www.chechurubiera.info - an online magazine for fans of Chechu Rubiera


Read about Chechu Rubiera’s dynamic 2006 ProTour season.

It’s been exciting so far with top ten finishes, sprints, punctures and fast descents. From time to time, we are able to offer you exclusively Chechu’s own words.


October to December 2006

IV Criterium Manuel Beltrán

Spanish sports press are reporting the victory of Alejandro Valverde in the IV Criterium Manuel Beltrán in Jaén last Sunday (17 December).

Chechu and Triki paired up for the team race, finishing second behind Javier Moreno y Fernando Serraano.

Vuelta a España 2007

Chechu was in Madrid last Wednesday (13 December) for the launch of the 2007 Vuelta a España. La Neuva España caught up with him after the presentation.

Of the parcours, Chechu says that he likes the route. "The Lakes, at the start of the race, will be different from other years. And the stages in Andorra have always gone well for me in the past."

"The doubt for me is my condition after the Tour de France. We saw it last year, with all the expectation surrounding Di Luca at first, and then he failed. Let's hope I can do well."

On the current disagreement between the UCI and the grand tours, Chechu argues that they have to get together and work out a solution.

"Differences have to be sorted out so that we can recover the trust of fans."

Latest news from Chechu

November 2006 : Chechu told us today that he has been very busy, giving talks in schools and clubs about cycling, and attending dinners and local events.

However, this schedule is nearly complete and he's started to train every morning and in the afternoon.

Although he's taking part in tomorrow's Memorial María Isabel Clavero race in Las Rozas, Madrid, he doesn't think his form is good.

He focuses now on the team's first training camp in California.

October : So what does a professional cyclist do when the race season is over? We asked Chechu.

"I am training very little, 2 hours maximum, 4 days a week. I enjoy riding my bike without pressure or objectives."

"This Autumn, I hope to rest and enjoy myself with my family, to charge the batteries for next season."

With major changes on the team, what's Chechu's view?

"It looks as if the team is going to change a lot. I don't know who my new team-mates are. Eleven riders less in the team is almost a new team from last year."

Chechu says that he will miss companions with whom he has ridden for the past few years, "people like Triki Beltran, Jose Azevedo and Michael Barry ..."

And what about next season?

"Even I don't know my calendar and imagine that, until next year, when we gather for the first time, we won't know it."

Fernando Alonso

We know that Chechu is great friends with fellow Asturian, Fernando Alonso. So warmest congratulations to him for winning a second World Championship.

Chechu told us, "I've know him for about five years. He trains a lot on his bike and sometimes we go out together to train. I haven't seen much of him for a while because he is very busy and is now a star. We will see each other in the winter. I am very pleased about his victory."



If you were in the Spanish capital on Sunday 29, you might have seen the Ciudad de Boadilla del Monte (on the outskirts of west Madrid) for the XIII Campeonato de la Asociación de Ciclistas Profesionales.

Professional cyclists taking part included Chechu Rubiera, Carlos Sastre, Alesandro Valverde, Samuel Sanchez and Óscar Pereiro. Samuel Sanchez won the criterium on points, Kaiku won the team title.


3 OCTOBER 2006

Chechu Rubiera won the last Spanish race of the season, the II Criterium Internacional Ciudad de Armilla.

According to Granada Hoy, thousands of fans witnessed some exciting races during the day. The event started off with races for schools, junior and women cyclists.

The professional criterium involved fifteen circuits of the local football ground, with points awarded on every circuit. Chechu won the criterium, la prueba de puntuación, on points. With a sprint on every circuit completed, it must have been a spectacle.

Chechu was reported by minuto90.com to have praised the contribution of Triki Beltran to this win.

The day finished with two wheel versus four wheel racing, cycles against Formula Three! If you can read Spanish, please do work that one out for yourself at Granada Hoy.


12 AUGUST 2006

Chechu did a great job in the exciting Clásica de San Sebastián, finishing in the bunch for the big sprint.

He crossed the line in 42nd place, in the same time as winner Xavier Florencio.

Also in the bunch was Hincapie (9th) and Azevedo (49th).

Photograph from www.uciprotour.com

The traditional 227 km circuit, which finished on Donostia Boulevard, had six climbs including the category 1 Alto de Jaizkibel, 32km from the finish. There were three category 2 (including the highest point, Alto de Udana) and two category 3 climbs.

First staged in 1981, many famous riders have taken the Clásica on the finishing straight of San Sebastián’s Boulevard including Miguel Indurain, Claudio Chiappucci, Laurent Jalabert (twice), Paolo Bettini and in 1995, Lance Armstrong.

Find out more about the race at the official website.

San Sebastián (Donostia in Basque) looks quite beautiful, take a browse through the tourism website.


7 AUGUST 2006

Last time we heard about Chechu, just after the Tour de France, he was tired and demoralised. Well, he's back and best of all, he has recovered physically and mentally after a difficult Tour.

Chechu told us today that he's spent twelve days in Menorca, on holiday with his wife, Laura. Now he's back in training for Saturday's one-day race, la Clásica de San Sebastián.

It's a very long race and as he finished the Tour very tired, it's not clear to him how well he will perform. He hopes that he can recover his moral and confidence.


Tour de France 2006 Stage 20 : 23 July 2006 176 riders started 2006 Tour de France, 139 made it to Paris today. The peloton raced round the Champs Elysées circuit at a speed which gave little clue to the hot, hard fought 3600km of this Tour. They are all heroes, their energy, determination and bloody-mindedness never fails to astonish.

And Phonak found the next America cycling hero in Floyd Landis, when Discovery were messing about with Race2Replace. Let's hope we see the last of that marketing faux pas.

This has been an amazing Tour, the most exciting for years for real fans.

Even in 2003, when Armstrong was pushed to the wire, you knew Ullrich would fall. The jersey belonged to Lance. This year, there was a real competition, breakaways, sprints and climbs. OK, team tactics were ropey at times, cyclists improvised and broke team orders. But it was great, finally a cyclist's cycle race, an aficionado's dream.

From the first week, we have been concerned about Chechu. The reports started coming that he was tired, the pictures showed him looking low, and his results every day weren't normal.

Christine Kahane spoke with Chechu this morning, he was feeling "terrible, very tired".

Let's hope he can sleep for a week in his beautiful Asturias. We have taken our inspiration from him, and he hasn't let us down. Chechu stuck with it and finished the Tour. It's an amazing achievement.

On other matters, the grapevine buzzes with news that Paolo Savoldelli is being courted by Lampre, and Jose Azevedo may be leaving Discovery also. (Nicky)

Photographs by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline.com

Stage 19 : 22 July 2006

We can't write better than Cathy Mehl at The Paceline today,

"Crossing the line with a faint smile playing on his lips, Landis took third place on the stage behind Gonchar and Andreas Kloden, but stole the big prize of the Maillot Jaune in the final stage. Left for dead on the second day in the Alps, Landis showed true grit and determination to make his Tour dreams come true."

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline.com

Chapeau to Oscar Pereiro, a future Tour winner surely, sadly not this year. Carlos Sastre will always do well, he's got a hard layer of grit and anger. He doesn't have the look of a maillot jaune though.

