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Pascual Rodriguez takes Vuelta win; Heras still in charge

The road to Madrid is always bumpy in the Vuelta a España. A day after Wednesday’s decisive stage to La Covatilla, Thursday’s four-climb 196.6km stage from Béjar to Avila was perfect for a breakaway. In fact, one stayed away with journeyman Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Valenciana-Kelme) hanging on for his team's fourth win of this Vuelta. But there was certainly no cease-fire among the favorites. While Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) was able to hold his 1:13 lead over Santi Pérez (Phonak), several challengers went on the attack on yet another blistering hot day. Fourth-place Francisco Mancebo

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Pascual Rodriguez takes Vuelta win; Heras still in charge

Pascual Rodriguez takes Vuelta win; Heras still in charge

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The road to Madrid is always bumpy in the Vuelta a España. A day after Wednesday’s decisive stage to La Covatilla, Thursday’s four-climb 196.6km stage from Béjar to Avila was perfect for a breakaway. In fact, one stayed away with journeyman Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Valenciana-Kelme) hanging on for his team’s fourth win of this Vuelta. But there was certainly no cease-fire among the favorites. While Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) was able to hold his 1:13 lead over Santi Pérez (Phonak), several challengers went on the attack on yet another blistering hot day. Fourth-place Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears) tried his luck on the Cat. 1 Puerto de Serranillos at 133km and then Pérez shot away on the Cat. 2 Puerto Navalmoral with 174km to go. Heras was easily able to follow and finished safely in 11th at 1:24 back. “I wasn’t too worried about the attacks,” Heras shrugged. “There’s no real tactic in the coming days, just stay in the lead. The stage to Navacerrada will be important to try to gain more advantage for the time trial, but now we’ll just take it day by day.” There no major changes among the overall contenders and Heras remains in the driver’s seat, one day closer to his record-tying third Vuelta crown. Friday’s 142km, six-climb rollercoaster to Collada Villalba shouldn’t present too many problems for Liberty Seguros, which seems to be taking a page from the U.S. Postal Service playbook at the Tour de France. If Pérez or Valverde can’t narrow the margin to Heras in Saturday’s climbing finish to Navacerrada, Sunday’s final time trial in the streets of Madrid could be little more than a victory parade for Heras. In the Vuelta’s only flat time trial – the 40km race won by Tyler Hamilton in stage 8 – Valverde could only wrestle eight seconds out of Heras, who finished a strong 15th at 1:37 slower. Pérez, meanwhile, was riding with the idea of supporting Hamilton and Oscar Sevilla and didn’t push very hard, finishing 53rd at 3:29 back — a difference that could prove critical in the final outcome. Early exit for Landis, Barry
The Vuelta lost some big names during the hot, windy day. Former Vuelta champion Aitor González (Fassa Bortolo) and Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile) didn’t start while U.S. Postal Service lost Floyd Landis and Michael Barry, with the one-time leader Landis abandoning and Barry not starting. Both Landis and Barry were feeling the ill-effects of a virus that seemed to be making the rounds at the team, leaving the team down to just six riders after David Zabriskie abandoned in Wednesday’s stage. Team staff said the combination of searing heat during the day and cool air conditioning in the team hotels at night caused several riders to get sick. “We’re all cooked,” said Victor Hugo Peña after the stage. “They had a little chest cold and so do I. But we’re all thinking about Madrid and we’re nearly finished with the race, so we should make it okay.” Non-threatening escape
Stage-winner Pascual Rodriguez worked himself into a group of 10 riders that slipped away 31km into the race. With no challengers in the break, the weary peloton was more than content to let them take charge. The break had five minutes on the bunch at 85km and held a three minute lead over the Cat. 1 Puerto de Serranillos. The break disintegrated coming up the Cat. Puerto de Navalmoral at 174km. Pascual Rodriguez and Parra chugged ahead of the stragglers and rolled into the rising finish to Avila to dispute the stage. Parra was clearly cooked and didn’t even have the energy to challenge the Spanish veteran. The final sprint lasted little more than 50 meters and Pascual Rodriguez earned a long-sought Vuelta victory and the fourth for Valenciana-Kelme in this Vuelta. “The last two kilometers I knew that I would be faster than Parra, so I wasn’t too worried about him. I was surprised that he didn’t at least try to attack, but he was pretty cooked,” Pascual Rodriguez. “The idea was to have me up the road in case Valverde was feeling strong and I could wait for him, but it’s important to try to win the stage as well.” With three days left in the Vuelta, time is running out for Pérez, Valverde or Mancebo to try anything. If things unfold in Friday’s rollercoaster to Collado Villalba much like they did on the road to Avila, Heras just has to make it up Navacerrada on Saturday with his lead intact to secure the overall title. Then Sunday’s time trial in Madrid won’t pack the dramatic punch as it has in year’s past. In 2001, Heras lost his third place spot to teammate Levi Leipheimer. It was even worse in 2002, when he lost the race to Aitor González. Last year, the climbing time trial on the penultimate stage worked to his favor. Heras is hoping that’s the story that repeats itself.


