Liege-Bastogne-Liege, World Cup Round 4
Belgium, April 18, 1999
Live10.04: - The 4th round of the World Cup started on time with 191 riders leaving the Place Saint Lambert in Liège in dry but cold conditions. This is the 85th edition of "La Doyenne" - a race which inspires the sentiments of all cyclists. It has a classic parcours with long valleys, 10 tough climbs and 264 kms to ride. It is ideally suited to the attacking rider.
There was tension between the press and Belgian Franck Vandenbroucke on Saturday. He cancelled a promised press conference but he said that the Belgian TV could talk to him for 1.5 minutes through his car window. The journalists were very angry about this. On of them said: "Vandenbroucke has to learn to make time for journalists. Maybe he thinks he is already a top rider, but he is the only one who thinks that."
The 1.5 minutes yielded:
Question: Did VDB see Bartoli winning the Waalse Pijl last Wednesday?
VDB: "The only time I saw Bartoli was on Wednesday night when I saw him climbing the Muur de Huy on TV.
Question: Who will become second in LBL?
VDB: "Bartoli, I hope."
11.30: - After a useless solo attack from Italian Francesco Secchiari, 12 riders formed at the front at km 18 after an initiative from Gianetti. The group comprised Tobias Steinhauser, Rafael Diaz Justo, Alexandre Vinokourov, Steve De Wolf, Sergio Barbero, Ernesto Manchon, Harald Morscher, Mauro Gianetti, Jonathan Vaughters, Alain Turicchia, Glenn D'Hollander and Frédéric Gabriel.
The peloton was uninterested and the 12 riders gained a lead quickly - first 0.50, then after 25 kms it was 1.04. After the first hour of the race the average speed was 43 km/h. The peloton at that point was at 5.30.
12.15: - As they were approaching Bastogne (km 88.5) the position was stable with the attack leading the peloton by 5.45. Christophe Rinero was the first to abandon at the back although 17 are lagging behind the fast moving peloton.
12.30: - The attackers were being chased down by a fast peloton. As they reached Savy (km 98.5) the lead was down to 3.45.
13.00: - After 130 kms the leaders were averaging 42.6 km/h. The peloton was only 1.50 behind.
13.35: - The 12 riders in the breakaway were caught at the 146 kms mark. The pace was very quick with light winds. They were coming to the the Côte de Wanne (2.9 kms/4.8%) - one of the most difficult climbs as a complete peloton.
Interlude: - The commentators are discussing VDB's new bike - he started the race this morning on a new bike weighing nearly 7 kgs and costing more than $US8,000.
13.45: - At the foot of the Côte de Wanne two riders attacked - Bart Voskamp and Tobias Steinhauser created the break and they were followed over the top by Diaz Justo at 0.20. Then the positions at the front changed. The two riders were caught and Richard Ricardo Forconi then Kurt Van Lanker and then Alexei Sivakov attacked. The three riders had a lead of 0.35 on the outskirts of Stavelot (km 165.5).
Now going live - 14.25: - There are still 86 kms to the finish and Laurent Jalabert (Fra-ONCE) and Stefano Garzelli (Ita-Mercatone) are leading.
14.28: - Garzelli and Jalabert are leading with the peloton at 0.28 (with all great names still in the peloton except Andrei Tchmil). In Stavelot there was a large fall which included Colombo and Olano but so far there have been no one abandoning as a result.
14.34: - Just after Coo the two leaders have a lead of 0.25 on Jorg Jaksche (Telekom) with the peloton at 0.35.
14.38: - The Mapei team are leading the peloton. The weather is still dry and sometimes even sunny.
14.40: - Laurent Jalabert and Stefano Garzello are leading with a lead of 0.48. Behind them is a small group comprising Axel Merckx, Beat Zberg, Cedric Vasseur and Jorg Jaksche.
14.44: - On the Côte du Rosier (km 193), Laurent Jalabert leads with Garzelli. The Merckx group is getting bigger with the peloton close behind.
14.45: - Garzelli can't follow Jalabert on the climb of the Côte du Rosier (4 kms/5.9%) With still 1 kms to climb the peloton was at 0.40. Over the top, Jalabert has a 1.01 lead on the peloton with 70 odd kms to go.
14.53: - Jalabert leads with a gap of 1.06 on a large chasing group. With 65 kms still to go the commentators are speculating whether the attack was too early. Cedric Vasseur is now trying to join Jalabert. He has attacked from the front of the peloton. His move is short-lived and he is quickly brought back into the peloton.
15.00: - At the feed station, Laurent Jalabert is storming and has a lead of 1.28. A long way to go though. There are around 50 riders in the peloton.
15.01: - There are still 61 kms to the finish. The Mapei-Quick Step and Rabobank teams are driving the chasing peloton which is now at 1.16.
15.08: - km 212, Jalabert starts climb of the Côte de Lorcé (4.4 kms/5.5%) which climbs out of the village and sweeps left past the houses alongside the road and then bends around to the right and takes the riders into open fields.
15.10: - Jalabert leads with 0.52.
15.12: - ONCE are up to something. Andrea Peron (Ita) attacks and is at 0.55 to his team leader Jalabert with the main peloton at 1.05.
15.15: - Jalabert leads with 1.06. Niki Aebersold (Swi-Rabobank) attacks from the peloton.
15.17: - Laurent Jalabert is now at the top of the Côte de Lorcé and there are still 51 kms to go. He is followed by Aebersold (Swi-Rabobank), Peter Farazijn (Bel-Cofidis), Axel Merckx (Bel-Mapei Quick Step), Andrea Peron (Ita-ONCE) are at 1.02.
15.23: - Jalabert leads with 0.41 and the Mapei-Quick Step team have 3 riders on the front of the peloton.
