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Maastricht - Maastricht










35th Amstel Gold Race - CDM

Netherlands, April 22, 2000

Reports   Results    World Cup standings


Zabel a clear winner
Photo: © AFP

191 cyclists started the 35th edition of the Dutch Classic, the Amstel Gold Race on a cool morning in Maastricht, the nation's capital. The fifth and last round of the spring World Cup races meant that many of the one day specialists could enjoy a short break after completing the 256 kilometres course. It has, as always, been a hard early season and many have fallen by the wayside due to sickness, injury or other reasons.

After a first hour at a fairly brisk pace - 44.6 km/h, the peloton settled down a little to allow things to play out. Rabobank were prominent at the front, and managed to get riders in every move, or chase down those that they didn't. The first serious attack came at 58 km at climb number 4 of 30, the Bergseweg. Jan Boven (Rabobank) and Giusseppi Palumbo (Amica Chips) attacked and were later joined by Farm Frites rider, Koos Moerenhout. They were in turn caught by a group of 27 containing some big names: Wesemann, Bölts (Telekom), Peeters, Bettini, Van Heeswijk (Mapei), Boogerd, Lotz, Wauters, and Van Bon (Rabobank), Vainsteins (VC), Jonker (USPS), Blijlevens (Polti), Commesso and Dufaux (Saeco) and managed to establish a break of two and a half minutes to the bunch.

This was too many to allow to escape, and those teams that were unrepresented caught the 30 riders just before the 100 kilometre point. Unfortunately for Jesper Skibby (MC J&J), his last Amstel was not to be a successful one as he abandoned at this point. So too did Palmans' Scott Sunderland who must have found it hard reliving the ghosts of this race that almost cost him his life two years ago.

Fifty kilomtres later, another move came, this time by eight riders who all had a very good chance of success: Marc Wauters (Rabobank), Albero Elli (Telekom), Andrea Peron & Dimitri Konychev (Fassa Bortolo), Eddy Mazzoleni (Polti), Viatcheslav Ekimov (USPS), Sergio Barbero (Lampre), and Oscar Freire (Mapei) established a lead coming onto climb number 16, the Eperheide. They managed to keep things together, and their lead grew to 3.45 by the Keutenberg (climb 22, at 187 kilometres). All the big names were at the front of the peloton however, and this escape would need a little luck to succeed. There was a chance, seeing as most of the big teams were represented but Rabobank may have wanted someone better than Wauters and still kept things moving in the bunch.

As the lead approached Maastricht, their lead shrank back to 1.38 with 47 kilometres to go. So too did the break, after an attack by Eddy Mazzoleni (Polti) got rid of Ekimov, Peron and Wauters. This was a signal for Rabobank to begin chasing in earnest in the peloton and they caught the escape with 30 kilometres to go after over 70 kilometres out in front. Once again, the World Champion Freire wasn't afraid to show himself at the front of a major race and continues to build on a great year so far.

The bunch were in full swing now, and there were many desparate attempts to get away in the closing stages of the race. On climb 28, the Helambaye, Van Petegem, Bettini, Rebellin, Boogerd, Vainsteins, Zberg and Van Dijck attacked, causing havoc within the peloton. This grew to 17 with riders such as Casagrande, Dufaux, Zabel, Velo, Tchmil, Jonker, Vinokourov and yes, Oscar Freire joining them. This was it and the winner would come from this group.

On the last climb, the Pietersberg there were more attempts to break, but it wasn't until the descent when Davide Rebellin (Liquigas) managed to get clear with three kilometres to go. A brave move by last week's third place getter and definitely his only chance in a bunch containing Zabel.

Rebellin was committed, but so were the Rabobank and Telekom teams who rode like maniacs to catch the Italian. He had six seconds coming into the final kilometre, but that was as far as he got as the Telekom and Rabobank trains swallowed him up with a few hundred metres to go. At the finish, it was once again Germany's Erik Zabel who held his arms up in triumph, beating two Rabobank riders, Michael Boogerd and Markus Zberg.

