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Charleroi - Huy (men)

La Fleche Wallonne/Waalse Pijl - 1.HC

Belgium, April 12, 2000


Two man attack comes close

The predicted bad weather conditions did not eventuate for the 64th edition of La Flèche Wallone, but this did not necessarily make the race a pleasant cruise through the Ardennes. It turned out to be a fast, and as is customary, aggressive race towards the end, with the victory going to the one who had the legs on the last ascent of the Mur de Huy.

The first hour has conducted at over 43 km/h, prompted by an attack from Credit Agricole's Chris Boardman who took Lithuanian Raimondas Rumsas (Fassa Bortolo) with him at kilometre 19 on a brave but suicidal break. The bunch were content to let them go, and go they did covering over 91 kilometres in the first two hours. This gave them a lead of close to 12 minutes at the second passage of the Muy de Huy with 91 kilometres left to travel, before the inevitable gap shrinkage started to occur.

Boardman was the stronger of the two and was clearly riding himself into the ground, with an outside chance for victory. This started to turn into reality as they had a gap of some seven minutes with 60 kilometres to go. The peloton was being led my Rabobank and Vini Caldirola, with Maarten den Bakker being particularly aggressive to help out Michael Boogerd. He escaped with Australia's Matthew White with 50 kilometres to go, and the two really started to make inroads into the leaders.

Although Telekom's Andreas Klöden had abandoned, the German team had Alexandr Vinokourov to work for, and they took up the chase in the bunch. Likewise, Liquigas started working for Davide Rebellin and things started to close again. At 33 kilometers to go, the two leaders (Boardman and Rumsas) were still well ahead on the Côte de Bellaire, while White was doing his best to hang on to Den Bakker in the first chase. The latter two were caught though with just on 25 kilometres to go, on the Côte de Bohissau after Telekom and Liquigas' efforts on the front.

An attack by Lotto's Rik Verbrugghe followed, to try and close the last 2.22 to the breakaways. Axel Merckx (Mapei) joins him, and they quickly closed it down catching Boardman first, and later Rumsas with 11 kilometres to go. 168 kilometres out in the lead for these two, who could consider it a good day at the office.

The peloton were some 30 seconds behind and there was an attack by Vinokourov, followed by Etxebarria and Casagrande. The latter was successful and caught the two Belgians and the trio were in the lead with 6 kilometres, and one more ascent of the Mur de Huy to go.

Russian champion, Sergei Ivanov (Farm Frites) was the next to attack from the bunch, but he was caught by ONCE who were trying to set it up for Jalabert. They were nearly successful, but in the end, Casagrande was too strong and rode away from Merckx and then Verbrugghe to take the win at the top of Huy. Verbrugghe held off the charging Jalabert for second, while Merckx finished in 10th. Rebellin also finished well, just behind Jalabert in fourth spot.