To see how today’s stage unfolded, simply open up our LIVE COVERAGE WINDOW.

Results

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS – STAGE 18

1. Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 5:02:59

2. Ivan Parra (Col), Cafes Baque

3. Joan Horrach (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, :19

4. Hernan Buenahora (Col), Cafes Baque, :19

5. Patrick Calcagni (Swi), Vini Caldirola, :24

6. Cedric Vasseur (F), Cofidis, :35

7. Bram Tankink (Nl), Quick Step-Davitamon, :37

8. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 1:24

9. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 1:24

10. Stefano Garzelli (I), Vini Caldirola, 1:24

11. Roberto Heras (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 1:24

12. Santiago Perez (Sp), Phonak, 1:24

13. Luis Perez (Sp), Cofidis, 1:24

14. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 1:24

15. David Blanco (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 1:28

16. Marcos Serrano (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 1:32

17. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 1:33

18. David Plaza (Sp), Cafes Baque, 1:37

19. Jorge Ferrio (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 1:37

20. Angel Gomez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 1:37

21. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 1:37

22. Isidro Nozal (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 1:37

23. Unai Osa (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 1:37

24. Thorwald Veneberg (Nl), Rabobank, 1:37

25. Eladio Jimenez (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 1:37

26. Francisco José Lara (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 1:37

27. Damiano Cunego (I), Saeco, 1:51

28. Rubén Plaza (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 2:03

29. Juan Fuentes (Sp), Saeco, 2:15

30. José Gutierrez (Sp), Phonak, 2:24

31. Samuel Sanchez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2:24

32. Juan Manuel Garate (Sp), Lampre, 2:24

33. M.a. Martin Perdiguero (Sp), Saunier Duval, 2:24

34. Eddy Mazzoleni (I), Saeco, 2:24

35. Luis Pasamontes (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 2:28

36. Frank Schleck (Lux), CSC, 2:28

37. Jurgen Van Goolen (B), Quick Step-Davitamon, 2:29

38. Pablo Lastras (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 2:29

39. Manuel Calvente (Sp), CSC, 2:29

40. Pieter Weening (Nl), Rabobank, 2:29

41. J.antonio Pecharroman (Sp), Quick Step-Davitamon, 2:29

42. Aitor Perez (Sp), Cafes Baque, 2:29

43. Joaquin Lopez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 2:29

44. Haimar Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2:29

45. Francisco Garcia (Sp), Cafes Baque, 2:29

46. Manuel Beltran (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 2:29

47. Dariusz Baranowski (Pol), Liberty Seguros, 2:29

48. José Luis Arrieta (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 2:29

49. David Latasa (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 2:29

50. Oscar Sevilla (Sp), Phonak, 2:37

51. Daniel Atienza (Sp), Cofidis, 2:37

52. José Garcia Acosta (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 3:00

53. Koldo Gil (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 3:03

54. Mikel Pradera (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 3:34

55. Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile, 6:44

56. Ruslan Ivanov (MDA), Alessio-Bianchi, 6:44

57. Johan Van Summeren (B), Relax Bodysol, 6:44

58. Iñigo Chaurreau (Sp), Ag2R Prevoyance, 6:44

59. Jose Luis Rebollo (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 6:44

