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By Andrew Hood
Moments after the taking second place overall in the Vuelta a España, Isidro Nozal said he’s already thinking about the world championships.
“I’m ending this Vuelta a little bit tired, but after a few days of rest I will be very motivated for the worlds,” said Nozal, who will race in the time trial. “After my successes here in the time trials I think I will have good chances to earn a medal.”
Nozal won both of the Vuelta’s longer time trials, relegating David Millar (Cofidis) into second both times. The pair is sure to duel again in Hamilton.
Petacchi to end season at Paris-Tours
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) said his dream-like season will come to an end next weekend at Paris-Tours.
“It’s been a long season for me. I started racing in February and I have won 24 races,” Petacchi said moments after winning his fifth Vuelta stage. “I will race at Paris-Tours next weekend, whether I do well or not doesn’t matter. My season will end there.”
Petacchi became the first rider to win four or more stages in all three grand tours in the same season. He won six stages at the Giro d’Italia, four at the Tour de France and five at the Vuelta.
Heras thinking of 2005 Tour
Vuelta champion Roberto Heras said he’ll be back to next year’s Tour de France to help Lance Armstrong to try to win a record sixth title, but hinted he wants his own chances in 2005.
Next season, Heras will be in his last year of his four-year contract with the Posties.
“I will be back to help Lance to try to win the record Tour. Maybe I will have my chances in 2005,” Heras said. “I am happy to win this Vuelta. It gives me motivation to return to the Tour among the best.”
Heras was heavily criticized after leaving Kelme to join U.S. Postal Service after the 2000 season, with many thinking he gave away his best years to help Armstrong.
But Heras said “I’d make the same decision again. No one can beat Armstrong and it’s better to ride with him than against him in these times. U.S. Postal is a great team and I’ve been very happy there.”