What's Cool In Road Cycling

Vuelta Stage 6: At Last A Spanish Victory

A lot of changes again to-day in a very open Vuelta a Espaсa. The action started at 5 kilometres with a group of 16 riders slipping off the front. They had gained 4 minutes by the first climb of Las Escebras. ONCE were policing the bunch defending the leader’s jersey of Zarrabeitia. Eventually Saeco again started to lend a hand to bring back the leaders.

By the start of the Sierra De La Pandera, Iker Flores (Euskaltel) is up front on his own, chased by Heras (USPS), Sevilla (Kelme) & Simoni (Saeco) with Di Luca not far behind. Heras attacks with 5 kilometres to the top, Simoni chases and Sevilla limits his losses with Vinokourov (Telekom).

A fine win for Heras, with all the stars not far behind, Casas, Gonzalez & Casero were strong to-day and Beloki is not far away. Sevilla seems to have put his problems behind him also, at this point no-one can be ruled out and its all to play for all the way to Madrid.

Big surprise Mario Cipollini is still with us, at 134th. overall at 43 minutes and 1 second, must be good training for the worlds.

Further to Roberto Laisekas accident yesterday, it appears he ran over a strap that holds cargo on the back of a truck. It tangled in his wheel and the metal buckle broke his forks. It wouldn’t have made any difference if his forks had not been carbon or by another manufacturer. He is still in hospital but doing well.

To-day’s trivia: The figures involved in this years La Vuelta, for the first time 207 riders from 23 teams started, race distance of 3,128·7 kilometres is the same as Madrid to Stockholm, 37 mountain passes = 5 times up Mount Everest. The riders will need 50,000 kilos of fruit and 40,000 litres of water, there is 3,000 media personel, 5 million people watch behind 6,000 fences at every stage finish. On the road there are 57 trailers, 22 lorries, 5 coaches, 70 vans, 600 cars and 200 motorbikes that will use 330,000 litres of fuel. Also 8 helicopters and 3 planes, all this will cost 21,036,000 euros. The most important fact for us is there are 125 daily “distracciones”.

Stage Result:

1st. R.Heras USP 3.56.47.
2nd. G.Simoni SAE at 18 secs.
3rd. O.Sevilla KEL at same.
4th. I.Mayo EUS at same.
5th. A.Vinokourov TEL at 48 secs.

Overall After Stage 6:

1st. O.Sevilla KEL 20.51.17.
2nd. A.Vinokourov TEL at 14 secs.
3rd. R.Heras USP at 39 secs.
4th. A.Gonzalez KEL at 41 secs.
5th. F.Casas BIG at 52 secs.
6th. H.Zubeldia at 57 secs.
7th. I.Mayo EUS at 1.14 secs.
8th. M.Zarrabeitia ONC at 1.25 secs.
9th. J.Jaksche ONC at 1.32 secs.
10th. J.Beloki ONC at 1.43 secs.
22nd. D.Millar COF at 3.16 secs.
128th. M.Barry USP at 41.50 secs.

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