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Elite Men's Road Race, 260 kms (16 laps)

Sunday, 10:00 am October 10, 1999

As it Happened

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Lap 1

Our man in Verona, Tim Maloney is ready to go and phone in with his timely updates. Thanks Tim!

On the Torricelle climb the first time, and the bunch are all together, chatting away. They've a long way to go.

By the end of the lap, the average speed is a sluggish 36.2 km/h, and Andrea Tafi is the last rider in the field. Expect some action in a couple more laps.

Lap 2

The speed lifts a shade to ~ 37 km/h, but the peloton is content to ride piano. Italians and French on the front.

Lap 3

By the end of the third lap, the speed has picked up considerably, with the French rider Gilles Maignan and Sven Montgomery (Swi) at the front. Still no attacks.

Lap 4

It is the end of lap 4, and the riders are really racing now. There was an attack by Alexei Sivakov (Rus) and a Norwegian on the flat after the descent, but they were caught. The bunch are strung out through the feed zone at 50 km/h

Lap 5

They're at the base of the climb, with Zintchenko (Rus) leading along with the Germans and French. The tempo is high.

The weather is a little cooler than yesterday, but still a great autumn day for the last World road championship road race of the millenium.

End of the lap, and the average is now 38.29 km/h, tempo set by Svein Gaute Hölestöl (Nor) and Rolf Aldag (Ger)

Lap 6

VDB crashes! But teammate, Nico Mattan goes back for him, and he looks ok. Also, Museeuw is there to help him get back. A little mechanical work is needed on the bike though, but VDB regains the peloton a little shaken, and stirred?

Dirk de Wolf told that he fancies last year's runner up Peter van Petegem. The Belgians certainly have a few to chose from.

Australia's Nick Gates is setting the pace up the climb, with Bjonar Vestol (Nor) and a couple of Dutch riders.

On the flat after the descent, the Italians and Dutch are stretching things out, while the Belgians are stuck at the back trying to get VDB up. Good team tactics.

10 laps to go, and Ivan Basso leads them through the start finish.

Lap 7

First serious attack after the start finish, 6 riders: Marco Velo (Ita) Servais Knaven (Ned) Raphael Schweda (Ger) Jean-Michel Tessier (Fra) Alexei Sivakov (Rus) and Frank Hoj (Den). They have a 15 second gap.

Up the climb, Australians Tom Leaper and Brad McGee lose contact. Last rider is Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu, winner of 18 (flatter) races in '99.

Belgian coach: Jose de Cauwer: "Maybe VDB has broken his wrist, that's the reason the doctor is now with us." Cause of the fall: a ribbon caught in the handle-bars of Nico Mattan riding in front of VDB.

By the end of the 7th lap, Velo is driving the break and they have 30 secs. The Swiss, Spanish and Polish teams chasing

7th lap stats:
Lap time: 22:27 (Av: 43.460 km/h)
Overall Av. Speed: 39.11 km/h

Lap 8

Oscar Camenzind crashes with Mortsen Sonne (Den), Tafi and Nardello (Ita) - Sonne has to retire, but the others rejoin the peloton after a bit of chasing.

The break has now grown to 9 - Andreas Klöden (Ger) Roberto Laiseka (Spa) bridged up and another.

On of the favourites, Davide Rebellin (Ita) has ripped shorts, thus must have crashed earlier. He abandons - a shame for him in his hometown.

After the descent, the break is caught and the peloton is together over the start finish.

8th Lap time: 23:26 (41.314 km/h)
Average speed at halfway: 39.37 km/h

Lap 9

Björnar Vestöl (Nor) attacks and has a 10 sec gap approaching the Torricelle.

The Belgian doctor has checked VDB and says he's ok, wrist-wise (but sore).

Halfway up the climb, and it's gruppo compato, with the Germans Jörg Jaksche & Andreas Klöden setting the pace.

End of the lap, and it's still together, and a little slower. Tom Leaper (Aus) has abandoned, but Chris Horner (US) is looking good and might do something today.

Lap time: 23:52 (40.85 km/h)
Overall average after 9 laps: 39.53 km/h

Lap 10

On the 10th lap now, and the pace has picked up, although still no major breaks. A lot of attacking though. After the climb, Andrea Tafi is stringing the field out.

The crowd is cheering for the last rider in the race - Amar el Nady from Egypt, who is riding his guts out chasing.

Lap time: 21:54 (44.52 km/h - fastest to date)
Overall average speed after 10 laps: 39.86 km/h

Lap 11

Tafi attacks, taking Dave Bruylandts (Bel), Leon van Bon (Ned) Christophe Moreau (Fra) José Luis Rubiera (Spa) with him, and they have a 15 sec lead approaching the Torricelle.

