and covered 45.9 km in the
Cyclingnews' Martin Hardie spoke to Saunier Duval's Joseba Beloki today
before the start, who told us that, "Today will be a very hard stage as it is
even hotter up in the mountains around Granada." It was already 30 degrees at
15:02 CEST 75km/92km to go
Pietro Caucchioli (Alessio) and Marco Zanotti (Vini Caldirola) have abandoned.
There has been a regrouping at the front, with the following riders now leading
the race: Eladio Jimenez and David Latasa (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme), Constantino
Zaballa (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Jorge Ferrio (Paternina-Costa De Almeria), Felix
Cardenas and Ivan Parra (Cafes Baque), José Miguel Elias (Relax-Bergasol), Benoît
Joachim (US Postal Service p/b Berry Floor), José Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak),
Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile Team) and
Antonio Colom (Illes Balears-Banesto).
Jimenez is the best placed on GC, but is over 15 minutes down in 21st place.
15:08 CEST 82km/85km to go
The 12 leaders now have a healthy 2'52 on the peloton.
Aitor Perez (Cafes Baque) is still in the race, despite injuring his elbow in
a crash earlier, but Fabio Sacchi is definitely not. The Fassa rider is now
being examined at hospital for damage to his hip.
15:16 CEST 90km/77km to go
Liberty Seguros is leading the peloton at a fairly brisk pace now, 3'00 behind
the 12 man breakaway group.
Bert Roesems (Relax) has abandoned. The riders covered 40.2 km in the second
Cyclingnews posed the question to US Postal director Johan Bruyneel this
morning: how do you win the Vuelta from here? "Hire Heras for the last week!"
was his straightforward reply.
15:22 CEST 90km/77km to go
Jose Gutierrez (Phonak) decides he's had enough of his breakaway companions
and attacks at the foot of the Alto de los Bermejales, with Zaballa trying to
go after him. The Saunier rider makes contact on the lower slopes of the climb.
15:24 CEST 91km/76km to go
Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r) has abandoned. Are there any Ag2r riders left? Just two:
Putsep and Chaurreau.
Victor Peña attacks the peloton, which is also on the climb, riding about
2'50 behind. Liberty Seguros doesn't change its pace and lets the Colombian
15:26 CEST 92km/75km to go
Beloki goes to the back to get some oil on his front brake, and a free tow at
the same time. It's not really going to affect his GC. He is riding with an
SRM power measuring system. He takes a couple of bidons as well.
15:28 CEST 93km/74km to go
The second sprint at Arroyo de la Madre (km 64) was taken by Constantino Zaballa
ahead of Jose Enrique Gutierrez and Ivan Parra. Zaballa and Gutierrez are obviously
feeling good, as they've gapped the rest of the breakaway and are nearing the
summit of this short but steep climb of the Alto de los Bermejales.
The peloton is at 3'12.
15:30 CEST 97km/70km to go
Zaballa takes the points at the top of the climb ahead of Gutierrez. The next
rider through is Elias with Colom, Vinokourov, Joachim and a few others on his
wheel at 45 seconds.
Victor Peña is solo, between the peloton and the break(s).
15:33 CEST 100km/67km to go
Mountains leader Cardenas and another rider are chasing Vinokourov's group of
eight at about 15 seconds, but the group in front isn't waiting.
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
Peña is over the top at 3'37. This chase is not going to work, and he realises
it. He slips it into the big ring and starts pedalling easily.
Oscar Sevilla, who according to Spanish press reports has signed for T-Mobile
for two years, is now doing the job as water carrier for his team. He grabs
about 7-8 bidons from the team car at the top of the climb and makes his way
back to the peloton, which is now catching Victor Peña. Liberty is leading all
15:41 CEST 104km/63km to go
The two leaders, Zaballa and Gutierrez, are chugging down bottles of water like
it's going out of style as they hammer through Ventas de Huelma with 45 seconds
lead to a group of 10 with Vinokourov, Elias, Colom, Jimenez, Latasa, Joachim,
Laiseka, Cardenas, Ferrio and Parra. The peloton is at 4'00 behind the two leaders,
driven all the time by Liberty Seguros, with some help from Vini Caldirola.
Beloki wasn't wrong - it's very hot out here.
15:45 CEST 107km/60km to go
The two leaders are going well, managing to hold off a 10 man chasing group
on the gradual descent after the Bermejales. The chase group is cooperating
Santos Gonzalez (Phonak) has abandoned.
15:49 CEST 110km/57km to go
The first lot of chasers have pegged Zaballa and Gutierrez back to 35 seconds,
with the peloton narrowing the gap to 3'10. Vini Caldirola (for Garzelli, who
might fancy himself today) and Liberty Seguros (for Heras) have got the peloton
wound up to high speed. Illes Balears (for Mancebo) and Phonak (for Perez) are
next in line with a couple of CSC riders. Valverde is right behind them.
15:53 CEST 112km/55km to go
The chase is getting serious. The 10 man group is now 25 seconds behind the
two leaders, but the peloton is only 2'50 back. Again, Liberty's aim will be
to get Heras into a good position on the final climb, but it's probably too
far from the finish for him to go solo. And with tomorrow's climbing time trial,
he probably doesn't want to bury himself.
