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Netherlands, April 28, 2001
By Jeff Jones
The Amstel Gold Race marks the end of the spring World Cup season, in what has again been an intense month of April. The Amstel is a comparatively new addition to the classics, although at 254 kilometres with 29 climbs over some beautiful countryside, it is certainly worthy of the honour. It is the only men's World Cup race in the Netherlands, making it on most occasions the biggest cycling race of the year in this country.
Spring is a tough time for cyclists, as there is pressure to perform in the early season races to get results 'in the bank' for the sponsor. The classics in particular offer some of the best chances to shine, especially by the smaller teams who get invited as wildcards. It is almost guaranteed that there will be an early suicide break by riders from one of these teams, as once the live TV coverage comes on, they will have their sponsor's name in front. That isn't always the case, depending on how tense the bigger division I teams are, many of whom have not had a good result so far this season.
In the World Cup season so far, we have seen Telekom open their account with Erik Zabel in Milan-San Remo; followed by a surprise win to Gianluca Bortolami (Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola) in the Ronde van Vlaanderen; a superb team "domo-nation" by Domo-Farm Frites with Servais Knaven, Johan Museeuw, Romans Vainsteins and Wilfried Peeters in Paris-Roubaix; and last weekend's Liege-Bastogne-Liege Lampre triumph with Oscar Camenzind.
The Amstel Gold Race is therefore a perfect opportunity for some teams to nail a good result in spring. Rabobank came close in the RVV with Erik Dekker finishing second to Bortolami, and last weekend Michael Boogerd made the five man break in LBL, but could only finish 5th. This race is important to the Orange and Blue outfitted Dutch squad, and they will be relying on the talents of Boogerd, Dekker, Den Bakker, and the Zberg brothers to hopefully carry them though to the top.
Lotto-Adecco have had a good spring, winning a number of semi-classics without quite getting a World Cup win. It it finishes in a bunch sprint, then Jeroen Blijlevens is always a chance, otherwise it will be up to the irrepressible Andrei Tchmil or perhaps one of the other members who have been riding well.
Speaking of bunch sprints, Fassa Bortolo's Alessandro Petacchi is back in town after injury has kept him off the bike for a number of weeks. With the addition of Ivan Basso, Giancarlo Ferretti's team might be able to pull off a rare classic win.
One team that has been visibly absent from the World Cup podium this spring is Mapei-Quick Step. The former world number one team will be again led by Paolo Bettini and Michele Bartoli, but these two have not yet been in top form. They also have the services of 1996 winner, Stefano Zanini, who is always a threat if he can make the leading group. Can Mapei salvage a consistent but modest spring with a World Cup win?
Liquigas' Davide Rebellin came so close - again - last weekend to winning a major classic, but was beaten by a flying Camenzind. He should make the final selection of this race provided that he has recovered from a fall earlier in the week, but the long, flat 10 km finish does not suit the dour Italian.
The US Postal Service team has come close on several occasions to winning a World Cup, with Lance Armstrong a runner up in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Amstel Gold Race. Can the two-time Tour de France winner improve on his 1999 result, or will the shadow of Boogerd remain on his palmares?
Mercury-Viatel have brought in their big tour performers, including Axelsson, McRae, and Teteriuk, but their most visible classics riders this season have been Leon van Bon and Peter van Petegem. Both are in good, consistent form and should do well in this race.
Last week's winning team, Lampre-Daikin will still no doubt be flushed with success. Two in a row would be superb, and the team will have the services of smilin' Ludo Dierckxsens, LBL winner Oscar Camenzind, HEW Cyclcassics winner Gabriele Missaglia, and the ever consistent Max Sciandri.
There are a few standouts from the division II squads as well, including Alessio with Davide Casarotto and Martin Hvastja as the in-form riders, and Team Fakta, with Björnar Vestöl, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, and led by Scott Sunderland.
For the latter, the Amstel Gold Race is a particularly significant event, as it was where he suffered a serious accident with Cees Priem and the TVM team car in 1998. It has taken Sunderland over two and a half years to return to his best form, and he has now done so. Don't be too surprised to see him in the top 10 in 2001.