Ekimov's amazing TT today has propelled him above Chechu in the GC, so our man now lies in 92nd place at 2.55.44. He's bound to be a very tired man tonight, one of many.

As veteran Chechu watchers, we've never seen him look so tired.

Throughout the Tour, Chechu has commented that things are not going well for him. We know he's a modest man, so this public display of exhaustion and resignation means that it is serious.

Surely, it's time for organisers and team management to recognise that it is no longer possible, in an aspirational age of dope-free cycling, to physically ride two Grand Tours back-to-back. (Nicky)

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline

Stage 18 : 21 July 2006 Today the peloton perhaps relaxed a bit, in spite of racing a very fast stage and having the Stage 19 time trial on their minds. Yaroslav Popovych and a few others escaped after just three kilometers of riding, but they were reeled in at 30 km.

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline.com

A short while later a group of 15, containing Egoi Martinez, formed in front and gained time through most of the race. In the end, Matteo Tosatto of Quick-Step and Cofidis’ Christian Moreni led by enough to fight it out with a sprint. Tosatto came on strong and took the stage. The main peloton, including the maillot jaune, finished eight minutes behind.

Chechu finished in the maillot jaune group. All other Discovery members finished here as well, save Egoi, who finished in the front group at 1.30 back. In the GC, Chechu is now 90th, at 2.48.58. (Rebecca)

Stage 17 : 20th July 2006 Floyd Landis turned his back on the peloton today and said sayonara to them all, escaping up the tough Alpine stage early, aggressively. To the disbelief of cyclists, fans, and the cattle at the roadside, he created a huge gap and won back almost all of the time he lost yesterday. The extraordinary effort, perhaps the ride of his career, delivered him to third place in the GC, only seconds behind maillot jaune Oscar Pereiro and Carlos Sastre, who is himself on a quest for the yellow jersey.

Discovery Channel team had a mixed day again, although Hincapie, Azevedo, Padrnos and Popovych rode well with the leaders, nothing extraordinary though.

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline.com

Chechu finished, that's all you need to know. He's 88th in the GC at 2.48.58. You have to admire this man, he never gives up. A few days ago, we just wished he would go home, nurse his cold, put his feet up with a lemsip. But not now with two days to Paris. He will finish. In the words of the wise, "It's like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired - you quit when the gorilla is tired." Allez Chechu. ¡Venga!

This is a tough, exciting race, one of the best in years. Discovery Channel are in transition, they simply weren't ready for this. But Johan Bruyneel is the best, his team is immense so watch out next year.

Stage 16 : 19 July 2006 ¡Muy estupendo! Totally brilliant. Michael Rasmussen was astonishing in every way today. This could be the ride of the Tour on the key stage. Nearly half of the roads pointed upwards, and Rasmussen was the best climber today. His effort to break away early from the peloton was immense, followed by rampant climbing. First the mighty Col du Galibier, then Croix-de-Fer, Mollard and La Toussuire, 90km upwards.

Photograph by Jonathan Devich, cyclingnews.com

Rasmussen wasn't the only star today, CSC's Carlos Sastre's attack on the bunch in the last 10kms was daring and damaging, great entertainment.

Best of all, Chechu was mixing it with the best of them today, he looked easy and relaxed in a small bunch pursuing Rasmussen. Sadly, the group couldn't make the break work and it was reeled back in by the peloton. Chechu finished 66th and has now improved his GC position to 89th at 2hrs 3' 53".

I haven't mentioned Floyd Landis. He probably lost the Tour today. But who will win? For seven years, we've had certainty and security in Lance. Although there seems to be a gap in the peloton where he should be, you can't deny that this really is a sport at its very best. (Nicky)

Photograph by Fotoreporter Sirotti, cyclingnews.com

Stage 15 : 18 July 2006 The GC of the Tour de France was scrambled again in Stage 15, as Floyd Landis resumed the leadership, and Fränk Schleck won the stage. In a race of attrition, one man after another was left behind, from the Col d’Izoard, to the Col du Lautaret, and finally to the mythic summit of Alpe d’Huez.

Chechu ended the day in 140th place, and is now 96th in the GC at 1.28.32 back.

There were exciting times: the duel between Cunego and Schleck up 21 hairpin turns; the group of GC leaders emerging near the finish; Fränk Schleck’s triumphant win at the top.

And there were disappointing times. It was difficult to see Discovery suffering, George Hincapie going backwards, Popo losing time, and hardly seeing Chechu at all.

Thinking back a few days, I thought Stage 11 was depressing. But then Popovych fearlessly won Stage 12, with a thrilling escape and a huge smile. Oscar Pereiro’s plucky grabbing of the maillot jaune in Stage 13 was great fun, and the race, for me, was on again.

But Stage 15 further removes Discovery from contention, and returns the yellow jersey to the shoulders of Floyd Landis, the competition. Ouch! Will the sun ever shine again?

Am I the only one who feels uninspired by Floyd’s Tour performance, with no stage wins, no dominating performances, and no aspect of the race in which he appears head and shoulders above other riders? Other Chechu fans must feel a bit conflicted about Floyd leading the race. After all, we support Chechu, Lance’s right-hand man and the backbone of Discovery Team.

Floyd’s a former teammate. He’s a super bicycle rider. And he’s an American, like me. Congratulations to him. But the joy of watching the Tour is seeing the beauty of excellence at work, not simply overall competence. (Rebecca)

Rest Day : 17 July 2006 Musing #1: Our adventure today began at 11.45am, and as we set out, the temperature was already in the high 20s. It was one of those rare (certainly for Scotland) energy-sapping days, everybody was greasy, fractious and heart-thumpingly hot. When we finally returned at 4.30pm, the thermometer was reading 31C. Nearly five hours and exhaustion hits us all, and we flop down for an extended siesta.

One of the main features of last week's racing has been the temperature in France, rising as high as 39C. The cyclists have climbed and descended mountains for five hours, and pedalled the melting roads of picturesque Provence and the Languedoc, day after endless day. Their endurance is unimaginable. The determination which propels them to the finish is mind-blowing. The cyclists of the peloton are extraordinary men and after all the cynicism of this bizarre Tour de France, the only word for their effort is awesome. Truly awesome. This sport is simply the best.

Photograph by Graham Watson

My adventure, by the way, involved driving a couple of miles to a birthday party, enjoying a fabulous lunch of poached salmon and Pimms, on a balcony with views to Edinburgh Castle, chatting about old times and driving home the two miles home. It simply doesn't compare. (Nicky)

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline.com

Rest day musings #2 : Poetry Corner

Dancing on the Pedals : The Found Poetry of Phil Liggett, the Voice of Cycling. Somehow I knew Phil Liggett was a poet! Here are a few of the dozens of poems by Phil, spanning twenty years of his career as the King of Commentators. For rest day entertainment, or post-race meditation, try Phil’s little book, published by Breakaway Books. (Rebecca)

Eight-Second Wheelbarrow

Oh dear, Paul,
eight seconds difference
at the halfway mark.

Greg LeMond once won
the Tour de France by eight seconds.
It could be that important.

