- Article published:
- September 15, 2007, 00:00
- Susan Westemeyer and Hernan Alvarez
By Susan Westemeyer and Hernan Alvarez Inclement weather didn't stop 31 year-old Andreas Klier of...
By Susan Westemeyer and Hernan Alvarez
Inclement weather didn't stop 31 year-old Andreas Klier of T-Mobile from overpowering Tom Stamsnijder (Gerolsteiner) on the way to the finish line in stage 13 of the Vuelta a EspaÃ±a. On a day when there were no changes in the overall standings, the two battled it out for the stage win, comfortably ahead of the main bunch which had more trouble negotiating the slippery roads in treacherous weather conditions.
Klier proved he was back in action and recovered following a training crash involving a tractor this spring. He had suffered a broken cheekbone and a severe concussion.
The two, plus their dropped break-away companion, JÃ©rÃ©my Roy (FranÃ§aise des Jeux), finished roughly four minutes in front of the peloton. Daniele Bennati of Lampre beat out Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) by a whisker to take the sprint of the field.
Although the forecast was for partly cloudy with only a chance of showers, much of the stage ended up being ridden in a heavy to torrential rain, with a little hail thrown in. The rain and wet roads caused a number of crashes and mechanical problems.
"Today there were so many crashes," said RubÃ©n Lobato. "The rain made the road slippery. In a bend we touched the brakes, and I went down with De la Fuente. Fortunately, it was only the fall itself, as nothing serious happened to us. We all escaped the mass crash occurring later on. It was impressive. They'd said it would be a transition stage, but it's been one of the toughest days. It was so rainy that we couldn't see with our glasses and all, we couldn't eat either."
Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse D'Epargne), a native of the region, told TVE, "I have never seen so much rain here. There were rivers of water; it was impressive. We were lucky because we didn't have to be sorry for any crash."
Karpin Galicia's Ezequiel Mosquera said, "The problem here is that it rains and the road is full of water and it's very dangerous. It doesn't rain much here, and when it does, the road is truly an ice field. There were moments when it was nearly impossible to stay standing on the bike."
"It poured down and riders were crashing left right and center," said Kim Andersen according to team-csc.com. "A couple of our guys were involved and Michael Blaudzun suffered the worst damage with an open wound on one knuckle. It doesn't look good and we'll have to wait and see if he's able to carry on. Because of the storm the stage really took a dramatic turn for the peloton even though the break decided the winner. The terrible rain made it quite dangerous out there and although the riders tried to be careful a lot of them still ended up face down."
Saturday's stage 14 will run 207km, the longest stage of the Vuelta, from Puerto Lumbreras to Villacarrillo (Parque Natural Sierra de Cazorla). The riders will be going up and down all day, although there are only four ranked climbs, all category 3.
- Article published:
- September 15, 2007, 00:00
- Kirsten Robbins in Branson, Missouri
By Kirsten Robbins in Branson, Missouri Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer won his fifth time trial...
By Kirsten Robbins in Branson, Missouri
Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer won his fifth time trial this season during stage three of the Tour of Missouri in a twenty-nine kilometer time trial. The Californian spent his pre-season preparing heavily in the San Diego low speed wind tunnel testing the "praying mantis" time trial position that Floyd Landis invented and successfully used in the previous year. However, all that research and refinement was for naught as the UCI prohibited Leipheimer from using the adopted position one day prior to the start of the Tour de France, and again at the Tour of Missouri.
Leipheimer commented on the new regulation during the post-race press conference, calling the UCI ruling a little ridiculous. "I was forced to change it the day before the Tour de France!" he said. "It is very frustrating because they can't give a real reason why the riders arms can't be bent up as opposed to being parallel to the ground. I think they said that it creates an added support on the elbow. But I think that they have never been on a time trial bike before because it doesn't change how much weight you have on your elbow."
On July 4, the UCI's technical advisor Jean Wauthier clarified Article 1.3.023, which says that riders must have their forearms parallel to the ground. The article stipulates that the riders are allowed to have their arms extended and are permitted a "support" for the elbows and arms. However, justified by safety ergonomic considerations, when the arms are bent they become the physical point of support which is strictly prohibited by the rule.
"There are guys who ride with their arms angled down in the opposite direction but the UCI has never said anything about them," added Leipheimer. "It wasn't until Floyd Landis had his bars tilted up and I started training in that position in the wind tunnel that it became a problem with the UCI."
Preparations for a time trial have been increasingly costly and time consuming to find for the perfect position to maximize speed and power. "I spent two days in the wind tunnel -- spent a lot of time, a lot of money and we found a position that was incredibly fast, the numbers were very fast, the fastest that the tunnel had ever seen," said Leipheimer. "That was part of my motivation for this year, when I saw those numbers I lit up and I trained all year in that position; and the day before the Tour, the UCI decided that I couldn't ride in that position anymore. There is no explanation for it and I think that it is a little bit ridiculous. But I complied with all the rules and I put the bars down and you just do what you can."
Leipheimer proved in the Tour and again in Missouri to be as successful in the regulated position as he was in the "praying mantis" position, winning the Tour de France stage nineteen time trial and recently the Tour of Missouri stage three's time trial. "I still won a time trial at the Tour de France and I won here today with the bars down so I know the aero bike still works and I'm still fast," said Leipheimer. "And I'm sure that my drag was a little more, the numbers a little higher but those are the rules and I follow the rules."