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


11-15 February
Vuelta a Mallorca

27 February-3 March
Volta a Comunitat Valenciana

14-20 March

9-14 April
Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco

1-6 May
Tour de Romandie

12 May-3 June
Giro d'Italia

14-22 July
Tour of Qinghai Lake

4 August
Clásica San Sebastián

10-18 August
Deutschland Tour

1-23 September
Vuelta a España



23 September 2007

Stage 21 : Rivas Vaciamadrid to Madrid, 104.2km (65 miles)

And so the 2007 Vuelta ended in Madrid today, with Denis Menchov taking most of the jerseys home, including the maillot oro. He was commanding and superior, although perhaps passionless. It was an important day for him, a win of his own and the chance to enjoy the ceremonials as champion.

The race was lifted from the doldrums this week by Samuel Sanchez, whose energy, excitement and passion leapt from TV. I will never forget his descent on Stage 15. They should be celebrating in Asturias tonight, Samuel was third overall, Carlos Barredo 10th. It's a great achievement.

So how's Chechu? In typical style, he fought through the recovery from China, and made it to Madrid. He came home safely with the main peloton today, 65th behind winner, Daniele Bennati.

Overall, Chechu finished the Vuelta in 86th place at 1hr 52' 16".

He spoke earlier on Spain's national channel, TVE1. He has no contract for next year (yet) and so doesn't know if today was his last professional race.

We should be incensed on Chechu's behalf - it's the right of the aficionado, after all.

Chechu has had a fantastic career, no question. In supporting Lance Armstrong in five Tour de France wins, he put aside personal ambitions. Don't forget, he was a team leader of Kelme and won stages at the Giro twice.

Maybe he decided that he was a gregario by nature. He doesn't seem to have the aggression and arrogance of some. Perhaps he decided good money and a good team were more important. We should ask him.

We know that Chechu has enjoyed his time on the US Postal/Discovery team. He's been very loyal. He's a team player, reliable and committed.

He doesn't deserve to be in this place tonight, not knowing if he'll race again.

His team have let him down, they owe him. Lance owes him. (Nicky)

22 September 2007

Stage 20 : Villalba to Villalba (ITT), 20km (12.4 miles)

Photograph by Graham Watson, The Paceline

We'll let Graham Watson tell Chechu's story today. Except to say that he finished 53rd at 1'45" behind triple winner and Chechu chum, Samuel Sanchez.

Chechu's now 87th overall, at 1hr 52' 16".

21 September 2007

Stage 19 : Ávila to Alto de Abantos, 133km (86 miles)

Photograph by Graham Watson, The Paceline

Supporting Chechu Rubiera is an expensive business. His perfect race on the roads of Castilla y León today led to two transatlantic phones calls, one lasting nearly two hours. But we had a lot to talk about, and celebrate.

Around about 65km to go, Chechu made a move out the front of the peloton and chased the breakaway. Two climbs and 30km later, Chechu led the group over the Alto de Robledondo, taking mountain points on both climbs.

The day had been marred by heavy rain storms, which eased as the mountain finish on Alto de Abantos approached but the roads were treacherous. Chechu descended fast, but with some caution, down a wet, dangerous road, on his own and in the lead, glancing back for his pursuers.

They all came together again just before the final climb, but these were moments to savour and enjoy (at least, now we know he's safe).

We've never seen Chechu descend live, and despite some 800 plus images of him in our archives, there isn't one of him in the aerodynamic tuck position. (There still isn't, we haven't found one from today yet.)

Chechu must feel great tonight. That he seems well again is a cause for celebration in itself. Chechu always works hard, but rarely gets the glory. Well, there was great glory for him today, and it's a timely reminder to all team managers that his experience is a valuable commodity. (Nicky)

20 September 2007

Stage 18 : Talavera de la Reina to Ávila, 153.5km (95 miles)

Chechu nudges into the top 100 overall with a strong ride today, on a challenging mountainous route. He finished 92nd, at 17'31".