Prologue, 2004

Rolling Thunder

This is something special today
the storms that appeared to blow in
blew out
at least as far as the weather is concerned

The storm is all down there
on the highway

Stage 14, 2003

Daily Dichotomy

Very light winds
and very hot indeed
it will be an easy day
to destroy yourself

Stage 17, 1996


What has happened there?
It seemed quite a normal corner.
He must have hit somebody in the audience.

Mayo has gone.

Stage 15, 2003 On Armstrong falling on the Luz Ardiden climb

Three-Act Play on Alpe d’Huez

Well, I don’t think Ullrich believes it either
Armstrong has given everybody,
and maybe that was the plan to give everybody,
the impression that he was in trouble.

Look at the face of Ullrich
as Armstrong found his wheel
A good reply by Ullrich
and this is going to be a mano a mano now
and this has really happened before
the climb has started

A big move by Lance.
and there’s no reply coming at all from Jan Ullrich
Ullrich has got no answer
to this acceleration by Lance Armstrong.

He took a look straight into the eyes there of Jan Ullrich
and said:
Well here I go, are you coming or not:

And the answer is

Today, Armstrong gave them a big start
and ripped them apart.

Stage 10, 2001 On the Alpe d’Huez climb

Stage 14 : 16 July 2006 I'm confused today. I didn't see the whole stage, just the last hour or so. When I tuned in the gap between breakaway and peloton was three minutes something. It gradually reduced to a handful of seconds, which involved considerable risk-taking by the chasers.

The final, fast descent into Gap from the Col de la Sentinelle was deemed treacherous by commentators, on account of the melting tarmac. But the peloton roared down into Gap, and should have caught the two leaders. Popovych, then Hincapie stormed around the streets of Gap, only to be overtaken then slowed by other teams. Behind Liquigas, the first group of the peloton almost sauntered home.

The politics of the peloton is curious. Remember Armstrong and Simeoni. And now Landis and McEwen. I guess you have to be there to understand it. But I was reminded today of a story somebody told me recently. They were talking to some journalists at the Tour, Belgian I think, who said that they knew in advance who was going to win each stage. Yeah right, I thought. I watch the re-run later and think on that one some more.

Chechu is safe in Gap tonight, tomorrow's a rest day, thank goodness. He finished in eight minutes back today, and is now 86th in the GC at 57'.

The Alps are waiting.

Stage 13 : 15 July 2006 What happens to a cyclist who has a race-ruining bad day in the Pyrenees? Two days later, he can be wearing the maillot jaune! That’s what happened in Stage 13 to Spanish rider Oscar Pereiro. Pereiro, who is from Galicia - a neighbor of Asturias - succeeded in snatching the race lead today against the odds.

The longest stage of the Tour took place in heat of more than 35 ºC. The sweltering peloton let go a group of several low-placed riders in an escape attempt. As they gained ten, then 20 minutes and stayed away, intriguing ideas began to present themselves.

In the end, Phonak did not chase their old team-mate, Pereiro. Jens Voigt powered himself over the line for the stage win, with Pereiro on his wheel. Later, Pereiro mounted the podium and donned the yellow jersey.

This was a cool surprise on a hot day, in keeping with the unexpected events that have marked the last two weeks. Did Popovych’s gripping win in Stage 12 open a new chapter in this Tour?

Once again, Chechu finished in this main bunch, now sits at 89th in the GC at 49’03”.

Holey, Moley, he made us laugh. Jens Voigt told Eurosport’s Behind the Tour crew, “If there’s a mini-bar at the hotel, I’ll eat the Toblerone, leave the champagne. I like the chocolate ... I could do with a beer now.” He's a good man, so let's hope he got both!

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline.com

Stage 12 : 14 July 2006 A quick update on yesterday's big question, what happened to Chechu? The word from inside the team is that there's no big problem, he has a sore throat but he looks fine. We understand that he was a bit low after the stage, but perked up after a visit from his Spanish fan club.

Today was better, much better. The team was told to go out and win a stage, and that's just what Yaroslav Popovych did. His stage win today was an act of heroism, and just the medicine everyone needed.

Popo got into a breakaway of four highly motivated cyclists. They were able to keep well ahead of a peloton that must have been looking forward to a restful stage today.

Popovych launched four thrilling attacks and got away, crossing the line in Carcassone in an elated and very photogenic finish. He moved from 23rd to 10th place in the GC, and is within striking distance of the final podium in this most surprising Tour.

How beautiful that blue Discovery uniform looks on the podium!

Chechu finished in the main bunch, more or less, and has moved back up (hooray) the GC to 86th at 47'34".

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline.com

On the down side, Chechu's roomie, Benjamin Noval is going home with thigh problems, and Paolo Savoldelli with mild concussion. On that incident, we heard from a very reliable source that Paolo was punched by a German fan, not an accident, on the descent from Pla de Beret on Thursday.

Why do golfers and tennis players retire, but cyclists abandon? Just a thought!

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline.com

Stage 11 : 13 July 2006 Already dubbed "the queen of the tour", commentators declared that this mountain stage through the Pyrenees was one of the most important Tour stages for a long time. With Landis in yellow, the Tour has just got exciting. Unbelievable.

Photograph by Graham Watson, thePaceline.com.

I'd like to be excited, but I'm just a bit worried. What went so wrong for Chechu today? A tough mountain stage for sure, but he's a tough guy. Yet he lost over 44 minutes to stage winner Denis Menchov and dropped down the GC to 87th place, at 47' 15". And he was the last Discovery rider home. I don't remember that happening in the years I've supported Chechu. Something's not right, let's hope he's not injured or sick. We're trying to find out more.

Chechu indicated at the start of this Tour that he had "scarcely trained since the Giro and the Tour is very demanding from the first day". So why is he, along with Paolo Savoldelli, doing a second grand tour within three months? Especially when this year's Giro d'Italia was such as beast, and Chechu performed so amazingly in support of Savoldelli. We shouldn't ask this of any athlete. I thought we'd stopped throwing men to the lions a long time ago.

14 July : I was interested to read Paolo Savoldelli's post-race comments,

"For sure, today it's a defeat, but it's not a surprise. I didn't come here for riding GC, I knew since the start of the Tour that it was impossible to ride both the Giro and Tour for GC.
"If I hadn't won the Giro last year, I could have been Discovery Channel's captain for the Tour, but I was the defending champion at the Giro, so I had to do it [again].
"I came here for a stage win; I'll still hope to make it. I was feeling good today. In our team, there wasn't any leader of the level of Lance Armstrong; it's impossible to find another one like him. These days, we are paying for the tension [because we don't know who to watch]."

Tom Boonen's comments on cyclingnews.com are also very revealing. I'm glad that he has spoken. As World Champion, his opinion is key. Critics and armchair fans alike should all take note.

Stage 10 : 12 July 2006 Today is all about the fall of Serguei Gonchar. From maillot jaune to water-carrier.

I'm sure we'll see more from Team Discovery Channel in the next few days, I really hope so. And Lance is coming to France after all, how we miss him and his calm certainty.

Chechu finished in the first peloton group, he's keeps his 26th place in the GC at 7' 32".

