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Liege - Bastogne - Liege





86th Liege-Bastogne-Liege - CDM

Belgium, April 16, 2000

Results    World Cup Standings

Mapei still too good

The riders at Houffalize
Photo: © AFP Photo
The Italian number one team's win today wasn't the result of sheer brute froce as it was at last week's Paris-Roubaix, when they had nearly the entire eight rider team in the finale. It was impressive nonetheless as they placed first and fifth in the 86th edition of the World's oldest classic.

Italian Paolo Bettini's win was not entirely unexpected, although he was not placed with the top favourites and Axel Merckx's fifth placing was hard earned, showing that Wednesday's Flèche Wallone result (10th, but in the final break) was no fluke. The team has certainly recovered from its disappointment at the Ronde van Vlaanderen when they had no-one in the top 20.

The early action in today's race started after the first climb, the Côte de Saint-Roch at 81 kilometres. After Richard Virenque (Polti) gained the prize for being the first over the top, a group of 10 riders escaped after the descent. These were later joined by six more, including Andrea Tafi (Mapei), Udo Bölts (Telekom), Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), Matthew White (Vini Caldirola), Christophe Moreau (Festina) and Bobby Julich (CA), Andreas Klier (Farm Frites), Luca Mazzanti (Fassa Bortolo), Kurt van de Wouwer (Lotto), and Jacob Moe Rasmussen (MC-J&J). No riders from Davide Rebellin's Liquigas team or Laurent Jalabert's ONCE team, and these two forces were chasing at the front of the peloton.

David Etxebarria at the front
Photo: © AFP Photo
The front group managed to temporarily drop Tafi and Niermann, but these two refused to go back to the peloton, although Mapei did start to drive the bunch. The gap slowly came down from 3 minutes to 2.20 at 50 kilometres to go, but then the steam went out of the front and they were caught at 36 kilometres to travel on the Côte de la Redoute. Tafi was in fact the last to be caught as he had regained the break and attacked on the climb. Somewhat odd tactics because Mapei's Museeuw, Merckx and Bettini were all prominent at the front of the bunch, as were Lampre and Liquigas.

Twenty riders remained after this climb and things really started to sort out. Bettini, Camenzind and Jalabert were involved in a brief move, but were caught by the bottom of La Redoute through the efforts of Maarten den Bakker (Rabobank, 3rd last year).

Another more promising break formed a few kilometres later, with David Etxebarria (ONCE), Wladimir Belli (Fassa Bortolo), Bettini (again) and Rebellin. Although Etxebarria had no interest in making it work, the remaining three managed to maintain a 20 second advantage over the peloton, which was peppered with attacks from Rabobank (den Bakker) and Telekom's Vinokourov who get away. No-one was willing to let Jalabert go of course, and he wasn't strong enough to ride away on his own. Mauro Gianetti (Vini Caldirola) and Axel Merckx (Mapei) bridged up to form another quartet chasing the front four.

Winner: Paolo Bettini
Photo: © AFP Photo
The gap grew to over a minute with 15 kilometres to go and the leaders became more confident that they could stay away from a somewhat disorganised bunch. Etxebarria was having a free ride, but he still had to survive the Côte de St Nicolas with 4.5 kilometres to go. On this climb, a serious attempt from the chasing quartet came to bridge the gap to the front. Axel Merckx took Gianetti with him and the two reach Belli, who was dropped by the leaders. They close, but there was not enough time left, and the front three started to play things out.

Rebellin was trying to keep the pace up, as Bettini had Merckx behind and Etxebarria refused to work. He attempted an attack within the final kilometre but this was fruitless and it came down to a three up sprint. Bettini managed to beat the fresher Etxebarria for the win, with an exhausted Rebellin coming in third. Belli aqcuitted himself well in fourth in front of Merckx and Gianetti, followed by Vino and den Bakker who held off the peloton led home by Casagrande (VC) and Jalabert (ONCE). The latter having a little compensation for not making the break.

It was a day for the 'second stringers', as predicted by a few although winner Paolo Bettini is certainly more than a super-domestique. In Mapei though, everything is relative and everyone gets their chance if they are prepared to wait.


