CHECHU'S RACE SCHEDULE 2007
Vuelta a Mallorca
27 February-3 March
Volta a Comunitat Valenciana
Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco
Tour de Romandie
12 May-3 June
Tour of Qinghai Lake
Clásica San Sebastián
Vuelta a España
Photograph by Liz Kreutz, thePaceline.com
Deutschland Tour : Clásica San Sebastián : Tour de Romandie : Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco : Tirreno-Adriatico : Volta a Comunitat Valenciana : Vuelta a Mallorca : Solvang Training Camp
GIRO d'ITALIA : TOUR OF QINGHAI LAKE : VUELTA A ESPAÑA
19 December 2007
The training camp was nice, and just because we are competitive, we rode too fast for December!
We made some jokes, and had fun. It was quite cold too, but better than in Asturias where the temperatures are below zero!
The programme looks pretty nice to me. Maybe just too many planes and too many long trips, with many hours of difference ... jetlag is coming.
I've never been to Australia before and it will be a nice experience. Also everyone says that California is becoming one of the better races in the season, because of the people and the good organisation.
And as you know, I love the Giro, so it's a really good programme on paper. Let's see ...
Take care, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
13 December 2007
I am in Javea and everything is going well. The atmosphere is nice, we are not training hard but I am tired ...
We don't have new clothing yet, just the new bikes for training. We are quite relaxed by now, we go to the sauna and even karting in the evening.
I leave for training now. Say hello to everyone.
18 August 2007
Stage 9 : Einbeck to Hanover, 143.1km (89 miles)
It was a procession into Hanover today, nobody close enough to challenge Jens Voigt's GC lead. Chechu finished with the peloton today, and given the same time as sprint winner, T-Mobile's Gerald Ciolek (his third win).
Chechu finished 108th overall, at 39'17".
17 August 2007
Stage 8 : Fuerth ITT, 33.1km (20.5 miles)
Although there was a strong showing by Discovery in the individual time trial, they couldn't dislodge a rampant Jens Voigt, who won the stage easily. He is surely assured of the top prize tomorrow when this interminable race finishes in Hanover.
With few photographs and no action from Chechu, this has to be one of the most boring races on the calendar for us. Chechu continues his Vuelta training, stretching his legs again today and finishing 79th at 3'33". He's now 117th overall, at 39'17".
Roll on Spain, we need some passion and fire from our man, especially this week.
16 August 2007
Stage 7 : Kufstein to Regensburg, 192.2km (119 miles)
In a repeat of yesterday's result, Chechu finished with the peloton today, and was given the same time as sprint winner, T-Mobile's Gerald Ciolek. Chechu is now 120th overall, at 35'44".
15 August 2007
Stage 6 : Laengenfeld to Kufstein, 175km (109 miles)
Chechu finished with the peloton today, and was given the same time as sprint winner, T-Mobile's Gerald Ciolek. Chechu is now 125th overall, at 35'44".
14 August 2007
Stage 5 : Sonthofen to Sölden, 157.6km (98 miles)
We know Chechu is stretching his legs in Germany, and working to a training plan for the Vuelta.
And we can assume that he worked for Levi Leipheimer today, who had aspirations for this Queen stage but finished 7th, conceding another minute to GC leader, Jens Voigt.
But ... it's still tough to see Chechu lose over twenty minutes on a single stage. Our man is not an also ran, he's so much better that. With no photos (where are the photographers this week?), it's hard to know how he's doing. We can only trust that everything is going to plan.
Chechu finished 150th today, and now lies 127th overall, at 35'44".
13 August 2007
Stage 4 : Singen to Sonthofen, 183.8km (114 miles)
Chechu finished nearly ten minutes down on breakaway winner Damiano Cunego. He's slipped to 116th overall, at 15'25".
Jens Voigt's lead in the general classification is just one second, with tomorrow's uphill finish considered to be a deciding factor in this year's race. It's going to be exciting!
12 August 2007
Stage 3 : Pforzheim to Offenburg, 181.8km (113 miles)
Chechu finishes nearly three minutes down on sprint winner Erik Zabel. He's now 112th overall, at 5'33".