His second win in five outings, combined with his fourth in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and third in Paris-Roubaix means that Zabel now has 290 points (and 9 wins altogether) - a huge total for the first half of the season, and it will be difficult to beat him in the final five races commencing in August. Not only can he sprint, he can ride the cobbles (and hills) of Flanders and Roubaix. However, you can never write off Tchmil who scored some more points today with his 11th place.

Post race comments:

Michael Boogerd came close again to winning his home race: "Today was one of those days where you have that little extra. And I prefer a sprint into the wind. Today, I was better than last year, when I won. But the best man on the Halembaye was Peter van Petegem. I don't know what happened with Peter on the last climb, the Pieterzberg. It seemed like he had cramps.

"I nearly fell on the Pietersberg when Rebellin attacked. I'm glad I'm feeling good now, because after that fall I had a terrible few weeks. Maybe I can do something next week in Frankfurt."

Hendrik Van Dijck (Palmans, 5th):

I tried to lock up Van Petegem and Zabel, but that didn't happen. Next season I want to ride for team manager Walter Planckaert, but I want to do all the World Cup races, and in a second division team like Palmans that is difficult."

Rudy Pevenage (Telekom):

"Our tactics were on Zabel and it went perfectly. Erik wants the World Cup, and there are still 2 good races for him: Hamburg and Paris-Tours.


1 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom                6.13.37 (41.11 km/h)
2 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                           
3 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank                              
4 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Vini Caldirola - Sidermec        
5 Hendrick Van Dijck (Bel) Palmans - Ideal                 
6 Laurent Dufaux (Swi) Saeco - Valli & Valli               
7 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Farm Frites                      
8 Zbigniew Spruch (Pol) Lampre - Daikin                    
9 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei - Quick Step              
10 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Vini Caldirola - Sidermec     
11 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto - Adecco                      
12 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Liquigas - Pata                   
13 Patrick Jonker (Ned) US Postal Service                  
14 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei - Quick Step                  
15 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom            0.14
16 Marco Velo (Ita) Mercatone Uno - Albacom                0.45
17 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Deutsche Telekom        0.45
18 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Festina                         1.00
19 Biagio Conte (Ita) Saeco - Valli & Valli                1.10
20 Servais Knaven (Ned) Farm Frites                        
21 Christophe Mengin (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux           
22 Fernando Escartin (Spa) Kelme - Costa Blanca            
23 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto - Adecco                        
24 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank                       
25 Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis                            
26 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto - Adecco                     
27 Sergio Barbero (Ita) Lampre - Daikin                    
28 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                       1.32
29 Fabiano Fontanelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno - Albacom        
30 Gian Matteo Fagnini (Ita) Team Deutsche Telekom         
31 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei - Quick Step                    
32 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Kelme - Costa Blanca          
33 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Mapei - Quick Step               
34 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Palmans - Ideal                   
35 Mauro Gianetti (Swi) Vini Caldirola - Sidermec          
36 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Lotto - Adecco                     
37 Massimiliano Lelli (Ita) Cofidis    
38 Igo Gonzalex Galdeano (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros           1.36
39 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service                 
40 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei - Quick Step                  
41 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Mapei - Quick Step              
42 Igor Pugaci (Mda) Saeco - Valli & Valli                 1.42
43 Martin Rittsel (Swe) Memorycard - Jack & Jones          2.00
44 Bart Voskamp (Ned) Team Polti                           
45 Wilfried Peeters (Bel) Mapei - Quick Step               
46 Raymond Meijs (Ned) Team Cologne                        
47 David Etxebarria (Spa) O.N.C.E. - Deutsche Bank         
48 Dmitri Konychev (Rus) Fassa Bortolo                     2.56
49 Michael Blaudzun (Den) Memorycard - Jack & Jones        
50 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Ag2R Prevoyance               3.15
51 Alain Turicchia (Ita) Amica Chips - Tacconi Sport       3.24
52 Marco Serpellini (Ita) Lampre - Daikin                  
53 Arvis Piziks (Lat) Memorycard - Jack & Jones            
54 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Farm Frites                        
55 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros            
56 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                      
57 Rolf Sörensen (Den) Rabobank                            
58 Marco Milesi (Ita) Vini Caldirola - Sidermec            
59 Benoit Salmon (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance                     
60 Yvon Ledanois (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux               
61 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Vini Caldirola - Sidermec      
62 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis                             
63 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Festina                              
64 Viatchevlav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal Service              
65 Tyler Hamilton (USA) US Postal Service                  
66 Massimilliano Mori (Ita) Saeco - Valli & Valli          
67 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service                 
68 Stephane Heulot (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux             
69 Franco Ballerini (Ita) Lampre - Daikin                  
70 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Amica Chips - Tacconi Sport     
71 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Lotto - Adecco                 
72 Peter Lafis (Swe) Farm Frites                           
73 Jan Hruska (Cze) Vitalicio Seguros                      
74 Nicola Loda (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                         
75 Jens Heppner (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom                
76 José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Kelme - Costa Blanca            
77 Joaquin Castelblanco (Col) Kelme - Costa Blanca         
78 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) Farm Frites                       
79 Udo Bölts (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom                   
80 Rolf Aldag (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom                  
81 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                       
82 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Lotto - Adecco                   
83 Alberto Elli (Ita) Team Deutsche Telekom                
84 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) Memorycard - Jack & Jones         
85 Luca Scinto (Ita) Mapei - Quick Step                    
86 Richard Virenque (Fra) Team Polti                       6.24
87 Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) Team Polti                      
88 Marco Della Vedova (Ita) Lampre - Daikin                
89 Christian Vandevelde (USA) US Postal Service            
90 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Liquigas - Pata                   
91 Miquel Van Kessel (Ned) Farm Frites                     
92 Christiano Frattini (Ita) Liquigas - Pata               
93 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank                                9.33
94 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank                                
95 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Team Polti                         
96 Benoit Joachim (Lux) US Postal Service                  
97 Sascha Henrix (Ger) Festina                             
98 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Rabobank                            11.21
99 Denis Zanette (Ita) Liquigas - Pata                    14.33
100 Hans De Clercq (Bel) Palmans - Ideal                   
101 Kees Jeurissen (Ned) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus           
102 Diego Ferrari (Ita) Amica Chips - Tacconi Sport        
103 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance                   
104 Michel Klinger (Swi) Festina                           
105 David Delrieu (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance                    
106 Stefano Cattai (Ita) Liquigas - Pata          