1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step             6.28.32 (40.769 km/h)
2 David Etxebarria (Spa) ONCE Deutsche Bank  
3 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Liquigas Pata  
4 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                  0.10
5 Axel Merckx (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step                  0.12
6 Mauro Gianetti (Swi) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec        0.30
7 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Deutsche Telek      0.33
8 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank                   0.40
9 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec  0.44
10 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) ONCE Deutsche Bank          0.48
11 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 
12 Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis                       1.06
13 Oskar Camenzind (Swi) Lampre Daikin                1.12
14 Markus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 
15 Zbigniew Spruch (Pol) Lampre Daikin 
16 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto Adecco 
17 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 
18 Christian Vandevelde (USA) US Postal Service 
19 Marco Velo (Ita) Mercatone Uno 
20 Unai Osa (Spa) Banesto                             1.16
21 Laurent Dufaux (Swi) Saeco-Valli&Valli
22 Niki Aebersold (Swi) Rabobank                      1.25
23 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom         3.14
24 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Lotto Adecco                  3.20
25 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Team Polti 
26 Dariusz Baranowski (Pol) Banesto 
27 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Liquigas Pata 
28 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto Adecco                  3.22
29 Steve Vermaut (Bel) US Postal Service              3.23
30 Tyler Hamilton (USA) US Postal Service 
31 Victor Hugo Pena (Col) Vitalicio Seguros 
32 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 
33 Martin Rittsel (Swe) Memorycard-Jack&Jones         3.31
34 Jens Voigt (Ger) Credit Agricole                   4.58
35 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Fassa Bortolo               6.26
36 Xavier Jan (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux             6.28
37 Steven Kleynen (Bel) Farm Frites                   6.35
38 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Banesto                    7.16
39 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom             7.34
40 Massimiliano Lelli (Ita) Cofidis 
41 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Farm Frites                   
42 Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Festina             
43 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Festina 
44 Steve De Wolf (Bel) Cofidis 
45 Juan Cuenca (Spa) Kelme Costa Blanca 
46 Philip Vereecke (Bel) Ville De Charleroi 
47 Oscar Mason (Ita) Mercatone Uno 
48 Inigo Cuesta (Spa) ONCE Deutsche Bank 
49 Roland Meier (Swi) Cofidis 
50 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Ag2R Prevoyance 
51 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto Adecco 
52 Thomas Brozyna (Pol) Banesto 
53 Michel Lafis (Swe) Farm Frites 
54 Armin Meier (Swi) Saeco-Valli&Valli 
55 Igor Pugaci (Mda) Saeco-Valli&Valli 
56 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto Adecco 
57 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Saeco-Valli&Valli 
58 Bobby Julich (USA) Credit Agricole 
59 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Team Polti 
60 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) US Postal Service 
61 Juan Carlos Vicario (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros 
62 Matthias Kessler (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 
63 Marco Serpellini (Ita) Lampre Daikin 
64 Daniele De Paoli (Ita) Mercatone Uno 
65 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 
66 Jens Heppner (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 
67 José Javier Gomez (Spa) Kelme Costa Blanca 
68 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Festina 
69 Stéphane Heulot (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 
70 Dmitri Konyshev (Rus) Fassa Bortolo 
71 Mikel Zarrabeitia (Spa) ONCE Deutsche Bank 
72 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Lampre Daikin 
73 Massimo Donati (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec 
74 Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 
75 Sebastien Demarbaix (Bel) Lotto Adecco 
76 Benoit Salmon (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance 
77 Marty Jemison (USA) US Postal Service 
78 Sergio Barbero (Ita) Lampre Daikin 
79 Udo Bölts (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 
80 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 
81 Richard Virenque (Fra) Team Polti 
82 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 
83 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Lotto Adecco 
84 Patrick Jonker (Ned) US Postal Service 
85 Alberto Elli (Ita) Team Deutsche Telekom 
86 Jorgen Bo Petersen (Den) Ville De Charleroi 
87 Rolf Huser (Swi) Festina 
88 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 
89 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 
90 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step 
91 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Farm Frites 
92 Marcelino Garcia Alonso (Spa) ONCE Deutsche Bank 
93 Matthew White (Aus) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec        7.51
94 Pedro Horrillo (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros            10.41
95 Ricardo Otxoa (Spa) Kelme Costa Blanca 
96 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) ONCE Deutsche Bank 
97 Vincent Cali (Fra) Ville De Charleroi 
98 Marco Della Vedova (Ita) Lampre Daikin 
99 Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros 
100 Franco Ballerini (Ita) Lampre Daikin 
101 David Delrieu (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance 
102 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank 
103 Rossano Brasi (Ita) Team Polti 
104 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance 
105 Guido Trentin (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec 
106 Filippo Casagrande (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec 

186 starters
106 classified

World Cup Standings after round 4:

1 Erik Zabel (Ger)          		  	    190 pts
2 Johan Museeuw (Bel)       		  	    111
3 Andrei Tchmil (Bel)       		  	    110
4 Paolo Bettini (Ita)       		  	    100
5 Peter Van Petegem (Bel)   		  	     94
6 Fabio Baldato (Ita)       		  	     84
7 Zbigniew Spruch (Pol)     		  	     82
8 Romans Vainsteins (Let)   		  	     82
9 Tristan Hoffman (Ned)     		  	     76
10 David Etxebarria (Spa)   		  	     70
11 Dario Pieri (Ita)        		  	     70
12 Davide Rebellin (Ita)    		  	     50
13 Oscar Freire (Spa)       		  	     50
14 George Hincapie (USA)    		  	     41
15 Wladimir Belli (Ita)     		  	     40
16 Markus Zberg (Swi)       		  	     40
17 Axel Merckx (Bel)        		  	     36
18 Serguei Ivanov (Rus)     		  	     36
19 Stefano Zanini (Ita)     		  	     36
20 Rolf Soerensen (Den)     		  	     36


1 Mapei                     		  	     37 pts
2 Rabobank                  		  	     34
3 Fassa Bortolo             		  	     27
4 Lampre                    		  	     22
5 Farm Frites               		  	     18
6 Telekom                   		  	     17
7 ONCE                      		  	     12
8 Lotto                     		  	     12
9 US Postal                 		  	     12
10 Vini Caldirola           		  	      9
11 Polti                    		  	      8
12 La Française des Jeux    		  	      8
13 Vitalicio                		  	      6
14 Banesto                  		  	      3
15 Cofidis                  		  	      3

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