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


20-27 January
Tour Down Under

17-24 February
Tour of California

4-8 March
Vuelta a Murcia

24-28 March
Vuelta Ciclista Castilla y Leon

21-27 April
Tour of Georgia

8-15 June
Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré

2 August
Clásica de San Sebastián

8-12 August
Vuelta a Burgos

30 August-21 September
Vuelta a España



Straight off the follow car at the final ITT

What an amazing season Chechu Rubiera has had! In Australia, California, Murcia, Georgia and at the Vuelta a España, he gave some of the best performances of his life.

He finished in last month's Vuelta a España, the final race of the season for him, in 23rd place overall, just 28'26" behind a magnificent Alberto Contador.

We are proud to be part of Chechu's support team. In the statement announcing his re-signing with Astana, he said, "What convinced me as well was the support I got from the fans the last months. It is incredible how they seem to like me."

That's you. Your messages of support are vital, keep them coming. Get a t-shirt, wave a flag. Celebrate his success. It truly makes a difference.

And it's us too. For one more fabulous year, Rebecca, Christine, Bruno and I will ensure that everyone knows that Chechu Rubiera is the best.

A lucky photo in the Plaza de Cibiles, Madrid


17 September 2008

Stage 17 : Zamora to Valladolid, 148.2km

Another sleepy transition stage featuring a two-man breakaway reeled in in the final 10k.

Astana blew the chase group apart in the final 15km with an attack, perhaps to gain time for Contador and Leipheimer, perhaps they hoped Vaitkus could improve his 4th place in yesterday's sprint. It wasn't to be though, the GC contenders all came home together.

Chechu finished in the middle of the peloton again, and was given the same time as sprint winner Wouter Weylandt. He is 24th overall, at 24'03".

16 September 2008

Stage 16 : Ponferrada to Zamora, 186.4km

We can't do better than Andrew Hood's description in Velonews, "Tuesday’s snoozer across the bleak plains of northern Spain will provide plenty of fodder for those who think the Vuelta could be reduced from three weeks.

Two years ago, the Vuelta ditched its popular formula of shorter and more explosive stages that worked with success in favor of expanding the stage distances to be more in line with the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.

The result is what cycling fans suffered through Tuesday; an interminable, tiresome stage that could have easily been 50km shorter."

Chechu finished in the peloton today, same time as sprint winner Tom Boonen. He is still 24th overall, at 24'02".

Photograph © Bjorn Haake, cyclingnews.com

15 September 2008

Stage 15 : Cudillero to Ponferrada, 202km

Bruno with Chechu at today's start in Cudillero. Photograph © Bruno Lopez Vizcon

Wonderful weather, and a relatively quiet race after two tough days in the Asturian mountains.

Contador took a tumble, he seemed to graze his leg and needed attention from the race doctor. Chechu took him back to the peloton, we even heard him speak to his team leader. Thankfully, it seems no major damage was done.

Interesting to see the Astana team spread across the road in front of the peloton. Controlling the pace as usual.

Chechu finished 67th at 15'57" and is now 24th overall at 24'03".

14 September 2008

Stage 14 : Oviedo to E. E. Fuentes de Invierno, 158.4km

Photograph © Team Astana

Contador wins again. And a second tough day for the peloton, three category climbs followed by three category one climbs, including the final climb, El Puerto de San Isidro.

Chechu was on home territory once again, as the Vuelta spectators enjoyed another spectacular charge through this mountainous region.

With home support out in strength, Chechu didn't disappoint, finishing 16th at 1'42". He's now 18th at 22'29".

Photograph © Bruno Lopez Vizcon

13 September 2008

Stage 13 : San Vicente de la Barquera to Alto de L'Angliru, 209.5km

"Then it was José Luís “Chechu” Rubiera’s turn to set the rhythm for Astana.

With Contador glued on his wheel, the Spanish veteran rode like it was his last Vuelta. And it was supposed to be, until Lance Armstrong announced his comeback this week and asked Rubiera to postpone his retirement for one more year." Velonews

Photograph © Graham Watson, Velonews

Chechu rode heroically in Asturias today to pull stage winner Alberto Contador to victory on the Angliru.

Astana dominated, with plenty of hands to share the work. Vaitkus, Paulinho, Klöden, Noval, and Bazayev took turns on point, sheltering Contador and Leipheimer until the final beastly kilometers.