60. Maarten Den Bakker (Nl), Rabobank, 6:44

61. David CaÑada (Sp), Saunier Duval, 6:44

62. Luca Paolini (I), Quick Step-Davitamon, 6:44

63. Josep Jufre (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 6:44

64. Vladimir Miholjevic (CRO), Alessio-Bianchi, 6:44

65. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Phonak, 6:44

66. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), CSC, 6:44

67. Bert Grabsch (G), Phonak, 6:44

68. Stephan Schreck (G), T-Mobile, 6:44

69. Klaus MÖller (Dk), Alessio-Bianchi, 6:44

70. Benoit Joachim (Lux), U.S. Postal Service, 6:44

71. Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus), U.S. Postal Service, 6:44

72. Roberto Sgambelluri (I), Vini Caldirola, 6:44

73. José Miguel Elias (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 6:44

74. Jörg Jaksche (G), CSC, 6:44

75. Rafael Casero (Sp), Saunier Duval, 6:44

76. Antonio Cruz (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 6:44

77. Bingen Fernandez (Sp), Cofidis, 6:44

78. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Saunier Duval, 6:44

79. Sylvester Szymyd (Pol), Saeco, 6:44

80. Felix Cardenas (Col), Cafes Baque, 6:49

81. Marius Sabaliauskas (Lit), Saeco, 7:59

82. David Herrero (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 9:32

83. Joost Posthuma (Nl), Rabobank, 9:32

84. Kevin De Weert (B), Rabobank, 9:32

85. Dario David Cioni (I), Fassa Bortolo, 12:50

86. Victor Hugo PeÑa (Col), U.S. Postal Service, 13:17

87. Jan Hruska (Cz), Liberty Seguros, 18:44

88. Giampaolo Caruso (I), Liberty Seguros, 18:44

89. Igor Glez. Galdeano (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 18:44

90. Mauro Gerosa (I), Vini Caldirola, 21:08

91. Mariano Piccoli (I), Lampre, 21:08

92. Alessandro Cortinovis (I), Lampre, 21:08

93. Pedro Horrillo (Sp), Quick Step-Davitamon, 21:08

94. Guido Trenti (USA), Fassa Bortolo, 21:08

95. Marco Velo (I), Fassa Bortolo, 21:08

96. Cadel Evans (Aus), T-Mobile, 21:08

97. José Julia (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 21:08

98. Francisco Cabello (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 21:08

99. Alessandro Spezialetti (I), Saeco, 21:08

100. Marco Milesi (I), Vini Caldirola, 21:08

101. Manuel Quinziato (I), Lampre, 21:08

102. Antonio Colom (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 21:08

103. Julián Sanchez (Sp), Fassa Bortolo, 21:08

104. David Fernandez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 21:08

105. Heberth Gutierrez (Col), Cafes Baque, 21:08

106. Xavier Florencio (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 21:08

107. Mikel Artetxe (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 21:08

108. Paolo Fornaciari (I), Saeco, 21:08

109. Peter Luttenberger (A), CSC, 21:08

110. Joaquin Rodriguez (Sp), Saunier Duval, 21:08

111. Ellis Rastelli (I), Alessio-Bianchi, 21:08

112. Roberto Laiseka (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 21:08

113. Aitor Silloniz (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 21:08

114. Alberto Lopez De Munain (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 21:08

115. Iñaki Isasi (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 21:08

116. Matthew White (Aus), Cofidis, 21:08

117. Frank Hoj (Dk), CSC, 21:08

118. Rene Andrle (Cz), Liberty Seguros, 21:08

119. Kevin Hulsmans (B), Quick Step-Davitamon, 21:08

120. Guido Trentin (I), Cofidis, 21:08

121. Volodymir Gustov (Ukr), Fassa Bortolo, 21:08

122. Dario Andriotto (I), Vini Caldirola, 21:08

123. José Garrido (Sp), Quick Step-Davitamon, 21:08

124. Danilo Di Luca (I), Saeco, 21:08

125. Daniele Righi (I), Lampre, 21:08

OVERALL STANDINGS(AFTER STAGE 18)