A grimacing Carlos Sastre decided finally to shake the Menchov tree. Riding on home ground, it was a next to last chance for him to move into the podium position. And he was successful, he's now 3rd overall.

Discovery are down to four men, Allan Davis has headed home to prepare for the World Championships. Why are they allowed to do this?

The Vuelta has always been used as a training exercise. Until 1995, the race took place in May, before the Giro. Tour favourites regularly used the Vuelta to get race miles in their legs.

We want our Vuelta participants to be inspired, to launch attacks, to take out their rivals, and to battle for the honour of a stage or overall win. I know it's been a long season, and I know cycling is hard, but it's just a bit boring to lose the big names.

In years gone by, Vuelta organisers have withheld stage winnings because of slow speeds and lack of competitive action. I'd like to see them try it today! (Nicky)

Photographs by Graham Watson, The Paceline and Fotoreporter Sirotti, cyclingnews.com

19 September 2007

Stage 17 : Ciudad Real to Talavera de la Reina, 175km (109 miles)

Photograph by Graham Watson, The Paceline

All is right the world, Chechu is smiling again. OK, he's at the back with the team car, but it's fantastic to see him looking healthy and happy.

From the smidgen of news we get from the press and his results, you might conclude that Chechu is wasting away at the back of the peloton, brought down by some devilish affliction caught in the Far East.

A grotesque vision appears, like something from the unmissable BELLEVILLE RENDEZVOUS.

But no, he looks fine and enjoying himself. And he had a good result today, finishing 83rd in the main bunch, same time as winner, Daniele Bennati. He's still 106th overall at 1hr 31' 06". (Nicky)

18 September 2007

Stage 16 : Jaen to Puertollano, 161.5km (100 miles)

A confession: I missed today's stage. With the website offline for unknown reasons, there was too much finger-thrumming to do waiting for call backs. Still waiting.

I checked in to cycling.tv a couple of times, saw that Chechu wasn't in the break but sitting happy in the bunch. And that's where he finished, in 127th place. He's now 106th overall at 1hr 31' 06".

cycling.tv. A fantastic technology, a fantastic asset for cycling. I love Brian Smith and how he and Anthony McCrossan sound like they're having a conversation over a pint.

But why, oh why, oh why am I watching the Vuelta at 400bps day after day after day? I've got my Super Wireless ADSL Modem Router and we've upgraded to a squillion Mb of something from Pipex and I've paid my €19.99 for high speed cycling download.

But no, they're still all blotchy, and tanking along the pixellated roads of Spain on square wheels. What happened to 1200bps, cycling.tv?. And get those annoying Flash-y adverts off the side of the screen. We don't like it.

Johan Bruyneel was interviewed by Velonews at the Tour of Missouri. He is an inspirational man, and very calm, given his super team will shortly be disbanded.

He said something important. The friendships he's made during the last nine years will, he hopes, transcend the end of this professional relationship.

Amen to that. (Nicky)

16 September 2007

Stage 15 : Villacarrillo to Granada, 201.4km (125 miles)

Asturians cycling fans will be celebrating in the streets of Oviedo tonight, the sidra will flow and the gaitas skurl into the wee hours.

They have a lot to celebrate. A stunning win for Euskatel's Samuel Sánchez and a mighty third place for Carlos Barredo (Quick Step).

It was the manner of Sánchez's win that was so very impressive. Judged a lost cause by commentators, he descended from the first category Alto de Monachil with neither fear nor caution, slicing corners, dodging motos and going very, very fast. His tuck position must have required extraordinary balance and faith. With the top of his head level with his handlebars, he wasn't even looking where he was going!

So now that we have our breathe back, a word for Manuel Beltrán. He took initiative on the final climb and built a good gap back to Sastre et al. For a while, the win seemed to be his for the taking. But the man in orange had other ideas.

