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Piepoli edges hard-driving Heras as Landis clings to Vuelta’s golden jersey

Well, they said the Vuelta a España would open up when it hit the hills. It was, after all, in the script. Sunday’s 162km ride from Xátiva to the beyond-category mountaintop finish at Alto de Aitana was put there for a reason, and, simply put, that reason was to shake up the general classification in a way that no stage in this race has thus far managed to do. And it should come as no surprise that it was defending champion Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) who did much of the shaking. While he may have finished four seconds in arrears of the day’s winner, Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval),

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Piepoli pips Heras in the finale

Piepoli pips Heras in the finale

Photo: AFP

Well, they said the Vuelta a España would open up when it hit the hills.

It was, after all, in the script. Sunday’s 162km ride from Xátiva to the beyond-category mountaintop finish at Alto de Aitana was put there for a reason, and, simply put, that reason was to shake up the general classification in a way that no stage in this race has thus far managed to do. And it should come as no surprise that it was defending champion Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) who did much of the shaking.

While he may have finished four seconds in arrears of the day’s winner, Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval), Heras emerged as the real victor on a stage that saw him ride a host of pre-race favorites off his wheel, beating his former U.S. Postal Service teammate and current race leader, Floyd Landis, by nearly a minute and moving himself up the overall standings from 14th (at 2:26) to sixth (at 1:35).

Heras was in the driver's seat on the final climb

Heras was in the driver’s seat on the final climb

Photo: AFP

While Landis and teammate Manuel “Triki” Beltran continue to hold the Vuelta’s top two spots, the margin has changed, and the Posties’ most immediate threat – Phonak’s Tyler Hamilton, who started the day in third at just 32 seconds – ended his day nearly 11 minutes off the winning pace.

Left struggling over the course of the day’s final 13.3km climb were such notables as Giro d’Italia winner Damiano Cunego (Saeco), former Giro winner Stefano Garzelli, T-Mobile’s Cadel Evans and Piepoli’s teammate, Joseba Beloki.

“I knew that I stood no chance for the overall here,” said Piepoli. “I was here to ride for a stage win and to support my leader, Joseba Beloki.” It’s a supporting role the Spain-based Italian is probably not going to have to fill in coming days.

Big threats come in small packages
Heras’s move came as a surprise to few. The two-time Vuelta winner has stayed quiet most of the week while his former U.S. Postal teammates played hot potato with the leader’s jersey. Landis slipped into the maillot de oro after the opening team time trial on September 4, and the jersey stayed with the team – albeit on a series of different shoulders – until it eventually wound up back with Landis, who regained it after finishing third in Saturday’s individual time trial.

The star of that stage, of course, was Hamilton, who defended the time-trialing reputation he enhanced with an Olympic gold medal in Athens by storming the 40.1km course in 47:16. Impressive enough, but a more noteworthy performance in the long term may have been Heras’s 15th place at 1:37.

“A more than acceptable margin,” Heras said Sunday morning, with an eye cocked toward the mountains.

Landis, too, saw the climbing specialist’s performance on a flat 40km TT as significant.

“Heras won the race in 2000 and 2003, and he showed he was strong today,” Landis noted on Saturday.

Come Sunday, Heras showed that strength again on his usual turf – the hills.

The day began with the usual series of early attacks, many by low-GC contenders hoping to steal glory or at least get a break on a short, 162km stage peppered with a series of six Category 2 and 3 climbs before the final haul to Alto de Aitana. All of those attempts were pulled back as the peloton maintained a randy 42.6kph for the first hour.

A bit later — at 50km, to be precise — a 14-man break slipped off and built a three-minute lead before coming apart on the slopes of the Cat. 2 ascent of Alto de Tollos at 63.3km

From this group emerged three riders – Félix Cardenas (Cafes Baque), Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) and Tadej Valjavec (Phonak) — as a trio capable of pulling off a stage win. The three took a lead of nearly two minutes over their former breakaway companions as they negotiated the Cat. 2 Puerto de Tudons (92km) and the Cat. 2 Alto de Torremanzanas.

