90th Milan - San Remo, World Cup Round 1

Italy, March 20, 1999


Belgian Andrei Tchmil (Lotto) surprised the sprinters in the last km of Milan-San Remo and won the first round of the World Cup as a result. 36-year old Tchmil attacked 600 metres before the end and held a narrow advantage over German Erik Zabel, the winner of the last two editions of the race.

The 294 km Classic was contested under a spring sun. It was Tchmil's third World Cup win in his career. He won Paris-Roubaix in 1994 in terrible weather conditions and later Paris-Tours in 1997.

After a long breakaway was neutralised as the peloton came to the last few hills, Italian Marco Pantani excited the tifosi by attacking on Le Cipressa the second last difficulty within 25 kms of the end. The 1998 Giro and Tour winner quickly gained a gap of several seconds. But the fancied riders reacted immediately and a small group formed over the top of the Cipressa. Michele Bartoli, in particular, chased him up the Cipressa. But the move split the peloton into three groups and ensured that the finale would be contested by a smaller group of riders, including the favourites.

The Italian rider Gabriele Colombo, who won in 1996, then attacked as soon as the front group reached El Poggio - less than 8 kms from the finish. He had a lead of 7 seconds over the top of the short and sharp hill but was caught in the last kms by the other riders who then settled for a sprint finish. That was until Tchmil caught them by surprise and attacked.

The race began early for some. 32 riders from 4 teams (Telekom, ONCE, Lotto, Festina) were subjected to compulsory blood controls by the UCI between 4.45 and 6.30 am. None of the riders tested were above the limit.

What they said:

Andrei Tchmil (Belgium - Lotto) - the winner: "I had high hopes for this at the start. But it is a race which has many parameters. I knew though that I had it when I was 50 metres from the end. I knew that the attack by Pantani would be countered and it was - very quickly. Then it was fairly watchful. After the Poggio, Erik Zabel was in the box seat and I thought that he was setting it up just like last year. I knew that we had to attack him to avoid that inevitability. The more the merrier. Today, it was a victory for all the team. Unlike last year I have come into this period in better form. This year I am concentrating on the classics. I will not be riding the Tour de France for that reason."

Erik Zabel (German - Telekom), second placegetter: "I was very close to another victory. The Lotto team were well represented in the final stages of the race. I found that I was a little isolated in the final section but that is not criticism of my team. I knew at the start that it would be very difficult to win this race three times in a row. Congratulations to Tchmil."

Zbigniew Spruch (Poland - Lampre), third overall: "The race was very intense. Hunter worked very well for me when I reached the lead. I had thoughts that I could win the sprint. But there are always uncertainties when the attacks are going. On the Poggio, I was preparing to attack. Colombo beat me to it."

Michele Bartoli (Italy - Mapei-Quick Step): "It was normal that I would react to Pantani's attack. It would not have been sensible to allow a dangerous rider like him to get a lead. At the end I missed the move but I have good tempo and the legs for the coming races."

Marco Pantani (Italy - Mercatone Uno): "I had a go on the Cipressa. When I was caught I could see that Bartoli was near to me. Alone, I could have had a chance but I decided to ease up when they came back. But, on the Poggio, I wanted to attack a second time. But I realised that I would not succeed. If the weather is favourable, I will contest the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège."

Frank Vandenbroucke (Belgium - Cofidis): "On the Cipressa and the Poggio, I was there with the rest of them. I then missed the move and it was over. There was nothing wrong with my team. Everything was going well. The race was magnificent - I have never climbed the Cipressa or the Poggio as quickly. When Pantani attacked I was reacting within 10 metres."

Emmanuel Magnien (France - La Française des Jeux): "I had a go with 50 kms to go. I have to rethink my preparation. I prepared for this race but I did not have the same form as I had last year."

Patrick Lefevere (Mapei-Quick Step manager): "Our team was not in contention at the end. It could have been a better outcome for us. The race was very quick and it has a deserving winner - Tchmil. I think he is a great cyclist."

Profile of Andrei Tchmil

Andrei Tchmil is a Russian from Khabarovsk in Siberia (ex-USSR), which is located on the coast near to Japan. When he was young his family migrated to the Ukraine and soon after he went to Moldavia where he attended a cycling school. He made his debut in the professional peloton in 1989 and was one of the first wave of Russian professionals who travelled west after the fall of the Soviet Union. In 1998, after several years of residence he took out Belgian nationality.

He was born on January 22, 1963. His spouse is Helena and has 2 children (Maxime and Oksana). He has ridden for Alfa Lum (1989 and 1990), SEFB (1991), GB (1992 and 1993), Lotto (since 1994).

His major results include:

  • World Cup: Paris-Roubaix 1994, Paris-Tours 1997, Milan-San Remo 1999
  • Other: USSR Championship 1991, GP Cerami 1991, GP Sanson 1991, Paris-Bourges 1991 GP Ouest-France 1994, GP E3 1994, Paris-Camembert 1995, Tour du Limousin 1995, Veenendaal-Veenendaal 1996, Dwars Door Belgie 1997, Course du raisin 1997, Trophée Luis Puig 1998, Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne 1998.
  • 14th in latest UCI Rankings.