Chechu finished today's tough stage a respectable 140th, he's now 110th at 1hr 31' 06". The remaining Asturian at the Vuelta, Santi Pérez, finished 76th.

I'm reading Jason Webster's Andalus, a search for Spain's Moorish heritage. I've quite fallen in love with the Alhambra, which we glimpsed today.

I can't shake, however, a tale of the civil war recounted in another Webster book, ¡Guerra!.

It is said that thousands of Granadans are buried in unmarked graves in these hills, killed in fighting or executed by terror squads, in the civil war. (Nicky)


15 September 2007

Stage 14 : Puerto Lumbreras to Villacarrillo (Parque Natural Sierra de Cazorla), 207km (129 miles)

A fantastic win by Jason McCartney will surely raise the spirits on the Discovery bus tonight.

It was, in the end, a classic solo win from a successful breakaway. He planned his attack and executed it brilliantly. The commentators' favourite, Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher had no response. Hooray! We've not forgiven him for beating Chechu into second place at last year's Giro.

The scenery today was quite spectacular, no wonder Andalucía has attracted artists, writers and poets to linger here, and contemplate. The mountains and valleys were punctuated by some pretty towns and lots of orange groves. According to Martin McCrossan on cycling.tv, you can pick oranges off the trees as you cycle along. The odd one is probably tolerated, I doubt you could fill your panniers.

You know, I even saw Chechu towards the front of the peloton as they approached Villacarrillo. Let's hope Jason McCartney's move inspires Chechu to make it into a break before next weekend. He needs to feel the hunger, he needs to have fun.

Chechu finished 55th today, he's now 102nd at 1hr 09' 32". (Nicky)

14 September 2007

Stage 13 : Hellín to Torre-Pacheco, 176km (109 miles)

The rain in Spain ... so it's true. And hailstones. And thunder. And thus rivers of water cascaded down the first big climb of the day. As a result of the atmospherics, TV coverage was flaky.

Photograph by Graham Watson, The Paceline

The break of three riders stayed away, Andreas Klier was a classy winner. The peloton had a series of mishaps on the dangerous roads, and the pace was slow until Caisse d'Epargne injected a burst of speed which successfully split the peloton.

Shaking heads of disbelief (notably Cadel Evans) and snarls of anger (Carlos Sastre ... again) at the audacity the Spanish team followed, commentators suggesting that words would be exchanged later at dinner!

So a few Spanish riders started mixing it, to the annoyance of the rest. This is great Vuelta tradition, and today ensured that a lacklustre finish suddenly became rather interesting.

Chechu finished 137th today, at 5'02. He's now 104th overall at 1hr 09' 32".

Photograph by Graham Watson, Velonews

I've been feeling melancholy in the last few days. I was so excited about the Vuelta, Chechu's big home race. I wanted something good to happen for him. But one by one, his Discovery team-mates have packed their bags, and he's clearly not on form, either physically or psychologically.

So it was heartening to read Christian Vande Velde's diary in Velonews earlier. It explains a lot. Christian knows he's in Murcia, he knows the date and the stage, but he doesn't know exactly where he is. This is his new tactic to make the race go by faster, and to cope with the monotony of the three-week race.

If not knowing where I am, how much longer we have to go and virtually riding on autopilot gets me through the lame stages faster, then let me be. I know that it's a means to an end, but I will gain motivation, energy and morale for this weekend by not spending any this week. Kinda like your buddy who gets by during the work week just to throttle himself partying on the weekend.

Thanks to Christian, I now know Chechu must have a plan. So bring on the weekend, no mountain top finishes but plenty of climbing along the way. (Nicky)

13 September 2007

Stage 12 : Algemesí to Hellín, 176km (109 miles)

So ... is this Vuelta getting boring? Just a little. That's not intended to belittle Petacchi's win today, making it two in row. It's good to see him back in form and winning with style.

Cycling Weekly magazine asks today, Is the Tour of Spain on self-destruct?