Cardena, Lastras and Valjavec

Cardena, Lastras and Valjavec

Photo: Graham Watson

Five minutes behind, the peloton, too, was coming apart at the seams. On the Torremanzanas, Beloki – still on the long path to recovery from that horrendous crash in the 2003 Tour – faded back. Remarkably, a few kilometers later, just as the climb hit its steepest stretch at 12 percent, Hamilton, too, began to falter.

Immediately, his teammate Oscar Sevilla, who began the day in 24th at 4:13, sat up and waited for his team leader. Sevilla helped pace the American over the summit, just 40 seconds behind the peloton, and looked hopeful as he encouraged his teammate on the descent.

But on the approach to the day’s penultimate ascent, the Cat. 3 Puerto Benifallim, Hamilton slowed again, this time waving his teammate ahead. The man who finished on top of the podium on Saturday would cross the line Sunday 10:52 behind the day’s eventual winner.

At the front of the race, Phonak director Alvaro Pino pulled Valjavec from the break, ordering him to fall back to help Sevilla and other members of the squad regroup after Hamilton’s disappearance.

Meanwhile, the peloton began to sweep up errant members of the original break of 14. As they did, one rider, Kelme’s David Blanco, scampered off the front in pursuit of the three leaders.

With Postal assuming chase duties, the gap to the leaders narrowed. The men up front weren’t much of a GC threat, but Heras’s Liberty Seguros team moved to the front to step the pace up another notch. Up ahead, Blanco caught and passed more and more of the original group of 14.

Barry drives the Postal train

Barry drives the Postal train

Photo: Graham Watson

By the base of the final climb, Cardenas and Lastras began the final 13.3km with an advantage of 2:58 on Blanco and 4:40 on the peloton.

By the time the serious climbing began, the front of the main field was all Liberty. With Heras’s chief rival from the 2003 Vuelta, Isidro Nozal, now a teammate, Liberty Seguros had full control of the group. Over the course of the next 5km the main group shriveled to 30, then to 25, and to 20, as rider after rider popped off the back.

With Nozal taking huge pulls, Postal began to lose its firepower, and eventually Landis found himself isolated in the lead group. With 5km to go, the Nozal-led group of elites had the two escapees within its sights.

Then Landis slipped off the pace.

Heras and Nozal accelerated, with only Piepoli and Jorge Ferrio Luque (Paternina) able to hold the tempo. As Cardenas and Lastras were finally caught, Nozal eased off and Heras stood on his pedals.

But Piepoli kept his wheel. And that is precisely where he stayed as Heras drove through the final kilometers of the foggy, crowd-lined climb.

“Going into the last kilometer, Heras looked at me as if to say, ‘Help me out, here,’” Piepoli said. “But I already know that I am here in the hunt for a stage win. Helping him add to the overall isn’t going to do me any good. I am here to win a stage, so I shook my head.”

Heras tested the mettle of his opponent one last time, but Piepoli hung tough and then made his own attack. It stuck, and the Italian had ample time to look over his shoulder, zip up his jersey, wave his arms a few times and then really celebrate as he crossed four seconds ahead of Heras and 10 ahead of Nozal

Behind followed a string of men who still have a realistic chance of denying Heras his third Vuelta title: Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears-Banesto), now third overall at 38 seconds; Alejandro Valverde (Kelme), now fifth at 57 seconds; Landis, who remains in the lead; Beltran, in second at 0:33; Denis Menchov (Illes Balears-Banesto), now seventh at 1:52; and Carlos Sastre (CSC), eighth at 1:55.

Heras charges toward the finish with Piepoli in tow

Heras charges toward the finish with Piepoli in tow

Photo: Graham Watson

To be certain, Heras himself still sits only sixth at 1:35. But after Sunday’s performance and two more days of climbing before Wednesday’s rest day, the man from Liberty has to be considered an odds-on favorite.