Milan-San Remo, 294 kms:

   1. Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar                        6.52.37 (42.752 km/h)
   2. Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Deutsche-Telekom              
   3. Zbignew Spruch (Pol) Lampre-Daikin                  
   4. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno Bianchi        
   5. Lauri Aus (Est) Casino                              
   6. Leon Van Bon (Ned) Rabobank                         
   7. Peter Van Petegem (Bel) TVM-Farm Frites             
   8. Jo Planckaert (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar                  
   9. George Hincapie (Usa) US Postal Service             
  10. Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Navigare-Gaerne             
  11. Alexandre Gontchenkov (Rus) Ballan-Alessio          
  12. Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Ballan-Alessio               
  13. Markus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank                         
  14. Davide Rebellin (Ita) Team Polti                    
  15. Nicola Loda (Ita) Ballan-Alessio                    
  16. Andrei Kivilev (Kaz) Festina Lotus                  
  17. Bo Hamburger (Dan) Cantina Tollo-Alexia             
  18. Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar                    
  19. Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Cantina Tollo-Alexia            
  20. Angel Edo (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca                  
  21. Maximiliam Sciandri (GB) La Francaise des Jeux      
  22. François Simon (Fra) Crédit Agricole                
  23. Dario Pieri (Ita) Navigare-Gaerne                   
  24. Fabiano Fontanelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno Bianchi      
  25. Rolf Sorensen (Den) Rabobank                        
  26. Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Ballan-Alessio               
  27. Biagio Conte (Ita) Liquigas-Pata                    
  28. Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank                           
  29. Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Lampre-Daikin                 
  30. Lars Michaelsen (Dan) La Francaise des Jeux         
  31. Ludo Dierckxens (Bel) Lampre-Daikin                 
  32. Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Team Polti                     
  33. Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave   
  34. Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Ballan-Alessio                 
  35. Chris Peers (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar                    
  36. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Crédit Agricole                
  37. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) Banesto               
  38. Geert Verheyen (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar                 
  39. Wladimir Belli (Ita) Festina Lotus                  
  40. Andreas Klier (Ger) TVM-Farm Frites                 
  41. Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Vini Caldirola              
  42. Alexandre Shefer (Kaz) Riso Scotti-Vinavil          
  43. Franco Ballerini (Ita) Lampre-Daikin                
  44. Stefano Zanini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step               
  45. Ruben Galvan (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca               
  46. Laurent Roux (Fra) Casino                           
  47. Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                      
  48. Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Cofidis                   
  49. Pascal Chanteur (Fra) Casino                        
  50. Christophe Mengin (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux       
  51. Mirko Celestino (Ita) Team Polti                    
  52. Jens Voigt (Ger) Crédit Agricole                    
  53. Davide Casarotto (Ita) TVM-Farm Frites              
  54. Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                          
  55. Cristian Moreni (Ita) Liquigas-Pata                 
  56. Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank                         
  57. Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                  
  58. Mauro Gianetti (Swi) Vini Caldirola                 
  59. Roberto Heras (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca              
  60. Marty Jemison (Usa) US Postal Service               
  61. Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank                   
  62. Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno Bianchi           
  63. Richard Virenque (Fra) Team Polti                   
  64. Michele Bartoli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step              
  65. Fabio Malberti (Ita) Riso Scotti-Vinavil            
  66. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale             
  67. Pascal Richard (Swi) Mobilvetta-Northwave           
  68. Gian Fagnini matteo (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale          
  69. Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Cantina Tollo-Alexia                  0.11
  70. Massimo Donati (Ita) Vini Caldirola                          0.18
  71. Stéphane Barthe (Fra) Casino                                 0.21
  72. Alvaro Gonzalez (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros                      0.31
  73. David Extebarria (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank                    1.36
  74. Mario Scirea (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale                          1.36
  75. Massimiliano Lelli (Ita) Cofidis                             1.54
  76. Riccardo Forconi (Ita) Mercatone Uno Bianchi                 1.54
  77. Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                         1.54
  78. Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis                                 1.54
  79. Servais Knaven (Ned) TVM-Farm Frites                         2.30
  80. Geert Van Bondt (Bel) TVM-Farm Frites                        2.30
  81. Cédric Vasseur (Fra) Crédit Agricole                         2.30
  82. Marco Milesi (Ita) Liquigas-Pata                             2.30
  83. Henk Vogels (Aus) Crédit Agricole                            2.30
  84. Vindislav Bobrik (Rus) Riso Scotti-Vinavil                   3.03
  85. Rolf Huser (Swi) Festina Lotus                               3.03
  86. Igor Gonzalez (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros                        3.03
  87. Angel Luis Casero (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros                    3.03
  88. Christopher Jenner (Nzl) Crédit Agricole                     3.03