Final Team Deutsche Telekom Rabobank 1 Erik Zabel (Ger) 11 Michael Boogerd (Ned) 2 Gian-Matteo Fagnini (Ita) 12 Jan Boven (Ned) 3 Jens Heppner (Ger) 13 Erik Dekker (Ned) 4 Matthias Kessler (Ger) 14 Maarten den Bakker (Ned) 5 Andreas Klier (Ger) 15 Karsten Kroon (Ned) 6 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) 16 Marc Lotz (Ned) 7 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) 17 Beat Zberg (Swi) 8 Udo Bölts (Ger) 18 Markus Zberg (Swi) Lotto-Adecco Fassa Bortolo 21 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) 31 Fabio Baldato (Ita) 22 Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) 32 Ivan Basso (Ita) 23 Serge Baguet (Bel) 33 Sergei Ivanov (Rus) 24 Christophe Brandt (Bel) 34 Dmitri Konychev (Rus) 25 Glenn D'Hollander (Bel) 35 Andrea Peron (Ita) 26 Gennadi Mikhailov (Rus) 36 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) 27 Kurt Van de Wouwer (Bel) 37 Roberto Petito (Ita) 28 Hendrik Van Dijck (Bel) 38 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step Domo-Farm Frites 41 Michele Bartoli (Ita) 51 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) 42 Paolo Bettini (Ita) 52 Enrico Cassani (Ita) 43 Dario Cioni (Ita) 53 Servais Knaven (Ned) 44 Luca Paolini (Ita) 54 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) 45 Luca Scinto (Ita) 55 Johan Museeuw (Bel) 46 Andrea Tafi (Ita) 56 Wilfried Peeters (Bel) 47 David Tani (Ita) 57 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) 48 Stefano Zanini (Ita) 58 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone ONCE 61 Iñigo Cuesta (Spa) 71 Rafael Díaz Justo (Spa) 62 Yoann Le Boulanger (Fra) 72 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) 63 Andrei Kivilev (Kaz) 73 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) 64 Laurent Lefèvre (Fra) 74 Marcos Serrano (Spa) 65 Massimiliano Lelli (Ita) 75 Mikel Zarrabeitia (Spa) 66 Chris Peers (Bel) 76 Mikel Pradera (Spa) 67 Juris Silovs (Lat) 68 Guido Trentin (Ita) Liquigas-Pata US Postal Service 81 Davide Rebellin (Ita) 91 Lance Armstrong (USA) 82 Stefano Cattai (Ita) 92 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) 83 Daniele Contrini (Ita) 93 George Hincapie (USA) 84 Cristiano Frattini (Ita) 94 Benoît Joachim (Lux) 85 Mirko Marini (Ita) 95 José Luis Rubiera (Spa) 86 Ellis Rastelli (Ita) 96 Christian VandeVelde (USA) 87 Cristian Salvato (Ita) 97 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) 88 Denis Zanette (Ita) 98 Victor Hugo Peña (Col) Mercury-Viatel Saeco Macchine per Caffé 101 Nicklas Axelsson (Swe) 111 Mirko Celestino (Ita) 102 Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) 112 Oscar Cavagnis (Ita) 103 Chris Horner (USA) 113 Jörg Lüdewig (Ger) 104 Chann McRae (USA) 114 Armin Meier (Swi) 105 Andrei Teteriuk (Kaz) 115 Massimiliano Mori (Ita) 106 Leon van Bon (Ned) 116 Torsten Nitsche (Ger) 107 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) 117 Marius Sabaliauskas (Ltu) 108 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) 118 Dario Pieri (Ita) CSC-World Online Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 121 Rolf Sørensen (Den) 131 Massimo Apollonio (Ita) 122 Koen Beeckman (Bel) 132 