Partial results are posted.

To see how the stage developed, click our Live Update Window.

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Results


INDIVIDUAL RESULTS – STAGE 9

1. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 4:29:36

2. Roberto Heras (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 0:04

3. Isidro Nozal (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 0:10

4. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 0:15

5. Jorge Ferrio (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 0:25

6. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 0:29

7. Denis Menchov (Rus), Illes Balears-Banesto, 0:41

8. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 0:52

9. Floyd Landis (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 0:55

10. Aitor Gonzalez (Sp), Fassa Bortolo, 1:09

11. Angel Gomez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 1:10

12. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 1:14

13. Manuel Beltran (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 1:18

14. Felix Cardenas (Col), Cafes Baque, 1:18

15. Santiago Perez (Sp), Phonak, 1:18

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

17. David Blanco (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 1:27

18. Pablo Lastras (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 1:51

19. Peio Arreitunandia (Sp), Cafes Baque, 2:02

20. M.a. Martin Perdiguero (Sp), Saunier Duval, 2:08

21. Stefano Garzelli (I), Vini Caldirola, 2:08

22. Juan Manuel Garate (Sp), Lampre, 2:08

23. Joaquin Rodriguez (Sp), Saunier Duval, 2:10

24. Luis Perez (Sp), Cofidis, 2:12

25. Unai Osa (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 2:12

26. Francisco José Lara (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 2:24

27. Hernan Buenahora (Col), Cafes Baque, 2:47

28. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Saunier Duval, 2:59

29. Luis Pasamontes (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 3:00

30. Samuel Sanchez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 3:16

31. Rubén Plaza (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 4:04

32. Jörg Jaksche (G), CSC, 4:05

33. Daniel Atienza (Sp), Cofidis, 4:05

34. Marcos Serrano (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 4:43

35. David Plaza (Sp), Cafes Baque, 4:51

36. Jurgen Van Goolen (B), Quick Step-Davitamon, 4:51

37. Manuel Calvente (Sp), CSC, 4:51

38. Cadel Evans (Aus), T-Mobile, 5:19

39. Victor Hugo PeÑa (Col), U.S. Postal Service, 5:19

40. Ivan Parra (Col), Cafes Baque, 5:19

41. Dariusz Baranowski (Pol), Liberty Seguros, 5:19

42. Jose Luis Rebollo (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 5:54

43. Iñigo Chaurreau (Sp), Ag2R Prevoyance, 6:10

44. Oscar Sevilla (Sp), Phonak, 6:10

45. J.antonio Pecharroman (Sp), Quick Step-Davitamon, 6:10

46. Johan Van Summeren (B), Relax Bodysol, 6:10

47. José Miguel Elias (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 6:10

48. Kevin De Weert (B), Rabobank, 6:10

49. Christophe Oriol (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, 6:10

50. Francisco Garcia (Sp), Cafes Baque, 6:10

51. Benoit Joachim (Lux), U.S. Postal Service, 6:10

52. Stephan Schreck (G), T-Mobile, 6:23

53. Joan Horrach (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 7:02

54. Joaquin Lopez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 7:10

55. Oscar Freire (Sp), Rabobank, 10:43

56. José Luis Arrieta (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 10:43

57. Eladio Jimenez (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 10:43

58. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Phonak, 10:52

59. Tyler Hamilton (USA), Phonak, 10:52

60. Patrick Calcagni (Swi), Vini Caldirola, 10:52

61. Stuart O’Grady (Aus), Cofidis, 12:00

62. Giampaolo Caruso (I), Liberty Seguros, 12:00

