What's Cool In Road Cycling

Vuelta Stage 1: ONCE Blast TTT

Stage 1: Results
And they’re off! A great way to start a major Tour – with a Team Time Trial – is exactly what the organizers of the Tour of Spain did today… The usual suspects of the TTT – ONCE, US Postal , and Kelme took top honors over the 24.6km route in Valencia. All the contenders remain in close proximity on gc, except Italian comeback hopeful Gilberto Simoni, whose Saeco team failed to demonstrate enough “team work” and lost 1’13” on the day.

Following is a full report from Osvaldo Menйndez: Manollo Saнz, Once-Eroskiґs Directeur Sportif, was the first one to tell his men that modern cycling means fighting against the time. He was completely aware of the fact that the riders should get used to the modern bicycles, to concentration and to learn that there is a strength in numbers. Manolo Saнz had used much effort, for many years, to win in the way he won today. He probably knew that someday La Vuelta was gonig to start with a team time trial and that his team was going to win. But the truth is that he was not the only one who had that dream. Many people had bet on the yellow squad.

The Once men had already showed a very good performance in Le Tour and then in Spain, in Burgos. All his riders showed that they were ready to win in Valencia, and, along these streets they showed the power they had inside riding at an average speed of 56 kilometres per hour. They were the best all the time and they got their deserved prize: the Gold Jersey. As Joseba Beloki was the first rider to cross the finish line, the first leader of La Vuelta was the best Spanish rider, second position overall in Le Tour, after Lance Armstrong. But the same time got Igor Gonzбlez de Galdeano and the powerful Portuguese rider Josй Azevedo.

Saнzґs powerful engine served as a reference point for every team. However, differences were not huge. US Postal team, with Roberto Heras and Jose Luis Rubiera, did not disappoint anyone. They were very regular and lost just 14 seconds, very little quantity for a team who wants to arrive in Madrid in a very good position. Similar behaviour showed Vicente Beldaґs team, Kelme-Costa Blanca, achieving the third position in the stage standings. Oscar Sevilla can feel satisfied. The team who did not live up to the expectations they had aroused was Team Coast, ruled by Juan Fernбndez. His men lost 39 seconds and that means bad news for last yearґs winner, Angel Casero.

The show was fantastic, the streets of Valencia were crowded with enthusiasts who cheered the 23 teams. Even the modest teams were cheered.
Not all of them ended the day in a happy mood, as, for instance, Paolo Salvoldelli, Index-Alexiaґs leader, lost 2:38 at the finish line. Gilberto Simoni and his team did not show a good performance either as they lost 1:13. Once-Eroskiґs experience in this kind of trials showed that not every team trains for this trial in the same way. You have to be in a very good form to reach an average of 56.015 kilometres per hour and People usually say that a victory never comes alone.”

Stay tuned for photos and Alastair Hamilton’s eye-witness account of the proceedings.

Results – Stage 1 TTT
1. ONCE-Eroski 26:21
2. US Postal a 14
3. Kelme Costa Blanca a 15
4. Team Telekom a 18
5. Fassa Bortolo a 23
6. Cofidis a 26
7. Ibanesto.com a 27
8. Team Coast a 39
9. Mapei-Quick Step a 42
10. Acqua e Sapone a 43
11. Phonak a 47
12. Lampre Daikin a 54
13. Milaneza-MSS a 54
14. Domo-Farm-Frites a 59
15. Euskaltel a 1:03
16. Tacconi Sport a 1:13
17. Saeco Longoni a 1:13
18. Bigmat.Auber93 a 1:16
19. Jazztel-C. Almeria a 1:21
20. Alessio a 1:24
21. AG2R Prevoyance a 1:26
22. Relax Fuenlabrada a 1:31
23. Index Alexia a 2:38

Overall – Stage 1
1є 161 BELOKI, Joseba ESP ONE 26:21
2є 162 GLEZ. GALDEANO, Igor ESP ONE m.t.
3є 163 AZEVEDO, Josй POR ONE m.t.
4є 164 DIAZ JUSTO, Rafael ESP ONE m.t.
5є 166 JAKSCHE, Jцrg GER ONE m.t.
6є 168 SERRANO, Marcos ESP ONE m.t.
7є 169 ZARRABEITIA, Mikel ESP ONE m.t.
8є 225 CRUZ, Antonio USA USP a 14
9є 223 BARRY ,Michael CAN USP a 14
10є 227 PEСA, Victor Hugo COL USP a 14

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