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline.com

Stage 9 : 11 July 2006 My favourite race event happened today. The three-man breakaway, so close to beating the peloton to the finish, started playing mind games with each other in the final few kilometres. First there was the negotiation, let's work together to keep the gap.

Then the young dare-devil, Christian Knees, decided to take a flyer off the front, not once but twice. There were so strong words said, I'm sure, and it cost them their time gap, but it was very entertaining.

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline.com

Chechu finished in the second group, losing 13" to sprint winner Oscar Freire. Maybe he got caught behind the small crash on the final run in. He's dropped to 26th overall at 3'47".

Now the mountains beckon.

"And there is only one way to make up for lost time - attack and ignite the race so that no team should be able to be in control. There will be attacks from the first stage in the Pyrenees. Even if the stage does not end at a summit, there will be a lot of possibilities," he said. "We have to adopt an aggressive attitude. The wait-and-see attitude is not an option for us anymore." Johan Bruyneel.

Allez Chechu! ¡Venga!

Photograph by Graham Watson, thePaceline.com.

Rest day : 10 July 2006

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline.com

Stage 8 : 9 July 2006 Discovery are playing down the disappointments of the time trial yesterday, Johan Bruyneel said,

"I never envisioned us in a super position after the Time Trial. I wanted to be a little closer, but we still have to try to be offensive in the mountains. In my opinion what has happened is that now a lot of other guys have to be offensive and that can be to our advantage, too ... We've composed our team in a different way in that all of the riders can do something as well on an individual basis. Try to go in a break away, etc."

Photograph by Graham Watson, thepaceline.com

There was nobody in the break today though. In fact, there wasn't a Discovery rider in sight most of the afternoon. Most importantly, everybody arrived in Lorient safely in the bunch. Chechu finished with the peloton, and retains his 24th place in the GC at 3' 34".

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Stage 7 : 8 July 2006 Chechu wasn't happy with his performance today, he looked so down-hearted on his brief Eurosport interview. He completed the 52km individual time trial in 1hr, 4 mins, 48 secs. He was clearly disappointed with his time.

As it turned out, he had a really good ride, on a day where most of the big favourites failed to deliver. Finishing in 26th place, just over three minutes behind T-Mobile's storming Serguei Gonchar, he's improved his GC place to 24th. And DC's fourth fastest behind Savoldelli, Hincapie and Ekimov, their guys known to be fast time trialists. That's a good day's work.

You can follow Chris Brewer's Big Adventure in Chechu's support car during Saturday's ITT. It's an interesting insight, he describes Chechu's reaction very differently to the one we saw on TV.

"We head over to the team camper where Duffy and Richard have the guys' dry clothing and some recovery food and drink. Chechu comes over to us and smiles, saying, "The first half I was good, the second, (he winks) a little slower..." Then Chechu, Pavel, and Benjamin cleaned up and got something to eat, and then were on their bikes riding casually back to the start line 10 kms down the road. Their day is done, and PJ and I head over to the finish line to watch the rest of the race… wow."

Photographs by Chris Brewer, thepaceline.com
Jonathan Devich, cyclingnews.com

Stage 6 : 7 July 2006 The Tour chugged along today from Lisieux to Vitré on the upper left edge of the hexagon of France. A rather humdrum stage featured breakaways containing a few items of interest.

Pavel Padrnos, Discovery’s stalwart rouleur who has never been in a Tour breakaway that I remember, was away for a while with an all-star group containing yellow jersey Tom Boonen. Magnus Backstedt - who at 1.93m (6’4”) is the largest man in the peloton - motored almost to the finish line in the lead, before being caught.

Ironically, yesterday’s breakaway was powered by Samuel Dumoulin, the smallest man in the peloton at 1.59m (5’2”). This just goes to show that good things come in both small and large packages, and a pint’s a pound the world around.

Robbie McEwen snatched his third sprint win of the six Tour stages today. Discovery and Chechu once again finished safely with the pack.

Hold on to your hat for tomorrow’s time trial!

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thepaceline.com

Stage 5 : 6th July 2006 "Ça c'est le Tour!" One day you're fifth in the GC and feeling on top of the world, the next you're struggling home over a minute behind the peloton, shirt ripped and bandaged. That was Egoi Marintinez's fate when he clippped a wheel and came down hard in the last 5km. Lesser mortals might have lain there for some time, but Martinez is made of stronger stuff and limited his losses brilliantly. He'll be back.

Chechu rode cautiously today, finishing in the bunch, and now lies in 46th place, 57" behind the yellow jersey, Tom Boonen.

You can tell it was a quiet day, the photographers posted lots of "interesting" shots of the cavalcade, spectators, crew. Anything to make day seem more colourful.

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thepaceline.com

Stage 4 : 5th July 2006 There's no doubt who's the best sprinter in the world tonight. Boonen might be wearing yellow, but he was nowhere when Robbie McEwen accelarated in the last few metres. WOW. He is fast.

Earlier we got a good look at Egoi Martinez, who was instrumental in keeping the break away for most of the race. He did a good job, he's improved his position in the GC to 5th overall. You might like to know that Martinez has an English-language website.

Chechu gave another good performance, finishing 26th.

Photograph by Fotoreporter Sirotti, cyclingnews.com

Photographs by Liz Kreutz, thepaceline.com.

Stage 3 : 4 July 2006 What an exciting finish to an eventful and interesting cycle race! Best of all, our favourite cyclist was in the mix at the end.

Stage 3 was a mini-classic, winding north through the Belgian Ardennes and into hilly southeast Netherlands to finish on the Cauberg climb.

The breakaway was finally pulled back only a couple of kilometres from the finish. T-Mobiles' Matthias Kessler powered away, but watching the peloton bearing down on him the last few metres was totally thrilling. Chechu finished top of the Discovery riders in 13th place. He now lies 50th in the GC, 45" behind new leader Tom Boonen.

Photograph by Bettini Photo, cyclingnews.com.

I can't ignore the distressing pictures of Alejandro Valverde, at the road side, being treated for a broken clavicle. It seems he wasn't the only one to suffer today, Erik Dekker and Fred Rodriguez also hit the deck hard.

I know cyclists don't talk about injuries. Quite right too. Injury is an occupational hazard. Every cyclist has their own collection of medical mishaps and tales of the emergency room.

Here's something interesting though. Did you know that the clavicle is the hardest bone to keep stable but one of the fastest to repair itself? As a professional cyclist, Valverde will probably not leave it to nature and with surgery,he'll be back on his bikes in time for the Vuelta. For the rest of us, you get painkillers, a sling, some odds about infection after surgery and an appointment card. Come back in six weeks.

Whether you are professional or amateur, the disappointment and loss felt by a serious cyclist is the same. Training to race takes a lot of dedication and hard work, it starts months before the first race. This loss is devastating, perhaps even more painful that the broken bone itself. It's not just physical recovery, it's a mental process too. Good luck to Valverde, Dekker and Rodriguez. Our thoughts are with them tonight.

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thepaceline.com

Stage 2 : 3 July 2006 George Hincapie and the Discovery Channel Team rode proudly near the front of the race today, keeping the maillot jaune sparkling and easily visible. Chechu finished in a capable 78th place, with the same time as the winner.