It questions the Vuelta organisers for tempting fate by scheduling the key mountain stage to Lagos de Covadonga so early in the race. As cyclists normally ride into form for the big mountain stages, they've had no chance to get into top-end race condition.

The Zaragoza time trial is described as flat, bland and featureless, leaving climbers such as Sastre and Sanchez suffering and perhaps out of contention for the GC overall. Sastre said, "It felt like riding across the Sahara desert - as unpleasant and about as interesting."

So where does this leave Chechu? He came home in the bunch, but dropped sixteen seconds for reasons unknown, and he is now 111th at 1hr 8'33". He can't be satisfied that coming in 120-odd every day. What's happened to his competitive nature, why is he not having a go?

The history of the Vuelta is littered with disgruntled and complaining cyclists, so Sastre is not the first. But then someone comes along and sets the race alight. The great names of Spanish cycling, Berrendero, Bahamontes, Ocaña, Fuente, Delgado, Induráin, even disgraced Heras have all dug deep. Often a bitter and empassioned rivalry has ignited a tired peloton to produce something special.

But rivalry? In this Vuelta? It seems to be missing in action. (Nicky)

Photograph by Graham Watson, The Paceline

12 September 2007

Stage 11 : Castellón to Algemesí, 191.3km (119 miles)

Alessandro Petacchi gave a classic demonstration of sprinting today, when he was powered to a good win by his Milram team. He won by a bike length. Poetry in motion.

Chechu came home safely in the bunch. Given the same time as Petacchi, he is now 114th at 1hr 8'17".

Earlier we saw him carrying bottles up the peloton to his team-mates. Another form of art, I think.

It was a tough day for Egoi Martinez though, After a crash early in the race, it's being reported tonight that he's off to hospital to check for broken bones. If he were to pull out tomorrow, Discovery would be down to just five men.

Photograph © Unipublic, source : cyclingnews.com

10 September 2007

Stage 10 : Benasque to Estación de esquí de Ordino Arcalís (Andorra), 214km (133 miles)

Eurosport declared that it was day for the Spanish, but Russia's Denis Menchov defied them, winning a sprint with his major GC contenders. It wasn't fast and furious, but it was exciting nevertheless.

Good to see Samuel Sanchez recover to take third place. Chechu will be pleased for his friend and neighbour.

Chechu finished 122nd today, at 28'10". He's now 115th overall, 1hr 8'17" behind race leader, Denis Menchov.

Of course, we didn't see him, but I wonder if his dad was there again on the road-side. There were a few Asturian flags flying, and it just might have been him.

The winner today was the spectacular landscape. There wasn't much shade for the cyclists, they were pretty exposed on the final climb.

It was a long race, but they can rest tomorrow in their buses as they travel 450km into Valencia.

9 September 2007

Stage 9 : Huesca to Estación de esquí Cerler (Grupo Aramón), 167.6km (104 miles)

An apology is due, we got excited by Stijn Devolder. He's not a proven Grand Tour contender, and he's not best known for his climbing. So of course, his challenge for the race lead collapsed. It was a fantastic moment of hope, but the gold jersey has moved on to the most likely winner, Denis Mechov.

Photograph by Fotoreporter Sirotti, cyclingnews.com

Chechu and his team-mates shepherded Devolder to the base of the final climb to the ski station at Cerler. The average gradient for the final climb ws 5.5%, with a maximum of 9.5%. Not the steepest climb, but relentless and it proved a tough day for Discovery.

Chechu finished 122nd today, at 14'53". He's now 102nd overall, 40'07" behind new leader and 2005 winner, Denis Menchov.

We heard from Assistant Director Viatcheslav Ekimov yesterday that Chechu's morale has been low. I wonder why. He's out of a job, his legs aren't working that well and his assistant director calls him a domestique. That would certainly do it for me. (Nicky)

Photograph by Fotoreporter Sirotti, cyclingnews.com

8 September 2007

Stage 8 : D.O. Cariñena to Zaragoza (ITT), 52.2km (32 miles)

At last, Chechu has work to do. Discovery will defend the gold jersey, snatched in today's ITT by Stijn Devolder. And nobody knows how to defend a leader like Discovery Channel. Chechu's experience of five Tours with Lance will be vital. This strong motivation will put power into his tired legs.

