What's Cool In Road Cycling

Vuelta Stage 9:A Fast Day For Some, But Not Di Luca!

On a day that was expected to be an easy one after yesterdays excitement and before tomorrows time trial. It was not to be, at about half distance the bunch split for no apparent reason, the hammer went down and the s**t hit the fan.

ONCE sent Beloki & Gonzalez De Galdeano on the front to split things further, which put the gap at 5 minutes, ibanesto.com with a little help from Di Luca tried their hardest. First to call a halt was the winner of the stage here in Cуrdoba in 2000, World Champ Oscar Freire (Mapei), not feeling well, then Francisco Mancebo (ibanesto) got in his team car and the wind went out of the sails in the chase and the gap got bigger and bigger, to finish at 18.05 for Di Luca & Co.

Up the front it was all go, as they hit the bottom of the climb of the San Jerуnimo, with 23 kilometres to the finish. Cioni (Mapei) & Caucchioli (Alessio) tried their luck, Colom (Relax) got up to them and went straight past. All this was the usual waste of time, as the chase behind by Kelme and Milaneza, with Fйlix Garcia Casas (Big Mat) also lending a hand, was very strong. It was soon curtains for the three and as soon as they were caught, my neighbour (next village) Fabian Jeker (Milaneza) was up and away over the top of the hill. He was joined by the hero of yesterday Luis Pйrez (Coast) as they crested the top, they started to descend to-wards Cуrdoba, Pablo Lastras (ibanesto) went past them on the false flat, never to be seen again, until the finish, he had 13 seconds on the other two and 21 on what was left of the main group.

Another exciting fast day, lots of tired legs for tomorrow, Botero (Kelme) saved him-self to-day, he should do OK, as to the others? Beloki & Millar may do some-thing. Alexandre Vinokourov of Telekom will be 29 years old tomorrow, so you never know?

Young Canadian, Michael Barry who rides for US Postal did not start this morning. Tomorrow Ricardo Valdez of Jazztel will not start as to-day he fell and broke his hip.

Result Stage 9:

1st. P.Lastras BAN 2.48.52.
2nd. L.Perez COA at 13 secs.
3rd. F.Jeker MIL same.
4th. A.Valverde KEL at 21 secs.
5th. E.Zabel TEL same.

Overall After Stage 9:

1st. O.Sevilla KEL 32.32.53.
2nd. A.Vinokourov TEL at 14 secs.
3rd. A.Gonzalez KEL at 41 secs.
4th. R.Heras USP at 48 secs.
5th. F.Garcia Casas BIG at 1.01.
6th. H.Zubelia EUS at 1.09.
7th. I.Mayo EUS at 1.14.
8th. M.Zarrabeitia ONC at 1.34.
9th. J.Beloki ONC at 1.43.
10th. J.Jaksche ONC at 1.44.
19th. D.Millar COF at 3.16.

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