George actually lost the jersey by only 10 seconds at the finish, and it’s now back on the shoulders of Thor Hushovd - a nice guy and worthy competitor. Discovery Team will live to fight again, not to worry.

The Tour de France so far has been full of surprises, from culling the starting line-up due to the Spanish drug scandal to the predicting of today’s sprint winner. Today a large crash happened near the finish, entirely blocking the road, echoing Hushovd’s bloody accident from yesterday. Boonen and McEwen have been chosen sprint favorites by our broadcast experts, who must have forgotten about Hushovd, Erik Zabel, and Oscar Freire, not to mention Jimmy Casper.

It was easy to be depressed about the Tour and about the future of cycling a few days ago. But three days of racing restores your faith in the roads of France and the warriors of the peloton. What will happen tomorrow?

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Stage 1 : 2 July When you are keeping a look out for a particular Spanish climber, flat stages of the Tour de France are a bit of a non-event.

Today, Discovery fans can genuinely rejoice. George Hincapie wears the maillot jaune. It's a reward so very much deserved. Congratulations, George.

So tomorrow, Discovery will defend the yellow jersey. Maybe. It feels quite like old times.

The peloton came home together, all recording the same time. Chechu finished in the middle of the bunch.

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Photograph by Liz Kreutz.

Prologue : 1 July A great ride for George Hincapie on this short, hot individual time trial. Just 7.1km, he not only put in the best time for the Discovery Channel Team, he just missed being in yellow tomorrow by 0.73 seconds.

Chechu's prologue started at 14.50 CET, and finished just over nine minutes later. Uncharacteristically, he finished outside the top one hundred, at 38 seconds behind winner Thor Hushovd. It's a mere moment though. There's a long, long way to go to Paris.

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Photograph by Chris Brewer, thepaceline.com


Stage 21 : 28 May On the traditional final stage criterium, the peloton processed around Milan today, the pink ticker tape at Basso's coronation was the highlight.

CyclingNews.com wrote, "Standing on the podium, looking resplendent, Basso showed an Armstrong-like dominance throughout. From the moment he took his first maglia rosa on May 14 - leaving the entire field behind on the Maielletta, just over a week into the race - he never looked like being beaten. Not by Savoldelli, not by Simoni, Cunego, Gutierrez Cataluna... Not anyone." Quite right too.

So what about Team Discovery? You have to be impressed with Paolo Savoldelli. He didn't retain his title, but he won the maglia blu for best combined rider. Even on sprint stages, he most often finished in the top 30, despite he was plagued with pollen allergy. He's a great champion in deed and in spirit.

Hoorahs for Ekimov and Beltran, who could be seen quietly mixing it upfront. And also for Jason McCartney who, despite being sick, stuck with it to the end. But good results and determination don't get you much recognition in the game though.

Tons of press for Tom Danielson, the only team member who didn't make it to Milan. Again.

I worry for Tom. Discovery (and perhaps America) want him so much to be the next Lance Armstrong, everybody is talking him up feverishly. Even today, on British Eurosport when David Harmon asked Sean Yates about Chechu, the team director moved the conversation away from Chechu to Danielson. Briefly, and he praised the team generally, but it was interesting nevertheless.

The truth of the Giro is that, apart from the time-trial, Chechu matched everything Danielson could produce and often bettered it. There was only a few seconds between them throughout the first two weeks. Overall Chechu had 10 top 30 places, including a fantastic second place finish on Stage 3. Danielson had eight, his best individual place was 11th in the ITT.

The stage 3 result was terrific, my favourite moments have to be Savoldelli descending Mortirolo (sublime) and Basso winning the stage for his new baby (aah!). A good day for dads.

Thanks for reading. Nicky

Graham Watson took great pictures of Chechu on stage 20

Stage 20 : 27 May The much-anticipated "toughest" stage of the Giro was a triumph, a real treat for cycling fans. The amazing Dolomites, bathed in sunshine, set a beautiful scene for the penultimate stage. Stylish and competitive climbing by all the top Giro cyclists created tension and excitement. The tifosi were animated! Basso rode to the stage win two inches off the ground, a picture of his new baby to hand. And Savoldelli's descent off the Mortirolo was simply poetic. He was on his own again, but what an effort. He won't make the podium this year, but he is a class performer.

We saw great close-ups of Chechu at the start of the Mortirolo climb. Like me, you're probably getting good at recognising him in the peloton. The next we saw of him as a flash of yellow on his sleeve as he finished in the Garate group, which he must have caught up with. He came in 13th at 7'26" and moved back up to 13th in the GC. That is a really good ride by Chechu. He's another class act.

Rebecca and I have had great trans-Atlantic discussions about Tom Danielson. He didn't start today, no reason given yet. Cyclingnews.com describes him as Paolo's "most important domestique in the mountains". I know I'm biased, but I'm not sure that's quite true. Whilst we don't see the earlier climbs, in the latter stages of this Giro, Chechu's support has been formidable. I just don't understand why the media and pundits don't give him due respect?

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Stage 19 : 26 May A mixed bag today, not a great one for Discovery, but with an interesting feature or two. Juan Manuel Garate won the stage 2:15 ahead of Ivan Basso , after having been in the breakaway du jour. Strongman Jens Voigt, not the physical type for mountain climbing, rode beside Garate until the last few kilometers, then with a pat on the back, sent Garate ahead to the finish alone. Said Voigt: "I was always sitting on the back of the attack, but I couldn't win today because I didn't work at all. You can only win if you are the strongest and it wouldn't have been right if I did."

Gilberto Simoni extended his lead over Paolo Savoldelli for third place, making regaining the podium on Stage 20 more difficult for Paolo. Race favorite Damiano Cunego rode well today, moving himself up in the GC, unfortunately dropping Chechu Rubiera down to 14th place.

The happiest news of the day befell the Ivan Basso family, when wife Micaela gave birth to a baby boy, Santiago, at 9:10 this morning. "I knew about it when I was traveling on the team bus this morning, and all day, I had a great feeling in my heart. It's greater than all the events you can imagine in one's life," said Basso on the birth of his son. Even greater than being handed the maglia rosa by former Olympic ski champion Alberto Tomba? Ivan, you’re living a charmed life.

No photographs yet today from the Giro, apparently the press office had technical problems.

Stage 18 : 25 May At least the sun shone today in the Dolomites. The scenery was stunning, the peloton cruised along, generally conserving energy for the next two tough, tough days.

There was a classic example of cat and mouse at 5km to go with the 5-man breakaway dodging and weaving, and taking opportunist leaps off the front. Great fun to watch, even more delightful that British cyclist Charlie Wegelius was mixing it with the best of them. Just indulge me, it happens so rarely.

Chechu finished with the main peloton, so no change in the GC, he still lies in 10th place at 17'48".

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

In the absence of the thrilling Chechu moment today, here's another aside. I watched "Overcoming" last night, the film about CSC during the 2004 Tour. I want recommend it to you. Not as a great film but, as a glimpse of life in the professional peloton, it's compelling viewing.