1. Roberto Heras (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 68:33:04

2. Santiago Perez (Sp), Phonak, 1:13

3. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 2:15

4. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 2:16

5. Isidro Nozal (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 6:08

6. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 7:56

7. Angel Gomez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 10:21

8. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 11:18

9. Luis Perez (Sp), Cofidis, 12:25

10. Manuel Beltran (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 12:56

11. David Blanco (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 14:13

12. Stefano Garzelli (I), Vini Caldirola, 17:23

13. Marcos Serrano (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 20:01

14. Francisco José Lara (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 20:07

15. M.a. Martin Perdiguero (Sp), Saunier Duval, 22:50

16. Samuel Sanchez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 26:38

17. Jorge Ferrio (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 28:29

18. Luis Pasamontes (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 30:50

19. David Plaza (Sp), Cafes Baque, 31:29

20. Eladio Jimenez (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 32:24

21. Damiano Cunego (I), Saeco, 32:58

22. Oscar Sevilla (Sp), Phonak, 33:25

23. Unai Osa (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 33:31

24. Manuel Calvente (Sp), CSC, 36:00

25. Juan Manuel Garate (Sp), Lampre, 41:17

26. Daniel Atienza (Sp), Cofidis, 42:31

27. Joan Horrach (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 42:47

28. Ivan Parra (Col), Cafes Baque, 43:15

29. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Phonak, 43:37

30. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 45:02

31. Hernan Buenahora (Col), Cafes Baque, 48:04

32. José Luis Arrieta (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 50:55

33. Dariusz Baranowski (Pol), Liberty Seguros, 52:43

34. Felix Cardenas (Col), Cafes Baque, 53:51

35. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Saunier Duval, 57:06

36. José Gutierrez (Sp), Phonak, 59:36

37. Rubén Plaza (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 1:06:28

38. Francisco Garcia (Sp), Cafes Baque, 1:08:29

39. Johan Van Summeren (B), Relax Bodysol, 1:08:46

40. Cedric Vasseur (F), Cofidis, 1:11:24

41. Pablo Lastras (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 1:12:02

42. José Miguel Elias (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 1:13:28

43. Jörg Jaksche (G), CSC, 1:15:45

44. Joaquin Rodriguez (Sp), Saunier Duval, 1:15:59

45. Iñigo Chaurreau (Sp), Ag2R Prevoyance, 1:16:05

46. Haimar Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 1:16:23

47. Victor Hugo PeÑa (Col), U.S. Postal Service, 1:19:24

48. Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile, 1:19:34

49. David CaÑada (Sp), Saunier Duval, 1:25:47

50. Frank Schleck (Lux), CSC, 1:28:43

51. Jose Luis Rebollo (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 1:29:36

52. Dario David Cioni (I), Fassa Bortolo, 1:30:23

53. J.antonio Pecharroman (Sp), Quick Step-Davitamon, 1:31:09

54. Thorwald Veneberg (Nl), Rabobank, 1:31:12

55. Koldo Gil (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 1:31:30

56. Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 1:31:39

57. Benoit Joachim (Lux), U.S. Postal Service, 1:36:01

58. Joaquin Lopez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 1:37:00

59. Stephan Schreck (G), T-Mobile, 1:38:44

60. Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus), U.S. Postal Service, 1:40:00

