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Netherlands, April 28, 2001
Complete Live Report
Start time: 1024 CEST
The unofficial start of the 36th Amstel Gold Race was shortly after 1015, followed by the official start at 1024. 190 riders have left for the fifth round of the World Cup, with 254.5 km of racing in front of them.
1045 CEST - 18 km
The riders have to overcome 29 climbs today, ranging from 400m to 1800m long. One of the most important climbs will be the Cauberg, which appears three times in the race this year (km 68, 178 and 237). The third time up the Cauberg at 17 km to go should set things up for an interesting finish, given that there is one more climb (Geulhemmerberg, km 243) to follow.
The weather conditions are wet, and there has already been a split in the peloton after a fast start.
1102 CEST - 27 km
A group of 20 riders have moved off the front, including Steffen Wesemann (Telekom), Jan Boven, Jeroen Blijlevens (Lotto), Roberto Petito (Fassa), Paolo Bettini (Mapei), Servais Knaven (Domo), Jakob Piil (CSC), and Bart Voskamp (Batavus). They have 40 seconds on the bunch.
In this solidly Dutch race, 20 Dutch riders are amongst the starters, mainly from the Rabobank and Bankgiroloterij-Batavus teams, with a few from Domo-Farm Frites, Team Cologne, Mercury, Lotto-Adecco and CSC-World Online.
1112 CEST - 30 km
The gap increases, then decreases back to 40 seconds. The remaining riders in the break are: Karsten Kroon (Rabobank), Koos Moerenhout (Domo), Mikel Zarrabeitia (ONCE), Victor Hugo Peña (USPS), Gian Mario Ortenzi (Mercatone Uno), Bert Hiemstra (BankGiroloterij-Batavus), Daniel Becke (Coast), Geert Omloop (Collstrop), Kristof Trouvé (Collstrop), Roberto Lochowski (Fakta) and Frank Klein (Cologne).
1124 CEST - 40 km
The 20 leaders have crossed the third climb of the race, the 6%, 1.1 km Raaberg. They have a 15 second gap on the peloton now, which is rapidly closed and the creak is caught at 41 km. However, there is still another part of the peloton chasing.
1137 CEST - 49 km
There is also a third portion of the peloton trying to regain contact after 50 kilometres. On the narrow roads, bunch position is absolutely crucial to remain in contention. The front two parts of the peloton are only 15 seconds apart.
1201 CEST - 64 km
The race is still quite "nervous" as there is a new attack by 12 riders: Matthias Kessler (Telekom), Karsten Kroon (Rabobank), Andrei Tchmil, Jeroen Blijlevens, and Glenn D Hollander (Lotto), Paolo Bettini and Luca Paolini (Mapei), Fred Rodriguez (Domo), George Hincapie and José Luis Rubiera (USPS), Toni Tauler (Kelme) and Gian Mario Ortenzi. (Mercatone). They have over 1 minute as the race approaches Valkenburg and the Cauberg climb for the first time.
1218 CEST - 71 km
Fassa Bortolo now have a representative in the break, as time trialing specialist Roberto Petito bridges up. There are 13 riders in the lead now.
1230 CEST - 83 km
Although there is still 170 kilometres to go in this race, the riders in this break are by no means nobodys. Andrei Tchmil, with his two Lotto teammates, is quite capable of staying away in a long break. Paolo Bettini (Mapei) is also no slouch, and then there is Gent Wevelgem winner George Hincapie and his strong USPS teammate Jose Luis Rubiera.
The gap has increased to 3'10 now. It will be interesting to watch the reaction of the peloton now, given that several big teams are represented in the break.
1240 CEST - 89 km/165 km to go
The peloton has obviously decided to let the 13 escapees have their rope, and the gap has grown to 7 minutes now.
The names in the break again: Matthias Kessler (Telekom), Karsten Kroon (Rabobank), Andrei Tchmil, Jeroen Blijlevens, and Glenn D Hollander (Lotto), Paolo Bettini and Luca Paolini (Mapei), Fred Rodriguez (Domo), George Hincapie and José Luis Rubiera (USPS), Toni Tauler (Kelme), Gian Mario Ortenzi. (Mercatone) and Roberto Petito (Fassa Bortolo).