Stijn Devolder wants to win. "It's a long way to go and there are two more hard days. If I can get through these two hard days, maybe there's a possibility."

In today's individual time trial in Zaragoza, Chechu finished 78th, at 6'10". He now lies 94th overall, at 25'44".

Tomorrow, the peloton heads into the Pyrenees, with two mountain top finishes. Watch out for Menchov, Evans and Sastre attacking. They'll have a tough job though, Devolder has a determined look about him.

7 September 2007

Stage 7 : Calahorra to Zaragoza, 176.3km (109 miles)

Cycling has gone bonkers today. Erik Zabel, confessed drug user, continues to race and wins.

Meanwhile, Alejandro Valverde is censured by the UCI, for missing a random drug test, when he was at a UCI race - where he was tested!

And Zaragoza Council are installing roundabouts, but forgot to let Vuelta organisers know.

Photograph by S Jacob, pezcyclingnews.com

Many cyclists will be very sore tonight, as a result of the chaotic finish. A mass crash within 3km of the line followed a pile-up at 30km to go. The peloton was flying, they didn't stand a chance on these roads, even the motorcycles had problems manoeuvring at such speed. Totally bonkers!

And we don't know Chechu's fate. If he missed the crashes today on the run-in to Zaragoza, he was extremely lucky. He finished but was certainly held up. He rolled over the line in 141st place, and was given the same time as Zabel. He's still 95th overall at 21'28". (Nicky)

6 September 2007

Stage 6 : Reinosa to Logroño, 184.3km (114 miles)

Another exciting run into Logroño today kept us on the edge of our seats. Chechu kept up with the fast boys and crossed the line in the same time as stage winner, Oscar Freire. Chechu is now 95th overall, at 21'28".

Off the bike, Chechu has been talking again about the demise of Discovery and the prospect of his forced retirement. He told Spanish TV that "I want to race for one more year, but I won't ride for just any team or any wage. If the contract and the sport conditions are correct, (if not) I might end my career with this Vuelta."

He also spoke about the bad planning of his season, and missing home during long periods away. As a veteran, he now prefers smaller races, like the classics.

Chechu must feel bombarded at the moment, he is competing in so many races : on the bike in Spain, in the cyclists' marketplace and in his recovery from Qinghai Lake. China was such a bad idea, one of many questionable decisions by Discovery this year. You can't help wondering if the team management feel any responsibility at all to their cyclists.

Have you noticed that key Discovery people have stopped talking on The Paceline? The website has a closing down feel to it, they're even selling off their merchandise cheap (not for Europe though, the postage doubles the cost).

If we're noticing this and feeling bad, just how must it be for the team? (Nicky)

5 September 2007

Stage 5 : Cangas de Onís to Reinosa, 157km (98 miles)

On the road to Lagos de Covadonga yesterday, Chechu's father told a local reporter that Chechu was still suffering from the trip to China. And it seems we saw evidence of this today. He finished 12'05" back on winner Oscar Freire and now lies 21'28" overall.

But Chechu doesn't go backwards! He stays with the main group, he does his job to protect his leader.

And perhaps that's part of the problem. Just who is Discovery's leader at this Vuelta? Stijn Devolder, who lies fifth overall, but isn't he a classics specialist?

Or Janez Brajkovic who performed so strongly last year, wears #1 but has already lost six minutes.

Since Lance's retirement two years ago, Discovery's successes and failures have often been dictated by chance. As well as the everyday hazards of illness and injury, they have endured two years of forced withdrawals, baffling politics and sponsors (or lack of them) must surely mean that cyclists like Chechu are disorientated and disillusioned.

