What's Cool In Road Cycling

La Vuelta A Espaсa: Rest Day Thoughts

It’s the first rest day of this years Vuelta a Espaсa, the Pyrenees are behind us and so are some of the star riders. The top eleven riders are within 4 minutes 25 seconds of each other, there is still eleven stages to go, two time trials, two summit finishes and a lot of action to come.

Not my best photo, O.K.

World champ Mario Cipollini went home after the first stage, which is what most people expected him to do, Ivan Quaranta did 3 kilometers then saw a chip shop that sold fatty meat pies, burst his skin suit and went home, Alex Zuella just had enough, Spanish new hope, Pecharromбn, was going to do big things, but he went home. Quick Step lost a lot, first Frank (change Fr for W) Vandenbrouke, I don’t remember seeing him? They say he started, but he went home. “Tricky Dicky” Virenque was sent home along with the second team car, it seems his hand got stuck to the door frame when the road started to go up hill, but of course Mr. Virenque has never been known to cheat. Does this cheapen his mountains jerseys from the Tour de France? It does for me.

On the other side of things, the three riders from Relax who were involved in a crash on the first day are doing a “Hamilton”, I don’t mean me, which would be going down the Pub, I mean Tyler, as in soldiering on. Santi Blanco had such a black eye he couldn’t see, but he didn’t go home. Nether did Fabian Jeker when he was in the winning break and looking like the strongest rider there, when he was hit by a speeding police motorbike, for a couple of minutes, to me, he looked dead, he got up and remounted, he didn’t go home either.

So to the action! We’ve had it all, Petacchi setting records and losing to Zabel. New stars: overall leader Nozal, young Kelme rider Valverde and how could any one forget ex-mountain biker, Michael Rasmussen. The old stagers are not doing so well, last year’s winner Aitor Gonzбlez isn’t firing on all cylinders, yet. Roberto Heras’s Manager Johann Bruyneel has said that he had wanted less time between him and the leader after the Pyrenees. Angel Casero has a sore knee and is an hour and a half down. One bit of good news is Oscar Sevilla, who has done nothing all year looked good yesterday and may be nearly eleven minutes down but could shake things up later.

O.K. so who’s going to win? Tough call. Nozal could hold on to the lead, more likely I think he’s looking after it for team mate Igor Gonzбlez de Galdeano, same goes for U.S. Postal, Triki Beltran looks to be the better bet. Frigo or the TerminAitor at Fassa Bortolo? Nether looks that good. Valverde, Mancebo, Rasmussen or Osa could pull a surprise. U.S. Postal seem worried about Luis Pйrez of Cofidis, the other day he got away near the end of a stage, the Postals shut the door on him and had him back very quickly. So it’s all still open and should be good sport, what ever.

Oh yea! There will be more Daily Distractions soon, lads.

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