At around 10 km, Chechu took command, as the other helpers dropped away. He bulldozed a path up the cruel slopes, as he did so many times for USPS/Discovery. This time, however, two champions relied on his help, and the shockingly beautiful vista that framed a scene not in France, but his own homeland.

When Chechu finished his work and dropped back, fans cheered for him and snapped photographs. Contador and Leipheimer forged ahead, the Spaniard to the maillot oro, the American to a solid second overall.

So with Contador in gold, it's mission accomplished for Astana. Chechu finished 31st at 8'28" and is now 24th in the GC at 20'27".

Photograph © Unipublic

11 September 2008

Stage 12 : Burgos to Suances, 186.4km

What a great race today! If the bad weather didn't create enough drama for you, the slow downfall of a GC favourite kept the tension high.

Valverde plummeted out of the top ten after inexplicably missing a break that contained all other GC contenders. He was a casualty of some Astana-Euskatel pact as the two teams worked together to storm home. Valverde lost over three and half minutes.

A great day for Chechu fans. There was lots of camera time as he took his turn in the Kazakh-Basque charge. He finished 46th at 1'18 and now lies 21st overall, at 12'08. The top 20 beckons.

Next up, the peloton faces the dreaded Angliru on Saturday.

10 September 2008

Stage 11 : Calahorra to Burgos, 178km

With no gold jersey to defend, Astana could afford to relax a bit. Perhaps they had time to talk about Lance Armstrong, and his announcement that he will be returning to professional cycle racing next year. It sounds like the news was on everyone's lips.

Will Chechu get a call for those five races?

Talking of Chechu, he finished in the peloton today, same time as winner, Oscar Freire. He is now 25th in the GC, at 10'56".

Photographs © Team Astana

Photograph © Unipublic

9 September 2008

Stage 10 : Sabiñánigo to Zaragoza, 151.3km

A lesson in cycling politics. Leipheimer let go of the gold jersey today because Astana didn’t want to defend through the transitional stages. The new leader, Egoi Martinez, is a good friend of Johan Bruyneel and so Astana gained an ally (useful in the stages to come) and a good colleague was rewarded.

#38 was 38th in today's sprint stage, Chechu finishing near the front of the peloton. He's now 25th overall at 10'56".

Photograph © Unipublic

8 September 2008

Stage 9 : Viella to Sabiñánigo, 200.8km

The break got away today, and the peloton chased too late to catch them. A new leader emerges from nowhere. Egoi Martinez wears gold tonight, moving up 21 places. Is he a dark horse? He's certainly been visible during the Vuelta. He won't beat Contador on the Angliru though.

Chechu stayed with the peloton which rolled in nearly seven minutes behind the breakaway. He is now 25th overall, at 10'56".

7 September 2008

Stage 8 : Andorra to Plá de Beret, 151km

Astana will be pleased with today's race. For me, the hero was Levi Leipheimer. He looked alert and fit, and covered every move off the front as they took on the final climb, Plá de Beret. He deserves his second gold jersey.

Contador couldn't shake Valverde, and wanted him to share the effort to the summit, continually signalling him to come through and take a turn. Eurosport commented that Conta often uses this tactic, so weren't surprised that Valverde was having none of it (they seem to favour Valverde).

Chechu looked great! He was upfront on the final climb, with Contador on his wheel. He finished 22nd at 2'03" and is now 23rd overall, at 10'45". This is shaping up to be a great race for him.

Photographs © Graham Watson, Team Astana

6 September 2008

Stage 7 : Barbastro to Andorra, 223.2km

It's raining. There are no crowds. Everyone's miserable. It could be Britain. Hey, wait a minute! It is Britain!

British Eurosport broadcast a local race today as TVE couldn't get pictures of the Vuelta in Andorra.

Admittedly, the weather was nasty. And there were mountains. But it must be an embarrassment for them and they can't afford this happening on the Angliru.

A good day for Astana, Contador finished 3rd and took time on his main rivals. Chechu also worked hard, finishing 37th at 8'29". He's now 30th overall, at 10'21".

4 September 2008

Stage 6 : Ciudad Real to Toledo, 150.1km

Chechu came in with the peloton today, finishing 55th, just 14" behind winner Paolo Bettini. He is now 33rd overall at 3'52".

The Spanish press are reporting tonight that Chechu punctured with less than 30km to go when someone sprinkled the road with tacks. Many cyclists were caught in the prank, including Valverde and Paulinho. Lampre's Danilo Napolitano had to change wheels twice. Greater security for the peloton has been called for.