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) 123 Michael Blaudzun (Den) 133 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) 124 Francisco Cerezo (Spa) 134 Diego Ferrari (Ita) 125 Bo Hamburger (Den) 135 Mauro Gerosa (Ita) 126 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) 136 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) 127 Nicolaj Bo Larsen (Den) 137 Nicola Minali (Ita) 128 Jakob Piil (Den) 138 Mauro Radaelli (Ita) Lampre-Daikin Crédit Agricole 141 Sergio Barbero (Ita) 151 Jens Voigt (Ger) 142 Oskar Camenzind (Swi) 152 Magnus Bäckstedt (Swe) 143 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) 153 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) 144 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) 154 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) 145 Max Sciandri (Eng) 155 Thor Hushovd (Nor) 146 Johan Verstrepen (Bel) 156 Christopher Jenner (Fra) 147 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) 148 Matteo Frutti (Ita) Festina Kelme-Costa Blanca 161 Angel Luis Casero (Spa) 171 Gustavo Gomez (Spa) 162 Jaime Hernandez (Spa) 172 Francisco Leon (Spa) 163 David Clinger (USA) 173 David Muñoz (Spa) 164 André Korff (Ger) 174 Leandro Navarrete (Spa) 165 Francisco José Lara (Spa) 175 Toni Tauler (Spa) 166 Pascal Lino (Fra) 176 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) 167 Laurent Madouas (Fra) 168 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Team Coast Mercatone Uno 181 Niki Aebersold (Swi) 191 Igor Astarloa (Spa) 182 Daniel Becke (Ger) 192 Michael Andersson (Swe) 183 Bekim Christensen (Den) 193 Ermanno Brignoli (Ita) 184 Fernando Escartín (Spa) 194 Massimo Cigana (Ita) 185 Mauro Gianetti (Swi) 195 Gian Mario Ortenzi (Ita) 186 Rolf Huser (Swi) 196 Roberto Savoldi (Ita) 187 Roland Meier (Swi) 188 Alex Zülle (Swi) Alessio BankGiroloterij-Batavus 201 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) 211 Tom Desmet (Bel) 202 Stefano Casagranda (Ita) 212 Bert Hiemstra (Ned) 203 Davide Casarotto (Ita) 213 Martin van Steen (Ned) 204 Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) 214 Coray Sweet (Aus) 205 Martin Hvastija (Slo) 215 Jan van Velzen (Ned) 206 Franco Pellizzotti (Ita) 216 Remco van der Ven (Ned) 207 Paolo Valoti (Ita) 217 Bart Voskamp (Ned) 208 Alberto Vinale (Ita) 218 Pieter Vries (Ned) Collstrop-Palmans Team Fakta 221 Vincent Cali (Fra) 231 Scott Sunderland (Aus) 222 Eric De Clercq (Bel) 232 Allan Johansen (Den) 223 Christophe Detilloux (Bel) 233 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) 224 Geert Omloop (Bel) 234 Marcus Ljungquist (Swe) 225 Oleg Pankov (Ukr) 235 Manu L'Hoir (Bel) 226 Karl Pauwels (Bel) 236 Roberto Lochowski (Ger) 227 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) 237 Michael Skelde (Den) 228 Kristof Trouvé (Bel) 238 Björnar Vestöl (Nor) Team Cologne 241 Raymond Meijs (Ned) 242 Pelle Kil (Ned) 243 Ryan Cox (RSA) 244 Jos Lucassen (Ned) 245 Frank Klein (Ger) 246 Tiaan Kannemeyer (RSA)