11 August 2007
Stage 2 : Bretten TTT, 42.2km (26.2 miles)
Team Discovery were pipped into second place in the 42.2km Team Time Trial.
Team CSC won the stage, just 25 seconds ahead of Discovery, launching Jens Voigt into yellow. Gerolsteiner came third at 55".
Photograph by Daniel Maurer, AP Photo
Discovery's DS Sean Yates told with thePaceline, “everybody was up for it and I think they did a great ride. Trent and Jurgen held their own. Levi is flying and that bodes well for the rest of the rest and overall GC. George and Chechu were solid as usual, as was Jason.
Photograph by Bjorn Haake, cyclingnews.com
The morale is obviously a bit affected,” he commented, “ But we know this team is composed of pros and that means there is a job to be done and to get on with it. They are determined to get a good result here and I am sure we will.”
Chechu dropped off the back, finishing some two minutes behind his team. He now lies 98th in the GC, at 2'35".
10 August 2007
Stage 1 : Saarbrücken to Saarbrücken, 184km (114 miles)
Chechu finished 171st, safe in the peloton, and given same time as winner Robert Förster.
Chechu and the team will join the ProTour peloton for the Deutschland Tour, starting on Friday in Saarbrücken, with nine stages and 1292.5km to race before reaching Hanover.
The Tour of Germany is a warm-up race for the Vuelta for Chechu and, in his penultimate season, this year's Vuelta is especially important for him.
The strong team is McCartney, Hincapie, Danielson, Leipheimer, Van Goolen, Padros, Lowe and Rubiera.
4 August 2007
Chechu took the road on Saturday for the biggest one-day cycle race in Spain, the Clásica San Sebastián.
With the Vuelta just four weeks away, every race is a training race for Chechu, so it was no surprise that he didn't finish the race. It was very hot, and the climbs are fiercesome. So with work done for the day, Chechu and four of his team-mates called it a day.
Christine and Roger Kahane were in San Sebastián to see Chechu and the team. Read more about their encounter, Christine's words are special.
AN ENCOUNTER WITH CHECHU
A Fan's Diary, from words by Christine Kahane
Surrounded by undulating, green countryside, San Sebastián lies in a beautiful curving bay, its entrance guarded by two dramatic hills, Montes Urgull and Igeldo. Elegant villas punctuate the landscape as it plunges down to the brilliant azur sea. Once a fashionable summer resort, the elegant promenade and wide beach still draws the weekend crowds. It’s warm and there’s a refreshing breeze. Perfect weather for a cycle race.
Chechu arrives at the team hotel at six, he’s driven all afternoon from Gijón. Laura has stayed at home this time. After putting in long hours at her law practice all week, the weekends are for resting, and the journey is long.
It's been a year since we've seen him, but Chechu looks very well and slim, and handsome. He asks us how the French public are reacting to the doping scandals of the Tour. We say the routes were crowded with fans, their enthusiasm will never fade. We see the team is still buoyed up by their wins in Paris.
He tells us that everything he does now is training for the big one, the Vuelta a España, just four weeks away. We mustn't worry about results until then.
On race day, the team rides from their hotel, along the beach to the départ. Chechu is the last rider to sign in, the last to join the peloton. He and other team-mates are missing helmets and gloves. So they set off bareheaded and collect them as they pass the Discovery van, parked en route.
See SAN SEBASTIÁN GALLERY
Photograph by Graham Watson, thepaceline.com
Video highlights on cyclingfans.com
4 May 2007
Stage 3 : Moudon - Charmey (162.6km, 101mi)
Chechu didn't take the start, according to the RACE WEBSITE.
There's no indication why from Discovery. It looked very wet and miserable at the finish, perhaps it was just too risky with the Giro only eight days away. Discovery has just confirmed Chechu for their Giro team, so it's very possible that he's achieved what he wanted, to get in some competitive miles before next weekend.
A great ride today by Chechu’s young Japanese teammate, Fumyuki Beppu, who took second. Fumy lacked a mere morsel of confidence and energy that would have made the victory his own.
The Tour de Romandie’s is a proving ground for the Giro d’Italia. But a quick scan of this year’s roster raises a question: Where are the Italians?
