By Hernan Alvarez Macias
Phonak rider Jose Enrique Gutierrez finished with the main field in yesterday's fourth stage of the Vuelta a Espana - though admittedly at the very back of the bunch - despite nursing a broken rib after falling during both Sunday's and Monday's stages.
Gutierrez lost time particularly in the Sunday crash, finding himself in 111th place after stage three. Team director Juan Fernandez told Spanish TV during stage four, "Yesterday we went to the hospital in Ciudad Real and they said to us that he had a little fracture. He will stay in the peloton and try and survive with the typical pain of a long large and hot stage. He should survive this day, this is the toughest day."
Referring to Phonak, Fernandez said there's no clear team leader. "There are two important points inside the race, Valdelinares and Lloret de Mar," he said. "After Valdelinares and Lloret de Mar we will see if [Floyd] Landis, Oscar [Pereiro] or Santos Gonzalez, whom we also trust in, becomes the leader."