Acca Due O-Lorena Dutch National Team Priska Doppmann (Swi) Chantal Beltman (Ned) Arenda Grimberg (Ned) Ghita Beltman (Ned) Vera Hohlfeld (Ger) Corine Dorland (Ned) Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Angela Hillenga (Ned) Zita Urbonaite (Ltu) Reza Hormes-Ravestijn (Ned) Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) Annemiek van Loon (Ned) Diana Ziliute (Ltu) Mirella van Melis (Ned) Mariëlle van Scheppingen (Ned) BIK-Toscany Sport Dutch National Junior Team Elisabeth Folkerts (Ned) Suzanne de Goede (Ned) Josephine Groenveld (Ned) Sandra Duin (Ned) Marieke Haverdings (Ned) Vera Koedooder (Ned) Wendy Kramp (Ned) Pleuni Möhlmann (Ned) Kristy Robb (NZl) Frederika van der Wiel (Ned) Fonny Wekema (Ned) Minke van Dongen (Ned) Monique Verstraten (Ned) Miranda Vierling (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol Fernhout - Noord-Westhoek Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) Marlon Beekman (Ned) Madeleine Lindberg (Swe) Louise Bremer (Ned) Sissy van Alebeek (Ned) Frieda de Groot (Ned) Esther van der Helm (Ned) Marit Kamp (Ned) Anouska van der Zee (Ned) Janny Kleinjan (Ned) Sonja van Kuik (Ned) Ilona Meter (Ned) Leontien van Moorsel-Z (Ned) Birgit Mulder (Ned) Elsbeth Vink (Ned) Marit Palland (Ned) Ondernemers van Nature FDP Savills - De Zwaluwen Petra de Boer-Grimbergen (Ned) Mischa Coolen (Ned) Areke Hassink (Ned) Bianca Duursma (Ned) Tanja Hennes-Schmidt (Ger) Maaike Hunink (Ned) Francis Linthorst (Ned) Patricia Moons (Ned) Edith Moerenhout-Klep (Ned) Patricia Schuurs (Ned) Sandra Rombouts (Ned) Simone van Duuren (Ned) Rikke Sandhøj-Olsen (Den) Kirsten Wild (Ned) Saskia van Duuren (Ned) Team Lolland - Falster JvR - De Batauwers Sofie Andersson (Swe) Bea Bleumink (Ned) Lotte Bak (Den) Priscilla Bonhof (Ned) Anna Delfin (Swe) Kim Jansen (Ned) Lotta Green (Swe) Daniëlle Moonen (Ned) Lisbeth Simper (Den) Frances Newstead (GBr) Ingrid Rouw (Ned) Katrijn Scheffer (Ned) Marieke Storteler (Ned) Vlaanderen - T-interim RSC LC Zuidwesthoek Ekle Devreese (Bel) Mirjam Dieleman (Ned) Veerle Ingels (Bel) Baukje Doedée (Ned) Debby Mansveld (Ned) Angeliena Huis (Ned) Caroline Orens (Bel) Inge Klep (Ned) Cindy Pieters (Bel) Melanie Masveld (Ned) Evy Van Damme (Bel) Sanne Schmidt (Den) Vanja Vonckx (Bel) Nana Steenssens (Bel) Laure Werner (Bel) Susanne van As (Ned) Team Stuttgart R&TC Buitenlust Clarissa Breuer (Ger) Elly van Boxmeer (Ned) Nicole Faust (Ger) Marieke Verhoeven (Ned) Andrea Hannemann (Ger) Irma van Heeren (Ned) Simone Klewitz (Ger) Hester-Marieke Kroes (Ned) Anja Ritter (Ger) Anuska van Vlaenderen (Ned) Johanna Stephan (Ger) Ellen de Roover (Ned) Sandra Oosterbosch (Ned) Vitron - Wilstra Team Ahoy Greetje De Vos (Bel) Andrea Bosman (Ned) Susan Hartog (Ned) Heidi de Voogd (Ned) Ilse Kersten (Ned) Ellen de Weert (Ned) Esmerijn Remmerswaal (Ned) Saskia Kaagman (Ned) Cindy van Loon (Ned) Sandra Missbach (Ger) Natasja van Loon (Ned) Catharina Mulders (Ned) Carolien Slikker (Ned) Laura Verhoeven (Ned) Westland Wil Vooruit Team Brabant 2000 Marion Borst (Ned) Martine Bras (Ned) Daphne Hoeve (Ned) Mirjam de Moel (Ned) Kristy Miggels (Ned) Abke Francissen (Ned) Marissa Oosterlee (Ned) Sabine Gruters (Ned) Afke Sijm (Ned) Patricia Hermes (Ned) Joyce van den Nulft (Ned) Gemma Hubers (Ned) Irma van der Salm (Ned) Inge Velthuis (Ned) Astrid van Tol (Ned)