  89. Rolf Aldag (Ger) Team Deutsche-Telekom                       3.03
  90. Tristan Hoffman (Ned) TVM-Farm Frites                        3.03
  91. Alberto Elli (Ita) Team Deutsche-Telekom                     3.30
  92. Josè M. Jimenez Sastre (Spa) Banesto                         4.21
  93. Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros                 6.47
  94. Tyler Hamilton (Usa) US Postal Service                       6.47
  95. Steve De Wolf (Bel) Cofidis                                  6.47
  96. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Cantina Tollo-Alexia                    6.47
  97. David Latasa Lasa (Spa) Banesto                              6.47
  98. Carlo Marino Bianchi (Ita) Riso Scotti-Vinavil               6.47
  99. Mario Cipollini (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale                       6.47
 100. Alexandre Moos (Swi) Festina Lotus                           6.47
 101. Johan Verstrepen (Bel) Lampre-Daikin                         6.47
 102. Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Casino                            6.47
 103. Jan R. Svorada (Cze) Lampre-Daikin                           6.47
 104. Fabrice Gougot (Fra) Casino                                  6.47
 105. Marco Velo (Ita) Mercatone Uno Bianchi                       6.47
 106. Marco Fincato (Ita) Mercatone Uno Bianchi                    6.47
 107. Wim Feys (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar                                6.47
 108. Luis Perez (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank                          6.47
 109. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Navigare-Gaerne                    6.47
 110. Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale                        6.47
 111. Frédéric Moncassin (Fra) Crédit Agricole                     6.47
 112. Guido Trenti (Usa) Cantina Tollo-Alexia                      6.47
 113. Xavier Jan (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux                       6.47
 114. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) ONCE-Deutsche Bank                    6.47
 115. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux                 6.47
 116. Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Cofidis                               6.47
 117. Lance Armstrong (Usa) US Postal Service                      6.47
 118. J. Luis Rubiera (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca                     6.47
 119. Claude Lamour (Fra) Cofidis                                  6.47
 120. Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca            6.47
 121. Vladmir Duma (Ukr) Navigare-Gaerne                           6.47
 122. Ellis Rastelli (Ita) Liquigas-Pata                           6.47
 123. Bertran Hernandez (Spa) Festina Lotus                        6.47
 124. Juan José De Los Angeles (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca            6.47
 125. Benoit Joachim (Lux) US Postal Service                       7.42
 126. Victor Pena (Col) Vitalicio Seguros                          8.06
 127. Graziano Recinella (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave                8.06
 128. Andrea Brognara (Ita) Cantina Tollo-Alexia                   9.45
 129. Glenn Magnusson (Swe) US Postal Service                      9.45
 130. Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar                         10.08
 131. Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux              13.30
 132. Thierry Marichal (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar                       13.30
 133. Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Vini Caldirola                        13.30
 134. Mirco Crepaldi (Ita) Team Polti                             13.30
 135. Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Casino                                 13.30
 136. Mauro Radaelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola                         13.30
 137. Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                     13.30
 138. Rossano Brasi (Ita) Team Polti                              13.30
 139. Pascal Derame (Fra) US Postal Service                       13.30
 140. Serguej Outschakov (Ukr) TVM-Farm Frites                    13.30
 141. Steven De Jongh (Ned) TVM-Farm Frites                       13.30
 142. Javier Pascual Llorente (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca            13.30
 143. Arnaud Pretot (Fra) Cofidis                                 13.30
 144. Alessio Bongioni (Ita) Riso Scotti-Vinavil                  13.30
 145. Bjarne Rijs (Dan) Team Deutsche-Telekom                     13.30
 146. Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) Team Deutsche-Telekom               13.30
 147. Denis Zanette (Ita) Team Polti                              13.30
 148. Francesco Frattini (Ita) Team Deutsche-Telekom              13.30
 149. Eros Poli (Ita) Crédit Agricole                             13.30
 150. Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Vini Caldirola                     13.30
 151. Cristian Salvato (Ita) Team Polti                           13.30
 152. Massimo Apollonio (Ita) Vini Caldirola                      13.30
 153. Matteo Frutti (Ita) Lampre-Daikin                           13.30
 154. Gianpaolo Mondini (Ita) Cantina Tollo-Alexia                13.30
 155. André Korff (Ger) Festina Lotus                             13.30
 156. Endrio Leoni (Ita) Liquigas-Pata                            13.30
 157. Daniele Contrini (Ita) Liquigas-Pata                        13.30
 158. Cesar Solaun Solana (Spa) Banesto                           13.30
 159. Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank               13.30
 160. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Banesto                              13.30
 161. Massimo Strazzer (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave                 13.30
 162. Rafai Diaz Justo (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank                   13.30
 163. Mario Manzoni (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave                    13.30
 164. Frankie Andreu (Usa) US Postal Service                      13.30
 165. Ermanno Brignoli (Ita) Mercatone Uno Bianchi                13.30
 166. Wilfried Peeters (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step                     13.30
 167. Luca Scinto (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                          13.30
 168. Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Festina Lotus                         13.30
 169. Filippo Casagrande (Ita) Vini Caldirola                     13.30