By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2001 AFP
Rabobank’s Michael Boogerd won the first stage of the Tour of Valencia on Tuesday, while Telekom’s Jan Ullrich made a last-minute decision to withdraw from the event. Ullrich made his decision on Monday night, and will instead make his season debut at next week’s Tour of Murcia, where Lance Armstrong and Roberto Heras (U.S. Postal) will also kick off the racing season.
The first stage of the Tour of Valencia was contested on a 166.5km circuit beginning and ending at Puerto Sagunto. Thirty kilometers from the finish, Swiss Alex Zulle (Coast) set a rhythm up the Cat. 1 Garbi climb that only Boogerd, Fabian Jeker (Maia-MSS) and Leonardo Piepoli (iBanesto.com) followed. At the finish in Sagunto, Boogerd outsprinted Jeker to take the stage win and move into the overall lead.
1. Michael Boogerd (Nl), Rabobank, 166.5km in 4:09:32.
2. Fabian Jeker (Swi)
3. Leonardo Piepoli (I)
4. Alex Zulle (Swi), all s.t.
5. Aitor Gonzalez (Sp), at 0:07.
6. David Etxebarria (Sp)
7. Paolo Bettini (I)
8. Angel Edo (Sp)
9. Oscar Camenzind (Swi)
10. Erik Dekker (Nl), all s.t.
49. Erik Zabel (G), at 3:42.
68. Abraham Olano (Sp)
91. Stefano Garzelli (I), both s.t.
133. Marco Pantani (I), at 8:59.