63. Michael Barry (CAN), U.S. Postal Service, 12:00

64. Eddy Mazzoleni (I), Saeco, 12:00

65. Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile, 12:00

66. David CaÑada (Sp), Saunier Duval, 12:00

67. Alberto Lopez De Munain (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 12:00

68. Bingen Fernandez (Sp), Cofidis, 12:00

69. Haimar Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 12:00

70. Alessandro Cortinovis (I), Lampre, 12:00

71. Pieter Weening (Nl), Rabobank, 12:00

72. Peter Luttenberger (A), CSC, 12:00

73. Cristian Moreni (I), Alessio-Bianchi, 12:00

74. Guido Trentin (I), Cofidis, 12:00

75. Volodymir Gustov (Ukr), Fassa Bortolo, 12:00

76. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), T-Mobile, 12:00

77. Cedric Vasseur (F), Cofidis, 12:00

78. Aitor Perez (Sp), Cafes Baque, 12:00

79. Danilo Di Luca (I), Saeco, 12:04


OVERALL CLASSIFICATION(AFTER 9 STAGES)

1. Floyd Landis (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 31:46:48

2. Manuel Beltran (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 0:33

3. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 0:38

4. Isidro Nozal (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 0:51

5. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 0:57

6. Roberto Heras (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 1:35

7. Denis Menchov (Rus), Illes Balears-Banesto, 1:52

8. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 1:55

9. Aitor Gonzalez (Sp), Fassa Bortolo, 2:25

10. David Blanco (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 3:30

11. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 4:19

12. Angel Gomez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 4:26

13. Santiago Perez (Sp), Phonak, 4:35

14. Luis Perez (Sp), Cofidis, 5:06

15. Juan Manuel Garate (Sp), Lampre, 5:18

16. Damiano Cunego (I), Saeco, 5:35

17. Pablo Lastras (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 6:52

18. Francisco José Lara (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 7:10

19. Stefano Garzelli (I), Vini Caldirola, 7:24

20. M.a. Martin Perdiguero (Sp), Saunier Duval, 7:27

21. Luis Pasamontes (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 7:39

22. Peio Arreitunandia (Sp), Cafes Baque, 7:44

23. Samuel Sanchez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 9:45

24. Felix Cardenas (Col), Cafes Baque, 10:09

25. Joaquin Rodriguez (Sp), Saunier Duval, 10:09

26. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Saunier Duval, 11:41

27. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 14:51

28. Unai Osa (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 15:17

29. Jorge Ferrio (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 16:20

30. Hernan Buenahora (Col), Cafes Baque, 19:48

GENERAL POINTS – OVERALL(AFTER 9 STAGES)

1. Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile, 92 Pts.

2. Stuart O’Grady (Aus), Cofidis, 90 Pts.

3. Oscar Freire (Sp), Rabobank, 87 Pts.

4. Alessandro Petacchi (I), Fassa Bortolo, 75 Pts.

5. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 65 Pts.

6. Floyd Landis (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 50 Pts.

7. Denis Menchov (Rus), Illes Balears-Banesto, 50 Pts.

8. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 43 Pts.

9. Roberto Heras (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 41 Pts.

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

11. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 39 Pts.

12. Manuel Beltran (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 38 Pts.

13. Aitor Gonzalez (Sp), Fassa Bortolo, 38 Pts.

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

15. Pedro Horrillo (Sp), Quick Step-Davitamon, 35 Pts.

16. Giosue Bonomi (I), Saeco, 29 Pts.

17. Benoit Joachim (Lux), U.S. Postal Service, 28 Pts.

18. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 28 Pts.

