Rodrнguez And Nozal Searched For A New Sponsor At Plб De Beret
Joaquнn Rodriguez and Isidro Nozal searched for a new sponsor for next year with the best skills a rider can have: fight and success. The Catalonia-born rider won at the ski resort of Plб de Beret in front of Aitor Osa and taking advantage of a breakaway that the favourites decided to allow on the hard ramps to Col dґAspin. Nozal was leader again and made Manolo Beltrбn lose some vital seconds.
Neither ONCE nor Eroski will be with professional cycling for next year; but these riders do not give in. They show they are good, or even very good, and they are sure of having some firm or other betting on them and the team for next year. It was a brilliant day for the yellow team, although nothing is clear yet. On the contrary. There are eleven riders within a time difference of four minutes and a half occupying the first positions in the Overall Standings of La Vuelta 2003.
The French roads were crowded with people to see the riders off. At Aspin, Horrach, Aitor Osa, Jufre, Joaquнn Rodrнguez, Eladio Jimйnez, Lunghi, Unai Etxebarrнa, Jose Lara and Constantino Zaballa managed to achieve quite an important adavantage. Thanks to this lead, they could easily face the Peyresourde and Portillуn climbs in France. The rider from Majorca, Horrach, fought very hard against Rodrнguez for the climb points; the Colombian rider, Fйlix Cбrdenas did not take part in this battle. Then the group was reduced due to the hard road and exhaustion and only two riders were ready to fight for the stage win.
Aitor Gonzбlez also was seen in two different occasions, at Peyresourde and then at Plб. The Vuelta 2002 winner is not defeated at all, he only appears when he has checked the conditions of his rivals. Roberto Heras followed him very close and he did not bad at all. Igor Gonzбlez, on the other hand, has achieved the second position overall.
But among the favourites we also find riders such as Dario Frigo, Francisco Mancebo, Alejandro Valverde, Michael Rasmussen, Unai Osa and Luis Pйrez.
The French experience was an outstanding success for La Vuelta; the enthusiasts of cycling really enjoyed with these French stages. The uncertainty is present and it will be for several days; that is what makes cycling exciting. That is what may bring new sponsors to bet on this beautiful sport.
Osvaldo Menйndez/Prensa La Velta.