1 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec       4.53.08 (40.53 km/h)
2 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto Adecco                           0.06
3 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) ONCE Deutsche Bank                   0.08
4 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Liquigas Pata                          
5 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto Adecco                               
6 Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis                                 
7 David Etxebarria (Spa) ONCE Deutsche Bank                    
8 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                              
9 Mauro Gianetti (Swi) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec                 
10 Axel Merckx (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step                         0.14
11 Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                       0.16
12 Laurent Dufaux (Swi) Saeco                                 
13 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                             0.18
14 Oskar Camenzind (Swi) Lampre Daikin                        0.19
15 Marco Velo (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom                     
16 Oscar Mason (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom                    
17 Massimiliano Lelli (Ita) Cofidis                           0.21
18 Bo Hamburger (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones                   0.24
19 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                       0.28
20 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                   0.29
21 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Lotto Adecco                          
22 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Banesto                            
23 Sebastien Demarbaix (Bel) Lotto Adecco                     0.31
24 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto Adecco                            
25 Jens Voigt (Ger) Credit Agricole                           0.33
26 Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros                0.39
27 Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Festina                           
28 Udo Bölts (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom                      0.41
29 Andrea Peron (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                           0.42
30 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Deutsche Telekom         
31 Steve Vermaut (Bel) US Postal Service                      0.44
32 Christian Vandevelde (USA) US Postal Service               0.46
33 Unai Osa (Spa) Banesto                                     
34 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                         0.52
35 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Farm Frites                           
36 Markus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank                                1.06
37 Sergio Barbero (Ita) Lampre Daikin                         1.10
38 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Fassa Bortolo                       1.14
39 Christopher Boardman (GBr) Credit Agricole                 1.26
40 Mikel Zarrabeitia (Spa) ONCE Deutsche Bank                 2.11
41 Patrick Jonker (Ned) US Postal Service                     2.11
42 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Festina                            2.43
43 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank                          2.53
44 Steve De Wolf (Bel) Cofidis                                3.41
45 José Javier Gomez (Spa) Kelme Costa Blanca                 3.41
46 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom                   3.41
47 Pieter Vries (Ned) Farm Frites                             3.51
48 Rafael Diaz Justo (Spa) ONCE Deutsche Bank                 3.53
49 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) ONCE Deutsche Bank                  3.53
50 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                          3.53
51 Alberto Elli (Ita) Team Deutsche Telekom                   6.12
52 Niki Aebersold (Swi) Rabobank                              6.28
53 Francisco Leon Mane (Spa) Kelme Costa Blanca               9.23
54 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Lotto Adecco                      9.33
55 Steven Kleynen (Bel) Farm Frites                           9.45
56 Juan Carlos Vicario (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros               11.17
57 Benoit Salmon (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance                       11.19
58 Pedro Horrillo (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros                   
59 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank                          
60 Massimo Codol (Ita) Lampre Daikin                        
61 Michel Lafis (Swe) Farm Frites                           
62 Marco Della Vedova (Ita) Lampre Daikin                    11.27
63 Bobby Julich (USA) Credit Agricole                        11.31
64 Matthias Kessler (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom              
65 Rolf Huser (Swi) Festina                                  11.33
66 David Clinger (USA) Festina                               
67 Juan Cuenca (Spa) Kelme Costa Blanca                      
68 Gian Mario Ortenzi (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom            11.39
69 Riccardo Forconi (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom            
70 Candido Barbosa (Por) Banesto                           
71 Stéphane Heulot (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux             
72 Xavier Jan (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux                  
73 Massimo Donati (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec            
74 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Liquigas Pata                11.50
75 Cristiano Frattini (Ita) Liquigas Pata                    11.52
76 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                  
77 Martin Rittsel (Swe) Memorycard-Jack&Jones               
78 Igor Pugaci (Mda) Saeco                                   
79 Matthew White (Aus) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec               11.58
80 Victor Hugo Pena (Col) Vitalicio Seguros                  17.02
81 Tom Desmet (Bel) Tönissteiner Colnago                    
82 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Ag2R Prevoyance                
83 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) US Postal Service                   
84 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Saeco                             17.05
85 Charles Wegelius (GBr) Mapei-Quick Step                   17.06
86 Antonio Rizzi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                      17.08
87 Ricardo Ochoa (Spa) Kelme Costa Blanca                    17.11
88 David Millar (GBr) Cofidis                                17.13
89 Anthony Morin (Fra) Credit Agricole                       17.13
90 Daniele De Paoli (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom              17.17
91 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Mercatone Uno-Albacom                 
92 Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel) Ville De Charleroi                 
93 Miguel Van Kessel (Ned) Farm Frites                       
94 Levy Leipheimer (USA) US Postal Service                   
95 Renaud Boxus (Bel) Ville De Charleroi                     
96 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank                                  
97 Davy Daniels (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002                        
98 Guido Trentin (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec               17.22
99 Karsteen Kroon (Ned) Rabobank                             17.23
100 Fabio Marchesin (Ita) Liquigas Pata                      17.30
101 Andrei Kivilev (Kaz) Ag2R Prevoyance                     
102 Michele Coppolillo (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom           17.33
103 Karel Vereecke (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002                     17.36
104 Jurgen Van Roosbroeck (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 

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