First Blood To Kelme
The new season kicked off to-day in Spain on the Island of Mallorca. The best possible result, for Kelme, showed that the loss of their stars has’nt blunted their edge.
Last year Spanish team Kelme-Costa Blanca had the World time trial champ, Santi Botero and the winner of the home tour, La Vuelta Espana, Aitor Gonzalez. With them going to Telekom and Fassa Bortolo, it looked like it was going to be a lean time for the men in green.
It’s the first stage race of the season and what happens? Yes, Kelme come along and win the first stage. Issac Galves takes the 82 kilometre stage round Palma and his team mate Valverde gets third. Both of them in-front of ex-World champ Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and top sprinter Erik Zabel (Telekom).
Rabobank were doing a lot of work for new recruit Freire. With Erik Dekker looking very strong, but finishing 1 minute 12 second down in 180th. place, also the Spanish Olympic track team were doing their upmost to upset the big teams, but at the line Kelme took the honours.
Tomorrows stage of 165 kilometres from Cala Bona to Cala Rajada will be a different race from to-days flat course, with two hills to cross it should’nt be a sprinters race, it could just be right for Kelme’s climbers to take over!
1st. I. Galves Kelme in 1 hour 35 mins 4 secs.
2nd. A.Davis ONCE same time.
3rd. A.Valverde Kelme same time.
4th. O.Feire Rabobank same time.
5th. S.Teutenberg Coast same time.
6th. S.Vanthourenhout Quick-step same time.
7th. E.Zabel Telekom same time.
8th. V.Reynes LA Pecol same time.
9th. J.Koerts Bankgiroloterij same time.
10th. M.Martinez Phonak same time.