19. M.a. Martin Perdiguero (Sp), Saunier Duval, 27 Pts.

20. Tyler Hamilton (USA), Phonak, 26 Pts.

21. Cristian Moreni (I), Alessio-Bianchi, 21 Pts.

22. David Fernandez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 20 Pts.

23. Cadel Evans (Aus), T-Mobile, 20 Pts.

24. Michael Barry (CAN), U.S. Postal Service, 20 Pts.

25. Stefano Garzelli (I), Vini Caldirola, 19 Pts.

26. Luca Paolini (I), Quick Step-Davitamon, 18 Pts.

27. Angelo Furlan (I), Alessio-Bianchi, 17 Pts.

28. Antonio Cruz (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 16 Pts.

29. Max Van Heeswijk (Nl), U.S. Postal Service, 15 Pts.

30. Marco Zanotti (I), Vini Caldirola, 13 Pts.

31. Damiano Cunego (I), Saeco, 13 Pts.

32. Patrick Calcagni (Swi), Vini Caldirola, 12 Pts.

33. Mariano Piccoli (I), Lampre, 12 Pts.

34. David Zabriskie (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 12 Pts.

35. Rubén Plaza (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 12 Pts.

36. Jorge Ferrio (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 12 Pts.

37. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), T-Mobile, 12 Pts.

38. Kevin Hulsmans (B), Quick Step-Davitamon, 11 Pts.

39. Angel Gomez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 11 Pts.

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

41. Iñaki Isasi (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 10 Pts.

42. Erki PÜtsep (Est), Ag2R Prevoyance, 9 Pts.

43. Arnaud Coyot (F), Cofidis, 9 Pts.

44. Juan Manuel Garate (Sp), Lampre, 9 Pts.

45. Andy Flickinger (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, 7 Pts.

46. Bert Grabsch (G), Phonak, 7 Pts.

47. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 7 Pts.

48. Bram Tankink (Nl), Quick Step-Davitamon, 6 Pts.

49. Joost Posthuma (Nl), Rabobank, 6 Pts.

50. Tomas Konecny (Cz), T-Mobile, 6 Pts.

51. Luis Pasamontes (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 6 Pts.

52. Ion Del Rio (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 5 Pts.

53. Santos Gonzalez (Sp), Phonak, 5 Pts.

54. Vladimir Miholjevic (CRO), Alessio-Bianchi, 4 Pts.

55. Xavier Florencio (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 4 Pts.

56. Jurgen Van Goolen (B), Quick Step-Davitamon, 4 Pts.

57. Nicolas Inaudi (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, 4 Pts.

58. Manuel Quinziato (I), Lampre, 4 Pts.

59. Luis Perez (Sp), Cofidis, 4 Pts.

60. Heberth Gutierrez (Col), Cafes Baque, 3 Pts.

61. Joseba Beloki (Sp), Saunier Duval, 3 Pts.

62. Roberto Sgambelluri (I), Vini Caldirola, 3 Pts.

63. Pablo Lastras (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 3 Pts.

64. Ricardo Serrano (Sp), Cafes Baque, 2 Pts.

65. Marco Velo (I), Fassa Bortolo, 2 Pts.

66. Michele Scotto (I), Lampre, 2 Pts.

67. Carlos Torrent (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 2 Pts.

68. Thorwald Veneberg (Nl), Rabobank, 2 Pts.

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

70. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Phonak, 2 Pts.

71. Stephan Schreck (G), T-Mobile, 2 Pts.

72. Francisco Cabello (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 1 Pts.

73. Ruslan Ivanov (MDA), Alessio-Bianchi, 1 Pts.

74. Antonio Colom (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 1 Pts.

75. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak, 1 Pts.

76. Ronald Mutsaars (Nl), Rabobank, 1 Pts.

77. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Saunier Duval, 1 Pts.

78. Unai Osa (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 1 Pts.

79. José Miguel Elias (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 1 Pts.

80. Kevin De Weert (B), Rabobank, 1 Pts.

81. Cedric Vasseur (F), Cofidis, 1 Pts.

MOUNTAIN – OVERALL (AFTER 9 STAGES)

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

2. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 33 Pts.

3. Felix Cardenas (Col), Cafes Baque, 32 Pts.

4. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 31 Pts.

5. Roberto Heras (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 27 Pts.

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

7. Isidro Nozal (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 20 Pts.

8. Pablo Lastras (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 17 Pts.

9. José Miguel Elias (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 16 Pts.

10. Denis Menchov (Rus), Illes Balears-Banesto, 14 Pts.

11. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Phonak, 14 Pts.

