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Thursday’s Euro-File: Casero readies for Vuelta defense; Blijlevens back; Freire wants a World Cup win

Defending Vuelta a Espana champion Angel Casero is currentlyracing in the two-week Tour of Portugal to get ready for Spain's three-weeknational tour.Casero has been dogged with injuries this year and underwent knee surgery in April. His Team Coast was overlooked for an at-large bid for the Tour de France and Casero has a lot riding on a strong Vuelta.“This Tour of Portugal is 14 very demanding days and is perfect formy preparation for the Vuelta,” Casero told the Portuguese daily Publico.“The Tour of Portugal is very hard and it will help me recover from myknee operation I had in

By Andrew Hood

Defending Vuelta a Espana champion Angel Casero is currentlyracing in the two-week Tour of Portugal to get ready for Spain’s three-weeknational tour.Casero has been dogged with injuries this year and underwent knee surgery in April. His Team Coast was overlooked for an at-large bid for the Tour de France and Casero has a lot riding on a strong Vuelta.“This Tour of Portugal is 14 very demanding days and is perfect formy preparation for the Vuelta,” Casero told the Portuguese daily Publico.“The Tour of Portugal is very hard and it will help me recover from myknee operation I had in April.”Casero said he wants to use the two-week stage race to help lose “fourkilos of weight that I have put on since the operation. This will helpme defend my title at the Vuelta.”Casero said he will help his teammates at the Volta a Portugal and perhapstest his legs in the 23.9-km individual time trial that concludes the racenear Lisbon on Aug. 16.Tour of Burgos pays homage to Tour greats
The Tour of Burgos (Aug. 12-16) will pay homage to some of cycling’sgreats on a final-stage ceremony to honor Tour de France champions. Thosescheduled to attend are five-time Tour winners Miguel Indurain, EddyMerckx and Bernard Hinault as well as Pedro Delgado andFedericoBahamontes, the first Spanish winner of the Tour in 1959.Lance Armstrong, fresh off his fourth Tour victory, declinedan invitation to participate at the ceremony and will not be competingat the key Vuelta warm-up race that’s he started the past two years.According to race director Gregario Moreno, Armstrong said, “I do notconsider myself at their level and my presence would distract from theceremony.”This year’s race will likely be a showdown between ibanesto.com, whichwill start Francisco Mancebo, Leonardo Piepoli and Juan MiguelMercado, and the U.S. Postal Service, which will come with RobertoHeras, Jose Luis Rubiera, Victor Hugo Pena and Americans ChristianVande Velde, Chann McRae and David Clinger.Team list for the Vuelta a Burgos:
Telekom
Lotto
Vlaanderen
CSC
Euskaltel
Banesto
Kelme
Relax
Jazztel
ONCE
Alessio
Fassa Bortolo
Saeco
Phonak
De Nardi
U.S. Postal Service.Blijlevens on the rebound
The Dutch sprinter Jeroen Blijlevens will return to racing Fridayfor a Belgian race and then Sunday for another race in Bochum, Germany.The winner of stages at the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta aEspana has been troubled since April will an bronchial infection. The Domosprinter trained with teammate Johan Museeuw during July at St. Moritz,Switzerland and will also race in the Tour of Holland later this month.Blijlevens will be hoping for some strong results as his contract is upat the end of this year.Freire still hunting World Cup win
Oscar Freire might have two rainbow jerseys but he’s yet towin a World Cup race. The Spanish rider is hoping his luck will changein Saturday’s Classica San Sebastian, the seventh stop in the 10-roundWorld Cup series.Freire abandoned the 2002 Tour de France after crashing just days afterwinning a stage in his Tour debut. He raced in the HEW Cyclassics lastweekend but missed the winning break late in the race. He will skip theGP Zurich (Aug. 18) and instead race at Paris-Tours in September.