The chasers are getting closer to the two leaders all the time.
Evans and Garzelli
Cyclingnews spoke to one of T-Mobile's four remaining riders Cadel Evans
this morning, who told us that he didn't feel great for a few days. "It has been
like 'mission impossible' without any support from the team. On the stage to Calar
Alto, it was ok until Liberty went crazy with the pace on the final climb. The
pace was extremely fast for a climb like that."
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
15:59 CEST 118km/49km to go
There is a regrouping at the front as Gutierrez and Zaballa finally give up
the fight. We have 12 men again: Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval-Prodir),
José Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak), Eladio Jimenez and David Latasa (Comunidad
Valenciana-Kelme), Jorge Ferrio (Paternina-Costa De Almeria), Ivan Parra (Cafes
Baque), José Miguel Elias (Relax-Bergasol), Benoît Joachim (USPS),Roberto Laiseka
(Euskaltel-Euskadi), Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile Team) and Antonio Colom
(Illes Balears-Banesto), Felix Cardenas (Cafes Baque).
16:08 CEST 125km/42km to go
The gap is coming down fairly quickly now as we approach the foot of the final
climb. Vini Caldirola and Liberty are working very hard in front and have the
12 leaders pegged to 1'30. They're going to need more than that.
16:12 CEST 127km/40km to go
Jan Hruska does a big turn on the front of the Liberty/Vini Caldirola train,
and the gap continues to fall. It's 1'15 now - not bad, considering there are
less riders working at the front of the peloton than the 12 in the break.
The race is on a motorway now, flying towards Monachil.
16:18 CEST 133km/34km to go
The break is still working well together, but it will likely be caught before
the climb starts, or just at the foot of it. The peloton has got it down to
under a minute now as it is cheered through Monachil.
Benoît Joachim and Antonio Colom have attacked, and have a 20 second lead on
the rest of the break.
Joachim leads Colom as the road goes uphill through Monachil, but they're not
quite on the climb yet. Ferrio leads Vinokourov and Cardenas back up to them.
16:24 CEST 136km/31km to go
The Alto de Monachil is an 8.3 km climb averaging a savage 8.5%. That includes
a downhill section just before the top.
Vinokourov has attacked the lead group and takes the sprint points in Monachil,
10 seconds ahead of Joachim and Elias. Cardenas, Colom and Ferrio are all in
The peloton is still 1'02 back at the sprint, with two Libertys (Baranowski
and Gil) and two Phonaks on the front.
16:26 CEST 138km/29km to go
A dog is on the parcours, travelling very quickly as Cedric Vasseur attacks.
The dog goes in between Zaballa and Gutierrez, who are caught by the bunch.
This dog can climb!
16:28 CEST 139km/28km to go
Beloki is dropped by the peloton, which is now fairly small - perhaps 50 riders.
Does the dog belong to VDB? Vasseur has dropped it on the climb though.
In front, Vino hits a 10 percent section as the break gradually implodes behind
him. Colom is caught.
16:30 CEST 141km/26km to go
Sastre attacks, taking Santi Perez with him. But Heras is right there too and
the rest of the peloton comes back.
Ivan Parra is caught, as is Elias. Vino now leads by about 10 seconds as the
rest of the peloton comes up to him. Landis looks to be in a spot of bother,
as does Beltran.
16:31 CEST 142km/25km to go
Nozal, the axe man, is now leading Heras, Santi Perez, Sastre, Valverde, Mancebo
and about 7 others in pursuit of Alexandre Vinokourov, who is really fighting
on this climb.
Vino is caught.
Vinokourov can't hang on as Serrano takes over from Nozal. Santi Perez attacks
again. It's still 10-13% here.
Santi Perez gets a small gap as he rides through a posse of motorbikes. Heras
doesn't panic, and gets his teammates to ride hard tempo. Serrano drops back
and Nozal takes over again. Perez has 8 seconds.
Heras' group contains: Serrano, Nozal, Heras, Piepoli, Valverde, Garcia Quesada,
Mancebo, L. Perez, Gomez, Ferrio, Sastre and Piepoli.
16:38 CEST 143km/24km to go
Nozal lifts the tempo as the road flattens a little. He has Heras plastered
to his wheel, then Sastre and Luis Perez. Mancebo is suffering a bit at the
Santi Perez looks very focused, but he will have to hold off the chasers for
over 20 km after the summit.
16:40 CEST 144km/23km to go
Nozal has Santi Perez pegged to 13 seconds now, as the road flattens out a bit
more before the first peak of this climb. But 7 percent is still hard going.
Serrano comes back to help out the chase, and takes over from Nozal. Liberty
has three men here, Paternina has two, Kelme has two, the rest are on their
The Liberty boys grab bidons from a soigneur on the side of the road as Perez
now has 25 seconds. The Phonak rider is starting to suffer a bit.
Carlos Sastre takes over the pace making.
Sastre's tempo has put Serrano and Ferrio in trouble, but they should get back
on. The road steeps to 11 percent again. This is why Perez was suffering.
16:45 CEST 145km/22km to go
Perez struggles through the crowds up the final, steep section of the climb
towards the first summit. Back in the chase group, it's Nozal on the front with
Heras on his wheel looking very comfy. Luis Perez, next to Heras, does not.
Garcia Quesada is dying a thousand deaths to maintain contact with the Heras
group. The first peak is reached.
Perez has 25 seconds but the bunch behind picks up a lot of speed on the little
descent before the final pinch. Garcia Quesada takes over in front.
16:49 CEST 147km/20km to go
Perez crosses the summit of the Monachil with a 33 second advantage over Valverde
and Heras. Then the rest of the group in bits.
Angel Gomez is a little way off the back, just ahead of Serrano and Ferrio.
The descent is very technical as Valverde continues his attack. Heras is a couple
of seconds behind and doesn't let Valverde go.
Valverde leads all the way, jersey flapping in the wind at 60 km/h. The rest
of the riders are coming back: Sastre, Mancebo, Piepoli, Garcia Quesada, Nozal,
16:54 CEST 150km/17km to go
The roads start to widen and it's still Santi Perez in the lead, with the next
group at 33 seconds behind him. He's doing well to hold them off. He's now at
70 km/h, using the "Obree tuck" to gain maximum speed.
16:55 CEST 153km/14km to go
Garcia Quesada is almost kissing his front wheel as he strives for aero advantage.
He has Luis Perez right behind him.
The chasing group: Heras, Valverde, Nozal, Piepoli, Garcia Quesada, Mancebo,
L. Perez, Sastre
16:57 CEST 154km/13km to go
Garcia Quesada and Luis Perez have now opened up a bit of a gap on the Heras
group. Can they catch Santi Perez on this downhill run into Granada? Santi is
4'22 down on GC in 8th place, so Heras has no real concerns.
16:58 CEST 156km/11km to go
The two chasers are 26 seconds behind the leader, as Heras' group slows a little.
Valverde sits up and zips up his jersey. Good idea!
16:59 CEST 157km/10km to go
Santi PErez reaches 10 km to go, pursued by Carlos Garcia Quesada and Luis Perez
at 30 seconds. The Heras group is at 35 seconds, coming back. Nozal leads.
17:01 CEST 159km/8km to go
Nozal is working hard to get Luis Perez and Garcia Quesada back. But Santi Perez
has half a minute still and is looking a lot better for the stage win.
Garcia Quesada and Luis Perez are caught. Santi has 8 km to go.
17:02 CEST 160km/7km to go
Valverde takes over with 8 km to go as they are 41 seconds behind Santi Perez.
Surely the Phonak rider will stay clear now.
17:04 CEST 161km/6km to go
Perez has 42 seconds with 6 km left, as the descent finally starts to flatten.
He's on the outskirts of Granada, pedalling very smoothly. The chase group is
working well behind, with Heras also doing turns.
17:05 CEST 163km/4km to go
The chasers can't make any impression on the Phonak rider, who may move up past
Landis and Beltran on GC today. He has 4.5 km left.
Perez reaches 4 km to go, still riding rock solid. The chase is not hard enough,
and the gap is still 39 seconds as Luis Perez leads them under the 4km.
Santiago Perez (Phonak) has 3 km to go before he can celebrate his stage win
in Granada. The chasers have realised this.
The Landis/Beltran group is at 2'30. Perez could move up to 6th.
17:08 CEST 165km/2km to go
Perez reaches the crowded inner city streets with 2 km to go, getting some encouragement
from his team car. It's flat now, but that doesn't matter.
Sastre misses a corner and will have to chase...oops.
17:09 CEST 166km/1km to go
Santi Perez reaches the final kilometre and gets a big cheer as he rides up
the finishing straight. He made his attack on the final climb and descended
superbly to hold off the chasers.
17:10 CEST 167km/0km to go
Santiago Perez wins the 14th stage of the Vuelta with a nice solo breakaway
in the last 25 km. He celebrates a bit as he crosses the line, pointing his
finger to the sky.
Sastre has caught chase group as Valverde leads out the sprint from 150m. Valverde
is second, then Luis Perez, Mancebo, Nozal, Sastre and Heras.
Landis, Beltran, Cunego and Garzelli come in a group at 2'45. Santi Perez will
leapfrog over them on GC.
1 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 4.06.34
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme 0.46
3 Luis Perez (Spa) Cofidis, le credit par Telephone
4 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto
5 Isidro Nozal (Spa) Liberty Seguros
6 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC
7 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros
8 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
9 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme
10 David Blanco (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme 2.08
General classification after stage 14
1 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros 53.00.05
2 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto 0.35
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme 0.49
4 Isidro Nozal (Spa) Liberty Seguros 1.12
5 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 3.16
6 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 3.42
5 Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service p/b Berry Floor 4.19
6 Manuel Beltran (Spa) US Postal Service p/b Berry Floor 4.49
9 Angel Gomez (Spa) Paternina-Costa De Almeria 6.43
10 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme
the commentary team