Photograph © Graham Watson, Team Astana

Eurosport viewers (and probably others) miss the Vuelta presentations every day, the TV directors are in such a hurry to keep the thrills going.

So we missed the team presentation today, when Chechu stepped up to the podium with Vaitkus and Bazayev. Worth checking in on the live coverage on RTVE.es on Saturday, when all eyes will be on Contador as the peloton races towards the mountains.

Photographs © Graham Watson, Team Astana

3 September 2008

Stage 5 : Ciudad Real to Ciudad Real (ITT), 42.5km

Good for Levi. His win in today's time trial will give Team Astana a boost tonight, after the crashes yesterday.

Leipheimer will wear gold tomorrow. And as the Vuelta heads towards the mountains, there's no better team to lead the peloton than Team Astana, already defending a leader's jersey.

Chapeau to Tomas Vaitkus, who has been looking vulnerable, but finished in the top 20 today.

Chechu was 57th at 3'11", and is now 37th overall at 3'34".

Photograph © Graham Watson, Team Astana

2 September 2008

Stage 4 : Córdoba to Puertollano, 170.3km

Nasty. A crash in the final three kilometres really mixed it up for Team Astana, and split the peloton at the finish.

From the results, it seems that Chechu missed the worst of it, but still lost 42".

Several other Astana riders were held up, including Vaitkus and Paulinho. Leipheimer and Contador got tangled up, Alberto went sliding through fallen riders. No damage is reported for him. Klöden flatted just before the 3km barrier and lost four minutes.

Chechu finished 69th at 42". He now lies 42nd at 1'39". A messy result for Astana.

Photograph © Graham Watson, Team Astana

1 September 2008

Stage 3 : Jaén to Córdoba, 169 km

The peloton sweated into Córdoba today, temperatures in Europe's hottest city were in the high thirties. Contador said that "you could feel the heat in your feet and our mouths were dry thoughout the ride".

It was less interesting race today, a long solo move by Andalucia Cajasur's Manuel Ortega was only caught on the descent of the final climb, the third category Alto de San Jerónimo.

And there were glimpses of Chechu in the peloton. He came to the front on the final climb, but disappeared as Paolo Bettini jumped off the front and powered up the road. It was a crazy move, and a delight.

Chechu finished 62nd, same time as sprint winner, Tom Boonen. He is now 39th overall, at 34".

Photograph © Graham Watson, Team Astana

31 August 2008

Stage 2 : Granada to Jaén, 167 km

The commentary team at Eurosport seemed surprised when cyclists make a break for it with 15km to go. They forgot they're in Spain, and in their national race, Spaniards don't do predictable.

No breaks succeeded but the monotonous promenade around Jaén's ring road was quite interesting as a result. Even team leaders appeared on the front. Popovych got away for a while, even Contador appeared for a moment. Always there was Valverde, instantly recognisable with his national stripes.

It was a fast finish, and Alejandro Valverde took the stage, out-sprinting the sprinters, whose teams didn't seem to get it together. He took the first road stage at the Tour, and he's done it again in Spain.

Chechu was in the bunch at the finish line, 35th, recording the same time as the winner. He is 43rd overall at 27".

30 August 2008

Stage 1 : Granada to Granada (TTT), 7 km

For the ninth time in its history, the Vuelta kicked off with a seven-kilometre long team time trial in the Technology Park of Health.

Team Astana posted a time of 8'35", finishing 9th overall, just 14" behind winners Liquigas.

Photograph © Unipublic

Photograph © Graham Watson, Team Astana

Photograph © Fotoreporter Sirotti, cyclingnews.com


Photograph © Graham Watson, source Team Astana


In a press release today, Team Astana named the nine riders who will take part in the Tour of Spain, starting this Saturday in Granada.

The 2008 roster is Assan Bazayev, Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden, Levi Leipheimer, Dmitriy Muravyev, Benjamín Noval, Sérgio Paulinho, José Luis Rubiera and Tomas Vaitkus. Daniel Navarro is the reserve.

Chechu says, "This will be my 20th and last Grand Tour. I am very grateful to all the riders, staff, sports directors and fans who have supported me throughout my entire career. It is a true honor to have had the opportunity to race for Johan, Lance and now Alberto. It has been a dream and I would love to complete my career with another Grand Tour victory".

All text © 2006 Nicky Orr / Rebecca Bell. Web design by Modem Operandi
Photo Credits: Masthead: Liz Kreutz 2007