Italians at the front - is Tafi a sacrifice, or is this a serious move?

Dutch team chasing, and they catch the group 3/4 of the way up the Torricelle.

Tafi is riding hard on the descent and strings them out again - also prominent is Den Bakker, Aldag, Zulle, Garcia, and Velo. Ullrich is out - abandoning on the 10th lap. The Dutch have lost Blijlevens and Hoffman.

Lap time: 22:00 (44.318 km/h)
Overall average speed after 11 laps: 40.333 km/h

Lap 12

On the climb, Camenzind (Swi) and Casagrande (Ita) attack and are being chased by Belgians and Russians. Also there is Marc Wauters (Bel) and Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa). They should get caught on the descent.

Ullrich is back in! (the communique was wrong)

The end of the lap sees the race still being controlled by the Italians, with Tafi, Serpellini and Nardello attacking. Looking good also is Brochard (Fra)

Lap time: 21:58 (44.385 km/h)
Overall average speed after 12 laps: 40.646 km/h

Lap 13

Tafi attacks again(!), taking José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Kurt van de Wouwer (Bel) - they have 35 secs to the foot of the climb. Aldag is chasing on the front for Ullrich, who is looking good. Also VDB and Chann McRae (US).

Peloton is about 56 guys now.

Up the climb, the Belgians and Kloden (Ger) set a fierce tempo, bringing Tafi's gap from 45 sec to just 5 at the top.

UCI said number 70 (Ullrich) had abandoned, even though he hadn't, so blame them :-)

Tafi is caught over the top, but after they reach the bottom, he goes again. Now has a 10 second gap. This must be the 8th time today - go hard early and often. I hope Casagrande has good legs.

Tafi is caught, and there is a counter by Velo, Zinetti, Casagrande, Museeuw, M. Zberg, Rubiera and Serpellini.The Germans are chasing hard.

Wauters, Barbero and Basso have abandoned.

Lap time: 22:57 (42.484 km/h)
Overall average speed after 13 laps: 40.78 km/h

Lap 14

Zulle attacks up the Torricelle, and Jean-Cyril Robin joins him. Over the top, Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Mirko Celestino (Ita) and Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa - good sprinter for ONCE) bridge. Belgians chasing and VDB still sitting up there.

Den Bakker has bridged up, and the gap is 30". The chase is disorganised with Belgians and Chann McCrae prominent.

Lap 15

Zulle got dropped on the climb, and the break's lead is coming down, thanks to the efforts of Belgians Museeuw, Farazijn and Jaksche (Ger). They should get caught.

Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Mirko Celestino (Ita) Maarten den Bakker (Ned), Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra) are caught by a group of 10 containing all the remaining favourites: Ullrich, Boogerd, VDB, Konyshev, McRae and Casagrande & three others. This could be the final selection.

Lap 16

The group is 11 strong: Camenzind and Marcus Zberg (Swi) VDB (Bel), Casagrande and Celestino (Ita), McRae (USA) Boogerd (Ned), Jan Ullrich (Ger), Robin (Fra), Oscar Freire (Spa), & Dmitri Konyshev (Rus) who is looking good. There is a group chasing at 35", but this is the last lap.

Up the climb, it's Marcus Zberg and Casagrande who are looking at each other. VDB made a big attack over the top, but is caught by 8 others on the descent - Camenzind (Swi) Marcus Zberg (Swi) VDB (Bel) Casagrande (Ita) Chann McRae (USA) Jan Ullrich (Ger) Robin (Fra) Freire (Spa) Dmitri Konyshev (Rus). Boogerd and Celestino are off the back.

At the bottom McCrae attacks, countered by Konyshev. 1989 he got 2nd. Casagrande attacks - gets a little gap, covered by McCrae. Ullrich in 3rd looking behind.

Camenzind and Freire attacked - little gap. Ullrich on the front and looking around - won't chase.

All back together now. Last km it's McCrae leading. Then, in the final straight, it's Spain's Oscar Freire Gomez (who said the Spanish weren't interested?) who gets the jump on the bunch and takes the win.

Zberg wins the sprint for silver ahead of Jean-Cyril Robin. Wow, what an upset!

Final Result

1. Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa)    6.19.29 (Av: 41.109 km/h)
2. Marcus Zberg  (Swi)              0.04
3. Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra)
4. Fransesco Casagrande (Ita)    
5. William Chann Mcrae (USA)
6. Oscar Camenzind (Swi)
7. Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel)
8. Jan Ullrich (Ger)
9. Dimitri Konyshev (Rus)
10. Daniele Nardello (Ita)        0.59
11. Andrea Tafi (Ita)
12. Johan Museeuw (Bel)
13. Rolf Sorenson (Den)
14. Michael Boogerd (Ned)