The life of our heroes is just so hard and at times, it seems to be ruthless and miserable. Maybe that's just life with Bjarne and I so hope that Chechu has a better time than his compatriot, Carlos Sastre, for instance. Tonight, I watched the Giro highlights with a new respect and a bewilderment at the motivation, talent and the fatalism of this bloody-minded group of men. I'm an armchair fan, and I know nothing.

If you've seen this film, and you would like to comment or review it for us, please get in touch.

Stage 17 : 24 May There's no pleasure in watching cyclists suffer in bad weather, and boy, they did all suffer. Even SuperBass was affected by the cold and rain. It's not a great advert for cycling on day when glorious news was required.

Savoldelli lost his podium place but if he can keep within a few seconds of Simoni, there's always hope.

In a repeat of yesterday's stalwart performance on behalf of his team leader, Chechu steered Paolo up the final climb, both coming in 1'29" behind winner Leonardo Piepoli. His great effort of the last two days is rewarded with a move back into the top 10 overall.

On another race, contributor Christine Kahane has sent us the provisional start list for the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, 4 to 11 June. Triki Beltran is listed for Discovery, along with Azevedo, Popovych and Noval, Hincapie, Devolder, Gusev and Martinez. No rest then, Triki!

Go to CyclingNews.com for today's Giro results.

Stage 16 : 23 May Two allergy-ridden Discovery riders strove to catch Ivan Basso today, and then to limit the damage on the Stage 16 climb to Monte Bondone. Our Chechu was a heroic mountain super-domestique on behalf of Paolo Savoldelli. He was the only other working Discovery member visible on OLN/Cycling.tv coverage. Guys, where are you?

Gilberto Simoni was hot today. Gibo lives in Palù di Giove, a breathtakingly pretty village of 500, just a stone’s throw from the race. His fans were out in numbers, running along beside him shouting “Vai! Vai! Vai! Vai!” He didn’t let them down, and came in second to Ivan’s amazing, dominant ride.

It was suggested today that the race from here on will be for third place, Savoldelli vs. Simoni. Having the pure beauty of Ivan Basso to behold, seeing these two gladiators sock it out in the mountains would be great entertainment. It would not be superior, however, to seeing Discovery Channel Team work together for Paolo as they have done for Lance, delivering him up the mountains where he and Chechu can turn on the steam as they did today. Too little, too late?

Today, Chechu reminded us brilliantly why we support him, why he stood out in the peloton. He was there for his team leader when he was needed, his performance was flawless. A stage win for him would be fantastic, but this afternoon on Monte Bondone, Chechu did what he does best of all. Along with Voigt, Sastre and a handful of others, he's one of special breed of talented cyclists who have shone at this Giro.

Stage 15 : 22 May Paolo Bettini, The Cricket, hopped over the finish line ahead of Olaf Pollack in Brescia today to claim the win he has been seeking so desperately during this Giro d’Italia.

Stage 15 was the last flat stage of this tour, boasting an inevitable breakaway - four riders who were out in front for much of the day. They were caught at the end by the peloton, which pushed forward a close sprint. The GC remained unchanged, with Chechu still in 12th place, Paolo in 3rd, Danielson in 8th, and Triki Beltrán in 14th.

During the rather uneventful Stage 15, the media covering the race had time to chat. The word from Chris Brewer at The Paceline went out through many live coverage sources that Discovery rider Leif Hoste has signed with Davitamon-Lotto for next year.

Velonews has posted a photo feature on Stage 17 to Plan de Corones, a fascinating look at the unfinished road along the outrageous climb set for Wednesday.

Cathy Mehl told us of DC/Chechu photos by Graham Watson from Stage 14.

And saving the best of the coffee talk for last, OLN/Cycling.tv have finally pronounced Chechu’s name correctly, after repeated jolly emails from chechurubiera.info!

Ciao, and see you in the mountains!

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Stage 14 : 21 May Today was one of those transitional stages where watching paint dry is more fun. Except if you are Colombian, I guess, with Luis Felipe Laverde taking the stage win. A breakaway plodded along for miles, followed by the peloton a few minutes later. Chechu came in with the maglia rosa bunch and the GC remained unchanged.

Paolo was still trailing Basso solo at the end of the stage today. Four of his team-meates finished in the same group, but nobody was closeby, protecting him. Graham Watson reports, however, that he was surrounded on the Sempione Pass, earlier in the stage. More later.

Stage 13 : 20 May It was a sad, bedraggled peloton that arrived in La Thuile tonight. The heavens opened as the remaining 176 cyclists rode into the spectacular Italian Alps and the Giro proper finally began. Ivan Basso showed again who was boss of this race with a amazing climb up Colle San Carlo, only the eventual stage winner Piepoli keeping his wheel.

As TV pictures deteriorated, then disappeared completely, we heard that Savoldelli as being dropped on the climb, then was "dropping like a stone" on the descent. It's a real pity we missed it. He brilliantly limited his losses to Basso today to only 1'52".

Chechu finished with the best of them, in 20th place, just over a minute behind Paolo. Another great ride by Señor Rubiera and he moves back up the GC to 11th place.

It was great to see our friends at Paolo Savoldelli Fan Club, supporting their man at the finish. Great banner, I think I spotted Marco Rota but everybody was so wrapped up against the deluge, it was hard to tell. Forza Paolo indeed.

Something doesn't feel right though. How often was Armstrong left on his own on the big climb of the day? Whenever we see Paolo, he always seems to be riding solo, usually not far behind Basso. With the exception of Tom Danielson, where's his support? Maybe the TV coverage is just kicking in too late, the blue train having done it's work for the day. But wouldn't a pure climber or two have been there to support Armstrong on a final climb? Time's have definitely changed. Or have they? Let us know what you think.

Stage 12 : 19 May Stage 12 showed the peloton misty undulating forests and twisting roads, as the Giro proceeded along the Tyrrhenian coast towards the Alps. Triki Beltrán was away for much of the day, with a fifteen-man group that finished the stage as much as 7 minutes ahead of the maglia rosa pack.

The stage was as beautiful as a travelogue, but hazardous. Leaders Sella and Mori crashed twice on the descent into Sestri Levante. In a dramatic spill, Sella crashed and flew over the barrier into the bush, while Mori missed the barrier entirely and catapulted over the edge of the incline. Making the Lance-like move of carrying his bike across the switchback, Mori was around the bend and back on the road, soon to be rejoined by Sella. After crashing again, both finished with the leaders, with Sella miraculously coming in third.

The breakaway had its effect on the GC, moving Sella to fourth place, Beltrán to seventh, Danielson to sixth. More good news for Discovery: a tumble by Gonchar, bless his heart, moved Savoldelli up to third place. Chechu the Good Shepherd rode safely in the pack today, finishing in 14th place overall.

Something to think about, as the Alps loom: Discovery has four riders well-positioned in the top 14. Three of them specialize in mountain climbing. The fourth is their leader, Il Falco, whose specialty is fearless descending. As these fabulous four ply their trades against the valiant Ivan Basso, surely some legendary racing will take place!