Just where does Chechu find the motivation to produce something special on the roads of Spain? If not in Asturias, then where?

During Spain's TVE coverage of yesterday's race, commentator and cycling legend Pedro Delgado said that he believed that Chechu's trip to China in July was "a bad choice. If you catch an illness there, you suffer to recover, and this is what's happening to Chechu."

This was another great stage, however, with attacks and chases. For fans of descending, like me, the run down towards Reinosa was glorious, with the peloton hitting a top speed of 70km/hour. This part of northern Spain is quite beautiful, and I can't wait to get there. Just five weeks to go! (Nicky)

4 September 2007

Stage 4 : Langreo to Lagos de Covadonga, 185km (115 miles)

The last two stages of the Vuelta have been particularly important to fans of Chechu Rubiera as the peloton travelled across his homeland. Especially today.

Chechu lives nearby, he trains on these roads every day. I couldn't help wondering how much of landscape registered with him today, the familiar landmarks, the bends, the steep bits. And the potholes. Maybe he recognised faces in the crowds lining the route.

This day must have been so important for Chechu. With rumours of his retirement still lingering, perhaps it was his last journey in a peloton as pro-cyclist on these roads. Let's hope not. Nevertheless, it's a important moment, and worth reflecting on.

Photograph by Luisma Murias, lne.es

Thank goodness for a Spanish TV director. It's been a while, but finally we saw Chechu in close-up. He looked well and strong, as he climbed the lower slopes of the Lagos de Covadonga. Although he lost over nine minutes today - he's now 66th overall at 9'23" - it was a terrific performance on one of the most feared Vuelta climbs. Just look at the big names who came in behind him. (Nicky)

Photograph by cantabriafoto.com

3 September 2007

Stage 3 : Viveiro to Luarca, 155km (97 miles)

An interesting sprint ended today’s stage in the Vuelta, with a skillful bit of riding by Paolo Bettini. The Cricket managed to keep Oscar Freire at bay, closing the space near the barrier without treacherously changing his line. He beat the Spaniard and Discovery’s Allan Davis to celebrate only his second win this year.

Bettini posted up, as if to direct “All together now” to the large ensemble behind him. Chechu finished at 50th, in unison with the pack, once again with the winner’s time. He now sits at 67th in the GC, but in cumulative time not one second slower than maillot oro, Freire.

As the race rolled into dramatically picturesque Luarca, two Saunier Duval riders hit the asphalt at 1km to go. Alberto Fernández suffered broken teeth and a possible broken jaw, but will ride tomorrow. Euskaltel’s Haimar Zubeldia smacked the pavement face-down and hard earlier, a trip to the hospital in his near future.

Photograph : Graham Watson, dailypeloton.com

The effervescent beauty of the peloton, the brutality of the sport: an eternal contradiction. As fans, do we prefer poetry or gladiatorial spectacle?

Luarca is the first stop in Asturias in the Vuelta 2007. Hosting city councils and the regional sports bureau have footed a bill of €236,000 to facilitate Stages 3-5, with €35,000 coming from Luarca, a city of only 6,000 people.

This shows how important it is for the principality to maintain its excellent track record as host to the Vuelta. In 62 editions of the race, there have been 45 visits to Asturias. Most popular locations have been the main cities, Gijon and Oviedo. Other important locations have been Lagos de Covadonga - tomorrow’s summit finish - and Spain’s most menacing peak, L’Angliru.

Three-time host to a Vuelta stage, Luarca has another claim to fame: Severo Ochoa was born here in 1905. Ochoa, a molecular biologist, emigrated to the USA in 1940, where his research led to a process for the synthesis of RNA. He won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1959. (Rebecca)

2 September 2007

Stage 2 : Allariz to Santiago de Compostela, 150km (94 miles)

The significance of an arrival in Santiago de Compostela, where the ancient pilgrim routes converge, was lost on Eurosport's commentators today. In France, they can wax lyrical on local culture and produce, and yet here, in extraordinary Galicia, they had one fact. Oscar Pereiro was born here and so he's very popular. Look, there's another banner!