1300 CEST - 103 km/150 km to go
The break's advantage is still increasing, and it is now over 8 minutes with 150 km left. Of the riders in the break, Andrei Tchmil is the best performed in the Amstel Gold Race, with a lowest ever finish of 26th in 1995, followed by his best result of 6th in 1996. The Belgian has had only one win this season, in the GP E3 Prijs Harelbeke, and is certainly looking to the World Cup as his main goal this year.
1325 CEST - 119 km/134 km to go
Finally the gap has fallen slightly to 7'30, as the Alessio team take up the chase in the peloton. Domo's Servais Knaven had a mechanical problem, but is now back in the bunch.
Bettini crashes in the front group, and has dropped out. That's a huge blow to Mapei.
1344 CEST - 134 km/119 km to go
The 12 man break (Kessler, Kroon, Tchmil, Blijlevens, D Hollander, Paolini, Rodriguez, Hincapie, Rubiera, Tauler, Ortenzi and Petito) have now just under 120 kilometres left to race, but still with 15 climbs to go.
1457 CEST - 142 km/112 km to go
The advantage continues to fall, as the 50 or so strong peloton chases. The gap to the 12 leaders is now 5'50 as they pass over climb number 15, Eperheide.
1405 CEST - 146 km/108 km to go
A helicopter crashed at around 11 am between Maastricht and the Belgian border (Kanne). The heli was hired by the medical service because of the AGR. However, just after takeoff the heli had problems and crashed. The pilot was injured and was taken away to hospital in another heli.
1430 CEST - 159 km/95 km to go
The break still has 4'12, with the peloton being led by Rabobank and Alessio.
On Dutch TV, Lance Armstrong was interviewed yesterday about the Amstel Gold Race, and the classics. Two years ago, he finished second behind Michael Boogerd who had rideen "tactically correct" by sitting on Armstrong's wheel for the last 20 km.
Favourites? "Everybody is expecting Rabobank. They are the favourite team, with a good track record in this race."
Classics? "The classics have been less and less selective for the last couple of years. Everybody is training hard, getting on the front."
Anybody's race?. "We'll have to see. I love this race. You couldn't ask me to be any more mitivated for this race. I haven't done any classics this year but I love this one."
1435 CEST - 162 km/92 km to go
Erik Zabel (Telekom) gets a puncture and has to wait for quite a while for a wheel, as his team car is a long way back. This is not good timing for the defending champion, as he is passed by smaller groups. Andreas Klier passes by and leaves him behind.
Tauler has been dropped from the break, so there are now 11 riders in front.
1442 CEST - 167 km/87 km to go
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) is riding comfortably next to Johan Museeuw (Domo) near the front of the peloton as they climb the Huls (8%). World Cup leader Romans Vainsteins (Domo) has been dropped, along with Thor Hushovd (CA).
The gap to the 11 leaders (Kessler, Kroon, Tchmil, Blijlevens, D Hollander, Paolini, Rodriguez, Hincapie, Rubiera, Ortenzi and Petito) is 3'50.
1448 CEST - 171 km/83 km to go
Ortenzi and Hincapie lead the break up the Fromberg (climb number 20). The weather conditions are quite sunny at the moment, although the roads are still wet in places.
Rabobank are still leading the peloton, which has about 40 riders, including Michele Bartoli (Mapei), Museeuw (Domo), Boogerd (Rabobank).
1458 CEST - 180 km/74 km to go
The advantage has been reduced now to 2'50 on the Sibbergrubbe. Tchmil urges his breakaway companions onward. Karsten Kroon (Rabobank) punctures in the break.
The results of the first women's Amstel Gold Race: 1. Debby Mansveld (Vlaanderen-T-Interim), 2. Mirjam Melchers (Acca Due O), 3. Leontien van Moorsel (Farm Frites)
1503 CEST - 183 km/71 km to go
Servais Knaven (Domo) gets another puncture and is chasing. The break hammers through Valkenburg for the second time in front of a huge crowd and up the Cauberg. Tchmil leads them again. Kroon chases back on, but is suffering now.