Stage 11 : 18 May Chechu Rubiera delivered a solid performance in Thursday’s Stage 11 time trial. That was no surprise, on a day of surprises that shuffled the GC order and badly shook up some of the Italian race favorites. Chechu completed the 50 km flat course in 1:03:54, blitzing DiLuca, Cunego and others, and is now in 12 place on the GC. Not bad for a mere mountain climber!

Paolo Savoldelli was strong as well, and rode a great race. He was not as strong as race leader Ivan Basso, however, whose form was smooth and powerful. Ivan was fast today, actually passing 2004 Giro winner Cunego on the course, who lost over 5 minutes to the leader.

The real surprise of the day was the performance of Jan Ullrich. Jan has seemed like a manatee in the race so far, apathetic, sluggish, and harmless. But today Der Kaiser donned his Tour de France legs, resurrected his Terminator capacities, and really turned on the engine. Finishing in 58:48, he won with ease, and rode like the Jan Ullrich we all know, love, and fear.

The race story so far: Three of the top twelve GC riders are Discovery Team. Ivan is superb. Jan threatens. Things at the Giro d’Italia are heating up!

Not Chechu on the bike, but the amazing backdrop of Pisa is a highlight of stage 11.

Rest day : 17 May I'm constantly amazed at how quickly cyclists recover after a race. I saw Ivan Basso interviewed live, minutes after his outstanding stage win on Sunday. He was cool, he was smiling, he was breathing, for goodness sake! Like it was a walk in the park.

Just look at Chechu (below) just after his ITT on Stage 1. He doesn't look any different to when he was warming up. Astonishing.

You might like to know that Chechu emailed Rebecca today, he's well, despite three tumbles in the race so far. He said,"We will see what is coming. It looks to me the hardest last week in a big tour I have ever done."

Stage 10 : 16 May It was a quiet day inside the peloton for Chechu, protecting Paolo Savoldelli. DC's team leader, stuck to the wheel of Ivan Basso, was suffering from allergies in the early part of the stage. From his experiences in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco in April, we know that Chechu also suffers from pollen allergies. Fingers crossed that the air is different in the mountains.

Stage 9 : 15 May The small breakaway was storming towards the sprint finish, peloton in pursuit, when 15km to go "... Chechu Rubiera (Discovery Channel) made a sweet counter move." cyclingnews.com

Hearts were pounding, something was afoot! A Discovery rider was bridging the gap. The peloton chased and he was caught inevitably.

Our friends at the Daily Peloton summed up the action. "Chechu Rubiera attacked as the road kept tilting upward again. 15k to go. The Discovery Channel rider tries to close down on Davis, Serpa and Scheirlinckx. Chechu is on great form, a great rider and a class act all around."

Let's hope Chechu's legs continue to be strong, and that he's allowed to have a go. It will make for a thrilling final week.

Chechu finished deep in the bunch today and maintains his 10th place overall.

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Stage 8 : 14 May He climbed out of his saddle, tapping out a steady rhythm and with a fixed expression, he powered away from the lead group to take an impressive stage win.

It was Ivan Basso, who today stamped his authority on this Giro. It was an awesome display, worthy of an Armstrong "show them who's boss" badge. The leading contenders for the GC followed in his wake, one minute, two minutes down, including Savoldelli. It was a hard climb. Sadly it's not the last!

The great news is that Chechu was also amongst this elite group, finishing 23rd at 2'34". He keeps his 10th place overall in the GC.

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Stage 7 : 12 May A long stage, a hot and humid day, and the first half dozen or so mountains—with grades of up to 18% at times—provided each rider on Saturday with a chance to commit himself irrevocably to the risky course of action that is the Giro, or in other words, to “cross the Rubicon.” Each rider also literally crossed the river Rubicon, as did Caesar fatefully, with conquests for some.

A breakaway group which had ridden in front with huge time gaps was eventually reduced to Rik Verbrugghe of Cofidis, who hung on to take the stage win. But the real excitement was happening in his wake, as Discovery worked together to propel Paolo Savoldelli step by step toward the finish line.

Rouleurs Pavel Padrnos and Matthew White delivered Paolo into the hands of mountain experts Chechu Rubiera and Triki Beltrán, who passed him to Tom Danielson. Danielson led him out into a brilliant attack, and Paolo, in the last few uphill kilometers, deftly captured 2nd place, gaining 14 seconds on Ivan Basso.

An excellent showing by Discovery all in all, masterful by Savoldelli, and truly fine riding by our Chechu, who moved into 6th place in the GC.

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Have you noticed that Chechu is being mentioned more in the media. The latest from Graham Watson,

Jose Luis Rubiera and Tom Danielson are perfectly placed to aid Savoldelli to a stage-win - or even win for themselves should that turn out to be better for the team at such an early part of the race.

Chechu has worked so hard for his team, it's fantastic to see that finally he's being recognised by the pundits. (OK, David Duffield on Eurosport still can't pronounce his name properly, but we're working on it.)

Stage 6 : 11 May The Romans traveled from Busseto to Forli by means of the Aemilian Way, and that’s roughly the route taken by Friday’s stage 6 of the Giro d’Italia.

The flat stage through the Po valley foreshadowed a tightly packed peloton and a sprinter’s finish. The sprint was delivered by who else but Robbie McEwen, who easily captured his third stage win of the Giro. Olaf Pollack of T-Mobile is in the maglia rosa, with Paolo Savoldelli in 6th place, 22 seconds off the lead. Chechu is still in 10th place overall, at 40 seconds back.

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Going back to the TTT yesterday, ThePaceline's Fresh Brew makes a case for the team's disappointing performance. Chris Brewer says the team rode conservatively, it was a short course with a prevailing wind, CSC and T-Mobile had their TT specialists."It's a wash" apparently.

I need it explained, however, how Savoldelli losing his 30" advantage (plus 9" more) to his main rival is OK. He won the Giro by only 28" last year so doesn't every second count?

Anyway, onwards and upwards - quite literally as the peloton starts climbing tomorrow.

Stage 5 : 10 May Nicky writes, Based on my own feelings as a keen fan, I can just about imagine the sense of disappointment in the Discovery camp after the TTT. We are so used to an unbeatable display of team power from Discovery, that anything less isn't ever going to be good enough. I thought a lot about Lance and how I miss seeing him dancing on the pedals in his unique way.

But things move on, and it's only just begun. I trust Discovery will support Paolo Savoldelli 100% in this Giro and that Danielson isn't the secret team leader, as claimed by CycleSport (June issue). Experience counts, talent counts, results count. Savoldelli has all three in bucket loads.

Stage 4 : 9 May Cycle down the road all together, fastest guy wins. It was a sprinters' day today, so no change in the overall standings. Chechu is still 5th in GC.

The response to Chechu's breakaway yesterday has been interesting. Apart from the commentators, who couldn't pronounce his name properly (they've been emailed, by the way) we've pondered the questions raised about the wisdom of his break.

Graham Watson asked if Chechu was going for the win or leading Savoldelli up the climb? He seems to blame Chechu for losing Paolo the pink jersey.

