60th Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, August 27-September 18, 2005
Results & report
Stage 1 - Saturday, August 27: Granada-Granada TT, 7 km
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Shane Stokes and
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST
Welcome, dear readers, to sunny Granada
for the kick-off of the 60th Vuelta a España, the last of the three grand tours
this season. Today's 7 km prologue time trial marks the start of some 3300 km
of racing around the Iberian peninsula, and with a stronger field than ever,
we can expect to see a hard fought victory. But the mountains and the long time
trials will decide the overall winner, and today's stage more of an aperitif,
where the specialists in this discipline will shine.
The riders start
at one minute intervals, with the favourites going last. First off is Luca Solari
(Domina Vacanze) at 13:50, while defending champ Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros)
will leave last, at 17:06. Riders to watch today include Oscar Pereiro (Phonak),
Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel), Brad McGee (FDJ),
Uwe Peschel (Gerolsteiner), Floyd Landis and Santi Botero (Phonak), Jose Azevedo
(Discovery), and Tom Boonen (Quick.Step).
The weather today will
not affect the race in a great way: it's sunny, without a cloud in the sky,
and temps are around the 30 degree mark. There's only a light breeze blowing
Rik Verbrugghe (Quick.Step)
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
45 riders have so far completed the
7 km, and the best to date is Rik Verbrugghe (Quick.Step), who clocked 9'46
for the distance. Not a real surprise as he is certainly a short-distance specialist.
At 19 seconds behind Rik is Angel Vicioso (Liberty), while Iñigo Cuesta (Saunier
Duval) is at 29 seconds.
Verbrugghe still holds the best time
with just over a quarter of the 197 riders in. Vicioso is also still in second
place at 19 seconds, while Canadian Michael Barry (Discovery) has moved up into
third at 28 seconds.
Victor Hugo Peña (Phonak) flies past
our commentary point on the climb (yeah, we're grounded today) and looks very
smooth. He might be on track for a good time.
70 riders are home now, and there
have been few changes at the top of the leaderboard. Rik Verbrugghe's average
speed of 43 km/h is pretty slow for a short time trial, when you consider that
he averaged over 58 km/h for a Giro prologue a few years ago. But, there is
a sizeable hill in this course, the Cat. 3 Alto de Alhambra after 2.3 km. The
riders have to climb 150m from the start to the top of this hill, and most of
that is in the last 800 metres.
Charly Wegelius (Liquigas-Bianchi)
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
To ride a good time today, it seems
desirous to be fast up the hill. Verbrugghe also has the best time for the first
2.3 km: 4'40. That's an average of 29.6 km/h, which gives you an idea of how
fast he went. Not bad for a climb that averages 6.5 percent.
Peña's time is OK, but not good enough
to unseat Verbrugghe. He comes home in 10:25, for 14th place.
Italian climber Leonardo Piepoli
has done the first 2.3 km well, clocking the third best time behind Verbrugghe
and Vicioso. But his descent wasn't so good, and he finishes in 10:26, 40 seconds
back from Verbrugghe in 21st place.
Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel) has flown
up the climb in 4'48, just 8 seconds off Verbrugghe. But he fades a little over
the final part of the course and comes in fourth at 22 seconds.
Danielson (Discovery) started a little more conservatively (7th on the climb)
but has stormed home in 9'57 to take second place behind Verbrugghe.
The top five so far, in what has
been a fairly tough opening stage in Granada:
1 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel)
Quick Step - Innergetic 9.46
2 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 0.11
3 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 0.19
4 Roberto Laiseka
Jaio (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0.22
5 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa)
Phonak Hearing Systems 0.23
108 riders have finished, with another
89 to come in.
Matthias Russ (Gerolsteiner) is one
rider who has had troubles with the early part of the parcours, which is quite
technical. He took a corner way too fast and slid out. He sits in 105th place
at 1'19 at the moment.
Spanish TT champ Jose Ivan Gutierrez
is tackling the climb at the moment, as Joaquim Rodriguez (Saunier Duval) starts.
Unlike a couple of others, Rodriguez doesn't go too hard out of the start
Juan Antonio Pecharroman (Quick.Step) is next off.
Daniel Atienza (Cofidis) sets off,
as the girl holding him up lets him go with a big flourish.
is pretty fast for the most part, but there are a couple of tricky corners.
Santos Gonzalez is flying down it, while Gutierrez is motoring towards the finish.