15.23: - Jalabert leads with 0.41 and the Mapei-Quick Step team have 3 riders on the front of the peloton. Jalabert has 46 kms to ride now and it is 10 kms to the Côte de la Redoute.
15.28: - Jalabert's attack is over and the peloton is complete again. Mapei did the work to keep Bartoli in the race.
15.32: - There is a group of 48 riders that have gone through the village of Remouchamps and turned left then right through the houses and are now starting the climb of the Côte de la Redoute (2.2 kms/8.3%) - it heads towards the major freeway which passes by the east of Remouchamps (high in the air), and gets very steep quickly. The riders then sweep left, still climbing and the track runs next to the freeway to the right.
15.34: - The leading riders are Bartoli Bettini, Camenzind, Boogerd, Julich, Jalabert, Riis, Jaksche - all are at the front on the Redoute. As expected, Michele Bartoli lays down the gauntlet with a strong attack. But strong work by Micheal Boogerd thwarts the Italian's attempt. Now VDB is leading Bartoli and he just eases away from the other riders on the front.
VDB leading - by 12 seconds from Bartoli.
15.41: - Frank Vandenbroucke (24 years) attacked hard on the climb. Bartoli sprinted for around ten seconds with VDB but couldn't stay with him on the climb. VDB leads by 0.11 on a group with riders including Bartoli, Den Bakker, and Camenzind.
15.44: - At km 233, Côte de Sprimont (1.6 kms/3.1%), VDB is 0.08 seconds in front. There is an attack by Boogerd and Rebellin on the climb.
15.45: - There is a group of 18 in front and VDB is back with them.
15.45: - There is a group of 18 in front and VDB is back with them. There are 3 Rabobank riders (Markus Zberg, Boogerd, Den Bakker) in first group with Bartoli, Bettini, Mario Aerts, Camenzind, VDB and Farazijn, Boltz, Figueras, Velo and Merckx. A second group with Andrei Tchmil is at 0.48.
15.48: - There are still 3 climbs to go and there are 16 leaders. The rest of the riders are at 1.05.
15.50: - The leaders are: Michele Bartoli (Ita-Mapei), Paolo Bettini (Ita-Mapei), Laurent Roux (Fra-Casino), Michael Boogerd (Ned-Rabobank), Maarten Den Bakker (Ned-Rabobank), Markus Zberg (Swi-Rabobank), Niki Aebersold (Swi-Rabobank), Mario Aerts (Bel-Lotto), Franck Vandenbroucke (Bel-Cofidis), Peter Farazijn (Bel-Cofidis), Davide Rebellin (Ita-Polti), Marco Velo (Ita-Mercatone), Oskar Camenzind (Swi-Lampre), Zbigniew Spruch (Pol-Lampre), Udo Bolts (Ger-Telekom), Giuliano Figueras (Ita-Mapei)
16.00: - There are still 20 kms to go and there are 4 Rabobank, 3 Mapei, 2 Cofidis, 2 Lampre, and other teams with only one rider represented in the break. in the front group. There are two climbs to go. 16 riders are at the base of the Côte du Sart-Tilman (3.6 kms/5.4%). 17 kms to go.
16.05: - The 16 rider leading group is still together on the 3.5 km climb and is 2.00 in front of the group with Tchmil.
16.06: - Paolo Bettini (Ita-Mapei) attacks. A counterfoil for Bartoli? He is quickly countered. At the top of the Côte du Sart-Tilman the group is together. There is still 14 kms to go.
16.10: - Marco Velo attacks and is followed by Bettini. They are quickly brought back by Maarten Den Bakker. The Rabobank riders are looking to get Boogerd into the frame. The winner will come from out of this group. The main peloton is now at 4.00 and riding to the finish.
16.12: - There are still 10 kms to ride. News has just come in that Marcel Wust has won the last stage of the Vuelta Ciclista Aragon ahead of Erik Zabel. Full results later for the race.
16.16: - The top 16 are still together. They are approaching the last climb of the Côte de Saint-Nicolas (1.4 kms/7.5%) with 5.5 kms to go once they get to the top. Peter Farazijn (Bel-Cofidis) is leading the group on the climb.
16.18: - Michael Boogerd attacks. Where is Bartoli? VDB bridges the gap on the Dutchmen and the two have a small lead. It looks dangerous. VDB now attacks alone and has a lead of 80 metres on Boogerd. The rest are behind.
16.20: - Camenzind is leading the group of 15 and Bartoli seems to be out of sorts today. Just at that moment Bartoli attacks from the peloton. VDB is leading Boogerd by 0.07. Bartoli and Den Bakker are closing Boogerd down.
16.22: VDB is the form rider and has 0.15 now on Boogerd. Hans just told me he thinks he will win now.
16.27: - VDB wins in 6.25.23 (41.100 km/h)
1. Franck Vandenbroucke (Bel) Cofidis 6.25.23 (41.100 km/h) 2. Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 0.27 3. Maarten den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank 0.37 4. Michele Bartoli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 5. Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 6. Niki Aebersold (Swi) Rabobank 7. Markus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 8. Oskar Camenzind (Swi) Lampre-Daikin 9. Udo Bolts (Ger) Telekom 10. Laurent Roux (Fra) Casino .. 15. Davide Rebellin (Ita) Team Polti 16. Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step Andrei Tchmil at 8.00
In the interviews, the Belgian coach José De Cauwer is saying that he hopes that VDB will go to Italy this year to contest his first World Championships.
Michael Boogerd said at the end: "It's a pity not to win, but Vandenbroucke was super today. It doesn't matter how many teammates you have with you. The last part is an individual time trial. Nobody is fresh anymore. I'm satisfied with the second place (and Den Bakker as third). Frankie was very strong, you could see it already on the Redoute."