59th Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, September 4-26, 2004
and start times Start
Stage 21 - September 26: Madrid - Madrid (I.T.T.), 28.2 km
Commentary by Hedwig Kröner and Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST
Welcome the last stage of our three week journey around Spain - a final, decisive
day on which the riders will race 28.2 km against the clock on the streets and
boulevards of Madrid, the capital. This individual time-trial will pass through
some of the City's most magnificent monuments, museums and galleries. The first
22 km will be the same circuit as planned for the Individual Time trial World
Championships in 2005, so many of the riders today may already get acquainted
with it for next year. But this year's Vuelta a España will be decided today,
between the Casa de Campo, the Gran Vía and the Diosa Cibeles.
Cyclingnews correspondent Martin Hardie reports canicular temperatures
again in Madrid today: 30° Celsius, and no wind.
Not only the final winner of the Vuelta will be decided on this afternoon -
the battle for the lanterne rouge between Aitor Silloniz (Euskaltel) and Matt
White (Cofidis) is also on, with the Spaniard 3.31 ahead of White, who left
the start ramp first at 14.22 CET.
It will be at tight and thrilling fight for victory at about 17.00 p.m., as
the GC favourites Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) and Santiago Perez (Phonak
Hearing Systems) are separated by just 43 seconds.
Heras must feel a threatened like he was by Aitor Gonzalez in 2002.
White and Silloniz have shaken hands now, as the Sydneysider stays last on GC.
Final times: 39'35 for Silloniz, 40'35 for White.
Ruslan Ivanov (Alessio-Bianchi) has departed, as well as David Herrero (Paternina),
who starts with a big smile on his face. He's obviously not going to go out
The battle for third place on GC will be interesting as well, with Francisco
Mancebo (Illes Balears) leading Alejandro Valverde (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme)
by just 7 seconds.
Whether one of the two can close the gap to Heras or Perez is doubtful, but
you never know...
Another Paternina rider, Joaquin Lopez, rolls down the ramp grinning. These
guys are just glad it's over.
Guennadi Mikhailov (US Postal Service p/b Berry Floor) has set out on the large
boulevard covered by sycamore branches, as well as Cadel Evans (T-Mobile), who
couldn't live up to his expectations at this Vuelta.
Vladimir Gusev (Team CSC) has reached the finish, setting a new time to beat:
The last rider of the Ag2r team, Iñigo Chaurreau, has taken up the course. This
year's Vuelta has lost a record number of 70 riders along the way.
Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) has started to warm up on the trainer now.
Victor Hugo Peña (US Postal Service p/b Berry Floor) looks very determined at
the start. Right after him, Jörg Jaksche (CSC) takes on the circuit, a very
good TT rider too.
Erik Zabel (T-Mobile Team) has departed. He will keep his sprint points jersey,
unless Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) gets at least 6th at the finish to benefit
from another 10 bonus points he would need to take it.
"Ete" said to Cyclingnews at the start, "The Vuelta's tough for a guy
like me because the climbers get a lot of points in the points competition."
The route is pretty flat today, not like the roller coaster which we can see
One winner is already clear: Felix Cardenas (Cafes Baque) has won the Vuelta's
Mountains jersey for the second consecutive time. He is starting now, with nothing
to worry about anymore.
Cyclingnews correspondent Martin Hardie is following Jurgen Van Goolen
(Quick.Step) on the undulating parcours. He's got it wound up to 60 km/h at
The course starts in Madrid's main park, then goes out into a semi-industrial
area. There's a bit of wind now, and it's a headwind home.
Bert Grabsch (Phonak) is leading the stage classification right now, with 35.39.
Cadel Evans (T-Mobile) reaches the finish at 36.39, he is fourth now.
Oscar Sevilla (Phonak Hearing Systems) is departing. As we slowly reach the
top of GC, the riders will be starting 2 minutes apart.
Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme) takes Evans' fourth place
with 36.39 at the finish.
His teammate Eladio Jimenez is the 101st rider to push down the starting ramp.
18 riders still to go.
Damiano Cunego (Saeco), winner of this year's Giro d'Italia, is on the parcours.