It looks like the Tour de France crowd is here, not the guys bound for Italy next week. A quick list of 17 big names and a look at the stats shows that all of them, from Brochard to Zubeldia, focused on the Tour last year. Only a few also rode the Giro, including Chechu. Pereiro, Sastre, Evans, Menchov, Rogers, all quietly present at Romandie, made up most of the list of favorites in France in 2006, that turbulent first post-Armstrong year.
This peloton is short of Italians. Only 25 of the 166 starting riders hail from Italy, and even Lampre and Liquigas have entered just 5 riders at Romandie. No DiLuca, no Cunego, no Simoni. Savoldelli’s strength this week might motivate his star contenders to pedal up the Zoncolan a few extra times between now and next Saturday. (Rebecca)
3 May 2007
Stage 2 : La Chaux-de-Fonds - Lucens (166.9km, 104mi)
The pastoral beauty of the peloton against the backdrop of a changeable sky reflected the essence of springtime today in Switzerland. Perhaps the only rider who enjoyed the mountain idyll in the end was stage winner Robbie McEwen. He sailed across the finish line, unaware of a nasty crash just a few hundred meters behind him.
Thankfully no serious injuries were reported. The violent end to this sprint is reminiscent of the epic carnage on the first stage of the Tour de France 2003, which left Levi Leipheimer with a fractured pelvis and caused Tyler Hamilton to ride the rest of the Tour with a broken collar bone.
It’s an enduring image, underscoring the fact that cyclists risk grievous injury every time they race. The sport is incredibly dangerous, ironically masked by color, grace, and bucolic loveliness.
Many riders were badly shaken up today. Bruised and trampled, they will live to fight again. As for Chechu, we hope that no news is good news, and he escaped without a scratch.
Crossing the line with his pal Benjamin Noval, Chechu finished 69th, same time as McEwen. He sits at 78th on the GC, 43” behind race leader Savoldelli.
With two tough climbing stages and a time trial to go, Chechu’s on track to complete Romandie in excellent shape. His legs look strong, his demeanor confident, his form solid and elegant. This all bodes well for next week’s Giro d’Italia.
Graham Watson is in Switzerland this week, there’s a great selection of his photos on his WEBSITE.
Take a short break from this race, and enjoy a few minutes of live streaming coverage of the VUELTA A ASTURIAS. (Rebecca)
Photograph : Graham Watson, thePaceline.com
2 May 2007
Stage 1 : Grange-Paccot - La Chaux-de-Fonds (157kmm, 98mi)
This first stage covered greasy, wet mountain roads from Fribourg to La Chaux-de-Fonds. The peloton, a tidy pack at first, was dominated by the Aqua Blue Train of Astana, defending its leader Paolo Savoldelli.
Astana drove a pace that inevitably reeled in a long-lived breakaway, which included veteran, Laurent Brochard who got a little extra camera time to show the world that he’s finally cut off his mullet.
As the climbs progressed, the mob disintegrated. The ragged peloton writhed with attacks, and at 13 km to go, a group of about a half-dozen guys, including Chechu, took off. Chechu was strong in this group. It was almost possible to see the gears turning in his mind as he assessed the chances of these mavericks on dangerous roads. Apparently, he decided not to touch it with a ten-foot pole, and purposely dropped back into the relative safety of the pack.
A wise decision, surely, as Chechu finished 28th, clocking the same time as stage winner Markus Fothen. He now sits 81st overall, 42” behind GC leader Savoldelli.
The cycling.tv audience was treated to the commentary of Magnus Backstedt today. Fresh from competition in the Rund um Henninger Turm, Maggie was in fine form for his performance in the studio. He displayed an articulate voice and shared a myriad of insights from the perspective of a current pro. Add to that his sense of humor and ease in front of the microphone, and the result is a total package that just might be a future great Voice of Pro-cycling. (Rebecca)
1 May 2007
Prologue : Fribourg - Fribourg (3.5km, 2.2mi)
Chechu is in Switzerland this week, taking part in the 61st Tour of Romandie, the ProTour's final warm-up before the Giro d'Italia.