More names in the peloton: Armstrong (USPS), Sunderland (Fakta), Van Petegem (Mercury). The gap is 2'04.
1509 CEST - 185 km/69 km to go
Markus Zberg (Rabobank) sets a fierce tempo up the Cauberg, with Boogerd close behind. Den Bakker moves up to take the lead now, followed by Beat Zberg and Marc Lotz. All Rabobank.
Up front, the break is looking a little disorganised as the rain begins to fall again. They are climbing the Geulhemmerberg now. There are 8 leaders on this 10 percent climb. Tchmil, Kessler, Kroon, Paolini, Ortenzi, Petito, Hincapie and Rubiera.
1515 CEST - 186 km/68 km to go
Blijlevens and D'Hollander are caught and immediately dropped by the peloton. The gap is around 1 minute now.
1518 CEST - 188 km/66 km to go
The eight man break have 66 kilometres left to race, as they continue with their doomed escape.
In the peloton, Rabobank sit near the front as usual. Rubiera is given some encouragement by his team director as he rejoins the peloton. Bartoli is having a chat to the Mapei car. Peter van Petegem is sitting last wheel, with rain jacket flapping, but his Mercury teammate Leon Van Bon is looking quite cheerful nearer the front. About 30 riders in the main group now.
1530 CEST - 194 km/60 km to go
Sunshine again as the break splinters in Cadier En Keer, but comes back together before the Bemelerberg (climb 24, 4.5). The gap is 55 seconds now. The group breaks again on the Bemelerberg, with Tchmil, Hincapie, Petito, Kessler and Paolini the five riders in the lead.
30 riders in the peloton: Zbergs, Boogerd, Lotz, Den Bakker, Dekker, Vinokourov, Museeuw, Bortolami, Mazzoleni, Armstrong, Rubiera, Vandevelde, Vasseur, Van Petegem, Van Bon, Rebellin, Sunderland, Camenzind, Baguet, Basso, Bartoli, Scinto, Peeters, Peers, Armin Meier, Blaudzun, Aebersold, Astarloa, Brignoli, Caucchioli, and Casarotto.
1540 CEST - 202 km/52 km to go
Erik Dekker (Rabobank) and Leon Van Bon (Mercury) launch a counter attack. Serge Baguet (Lotto) latches on, but they are caught by the peloton. The gap to the top 5 is just 39 seconds now.
1545 CEST - 205 km/49 km to go
Erik Dekker, Alex Vinokourov and Johan Museeuw try another move, but this too is not allowed to go. Rabobank riders are now prominent at the rear of the peloton. The 5 leaders are caught now, as there is real action in the bunch. Peers (Cofidis) and Zberg lead in St.-Geertruid.
Van Petegem, Bartoli, Tchmil, Rodriguez, Dekker, Boogerd, Armstrong, Casarotto, Paolini are leading the bunch. Bartoli is particularly aggressive, but he can't get a decent gap.
1555 CEST - 213 km/41 km to go
The leading bunch is completely strung out, with just under an hour left to race. Van Petegem, Museeuw, Peers, Amstrong, Museeuw, and Sunderland are in front.
Amrstrong attacks, and Mazzoleni (Tacconi) takes his wheel.
The following group consists of Sunderland, Vasseur, Museeuw, Van Petegem, Peeters, Tchmil, Rebellin and Dekker(?).
1559 CEST - 215 km/39 km to go
Armstrong and Mazzoleni are climbing the Loorberg (6%), pursued by a small group with Tchmil, Museeuw, Dekker etc but the peloton rejoins them. The two leaders have 20 seconds.
Dekker is strong today, and counter-attacks once again in pursuit of Armstrong and Mazzoleni, who is doing his best to hold the Postal rider's wheel.
1605 CEST - 219 km/35 km to go
Mazzoleni does a turn now with Armstrong and the pair have 17 seconds on Dekker, who is doing a great job of bridging. Bartoli leads a fragmented a small chase group, with Boogerd close on his wheel. Museeuw, Van Petegem and Tchmil are there too, but Tchmil comes to grief on a corner and almost brings down the entire chasing peloton!