The star photographer always has some valuable insights, he has rated Paolo all along, describing him as a superstar. Maybe he needs to take another look at Chechu though. In Chechu's palmarès, the Giro simply glows. Who can blame him if, after 5 seasons helping other people to win, he wants a stage win for himself. Let's hope he still wants it, it'll make for a much more interesting race.

Stage 3 : 8 May From The Daily Peloton Live report : Two hours into the race, the average speed is 38.050 km/h. While it's raining big style at the Namur citadel finish line. The gap is slowly, but steadily coming down: 03'26" at km. 116,

About one thousand metres after such check, it was Chechu Rubiera's turn to hit the tarmac (it looks like the wet roads are taking their toll today). But the Discovery Channel Spanish fighter was immediately back in the saddle too, and continued his ride towards the nearby feeding zone.

The cameras can't keep up… the motocameras are off, and it's to the stable cameras, so we can't see what's happening. Okay, an attack of two riders goes off the front. It looks like a Discovery rider, with maybe a Quick Step rider… it is Chechu Rubiera! He crashed earlier, now he's attacking!

Chechu has a gap! There is a mad chase! A Gerolsteiner rider closes him down, and Bettini is chasing too. Rubiera looks over, and Schumacher is the Gerolsteiner rider. He pulls through, and he and Rubiera have a small gap... They are working like dogs with a scramble behind. Basso tries to counter, but Schumacher and Rubiera will stay away! Schumacher leads it out, and Chechu can't keep his wheel! Here comes the final corner, and Schumacher wins it!! Rubiera is 2nd, and a small group comes in about 6" back. This will likely give Schumacher the Pink Jersey!

The peloton is blown... riders are coming in small groups all across the road... there will be some big gaps and a nice shakeup in the GC tonight.

Second on the stage, Chechu is now 5th place in the GC.

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Stage 2 : 7 May Discovery Channel Team keeps tight today near the front of the peloton, defending race leader Paolo Savoldelli. All except Benoit finished with the same time as stage winner Robbie McEwen. Paolo spends his 33rd birthday in pink. Chechu still 29th at 34".

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

Stage 1 : 6 May Discovery Channel Team’s Paolo Savoldelli skyrocketed into the maglia rosa on Saturday with a time trial performance that left his rivals in the dust!

Chechu Rubiera had the fastest time early on, and kept his name on the leader board for much of the day. He finished 29th at 34”.

Go to CyclingNews.com for full results.

We're searching for other pictures of Chechu at the Giro, if you find one or you've taken one, let us know.

Coverage on British Eurosport starts at 15.00 (BST) and on cycling.tv at 14.00 (BST).
CyclingNews.com will be covering the Giro d'Italia live every day starting from 14:00 local time(CEST).

Just to clarify, CEST is Central European Summer Time = Greenwich Mean Time + 2 hours, BST is British Summer Time = GMT + 1 hour. CEST is seven hours ahead of US Central Time.


April 3-8

A tough week for Discovery Channel began in Irún, northern Spain at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

From our distance viewing, Chechu's uncharacteristic finish near the back was worrying. So we emailed Chris Brewer at the Paceline, who let us know that our man wasn't injured or ill. "He's always had probs with allergies, and the heat and springtime make it tough for him to breath, that's all. He'll be fine soon enough!"


20-24 March

The Discovery Channel team rode this five stage race competitively, dominating the time trial, with five riders in the top 11. Chechu’s steady performance earned him 3rd position on the podium, with winner Alexandre Vinokourov and Luis Leon Sanchez (both Liberty Seguros-Würth).
Discovery also won the team competition, Manuel Beltran was King of the Mountains.

from Chechu : Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN, 29 March

I am really happy, my condition is really good. The winner was much stronger than me so nothing else to say, just congratulations! Next race is Pais Vasco and I also hope to be in the front but the level there will be higher, so we will see.


5-12 March

Paris-Nice 2006 got underway amid clouds and temperatures just above freezing. The weather belied the event’s springtime epithet, The Race to the Sun, and few spectators turned out in the capital for the individual time trial prologue.

It was the 2005 winner American Bobby Julich of CSC. Four Discovery Channel Team members finished within 20” of Julich, including Chechu at 16”.

On Monday, the 168-man peloton hit the road from Paris to Nice, to begin the seven stages.

Stage 3 saw aggressive riding by Chechu and teammate José Azevedo of Portugal.

Johan Bruyneel said, “Chechu was in good position in the final selection, but then he punctured and the neutral support was not available. He ended up dropping back to the peloton where Benoit gave him his wheel, and then Chechu was back up the road to try and regain the leaders, which he eventually did.”

Chechu finished 7th on the day, with José at 11th. In the GC, José took 6th place and Chechu 10th.

Chechu and José held on to their high GC spots throughout the stages. The final Stage 7 on brought them to the finish line in warm Mediterranean sunshine on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice in 9th and 6th places respectively in the GC, behind overall winner American Floyd Landis of Phonak.

Successful and substantial racing and some great early-season training in The Race for the Sun!

Roster : José Azevedo, Vladimir Gusev, Roger Hammond, Benoit Joachim, Jason McCartney, Benjamin Noval, Yaroslav Popovych, Chechu Rubiera.
Director Sportif : Johan Bruyneel, Sean Yates

from Chechu : Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN, 15 March

I am at home, back from Paris-Nice. It was a quite hard race, but my condition is good. I felt well and happy to be in the top ten in the General Classification. Now I am training for Castilla y Leon. It will start in a few days (on Monday) and will be 5 days long. I hope to have better weather than in Paris-Nice... After this race, I will do Pais Vasco. The next one will be the Giro d’Italia. I have been training easy these three days after Paris-Nice, and today I start to work hard again.


15-19 February

The 2006 racing season began for eight Discovery riders in José Azevedo’s homeland of Portugal.

The team rode well in the five stage race, suffering bad weather (after all, it’s February) and the loss of Bileka and Van Goolen to injuries. Bileka crashed in the final sprint of Stage 1, breaking a bone in his heel that will require a three-month recovery. Van Goolen—in his first race with Discovery--crashed in Stage 3, fracturing his hip, and will be off the bike for six weeks.

Discovery moved within 12” of the lead in Stage 3, with Chechu, Azevedo, Lowe, and Van Den Broek in the front group.

In Stages 4 and 5, the men fought the wind and rain with aggressive riding, notably by Benjamin Noval and Chechu. Chechu finished fifth in Stage 5, and tenth in the GC. Not a bad start to the season!

Roster: José Azevedo, Volodymyr Bileka, Trent Lowe, Pavel Padrnos, Benjamin Noval, Chechu Rubiera, Jurgen Van Goolen, Jurgen Van Den Broeck
Director Sportif: Lorenzo Lapage

Tour of Georgia 2005

All text © 2006 Nicky Orr / Rebecca Bell. Web design by Modem Operandi
Photo Credits: Masthead: Liz Kreutz, 2006. Left column from top: ThePaceline.com (source), chechurubiera.es.vg (source), Fotoreporter Sirotti 2001, Casey Gibson 2005. Right column from top: Graham Watson, Christine Kahane, Bettiniphoto, Fotoreporter Sirotti, CanalCiclista 06 (source), Alain Quenderf 2006, João Dias, Dave Wrolstad 2005