“I’m in more or less good shape, but not where I’d like to be,” Freiretold El Diario Vasco. “When I abandoned the Tour I didn’t touchthe bike for five days and later you pay the price as you try to get backinto shape. If I could do something in the mountains, I would notice itless, but I can only fight to win flat stages. I’m not bad, but in thisrace you have to be very good to be able to stay with the favorites atJaizkibel, where everything happens.”Jaizkibel is the category-one climb just 20 km from the finish lineon San Sebastian’s Boulevard. Freire has been plagued with back injuriesin his career and fell on his back when he crashed in the Tour’s seventhstage.“I have all my crashes on my back. I don’t know how it happens. On thebike, I don’t hurt, but off of it, yes. When I wake up in the morning,I have to wait five minutes before I can start moving,” he said. “I don’tknow how I do it, but I always have falls in the same place.”Classica San Sebastian startlistCSC – TISCALI
1. Jalabert, Laurent
2. Sastre, Carlos
3. Rasmussen, Michael
4. Sorensen, Nicki
5. Blaudzun, Michael
6. Cerezo, Francisco
7. Calvente, Manuel
8. García, MarcelinoFassa Bortolo
11. Casagrande, Francesco
12. Belli, Wladimir
13. Bartoli, Michele
14. Basso, Ivan
15. Montgomery, Sven
16. Stangelj, Gorazd
17. Valjavec, Tadej
18. Velo, MarcoTEAM TELEKOM
21. Guerini, Giuseppe
22. Heppner, Jens
23. Julich, Robert
24. Livingstone, Kevin
25. Bölts, Udo
26. Kopp, David
27. Schumacher, Stefan
28. Yakovlev, SergueiRabobank
31. Dekker, Erik
32. Boogerd, Michael
33. De Groot, Bram
34. Leipheimer, Levi
35. Wauters, Marc
36. Emgels, Addy
37. Niermann, Grischa
38. Kroon, KarstenMapei-Quick Step
41. Freire, Oscar
42. Bettini, Paolo
43. Evans, Cadel
44. Horrillo, Pedro
45. Nardello, Daniele
46. Cioni, Dario David
47. Bramati, Davide
48. Cañada, DavidLotto-Adecco
51. Verbrugghe, Rick
52. Aerts, Mario
53. Van Petegen, Peter
54. Brand, Cristophe
55. Baguet, Serge
56. Van de Wouwer, Kurt
57. Mikhailov, Guennadi
58. Stremersch, TomiBanesto
61. Mancebo, Francisco
62. Osa, Unai
63. Flecha, Juan Antonio
64. Latasa, David
65. Pascual, Javier
66. Arrieta, José Luis
67. García, José Vicente
68. Gutierrez, IvánCofidis
71. Kiviliev, Andrei
72. Lelli, Massimiliano
73. Millar, David
74. Cuesta, Iñigo
75. Atienza, Daniel
76. Fernandez, Bingen
77. Mattan, Nico
78. Planckaert, JoONCE-Eroski
81. BelokiI, Joseba
82. Glez. Galdeano , Igor
83. Azevedo, José
84. Jaksche, Jorg
85. Nozal, Isidro
86. Zarrabeitia, Mikel
87. Serrano, Marcos
88. Pradera, MikelU.S. Postal Service
91. Armstrong, Lance
92. Heras, Roberto
93. Rubiera, José Luis
94. Hincapie, George
95. Landis, Floyd
96. Ekimov, Vjatceslav
97. McRae, William
98. Peña, Victor HugoDomo – Farm Frites
101. Musseuw, Johan
102. Merckx, Axel
103. Virenque, Richard
104. Bruylandts, Dave
105. Cassanni, Enrico
106. Kashechkin, Andrey
107. Konecny, Tomas
108. WadeckI, PiotrLampre – Daikin
111. Rumsas, Raimondas
112. Tonkov, Pavel
113. Garate, Juan Manuel
114. Cortinovis, Alessandro
115. Missaglia, Gabriele
116. Pinnotti, Marco
117. Serpellini, Marco
118. Spruch, ZbigniewKelme – Costa Blanca
121. Gonzalez, Aitor
122. Vicioso, Angel
123. Cabello, Francisco
124. Cuenca, Juan Miguel
125. Valverde, Alejandro
126. Julia, José Cayetano
127. Pascual, Javier
128. Manzano, JesusTacconi Sport – Emmegi
131. Frigo, Dario
132. Luttenberger, Peter
133. Borghi, Ruggero
134. Bortolami, Gianluca
135. Donati, Massimo
136. Gaynitdinov, Dmitri
137. Gili, Marco
138. Hauptman, AndrejEuskaltel Euskadi
141. Etxebarria, David
142. Laiseka, Roberto
143. Zubeldia, Haimar
144. Mayo, Iban
145. Martinez , Alberto
146. Etxebarria, Unai
147. López de Munain, Alberto
148. Sánchez, SamuelSaecco – Machini per cafe
151. Di Luca, Danilo
152. Simoni, Gilberto
153. Astarloa, Igor
154. Commesso, Salvatore
155. Celestino, Mirko
156. Galletti, Alessio
157. Glomser, Gerrit
158. Sacchi, FabioCredit Agricole
161. Moreau, Christophe
162. O´Grady, Stuart
163. Voigt, Jens
164. Hinault, Sébastien
165. Bessy, Fréderic
166. Hushovd, Thor
167. Labgella, Anthony
168. Morin, AnthonyAlesio
171. Gotti, Ivan
172. Dufaux, Laurent
173. Bertolini, Alessandro
174. Ivanov, Ruslan
175. Ferrara, Raffaele
176. Ferrigato, Andrea
177. Mhioljevic, Vladimir
178. Pellizotti, Franco