Here are the remaining climbs
Climb 27 with 27.8 km to go: Keutenberg (450 m 16.5% - maximum 22%)
1615 CEST - 226 km/28 km to go
Boogerd, Lotz, Bartoli, Museeuw, and Van Petegem are chasing the three leaders (Dekker had just bridged up) on the Keutenberg. Armstrong is riding very strongly up the 22 percent slope, and their lead is nearly 1 minute. Mazzoleni is dropped.
Van Petegem and Boogerd crest the top of the Keutenberg, with Bartoli, Lotz and Museeuw now far behind. Rebellin, Peers, Zberg, and Baguet are next followed by Sunderland, Tchmil and Vinokourov.
1626 CEST - 232 km/22 km to go
There are several small groups in the race at the moment. 2 leaders, Lance Armstrong and Erik Dekker, who are both working very well and have increased their advantage to 1'20 over a 5 man group containing Michele Bartoli, Marc Lotz, Michel Boogerd, Johan Museeuw and a nonchalant looking Peter van Petegem. They are caught by 4 riders: Baguet, Peers, Rebellin and M Zberg.
Following them is a larger group with Tchmil, Baguet, Sunderland, Blaudzun and about 10 others.
1632 CEST - 234 km/20 km to go
The leaders are now in Sibbe, with 20 kilometres to go. Mazzoleni is chasing at 45 seconds, while Boogerd's expanding group is at 1'25. Between Dekker and Armstrong, it's pretty hard to pick.
Mazzoleni uses a Graeme Obree style tuck to try and gain back time on the leaders, but it's too late as he hits the Cauberg in Valkenburg.
Armstrong attacks strongly on the Cauberg. Dekker comes back though....
1637 CEST - 237 km/17 km to go
Van Petegem, M Zberg, Baguet, and Boogerd lead the chasers up the Cauberg. Peers, Rebellin, Museeuw are there too. Bartoli is dropped but chases hard down the other side and catches them.
One climb to go: Geulhemmerberg (800 m 7.5%) with 11.6 km left.
1644 CEST - 243 km/11 km to go
Dekker leads up the Geulhemmerberg. Both men are evenly matched and neither can gain an advantage. They chat to each other with 10 km to go, both are still working.
Mazzoleni chases at 40 seconds, and may yet hold on for third. However, the chasing group of 9 are not far behind. Van Petegem gets a flat at a bad time, but gets back on.
1650 CEST - 246 km/8 km to go
Michael Boogerd, Markus Zberg, Johan Museeuw, Peter Van Petegem, Michele Bartoli, Davide Rebellin, Serge Baguet, Andrei Tchmil and Chris Peers have caught Eddy Mazzoleni, so now the battle is for third place.
Armstrong and Dekker have 56 seconds.
Theo de Rooy (Rabobank DS) is annoyed(!) "We have to wait what happen with the group with Michael. Therefore Eric has to ride on his reserves for some minutes. It isn't a schoolclass, but I had some words with Erik. We have to know what will happen on the last climb, maybe the group with our three Rabobank riders will split."
1654 CEST - 248 km/6 km to go
The finish of the 36th Amstel Gold Race will be in bright sunshine - A Rabobank or a US Postal win? De Rooy has more words with Dekker, but he has to be a good chance of beating Armstrong in a sprint. It's all flat from now on. Dekker will be the new World Cup leader now.
1659 CEST - 252 km/2 km to go
The two leaders ride around the last roundabout with 2 km to go, still looking at each other, still swapping off turns. The gap is 58 seconds and they won't get caught.
1702 CEST - 254 km/0 km to go
Last kilometre. Serge Baguet (Lotto) puts in a counter-attack for third place.
Erik Dekker leads with 700m to go, looks at Armstrong. The two slow to a crawl now, neither wanting to lead out. How close will Baguet get?
This is like a track sprint! Go Baguet!
Armstrong and Dekker jump at the same time. Dekker leads from a long way out and wins. De Rooy is happy again.
Official 1 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 2 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service 3 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 4 Markus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 5 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 6 Peter van Petegem (Bel) Mercury-Viatel 7 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 8 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Liquigas 9 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 10 Chris Peers (Bel) Cofidis 11 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport 12 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank