The king is dead; long live the king
No, those weren’t obscene gestures from Alessandro Petacchi as he roared across the finish line victorious in Wednesday’s 165km fifth stage of the Vuelta a España.
Two fingers, then six and another four followed by another two -- that was Petacchi’s version of sign language for what has been his history-making season.
Petacchi became the first rider in history to win at least two stages in every major tour and wanted the rest of the world to know.
“I made signs to show that it wasn’t by chance that I won. If you win once you can say it’s just luck,”
Winning a stage in any grand tour used to be a big deal for the Euskaltel-Euskadi team until the orange-clad Basques barnstormed through this summer’s Tour de France.
Haimar Zubeldia and Iban Mayo were the Tour revelations, with Mayo winning at Alpe d’Huez and Zubeldia and Mayo finishing 5-6, respectively.
Since both have pulled the plug on their seasons, stage victories might be all Euskaltel can hope for in the 2003 Vuelta a España.
Euskaltel worked two riders into the winning move Tuesday and Unai Etxebarria slipped away from an eight-man break with just under 15km to go in the 151km
Australian Cadel Evans (Telekom) has retired from the Vuelta a España after breaking his collarbone in a fall, it was revealed on Tuesday.
The former mountain bike World Cup champion, considered an outside bet for overall victory, did not start the fourth stage from Santander to Burgos following a fall in the closing stages of Monday’s race in rainy conditions. The Australian, who had been ambitious to excel in stage races –even leading the 2002 Giro d’Italia for a day - has had an unfortunate season, breaking his collarbone three times this year, first at the Amstel Gold race in April and
French rider Pierrick Fedrigo (Credit Agricole) won the 136km sixth stage of the Tour of Avenir from Saint Flour to Mende on Tuesday. Spanish rider Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) retained the overall lead.
Ullrich expected to sign with Bianchi Despite threats to move to another team, Tour de France runner-up Jan Ullrich is expected to sign a three-year contract extension with Bianchi.
Ullrich, 29, has complained that he needs a stronger team if he wants to dethrone Lance Armstrong in next year’s Tour. His former Telekom team came out last week with public comments that he’s welcome back at the
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