61. David Latasa (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 1:40:27

62. Cadel Evans (Aus), T-Mobile, 1:40:46

63. Jurgen Van Goolen (B), Quick Step-Davitamon, 1:40:52

64. Roberto Laiseka (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 1:41:57

65. Sylvester Szymyd (Pol), Saeco, 1:42:04

66. Pieter Weening (Nl), Rabobank, 1:42:37

67. Josep Jufre (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 1:43:12

68. Patrick Calcagni (Swi), Vini Caldirola, 1:46:33

69. Giampaolo Caruso (I), Liberty Seguros, 1:49:30

70. Bram Tankink (Nl), Quick Step-Davitamon, 1:50:06

71. Bingen Fernandez (Sp), Cofidis, 1:51:46

72. Kevin De Weert (B), Rabobank, 1:53:01

73. Eddy Mazzoleni (I), Saeco, 1:56:52

74. Aitor Perez (Sp), Cafes Baque, 1:58:57

75. Antonio Cruz (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 1:59:24

76. David Herrero (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 2:00:10

77. Roberto Sgambelluri (I), Vini Caldirola, 2:00:35

78. Klaus MÖller (Dk), Alessio-Bianchi, 2:01:41

79. Guido Trentin (I), Cofidis, 2:04:04

80. Rafael Casero (Sp), Saunier Duval, 2:06:32

81. Vladimir Miholjevic (CRO), Alessio-Bianchi, 2:08:23

82. Alessandro Cortinovis (I), Lampre, 2:11:29

83. Juan Fuentes (Sp), Saeco, 2:12:54

84. Alberto Lopez De Munain (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2:13:56

85. Peter Luttenberger (A), CSC, 2:16:07

86. Luca Paolini (I), Quick Step-Davitamon, 2:17:06

87. Iñaki Isasi (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2:17:11

88. Marius Sabaliauskas (Lit), Saeco, 2:17:46

89. Ruslan Ivanov (MDA), Alessio-Bianchi, 2:21:57

90. Pedro Horrillo (Sp), Quick Step-Davitamon, 2:23:42

91. Xavier Florencio (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 2:24:31

92. Mikel Pradera (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 2:25:39

93. David Fernandez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 2:33:15

94. Bert Grabsch (G), Phonak, 2:35:02

95. Danilo Di Luca (I), Saeco, 2:35:10

96. Antonio Colom (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 2:35:58

97. José Garrido (Sp), Quick Step-Davitamon, 2:37:05

98. Maarten Den Bakker (Nl), Rabobank, 2:37:17

99. Joost Posthuma (Nl), Rabobank, 2:43:15

100. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), CSC, 2:45:30

101. José Garcia Acosta (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 2:45:50

102. Jan Hruska (Cz), Liberty Seguros, 2:46:03

103. José Julia (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 2:46:27

104. Igor Glez. Galdeano (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 2:46:32

105. Francisco Cabello (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 2:47:51

106. Mauro Gerosa (I), Vini Caldirola, 2:49:38

107. Volodymir Gustov (Ukr), Fassa Bortolo, 2:49:40

108. Manuel Quinziato (I), Lampre, 2:50:51

109. Kevin Hulsmans (B), Quick Step-Davitamon, 2:51:31

110. Marco Milesi (I), Vini Caldirola, 2:53:53

111. Mikel Artetxe (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2:59:32

112. Dario Andriotto (I), Vini Caldirola, 3:01:09

113. Heberth Gutierrez (Col), Cafes Baque, 3:05:22

114. Rene Andrle (Cz), Liberty Seguros, 3:09:12

115. Julián Sanchez (Sp), Fassa Bortolo, 3:11:41

116. Frank Hoj (Dk), CSC, 3:11:58

117. Mariano Piccoli (I), Lampre, 3:16:42

118. Alessandro Spezialetti (I), Saeco, 3:16:44

119. Daniele Righi (I), Lampre, 3:20:17

120. Guido Trenti (USA), Fassa Bortolo, 3:24:09

121. Marco Velo (I), Fassa Bortolo, 3:27:07

122. Paolo Fornaciari (I), Saeco, 3:29:17

123. Ellis Rastelli (I), Alessio-Bianchi, 3:29:46

124. Aitor Silloniz (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 3:34:50

125. Matthew White (Aus), Cofidis, 3:38:48

OVERALL POINTS(AFTER STAGE 18)

1. Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile, 152 Pts.

2. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 136 Pts.

3. Roberto Heras (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 118 Pts.

4. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 106 Pts.

5. Santiago Perez (Sp), Phonak, 96 Pts.

6. Isidro Nozal (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 76 Pts.

7. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 59 Pts.

8. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 52 Pts.

9. Pedro Horrillo (Sp), Quick Step-Davitamon, 51 Pts.

10. Angel Gomez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 44 Pts.

11. Luis Perez (Sp), Cofidis, 44 Pts.

12. Stefano Garzelli (I), Vini Caldirola, 44 Pts.

13. Manuel Beltran (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 43 Pts.

14. Antonio Cruz (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 42 Pts.

15. Felix Cardenas (Col), Cafes Baque, 41 Pts.

16. Jorge Ferrio (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 40 Pts.

17. Ivan Parra (Col), Cafes Baque, 38 Pts.

18. M.a. Martin Perdiguero (Sp), Saunier Duval, 37 Pts.

19. Victor Hugo PeÑa (Col), U.S. Postal Service, 36 Pts.

20. Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 33 Pts.