Santos Gonzalez is on the flat now
as Jose Ivan Gutierrez nears the finish. He's not going to beat Verbrugghe,
as he comes home in 10'07, 21 seconds slower than Verbrugghe. He would have
come very close had he not crashed on the second corner.
Gonzalez is right behind him, sprinting
for the line and coming home in 10'12 for 9th.
Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) sets off now,
riding a bike with no special aero wheels. He's followed by Mauro Gerosa (Liquigas-Bianchi),
who has a disk wheel and a deep dish front wheel on.
Joaquin Rodriguez finishes in 10'09,
23 seconds slower than Verbrugghe but still OK for a top 10.
Sanchez (Euskaltel) is next cab off the rank.
Andreas Matzbacher (Lampre) starts,
has a slight problem with his gears, but is going again. He takes the first
two corners well and starts the climb.
Benjamin Noval (Discovery)
comes home in a decent sort of time: 10'12 for 11th.
Carlos Garcia Quesada (Comunidad
Valenciana) wobbles off the start ramp and gets his machine up to speed. Time
trialing isn't really his thing but he'll enjoy it when it goes uphill.
Fabio Sacchi (Fassa Bortolo) is next.
The lanky figure of Francisco Perez
(Illes Balears) sets off. He's a new rider for Illes Balears, having spent time
with Milaneza-Mss in the last few years. Well, taking out the 18 months he was
suspended for taking EPO.
Erik Zabel finishes in a sub 10'30 for
Santi Botero is on his way now. He's followed by Isidro Nozal
Botero tackles the climb, with its
10 percent plus gradients in places. He keeps a solid tempo to the top. Isidro
Nozal is on that bit too now, really grinding it out.
(Euskaltel) finishes in 10'13 for 13th. Not bad.
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) starts his
ride now. The hill will kill his chances of winning this stage, although he
can turn in a good time trial when he wants. He changes from the big to the
small ring as he meets the hill.
Bertagnolli (Cofidis) is next off,
followed by Simoni (Lampre).
Nozal doesn't appear to have a small
gear. He's pedaling at about 75-80 rpm, maximum.
Garcia Quesada finishes in 10'42,
nearly one minute slower than Rik Verbrugghe.
Santi Botero takes
the second tricky corner on the descent smoothly, and is now down on the flat.
Botero keeps his compact, forward
position as he nears the final kilometre. He flies around another corner, and
Botero doesn't go quick enough to
beat Verbrugghe, but still comes home in a time of 10'03 for fourth place. Not
too bad for the Colombian.
Nozal has done a very ordinary time.
He definitely wasn't looking too flash on the climb. He finishes in 11'08. Shockah!
It's not quite the slowest time - Haselbacher (11'39) has that honour - but
it's not reminiscent of his stunning rides in the Vuelta of two years ago, where
he finished second overall.
Tom Boonen finishes in 10'35 which
will put him in the top 70. Meanwhile, Fred Finot (FDJ) and Iban Mayo (Euskaltel)
set off. Mayo is at the foot of the climb.
Christian Vandevelde (CSC)
has ridden well to finish in 10'05 for 5th so far. No-one has gotten close to
Verbrugghe, who has the best time in 9'46.
The top five:
1 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic 9.46
2 Tom Danielson (USA)
Discovery Channel 0.11
3 David Bernabeu (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 0.14
4 Santiago Botero Echeverry (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.17
Vandevelde (USA) Team CSC 0.19
Azevedo follows Vandevelde in, but
is a little slower in 10'09. Not bad, but not as quick as his teammate Danielson.
Here's one of the favourites: Floyd
Landis (Phonak), looking very quick as he flies through the first two corners
and gets on the bars straight away. He'll benefit as much as possible from the
aero bars before the climb.
Next off is Joseba Beloki, who has also
ridden the Giro and Tour this year.
Oh no!!! Beloki crashes on the second
corner. That can't be good for him. His director helps him back on the bike
and he's off. Nope, he needs a new bike. Beloki is not happy.
Beloki loses about 40 seconds just
like that, but isn't caught by Cadamuro behind. He looked to be taking that
second corner too tightly. Jose Ivan Gutierrez crashed there too.
Beloki is now powering away up the climb.
Iban Mayo finishes his ride in a
reasonable time of 10'23 for 35th.
Beloki is really motoring on the
climb, being cheered on by thousands lining the road.
(Lampre) has done a good ride for 8th, in 10'06. It's pretty hard to break the
41 km/h barrier - that's how tough this course is.