It's a race for climbing specialists like Chechu, difficult, technical and mountainous.
In Tuesday's prologue, Chechu finished 143rd at 43".
Described by cyclingnews.com as "technically demanding, undulating 3.5 km course through the old town of Fribourg," Chechu's old team-mate Paolo Savoldelli, now with Astana, won with a massive five seconds to spare.
So why do they get 166 riders kitted out, warmed up and on the road for less than five minutes of cycling?
The day-long event provides a leader's jersey for the first full stage. It also allows the press to get some good photos. And it's a showcase event for the host town, offering an opportunity for those all-important corporate purse-holders to smooze with cycling folk.
And it's great for fans too. When you've stood at a roadside waiting and waiting for the peloton to pass, and then it passes in a moment, it's anti-climactic. A prologue allows you to see riders close-up, feel their sweat and enjoy (well, maybe not) their pain! (Nicky)
Report by Rebecca Bell
Chechu surprised us last week by popping up at the Vuelta al País Vasco. The plan as of March 29 had been for him to ride the Tour of Georgia. But plans can change, and this schedule shuffle caught us on Easter break.
Those of us at chechurubiera.info who were not hobnobbing with the cognoscenti in Paris attended the race - vicariously, on the net - during a nasty, cold, and rainy week in Missouri.
Chechu, who has confessed that he’d like to spend more time racing in Spain, might have been happy to exchange Brasstown Bald for the green slopes of the Basque Pyrenees. But remembering how bad his allergies were in Basque Country in 2006, we hope he didn’t suffer too much last week.
On the other hand, to race País Vasco is to suffer. The mountains of the parcours were as jagged as a mouthful of shark’s teeth, a mind-boggling test of endurance. Spanish riders excelled, with men from Asturias to Andalucía almost exclusively populating the podium, the exception was CSC's Jens Voigt.
Bravo to Chechu and several of his amigos for a great show. Eight riders took to the road for Discovery Channel, but only the Spaniards had the grit to finish.
With results well up in the GC, Chechu (33rd), Egoi Martinez (31st), and Alberto Contador (14th) all had their moments of glory, including strong showings by Martinez in Stage 2, Chechu in Stage 3, and Contador in the final time trial.
The exploits of other amigos were heroic. Triki Beltrán, formerly of Discovery Channel, conquered his closest rival, 14 years younger than himself, to capture stage 2. Joyful on the podium, wearing the txapela, spraying the champagne, veteran Triki said to the press, "the best thing that life gave me is to have been able to be a professional cyclist."
Fellow Asturian Samuel Sanchez got just the right balance of panache and caution on foggy rainy roads. Sanchez rode consistently well during all six days, igniting on stage 6 and taking the individual time trial from Contador by just 2 seconds. Sanchez’s place in the overall: an admirable 3rd.
Thanks to CYCLING.TV for bringing us live coverage of the Vuelta al País Vasco, in spite of many technical difficulties caused by bad weather. Anthony and Brian, in the studio, deftly filled in gaps with savvy good-humored dialogue. Yankees recognized it as The Art of the Rain Delay, a knack superbly cultivated by commentator Buddy Blattner in the infant days of the Kansas City Royals, and as much fun to listen to as the game itself.
For more information about Vuelta al País Vasco, including audio interviews and many beautiful photographs, visit the RACE WEBSITE.
Photographs : Apreal, López, Fraile, Onaindia Telepressm, EFE
For preview and daily reports from Daily Peloton
STAGE 1 : STAGE 2 : STAGE 3 : STAGE 4 : STAGE 5 : STAGE 6 : STAGE 7
19 March 2007
Stage 6 : San Benedetto del Tronto - San Giacomo Monti della Laga
Chechu didn't start Monday's stage in Tirreno-Adriatico. He told us on Wednesday that he pulled out of the race, with flu and a fever. He's promised to be back soon, and we hope he has a speedy recovery.
18 March 2007
Stage 5 : Civitanova Marche - Civitanova Marche Alta ITT (20.5km, 13mi)
Chechu clocked a great time, 28'33", at 1'25". He now lies 22nd overall, at 1'59". Two days to go.