After a major crash with 2km to go, the main peloton looked like weary pilgrims this afternoon. Many of them wandered across the finish line, dazed and just a bit sore. Chechu was probably one of them. We glimpsed him getting back on his bike in the pile-up zone and pushing off. Every fall hurts and dents confidence. Such is cycling.

Chechu came across the line in 150th place, but he's given the same time as winner, Oscar Freire, who will wear gold tomorrow.

We think Chechu is hurting in a big way, the demise of Discovery angers him a lot. In a recent interview with Marca, he talks angrily of losing his contract because the few cheaters - cyclists, doctors and managers - who have damaged the reputation of cycling and the livelihood of hundreds of cyclists.

He complains about the hypocrisy of the Tour organisers, who create "inhuman" routes. For him, cyclists have no support, they can be branded criminals on rumour alone.

The consolation is the fans, who have not deserted the sport, and line the routes in Germany, France, China and now, here in Spain. (Nicky)

1 September 2007

Stage 1 : Vigo to Vigo, 146.4km (91 miles)

Chechu clocked in today with the same time as sprint winner Daniele Bennati, as the 62nd edition of the Vuelta a España got under way, starting and stopping in the Galician city of Vigo.

Chechu can eye the possibilites from his position at 111th in the peloton. He’s like a viola player in the middle of the orchestra who slyly kibitzes on the other instruments all around him. You might be surprised at how much influence people like that can have.

Teammate Tom Danielson added heartbreak to heartbreak today, crashing out and possibly fracturing a shoulder. That would end a very unsatisfying season for him, and make for a sad end to his days racing for Discovery Channel. Take care of yourself, Tom, and see you next year at Slipstream.

If by any chance you’ve wondered what an expert from Vigo thinks of this year’s Vuelta, here’s a chance for a little perspective. Vigo native Óscar Pereiro cast his eye over the roster and named his favorites for as.com yesterday.

“Whoever wants to win this Vuelta will have to be better than Sastre and Menchov, who’ve already demonstrated that the Vuelta agrees with them and are for me the main favorites. And then there’s Marchante, Samuel (Sanchez), Cunego, some of Discovery…”

When asked if Cadel Evans would be a threat for the overall win, Pereiro said, “I don’t think so. After the Tour, he’s been to China (the Good Luck Beijing Road Cycling International Invitational) which makes it hard to prepare for the Vuelta.”

“Many say it’s going to be a very open race. That’s absolutely right. There’s nobody who is clearly superior to the others. I’m convinced that it’s going to be a crazy Vuelta, which makes for a great show.” (Rebecca)


In our daily RACE DIARY, we'll gather all Chechu's news, photos and results.

In his seventh Vuelta and his first in Discovery colours, Chechu wears #68.

Discovery Channel's nine-man Vuelta team is,

Janez Brajkovic, Tom Danielson, Allan Davis, Stijn Devolder (leader), Egoi Martinez, Jason McCartney, Sergio Paulinho, Chechu Rubiera and Jurgen Van Goolen.

With Johann Bruyneel heading to Missouri in a few days, the DS will be Dirk Demol.

The Spanish media reported that Chechu wants to win a stage at this Vuelta. Perhaps he has an eye on Stage 4. The stage finishes with a mighty climb (averaging 7.3%) to the Lagos de Covandonga, the first of three early summit finishes.

For Chechu, this is home turf, he knows the roads well. And you can bet that his support will be amazing. It would be an unforgettable win.

los Lagos de Covadonga

All text © 2006 Nicky Orr / Rebecca Bell. Web design by Modem Operandi
Photo Credits: Masthead: Liz Kreutz 2007. Left column from top: ThePaceline.com (source). Right column from top: Apreal, López, Fraile, Onaindia Telepressm, EFE, Pais Vasco; Fotoreporter Sirotti, cyclingnews.com