Isidro Nozal Hot Favourite For The Final Victory
Isidro Nozal hot favourite for the final victory
The longest time trial in Vuelta a Espaсa has finished with the image of Isidro Nozal and Manolo Saнz, leader and team manager of Once-Eroski crying together next to the podium in Albacete.
Both men, who are from Cantabria, could not help the tears and recognized that the Gold Jersey can not be worn by any other rider. Isidro Nozal has managed to achieve the stage win but what is more he has been able to beat the brilliant timetrialist David Millar for a second time.
Nozalґs victory, 13 seconds quicker than Millar, is very important for the yellow team that will lose their sponsorship at the end of the season as well as it is very important for the rider born in Guriezo. It is a personal success that must be kept until he arrives in Madrid and that will take him to the stardom of cyclist. Nozal has managed to get a lead of more than three minutes on his team mate Igor Gonzбlez de Galdeano and of more than five on a remarkable Roberto Heras. Having still several stages to face, Roberto Heras is the man to attack at La Pandera, Sierra Nevada and Abantos.
The US Postal leader has done a brilliant time trial today; he lost just 1:45 minutes and was always concentrated on what he was doing. Something similar tried to do his team mate Manolo Beltrбn but he was not so lucky. The Fassa Bortolo riders were completely at the other side; Aitor Gonzбlez, last year winner of Vuelta a Espaсa, lost more than five minutes when many people thought that he had recovered his power. Aitor has done quite bad all throughout this season and has said good-bye to the podium in Albacete. Even the young rider of Kelme-Costa Blanca, Alejandro Valverde managed to overtake him during the race and recover the two-minute advantage that he had on him at the beginning of the stage. Darнo Frigo and Michael Rasmussen did not succeeded today, either. If we take a look at the Overall Standings, we can say that Francisco Mancebo and Unai Osa of ibanesto.com were able to keep their positions as well as Luis Pйrez who is eighth position Overall now. All of them have to congratulate Isidro Nozal who does not seem ready to lose the Gold Jersey. Once-Eroski has two chances for the final victory as well as the American riders of US Postal with Heras and Beltrбn.
Osvaldo Menйndez/Prensa La Vuelta.