Stefan Schumacher leads the GC, a great cyclist, but we can't forget that he pinched the win from Chechu at the Giro last year. Stage 3. May 8.
Eurosport's coverage from Italy today was underwhelming, because we missed Chechu's run, the editing was disjointed and who knew who was winning. Duffers was lost and for once, I don't blame him.
And the coverage of Tirreno-Adriatico immediately followed the excitement of the final stage of Paris-Nice.
Not much could have bettered Alberto Contador's amazing win today. Somehow, you knew he wasn't going to get caught on the final run-in to Nice, he had that Armstrong look. In interview, he looked natural and affable. What a star.
A quick word also about Chechu's mate, Samuel Sanchez. He flew the descent into Nice, cutting twenty seconds from Contador's lead. It was an unbelievable display of skill - or perhaps recklessness. Either way, it was amazing to watch.
By the way, you can see a homage to the great David Duffield here.
17 March 2007
Stage 4 : Pievebovigliana - Offagna (161 km, 100mi)
Chechu finished 24th today, 32" back. He now lies 23rd overall, at 54".
Good to see this race on Eurosport this afternoon, David Duffield back in the commentary box. So it was bad translations to and from Italian, tales from army days in North Italy and, because it's St Patrick's Day, every Irish connection you could shake a shelalegh at. But hoping that somebody in green would win this stage was stretching it even for yer man.
Duffers' best comment of the day, as Paolo Bettini took a bad spill into the verge, "Well, it just goes to show, you can be a world champion and still end up in a ditch!" Bless.
And it's great to see the wonderful Italian countryside, although I suspect there's plenty of sun-blessed bloomin' flora to aggravate Chechu's allergy.
It's the time-trial tomorrow, Chechu's a great time-trialist. He'll have to wait though, he's the 138th rider off the ramp, at 14.47 local time. Eurosport is covering tomorrow's highlights at 3.35pm (GMT) right after the live action from Paris-Nice.
16 March 2007
Stage 3 : Marsciano - Macerata (213 km, 132mi)
Chechu finished a fantastic 19th today, at just 2" back. He now lies 27th in the GC, just 33" back on race leader, Alexandr Areekev.
From the results, it looks like he missed the spill that brought down Bettini and Ivan Basso. Nothing broken for Basso but there's doubts over his start tomorrow. It's a long stage, 161km from Pievebovigliana to Offagna, with lots of climbing. Fingers crossed.
And a picture of Chechu has finally appeared. OK, it's a glimpse of his back, and we're only sure it's him because of the number. There's often better photos available but hey ... it's just nice to see him.
Credit : Fotoreporter Sirotti, cyclingnews.com
Today's finish town is famous for its opera festival. In July and August, the Macerata Opera Festival is held in the 3,500 to 4,500 seat Arena Sferisterio.
It is a huge neoclassical arena erected in the 1820s as a stadium for a form of handball by the architect Ireneo Aleandri.
The orchestra pit is so wide that musicians at each end cannot hear each other.
For a guided tour of this beautiful town, try MACERATA GALLERY.
15 March 2007
Stage 2 : Civitavecchia - Marsciano (202 km, 123mi)
Without any real news about Chechu from Marsciano, I like to think that he and Ivan Basso have been chatting at the back of the main group all day, as they cruised in together at 54". More likely, Chechu is doing his job, protecting his leader.
An early four rider attack was hunted down by the peloton, but Alexandr Areekev won the stage with nearly a minute to spare before the pack rolled over the line.
Areekev's Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo team jersey is covered with sponsors' logos, an indication of how smaller teams have to dig around to get their money. I'm curious, though, how this continental Italian team is sponsored by the UK's telecom giant, BT. I'm sure that a hard-working team like Britain's recycling.co.uk could do with a bit of cash from BT. Cycling is increasingly popular here, but needs a boost in profile and safety. An elite British road team just might help achieve this.
Best photo of the day is from cyclingnews.com. Don't you just love Italy?
Credit : Fotoreporter Sirotti, cyclingnews.com
14 March 2007
Stage 1 : Civitavecchia - Civitavecchia (175 km, 109 miles)
The 42nd Tirreno-Adriatico started today on Italy's west coast, along the Mar Tirreno, with a 175km sprinters' stage around the Roman port of Civitavecchia.