Landis is nearly
at the top of the climb.
Landis is pretty slow on the climb,
recording the 107th fastest time. He gets in a huge gear at the top of the descent
and winds it up.
Angel Casero finishes in 10'39 for 89th. A far cry
from the Vuelta winner of 2001.
Landis is now starting to look better,
but he's lost too much time on the climb to threaten Verbrugghe today.
Bouygues' Pierrick Fedrigo, French national road champ, is home in 10'13. That's
Landis hits the corner at 400m to
go already in 9'46. He sprints home in a massive gear to finish in 10'21 for
34th. A much better second half than the first.
Beloki was slowest to the top of
the climb, not surprisingly given his crashing and bike changing shenanigans.
Uwe Peschel (Gerolsteiner) is now on his way, followed by baby face Oscar Sevilla,
who appears to be sporting five o'clock shadow.
Beloki's final time is 11'29 for
173rd. That was unfortunate for him.
Magnus Bäckstedt (Liquigas)
is ready to roll.
Brad McGee gets going, taking the
first two corners fairly gently and now powering up before the climb. He's only
raced once since the Tour (last weekend) and is going to see how he goes today.
He's also thrown away his ambitions of ever winning or placing in the top 3
of a grand tour, as he told us yesterday. But prologues will remain his thing.
Aitor Gonzalez follows McGee - another big favourite.
Carlos Sastre (CSC) has done a great
ride to finish in 9'52 - second place behind Verbrugghe. That moves Danielson
Manuel Beltran (Discovery) finishes in 10'25 for a top
50. He's followed by Denis Menchov (Rabobank), who powers home in 9'45.9!! Menchov
the best so far!
That was a great ride by Menchov,
who wants to erase his bad Tour.
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)
is next to leave, but is not going flat out as he approaches the climb.
Aitor Gonzalez is over the top of
the climb, as Paco Mancebo (Illes Balears) starts his ride. Thomas Voeckler,
who has ridden every race on the calendar it seems, is also on his way.
McGee is fourth over the top of the
climb, at 7 seconds.
Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) sets off now,
really motivated. He gets around the first corners OK.
in 10'22 ish.
And last, but not least, is triple
Vuelta winner Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros). He too manages the first two
corners OK and is en route to the hill.
McGee has caught Bäckstedt
on the way to a 9'48 - third best.
Aitor Gonzalez' time of 10'11 puts
him in 17th place. Not a great ride by the Tour de Suisse winner and 2002 Vuelta
Gilberto Simoni is good today, finishing
in 10'05 for 8th! That's an excellent ride by him.
Pereiro is over the top of the hill
Ruben Plaza has also ridden well for Comunidad Valenciana,
clocking 9'58 for the 7 km, even catching Thor Hushovd for a minute.
Heras crosses the climb at 7 seconds slower than Verbrugghe.
Petacchi rolls home in 10'36. Heras
is now at the base of the descent, on track for a very good time also. It won't
be a winning time though.
Mancebo finishes in 10'11 for 20th,
and he is followed by Pereiro. Heras is in the final kilometre now. No problems
for him today.
Pereiro's finishing time is 10'24
for 57th. A little disappointing for him.
Heras has had a great ride
though, and completes the distance in 10'00 for 7th! He's one of the best GC
riders today, along with Sastre, Simoni...and Menchov, who is the winner of
the first stage of the Vuelta. The Russian is back!
Well, that's it from the first stage
of the Vuelta, where Denis Menchov just managed to knock Rik Verbrugghe out
of the hot seat to win the stage. Third place goes to Brad McGee, who will probably
be satisfied with that, given his lack of racing. Also Carlos Sastre (4th),
Roberto Heras (7th), and Gilberto Simoni (10th) did good rides for their GC
Join us again tomorrow at 14:30 local time for the second
stage, between Granada and Córdoba over 189 km. It's up and down the whole day,
but there's more down than up.
1 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic 4.40
2 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0.03
3 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 0.07
4 Bradley McGee (Aus) Française des Jeux
5 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC
6 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team
7 Roberto Laiseka Jaio (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0.08
8 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana
9 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre - Caffita
10 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 0.09
Finish - km 7
1 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 9.45
2 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic 0.01
3 Bradley McGee (Aus) Française des Jeux 0.03
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 0.07
5 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 0.12
6 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 0.13
7 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 0.15
8 David Bernabeu (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana
9 Santiago Botero Echeverry (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.18
10 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre - Caffita 0.20
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