21. David Fernandez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 33 Pts.

22. Benoit Joachim (Lux), U.S. Postal Service, 29 Pts.

23. Eladio Jimenez (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 28 Pts.

24. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 28 Pts.

25. José Julia (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 27 Pts.

MOUNTAIN POINTS – OVERALL(AFTER STAGE 18)

1. Felix Cardenas (Col), Cafes Baque, 132 Pts.

2. Roberto Heras (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 107 Pts.

3. Santiago Perez (Sp), Phonak, 102 Pts.

4. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 90 Pts.

5. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 67 Pts.

6. José Miguel Elias (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 50 Pts.

7. Juan Fuentes (Sp), Saeco, 44 Pts.

8. Francisco José Lara (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 42 Pts.

9. Eladio Jimenez (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 42 Pts.

10. Isidro Nozal (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 40 Pts.

11. Jorge Ferrio (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 36 Pts.

12. Ivan Parra (Col), Cafes Baque, 36 Pts.

13. Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 36 Pts.

14. David Fernandez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 35 Pts.

15. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Saunier Duval, 35 Pts.

16. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Phonak, 34 Pts.

17. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 32 Pts.

18. Angel Gomez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 31 Pts.

19. José Luis Arrieta (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 29 Pts.

20. Luis Perez (Sp), Cofidis, 28 Pts.

21. Hernan Buenahora (Col), Cafes Baque, 24 Pts.

22. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 23 Pts.

23. Manuel Quinziato (I), Lampre, 20 Pts.

24. Unai Osa (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 20 Pts.

25. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 19 Pts.

COMBINED POINTS – OVERALL(AFTER STAGE 18)

1. Roberto Heras (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 6 Pts.

2. Santiago Perez (Sp), Phonak, 10 Pts.

3. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 10 Pts.

4. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 12 Pts.

5. Isidro Nozal (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 21 Pts.

6. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 35 Pts.

7. Angel Gomez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 35 Pts.

8. Luis Perez (Sp), Cofidis, 40 Pts.

9. Jorge Ferrio (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 44 Pts.

10. Felix Cardenas (Col), Cafes Baque, 50 Pts.

11. Francisco José Lara (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 52 Pts.

12. Eladio Jimenez (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 52 Pts.

13. Manuel Beltran (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 55 Pts.

14. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 55 Pts.

15. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 57 Pts.

16. Ivan Parra (Col), Cafes Baque, 57 Pts.

17. Stefano Garzelli (I), Vini Caldirola, 65 Pts.

18. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Phonak, 71 Pts.

19. M.a. Martin Perdiguero (Sp), Saunier Duval, 81 Pts.

20. Hernan Buenahora (Col), Cafes Baque, 83 Pts.

21. David Blanco (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 86 Pts.

22. José Miguel Elias (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 89 Pts.

23. Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 89 Pts.

24. Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile, 91 Pts.

25. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Saunier Duval, 100 Pts.

TEAM STANDINGS – OVERALL(AFTER STAGE 18)

1. Kelme – Costa Blanca, 205:45:20

2. Liberty Seguros, 18:09

3. Illes Balears-Banesto, 25:05

4. Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 36:18

5. Phonak, 45:45

6. Cafes Baque, 52:02

7. U.S. Postal Service, 1:19:58

8. Cofidis, 1:25:41

9. Saunier Duval, 1:26:22

10. CSC, 1:26:58

11. Relax Bodysol, 2:22:39

12. Saeco, 2:30:40

13. Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2:44:30

14. T-Mobile, 3:02:06

15. Vini Caldirola, 3:44:52

16. Quick Step-Davitamon, 3:56:49

17. Rabobank, 3:57:26

18. Fassa Bortolo, 4:35:03

19. Lampre, 5:05:23

20. Alessio-Bianchi, 5:18:40