Cyclingnews.com predicted that "the fast-men will need to be careful; the run-in is tricky, with a sharp climb only 30 kilometres from the finish." Smart winner Robbie McEwen took the jump before the last corner, and won with yards to spare.
Chechu finished the first stage in the leading pack at 147th, alongside Discovery leader, Ivan Basso. They both log the same time as McEwen. And despite all the photographs of Discovery leader, Ivan Basso now online, Chechu still managed to stay out of shot. We'll keep looking.
Chechu's wearing #97 this week, Davis, Gusev, McCartney, Padrnos and Vandborg make up the Discovery team.
Good to see Discovery colours up amongst the sprinters, with Allan Davis in the final race for the line.
A brief history of Civitavecchia : Located on Tyrrhenian Sea. Founded by Trajan as port for Rome. Flourished in late Roman era. Sacked by Vandals, then Saracens (828). Inhabitants moved to nearby mountains, but later returned to old site. Walls strengthened in 16th century. City damaged in WW II.
Main tourist sights are the Forte Michelangelo, the Rocca (castle) and the cathedral of San Fancesco d'Assisi.
See PHOTOS of historic Civitavecchia.
See live reports from the Daily Peloton
STAGE 1 : STAGE 2 : STAGE 3 : STAGE 4 : STAGE 5
UPDATE FROM CHECHU : In Valencia, I was not well. Maybe the alergy ... but I think I will be better in Tirreno. The team was really well, especially Alberto Contador.
3 March 2007
Stage 5 : Valencia - Valencia (146.9km/91.3mi)
Bennati wins a third stage, but Murcian Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) takes the overall win. Chechu finished in 81st overall, 3'35". Brajkovic is Discovery's GC star, 4th at just 14".
A very different landscape for the peloton today, urban Valencia
2 March 2007
Stage 4 : Albaida - Alt del Campello (162km/110.1mi)
This queen stage was tough, a day for climbers with seven ascents and a mountain finish on Alt del Campello.
The other climbs were Port d’Albaida, Port de Beniarres, Alt de Aielo (twice), Alt del Portixol (twice) as well as the final haul to Alt del Campello.
And if only we could have seen the action today. Discovery's new signing Alberto Contador took the stage from 2006 Pro-Tour champion, Alejandro Valverde. That's a rivalry worth watching
Contador is an intriguing and exciting rider, we're already gathering information about him for our Amigos page. Watch this space. Another great ride by Brajkovic, he's now 4th in the GC.
Chechu finished at 2'05 and is now 87th in the GC.
Cathy Mehl has written a fantastic report on thePACELINE. It's been an exciting day for Discovery.
1 March 2007
Stage 3 : Vila Real - Vila Real (151.8km/98.2mi)
So far, it's the Bennati-Petacchi Tour of Valencia, with both Italians on the podium again today. And for Discovery, Bileka and Brajkovic joined the bunch sprint again.
It wasn't a flat run today though, the hilly route took in the long 20km climb up the Port del Remolcador. Chechu finished in the bunch and lies 115th in the GC at 1'55.
ThePaceline reports that a "pile-up occurred in the final meters so all finishers will be given the same time as the winners. Tomorrow’s profile changes from flat to uphill fun and climber’s will finally have their day at the Tour of Valencia."
Vila Real (also known as Villarreal) is the second city in the province of Castellón was founded in 1274 by King James I of Aragon. Hence its name, Vila Real or King's Town. In the 19th century, growing and trading of oranges gave the town economic benefits, which led today's dynamic ceramic tile industry.
Local football team, Villarreal CF reached the semi-finals in last year's UEFA Champions League.
28 February 2007
Stage 2 : Calp - Calp (148.2km/92.1mi)
The pro-cyclists and their entourage spent much of the day on the coast of the Costa Blanca today around the city of Calpe. Sandy beaches, a dramatic coastline ... I'm sure they couldn't help notice the impressive rock, the Penon de lfach, which reigns over Calpe.
Another day for a sprint finish, won by Alessandro Petacchi, but there were a number of climbs during the day, including the Coll de Rates at 450m.