World Cup standings after round 5

1. Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom 				290 pts
2. Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Adecco			125
3. Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Farm Frites 			122
4. Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Vini Caldirola		122
5. Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step			112
6. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step			111
7. Zbigniew Spruch (Pol) Lampre-Daikin			106
8. Markus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank				90
9. Fabio Baldato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo			84
10. Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank			79
11. Tristan Hoffman (Ned) Memorycard-Jack&Jones		76
12. David Etxebarria (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank		70
12. Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step		70
12, Dario Pieri (Ita) Saeco-Valli & Valli		70
15. Davide Rebellin (Ita) Liquigas-Pata			64


1. Rabobank (Ned) 					46 pts
2. Mapei-Quick Step (Ita) 				44
3. Fassa Bortolo (Ita) 					27
4. Deutsche Telekom (Ger) 				26
5. Lampre-Daikin (Ita) 					25
6. Farm Frites (Ned) 					22
7. Lotto-Adecco (Bel) 					18
8. Vini Caldirola (Ita)	 				17
9. US Postal Service (USA) 				14
10. ONCE-Deutsche Bank (Spa) 				12
11. Team Polti (Ita) 					8
11. La Francaise des Jeux (Fra)				8
13. Vitalicio Seguros (Spa) 				6
14. Saeco-Valli&Valli (Ita) 				5
15. Cofidis (Fra) 					4
16. Banesto (Spa) 					3

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