By Graham Jones and Barry Boyce
CyclingRevealed Historian


Images © Unipublic


Also read:

La Vuelta: A Colorful &
Caliente History

Vuelta a Espana Champions
Living and Dead

Vuelta Travelogue - Quintessential Spain

Stage 3, August 29th, Cordoba to Puertollano, 153.3 km

Celebrating Don Quixote

This year the world celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first publication of Miguel de Cervantes's novel Don Quixote, The Man From La Mancha, which is regarded as the very first and still the most popular novel ever written. Stages 3, 4 and 5 take the Vuelta across the legendary plains of La Mancha with the occasional Cat 3 and Cat 2 climb to break the monotony of the flatlands. Each team will have a specific strategy on the roads of Don Quixote. Adventurers will attack, sprinters will set tempo, but the stage into the Castilla la Mancha region should be fast.

he temperature at the start in Cordoba was 35 C (100 F) as the riders set off for a long day in the saddle. With the high temperatures of this region the day's stage will not be easy. Aggressive early racing was neutralized by the nervous peloton. Over the day's only climb, the category 3 Alto de la Sierra de Cardena, Joaquim Rodriguez took maximum climbing points and broke away from the pack. He built a 3'50 lead with 40 km to go, but the sprinters' teams began to drive the chase.

Joaquim Rodriguez on a solo Breakaway ( Image © Unipublic )

Through the second intermediate sprint Rodriguez crosses first but his lead was under a minute. The Fassa Bortolo led train had the breakaway in sight. The temperature passed 40 C as a tiring Rodriguez began to struggle. With 25 km to go his adventure was over as the flying peloton swallow him up.

nder the 4 km banner Fassa sets a blistering pace with Alessandro Petacchi sitting 6 riders back. The final kilometer and Fassa has a perfect lead-out going. They deliver Petacchi to the final 200 meters in the lead with Erik Zabel and Tom Boonen well placed. Petacchi's power drive gins the stage win, Zabel second, and Boonen third. Race leader Brad McGee holds onto the Golden Jersey.

Stage winner Petacchi beats Zabel and Boonen ( Image © Unipublic )



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