The veterans of Discovery allowed the young guns Bileka and Brajkovic to join the finish line scramble in Calpe. Chechu and four team-mates come in together, at 1:31. He is now lying 114 in the GC at 1.47.
Great to see Chechu's Asturian chum, Samuel Sanchez mixing it with the big sprinters. He finished 8th today.
27 February 2007
Stage 1 : Alzira - Alzira (162.7km/101.9mi)
In this typical opening stage, Chechu encountered two early, modest climbs followed by a long and undulating run-in.
A breakaway of seven minutes was pulled back by Caisse D'Epargne and Milram with the peloton coming in more or less together. Sprint favourite Alessandro Petacchi was beaten on the line by fellow Italian, Daniele Bennati.
For Discovery, Bileka contested the sprint, Chechu finished safely in the bunch at 10'. He's joined by an interesting group of Discovery riders this week, including Contador (team leader), Bileka, Martinez and Brajkovic. The DS is Sean Yates.
Alzira, located in the province of Valencia in eastern Spain, was founded by the Arabs. During the Middle Ages, it was a prosperous Moorish trading-station.
A walled town, surrounded by palm, orange and mulberry groves, and by low-lying rice-swamps, Alzira is now an important business and industrial centre (paper, chemistry, packaging, food) and is a big producer of oranges.
You might like to know that we're sourcing race reports in Spanish from MINIDIARIO and MARCA.
If you are visiting the official RACE WEBSITE, view it in Internet Explorer, it breaks up in Firefox.
15 February 2007
Stage 5 : Magalluf - Palmanova (147.3 km/92 mi)
There’s definite satisfaction in wrapping up the Volta a Mallorca. The 2006 season had monsters lurking around every corner. But this year’s sunrise is rosy and the birds are singing. What are they singing? Why, it’s Una Paloma Blanca, of course!
And now for some numbers.
Chechu finished 69th on the stage today, in the company of many other first-rate, seasoned riders, like DiLuca, Valverde, and Boogerd. The entire 159-man peloton clocked in together, with the winner’s time.
His GC ranking: 25th in a list of only 43 riders. Less than one-sixth of the cyclists who came to Mallorca rode the entire race. Many of the other big names took a day or two off, essentially using the race to gage their early-season fitness.
Not so Chechu, who committed to increasing his fitness in preparation for races to come. His next outing: February 27 at the Volta a Communitat Valenciana (Spain).
Good news for The Discovery Channel Challenge! Chechu tallied 455 miles this week. Thanks to his efforts, dollars for cancer survivors are starting to fill the pot at the LAF.
Congratulations are in store for friends and colleagues.
Eleven months ago, Chechu stood on the podium at Castilla y León with Luís León Sanchez, then just 22 years old. Today Sanchez took the overall prize, a triumph for a bright young man with a promising future.
Teammates Vladimir Gusev and Tomas Vaitkus put in tip-top performances at Mallorca. Read about their exploits at The Paceline.
Hats off to Chechu’s countrymen, fellow Asturians who used this race to test their legs: Santiago Perez, Carlos Barredo, Mario de Sarraga, and Daniel Navarro.
14 February 2007
Stage 4 : Sóller - Port de Sóller 164,3 Km (102 miles)
Chechu sits in 38th place overall after Wednesday’s circuit through central and northwestern parts of the island. Punctuated by a sprint at Binissalem, the heart of Mallorcan wine country, the stage showed Discovery’s young go-getter, Alberto Contador, is a man to watch in 2007.
Chechu and teammate Pavel Padrnos are the senior members of the Discovery Team roster in Mallorca. At 34 and 36 years, respectively, they’re forming the solid backbone of a body of otherwise young riders. Averaging just 25 years old, the rest of the guys can look to Chechu and Pavel to give advice and teach by example.
There’s an Asturian expression Déxate llevar pol neñu que fuisti, let yourself be guided by the child you were. Hopefully, the young squad is keeping Chechu and Pavel in touch with their inner child.