He is also on the Squadra Azzura Italian team for the upcoming World's.
After the first 300 m, there are not many spectators left at the sides of the
"JJ" Jörg Jaksche is biting at the finish: 36.03.
Francisco José Lara (Paternina) is starting now. According to a press release,
he and Marcos Serrano (Liberty) will be riding for T-Mobile next season.
Manuel Beltran (US Postal) stretches during the last seconds before starting
to race. He wanted to finish within the top ten on GC before the Vuelta started
- he is 13th now.
Mancebo warms up on the rollers beside his bus, 20 minutes before his departure.
In the last three years, the final TT has always changed the GC. The leader
before the TT has never won the Vuelta. We are entering the final phase.
All the great climbers that we have seen during the last weeks are embarking
on the last 28 km of the Vuelta 2004.
Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) and Luis Perez (Cofidis) are speeding along
the city's park roads.
Seventh on GC, Carlos Sastre (Team CSC) departs. Next up is Carlos Garcia Quesada
Tadej Valjavec (Phonak Hearing Systems) and José Luis Arrieta (Illes Balears-Banesto)
get at the finish side to side, putting their thumbs up!
Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) has started. David Blanco (Kelme) marks a new best
time at 10.5 km.
Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears-Banesto) has engaged on the final parcours.
Here comes Santi Perez (Phonak) - let's see if he can beat Heras on this last
Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) concentrates on the ramp. He looks ahead, then
Cyclingnews correspondent Martin Hardie reports seeing Tyler Hamilton
in the Phonak car behind his teammate Santi Perez. Hamilton said he would be
helping out with the team, despite being suspended.
Perez would just need to be over 1.5 sec/km faster than Heras to win the Vuelta.
Heras is about 6 seconds faster right now than Perez.
Valverde reaches the 10.5 km mark. He is not doing so well - maybe Zabel gets
to keep his jersey.
Heras is being shouted at from the car behind by his directeur sportif, Manolo
Saiz, as usual at time trials. He sticks his tongue out in search for refreshment
- not easy when it's 30° in the shade.
13.32 for Perez at the 10.5 km time check. Let's wait for Heras.
13.36 for Heras at km 10.5. Not a very big difference between the two yet.
Manuel Beltran (USPS) reaches the finish tenth.
From the times taken at this first time check, the top of GC would stay the
Heras pulls up a little hill, struggling as his gear is so big. It looks good
for him so far.
Carlos Sastre marks a new time to beat at the finish: 35.13!
It is a winding course through dry woods within the city park. Heras and Perez
are still at a regular distance around 6 seconds.
There are a few hills yet to come on the last kilometres.
Second time check for Perez: 28.37!
It looks like Mancebo will take 3rd on GC ahead of Valverde, and Zabel will
keep the points jersey.
Heras is still 36 GC seconds ahead of Perez at the 23 km mark.
Mancebo at the finish: 35.12!
Santi Perez is on the finish line now, setting a new best time with 35.05!
Heras is speeding toward the finish line of this year's Vuelta, teeth grinding.
Heras wins the Vuelta again, cheered by the crowd on the last 100 metres.
13 seconds behind Perez on the line!
Perez loses with only 0.30 behind the winner. What a race!
Finish - 28.2 km
1 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 35.05
2 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto 0.07
3 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 0.08
4 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros 0.13
5 David Blanco (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme 0.18
6 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.34
7 Victor Hugo Peña (Col) US Postal Service p/b Berry Floor 0.36
8 Luis Perez (Spa) Cofidis, le credit par Telephone 0.52
9 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team CSC 0.55
10 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) Team CSC 0.58
11 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank 1.09
12 Angel Gomez (Spa) Paternina-Costa De Almeria 1.10
Final general classification
1 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros 77.42.46
2 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.30
3 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto 2.13
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme 3.30
5 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme 7.44
1 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 13.32
2 David Blanco (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme 0.01
3 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto 0.03
4 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team CSC
5 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros 0.04
1 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 28.37
2 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros 0.07
3 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto
4 David Blanco (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme 0.08
5 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 0.10
the commentary team