12. Juan Manuel Garate (Sp), Lampre, 13 Pts.

13. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 13 Pts.

14. Jorge Ferrio (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 12 Pts.

15. Heberth Gutierrez (Col), Cafes Baque, 11 Pts.

16. Kevin Hulsmans (B), Quick Step-Davitamon, 11 Pts.

17. Floyd Landis (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 10 Pts.

18. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Saunier Duval, 10 Pts.

19. Manuel Beltran (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 9 Pts.

20. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 8 Pts.

21. Aitor Gonzalez (Sp), Fassa Bortolo, 7 Pts.

22. Martin Hvastija (SLO), Alessio-Bianchi, 7 Pts.

23. Vladimir Miholjevic (CRO), Alessio-Bianchi, 6 Pts.

24. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 6 Pts.

25. Luis Perez (Sp), Cofidis, 5 Pts.

26. Daniele Righi (I), Lampre, 5 Pts.

27. Patrick Calcagni (Swi), Vini Caldirola, 4 Pts.

28. Michele Scotto (I), Lampre, 4 Pts.

29. Julien Laidoun (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, 4 Pts.

30. David Zabriskie (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 4 Pts.

31. Francisco José Lara (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 3 Pts.

32. Eladio Jimenez (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 3 Pts.

33. José Luis Arrieta (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 3 Pts.

34. Erki PÜtsep (Est), Ag2R Prevoyance, 3 Pts.

35. Angel Gomez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 2 Pts.

36. Cedric Vasseur (F), Cofidis, 2 Pts.

37. Mikel Pradera (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 2 Pts.

38. Francisco Cabello (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 2 Pts.

39. Xavier Florencio (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 2 Pts.

40. Carlos Torrent (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 2 Pts.

41. Damiano Cunego (I), Saeco, 1 Pts.

42. Benoit Joachim (Lux), U.S. Postal Service, 1 Pts.

43. Unai Osa (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 1 Pts.

44. Francisco Garcia (Sp), Cafes Baque, 1 Pts.

45. Iñaki Isasi (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 1 Pts.

COMBINED GENERAL – OVERALL(AFTER 9 STAGES)

1. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 13 Pts.

2. Roberto Heras (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 20 Pts.

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

4. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 23 Pts.

5. Floyd Landis (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 24 Pts.

6. Denis Menchov (Rus), Illes Balears-Banesto, 24 Pts.

7. Manuel Beltran (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 33 Pts.

8. Aitor Gonzalez (Sp), Fassa Bortolo, 43 Pts.

9. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 46 Pts.

10. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 57 Pts.

11. Juan Manuel Garate (Sp), Lampre, 72 Pts.

12. Felix Cardenas (Col), Cafes Baque, 74 Pts.

13. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 81 Pts.

14. Benoit Joachim (Lux), U.S. Postal Service, 81 Pts.

15. Angel Gomez (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 86 Pts.

16. Damiano Cunego (I), Saeco, 90 Pts.

17. Pablo Lastras (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 92 Pts.

18. Jorge Ferrio (Sp), Paternina – Costa De Almeria, 95 Pts.

19. Luis Perez (Sp), Cofidis, 98 Pts.

20. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Saunier Duval, 130 Pts.

21. Patrick Calcagni (Swi), Vini Caldirola, 134 Pts.

22. José Miguel Elias (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 139 Pts.

23. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Phonak, 140 Pts.

24. Xavier Florencio (Sp), Relax Bodysol, 149 Pts.

25. David Zabriskie (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 150 Pts.

26. Unai Osa (Sp), Illes Balears-Banesto, 165 Pts.

27. Cedric Vasseur (F), Cofidis, 178 Pts.

28. Francisco Cabello (Sp), Kelme – Costa Blanca, 205 Pts.