13 February 2007
Stage 3 : Pollença - Mirador Des Colomer 161,4 Km (100 miles)
Tuesday’s rough and tumble ride from Pollença to Mirador des Colomer (161.4 km/99 miles) was a grand day out for Discovery Channel. DC has climbed steadily in the team competition and now sits in the lead, just ahead of Saunier Duval-Prodir.
Chechu and several teammates made the news in Stage 3. Chechu was part of a group pursuit which reeled back Juan Manuel Gárate, joining Gárate in a lead pack on the descent of the Puig Major.
Watch out for Alberto Contador. He entered the race with aplomb, his first outing with Discovery.
One member of the roster who won’t be riding in Mallorca is Benjamin Noval. Benjamin crashed in training at Solvang, injuring his knee. He’ll be out of action for a month or so, but hopes to be back in shape for the Spring Classics.
If you’re unsure of using Google Earth, be brave! It’s worth it.
Stage 4, from Soller to Port de Soller by way of Pollença, is a rugged roller coaster ride. Zoom in and scan across the northwest part of the island. This gives a staggering 3-D view of the race vicinity. How do they ever get a bike up those rocks?
12 February 2007
Stage 2: Cala Millor - Cala Bona 159,7 Km (99 miles)
Once again, Chechu finished in the pack with the same time as stage winner and native Mallorcan Vincent Reynes (Caisse d’Epargne). The race route was a loop connecting the east shore resorts of Cala Millor and Cala Bona, and covered gently rolling hills.
The Tour Ciclista a Mallorca has a special format, allowing riders to choose which stages they ride. Rosters may change from day to day. However, only riders who complete the entire race are eligible for the overall win. Several DC riders in Mallorca haven't appeared on the bike yet.
Look for roster changes Tuesday as the mountain strong men conquer the slopes from Pollença to Mirador des Colomer.
See the race routes from space! Download GOOGLE EARTH and search for the stage towns. With a bit of zooming in, you’ll soon be there, feeling the breeze, toes in one of the many pools and sipping the local vino. And cheering for Chechu!
11 February 2007
Stage 1 : Palma to Palma 100km (62 miles)
Chechu's first race day of the season started quietly on Sunday with the first sprint stage of the Volta Ciclista a Mallorca, 100km (62 miles), Palma to Palma.
With difficult mountain stages to come this week, Chechu sensibly kept out of trouble in the peloton, finishing 153rd with the same time as sprint winner, Oscar Freire.
Another sprinters' day on Monday with stage 2, 160km (99 miles) from Cala Millor to Call Bona.
Chechu wears 131, team leader for Discovery Channel, with an interesting team pool which includes Bileka, Brajkovic, Contador, Gusev, Martinez, Vaitkus and White.
See RACE WEBSITE
The Paceline reports, Back at camp the boys rolled in just as the rain came down – timing IS everything. The guys looked no worse for wear at all, and in fact Lance was in the mood to talk as well….
"Let's talk about my breakaway," the very retired champ said. OK, did you attack at the bottom? "Well, the truth is they stopped to take a leak, to be honest – and so I attacked! You know, I tried to be a professional for 20 years, so I think that I deserved one dirtbag move, and I used it today. But I had about a minute on them at one point – Johan pulled up in the team car and was cheering me on… French TV was filiming, it was just like old times! I made it about 10K before the group came up to me, and then as soon as that happened, 5 or 6 of them got dropped."
Something in my skeptical look must have caught LA's eye. "Talk to Chechu, he'll tell you all about it." So off I went.
So Chechu, apparently Lance didn’t attack in the most gentlemanly manner today? (He smiles and laughs quickly.)
"I think we will have to wait until the commisaires review the video to make a decision! I heard some rumors about hanging on the car… I think he also broke the old rule about that you wait for the leader when he's "busy"… but seriously, he surprised me because he is not training every day and he still went up really fast. We could see him about one minute ahead of us, and he was maintaining that and going well. And yes, there were guys dropped at the end because we really had to go faster in order to catch him."
For the tech heads in the crowd, I asked Chechu (also an engineer) what kind of wattage he would average on a climb like Figueroa. "Between 370-400 watts consistently over 10 kms." That translates to between 5.4-5.8 watts/kg – pretty impressive, especially since he's "just training"!