What's Cool In Road Cycling

Vuelta Aragуn: Just Like Last Year Piepoli Is First Stage Winner & Leader Overall

Italian rider, Leonardo Piepoli of ibanesto.com, has repeated last years result by attacking on the climb to the summit finish of the Alto de Cerler. Simoni and Beltran were close, but could’nt hold him.

At the start in Huesca, under grey skies, Jan Ulrich, Sevilla, Beloki, Piepoli and wooly hated Marco Pantani, all lined up for this 5 day stage race.

Banesto were keeping things together behind, with 27 kilometres to go, as sprinter Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) was on his own 2 or 3 minutes up the road, why? who knows.

Cofidis, Relax and Saeco started a half-hearted chase and through the gorge of the Rio Siera they had him back with 20 up-hill kilometres to the summit finish of the Alto de Cerler at 1,500 metres altitude.

Lots of attacks on the climb, strung out the bunch, most teams were sending some-one off the front, Big Jan looked like he had to push the pedals a bit, but was cool. With snow on the distant hills, Santi Blanco (Relax) put the hammer down at 3 kilometres from the line. Piepoli went past him with Simoni (Saeco) on his wheel and Triki Beltran (Coast) crossing to them. On one of the steeper parts, Simoni could’nt hold Piepoli and under the 1 kilometre flag he was on his own, 12 seconds up on a slowing Simoni and Beltran nearly on to Simoni. By the line Piepoli took more time out of them and the chasers to take the stage and leaders jersey.

Tomorrow’s stage is from Benasque to Sabiсanigo, 185 kilometre, a 3rd. cat climb at 70 kilometres and the 1st. cat, Puerto de Serrablo, 50 kilometres to the finish, flat road for the last 10 kilometres.

Stage 1 Result:

1st. L.Piepoli (BAN) 4:00:46.
2nd. G.Simoni (SAE) at 20 secs.
3rd. M.Beltran (COA) same time.
4th. J.Jufre (REL) at 29 secs.
5th. C.Garcia Quesada (KEL) at 38 secs.
6th. V.Karpets (BAN) at 48 secs.

Overall After Stage 1, inc. bonus:

1st. L.Piepoli (BAN) 4:00:46.
2nd. G.Simoni (SAE) at 24 secs.
3rd. M.Beltran (COA) at 26 secs.
4th. J.Jufre (REL) at 39 secs.
5th. C.Garcia Quesada (KEL) at 48 secs.
6th. V.Karpets (BAN) at 58 secs.
7th. F.Jeker (MIL) same time.
8th. J.C.Dominguez (PHO) same time.
9th. D.Gadeo (ALM) same time.
10th. K.Moller (MIL) same time.

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