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Saturday’s Euro-file: ONCE stacks fifth German stage; Mancebo wins Classique des Alpes; Vinokourov re-ups with Telekom

Jose Azevedo (ONCE-Eroski) claimed Saturday's fifth stage of the Tour of Germany to capture the overall lead in the seven-day race. The Portuguese rider beat teammate Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, last year's winner, at the end of the day's bumpy, 191km ride from Ravensburg, at the foot of the German Alps, to Feldberg, in the Black Forest. The two finished in the same time. Spain's Isidro Nozal Vega and German Joerg Jaksche came third and fourth, 24 and 25 seconds back, to give ONCE four of the top five places. Azevedo takes over from Swiss Gregory Rast at the top of the overall standings,

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By VeloNews Interactive wire services

Francisco Mancebo takes the Classique des Alpes.

Francisco Mancebo takes the Classique des Alpes.

Photo: Graham Watson

Jose Azevedo (ONCE-Eroski) claimed Saturday’s fifth stage of the Tour of Germany to capture the overall lead in the seven-day race.

The Portuguese rider beat teammate Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, last year’s winner, at the end of the day’s bumpy, 191km ride from Ravensburg, at the foot of the German Alps, to Feldberg, in the Black Forest. The two finished in the same time.

Spain’s Isidro Nozal Vega and German Joerg Jaksche came third and fourth, 24 and 25 seconds back, to give ONCE four of the top five places.

Azevedo takes over from Swiss Gregory Rast at the top of the overall standings, with Gonzalez de Galdeano second four seconds back and Nozal Vega third, 25 seconds behind the leader.

German Jan Ullrich, preparing for the Tour de France with his new Bianchi team, seriously undermined his chances of final victory by finishing 18th, one minute and 22 seconds down. He now sits 14th overall, 1:32 behind Azevedo.

“The reality is different from the dreams I had before the race,” said Ullrich, returning from a long injury break and a doping ban. “Overall, I’m rather satisfied. It’s looking pretty good for the Tour de France.”

The race ends on Monday in Saarbruecken but could effectively be decided in Sunday’s penultimate stage, a 40.7km individual time trial around Bretten. – Reuters

Results:
1. Jose Azevedo (P) ONCE-Eroski, 4:49:49.
2. Igor Gonzales de Galdeano (Sp) ONCE, same time
3. Isidro Nozal Vega (Sp) ONCE, at 0:24
4. Joerg Jaksche (G) ONCE, at 0:25
5. Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step-Davitamon, at 0:32
6. Angel Vicioso Arcos (Sp) ONCE, at 0:46
7. Patrik Sinkewitz (G) Quick Step-Davitamon, at 0:48
8. Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom, at 0:52
9. Goeffrey Demeyere (B) Vlaanderen, at 0:58
10. Davide Rebellin (I) Gerolsteiner same time

Overall:
1. Azevedo, 23: 58:23
2. Gonzalez de Galdeano, at 0:04 seconds
3. Nozal Vega, at 0:25
4. Jaksche, at 0:35
5. Rogers, at 0:42
6. Sinkewitz, at 0:58
7. Rebellin, at 1:08
8. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Team Telekom, same time
9. Steffen Wesemann (G), Team Telekom, at 1:14
10. Jens Voigt (G), Credit Agricole, at 1:18

Vinokourov extends with Telekom
Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov, an Olympic silver medalist and the winner of two major races this season, has signed a two-year extension to his deal with the German Telekom team.

The 29-year-old winner of the Paris-Nice stage race and Amstel Gold World Cup race will help spearhead the team’s upcoming Tour de France campaign alongside sprinter Erik Zabel and climber/time trial specialist Santiago Botero of Colombia.– Copyright 2003/AFP

Mancebo takes Classique des Alpes
Spaniard Francesco Mancebo (iBanesto.com) won the Classique des Alpes on Saturday, crossing ahead of Benoit Salmon (Phonak) and Briton David Millar (Cofidis).

The pace was fast from the gun, and just 8km into the 174km race between Aix-les-Bains and Chambery a seven-man group escaped, including José Vicente Garcia Acosta (iBanesto.com), Iker Florès (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Christophe Oriol (Ag2R Prevoyance), Salmon, Ludovic Martin (Jean Delatour), Loic Lamouller (Big Mat) and Ivailo Gabrovski (OKT). The group built a gap of 30 seconds in the next 2km, then extended it to 2:25 by the top of the Col des Prés at 37km.

