La Vuelta Adds 23rd Team
In addition to the 22 “official” teams lining up in Gijon on September 6th, organizers of La Vuelta have added a star-studded 23rd team of 10 ex-racers to add color, depth, and who knows what else to reporting of this year’s race.
– Reported by la Vuelta – La Vuelta 2003, that will start on the 6th of September in Gijуn with a team time trial, will have 23 teams of great riders. The Team Managers have already handed over to the organisers of LaVuelta the preliminary list of the 22 enrolled teams, that will be official on the 3rd of September. But we have to add one more team to these 22; this 23rd team has been made up by the organisers of the race; ten ex-riders will contribute to the development of this edition of the Vuelta a Espaсa with all their knowledge as reporters and collaborators. The ten riders that make up this special team are: Abraham Olano, Melchor Mauri, Herminio Dнaz Zabala, Neil Stephens, Jesъs Rodrнguez Magro, Miguel Angel Iglesias, Jesъs Cruz “Pantera” Martнn, Antonio Sбnchez, Alberto Leanizbarrutia and Josй Enrique Cima.
La Vuelta organisers want this stars team to contribute to the organization of the event with all their experience and at the same time to come closer to the authorities, sponsors and guests. They will also reinforce the relationships of the organisers with the different teams for them not to have any problem in or out of the competition.
Abraham Olano is, no doubt, one of the great riders in Spanish cycling and he will be a first-rate collaborator in this team of La Vuelta. Very few professional riders have such a brilliant list of achievements as this rider born in Guipъzcoa has. Apart from winning La Vuelta in 1998, he has showed a spectacular performance in all the races he has taken part, he has stepped on every single podium and his list of important achievements is endless.
Melchor Mauri, who stopped being a professional rider last year, has been one of the best timetrialists in the Spanish cycling. He won the Vuelta a Espaсa in 1991 and he also achieved the silver medal in the Time Trial World Championship in Holland in 1998.
Herminio Dнaz Zabala has been one of the riders who has worked hard for the Spanish cycling. The Cantabria-born rider is part of the history of the Once team as he was the first rider to achieve the first victory for the yellow team in the Vuelta a Espaсa. Another brilliant star in Spanish cycling has been Alberto Leanizbarrutia. He became a professional rider with the Hueso team in 1985 and then he also rode for Zahor, Teka, Clas and Once. The Australian-born rider, Neil Stephens, came to Spain with the Paternina in 1989 and then he changed to Caja Rural, Artiach, Festina and Once. He started to shine in Villafranca de Ordizia but then he made a name for himself in the Tour de France and in the Vuelta a Espaсa.
The rider born in Madrid, Jesъs Rodrнguez Magro, became a professional rider when he was just 22 years old with the Zor and Mнnguez and Cordero, then he also rode for Teka, Reynolds and Banesto. He won in Burgos, Urkiola and Asturias but gave the best of himself to Pedro Delgado and Miguel Indurain.
Controlling the race we will have the ex-rider Miguel Angel Iglesias, who has been called “Mister sprints” as he achieved the hot spot sprint prize in La Vuelta 87, 88, 89, 90 and 91. Miguel Angel was a brilliant sprinter and a tireless rider as good as Antonio Sбnchez who is also another member of this special team of La Vuelta 2003. Jesъs Cruz “Pantera” Martнn, who achieved a spectacular stage win in Jaйn in La Vuelta 1991, will also be working with them. The Asturias-born rider, Josй Enrique Cima, who rode for Novostil- Transmallorca, Kas and Teka, is another excellent member of this group. Cima won in Cangas de Onнs in the Vuelta 1978 in a very similar stage to the second one of this edition 2003 that had also started in Gijуn with the great Bernard Hinault following his wheel.
With this so special team, La Vuelta becomes even bigger and those who were stars now will be contributing with their experience and their love for cycling.