Gabrovski, Lamouller, Garcia Acosta and Florès had fallen off the pace as Martin, Oriol and Salmon reached the Col du Granier, with the bunch at 3:40. At the back of the race, Tyler Hamilton (CSC), Richard Virenque (Quick Step-Davitamon), Laurent Brochard (Ag2R) and David Moncoutié (Cofidis) were falling behind and would be among the 72 riders who abandoned the race; only 41 racers made it to the finish line.

Approaching the Col du Grapillon, Iban Mayo (Euskadi-Euskatel) and Millar attacked out of the bunch. Joined by Peter Farazijn (Cof), Mancebo and Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour), the chasers closed to within two minutes of the leaders at 2km from the summit before being reabsorbed by the bunch.

At the top of the Col des Egaux at 87.5km, Sandy Casar (fdjeux.com) had a go, and was joined by Mayo and Inigo Chaurreau (Ag2R Prevoyance). Denis Menchov (iBanesto.com) caught on, and by Saint Joseph de Rivière at 123.5km the foursome was 2:30 behind the leading group, with the bunch two minutes further behind.

Fifteen kilometers later, Salmon shed his companions, and with 25km remaining he was all alone, nearly a minute ahead of Charreau while Millar and Mancebo drove the chase at 1:50.

Then, on the second trip up the Col du Granier, Mancebo made his move, attacking out of the chase just before the top of the col, 18km from the finish. He caught Salmon and rolled over the top some 25 seconds ahead of the erstwhile race leader, with Millar and the bunch at 1:45.

Mancebo would not be caught – he increased his advantage in the final kilometers and crossed the line in 4:54:49, trailed 1:17 later by Salmon as Millar leapt from the chasers to finish third at 1:41.

Results:
1. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), iBanesto.com, 4:54:49
2. Benoit Salmon (F), Phonak, at 1:17
3. David Millar (GB), Cofidis, at 1:41
4. Patrice Halgand (F), Jean Delatour, at 1:53
5. Laurent Dufaux (Swi), Alessio, at 1:53
6. Inigo Chaurreau (Sp), Ag2R Prevoyance, at 1:55
7. Pierre Bourquenoud (Swi), Jean Delatour, at 1:57
8. Piotr Wadecki (Pol), Quick Step-Davitamon, at 2:03
9. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus), Ag2R Prevoyance, at 2:08
10. Nicolas Vogondy (F), FDJeux.com, at 2:08
11. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago, at 2:12
12. Félix Garcia Casas (Sp), BIG, at 2:12
13. Juan Miguel Mercado (Sp), iBanesto.com, at 2:12
14. Fragniere Cédric (Swi), Credit Agricole, at 2:12
15. Christophe Oriol (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, at 7:10
16. Nicolas Portal (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, at 7:10
17. Mikel Astarloza (Sp), Ag2R Prevoyance, at 7:10
18. Alex Zülle (Swi), Phonak, at 7:10
19. Franck Pencole (F), OKT, at 7:58
20. Ludovic Martin (F), Jean Delatour, at 8:15
21. Andrea Peron (I), CSC, at 10:44
22. Laurent Lefevre (F), Jean Delatour, at 10:44
23. Iker Flores (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 10:44
24. Denis Menchov (Rus), iBanesto.com, at 12:46
25. Ivailo Gabrovski (BUL), OKT, at 13:03
26. Sandy Casar (F), FDJeux.com, at 13:03
27. Cyril Dessel (F), Phonak, at 13:03
28. Manuel Calvente (Sp), CSC, at 13:03
29. Buffaz MickaëL (F), Jean Delatour, at 13:03
30. Talabardon Sébastien (F), BIG, at 13:03
31. Albe Lopez de Munain (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 13:03
32. Vladimir Duma (Ukr), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago, at 13:07
33. Yohann Charpenteau (F), Credit Agricole, at 15:57
34. Raffaele Ferrara (I), Alessio, at 15:57
35. Benoit Poilvet (F), Credit Agricole, at 16:38
36. Massimiliano Lelli (I), Cofidis, at 16:38
37. Carlos da Cruz Carlos (F), FDJeux.com, at 16:38
38. Kurt van de Wouwer Kurt (B), Quick Step-Davitamon, at 16:38
39. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz), Quick Step-Davitamon, at 16:38
40. Iban Mayo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 16:38
41. Gilles Bouvard (F), Jean Delatour, at 18:13