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Italy, March 24, 2001
Zabel zaps 4th Milano-San Remo win while Bric Berton bombs
By Tim Maloney, cyclingnews.com correspondent
Clad in his 2000 World Cup champion's jersey, Erik Zabel (Deutsche Telekom) sprinted to his 4th win in La Primavera, aka Milano-San Remo, the traditional season opening classic. Once again, Zabel powered in for a solid victory in the 92nd edition of the race, this time a half bike length ahead of his arch rival Mario Cipollini (Saeco) and World Champ Romans Vainsteins (Domo-Farm Frites). Zabel's 6th victory this 2001 season showed the depth of the 31 year old Germans preparation for Milano-San Remo; Zabel has reportedly racked up 18,000km since November to be ready for La Primavera.
With the traditional M-SR climb of the Passo Turchino closed by a landslide, the supposedly more difficult ascent of Bric Berton was expected to make the final phases of Milano-San Remo tougher, but in the final analysis, the Bric Berton climb had little impact. Instead of a series of attacks, the peloton just rode tempo 4' behind the break. If anything, the tougher climb of Bric Berton took more away from Zabel's rivals Cipollini and Vainsteins than the tough, well-prepared German.
Under a clear and warm Saturday morning in front of the Basilica Of Saint Ambrose, the peloton took the rolling start and, well, nothing much happened for several hours. After two hours of racing at Rivalta Scrivia, 64.8 kilometers had been covered and after almost three hours, the first real break finally stuck at Novi Ligure (104 km). Ukrainian Sergey Matveyev (Panaria-Fiordo), Sweden's Martin Rittsel (CSC-World On-Line), Spain's David Latasa Lasa (iBanesto.com) and Czech Milan Kadlec (Mobilvetta-Formaggi Trentini).
After 128 km of racing, the advantage of the leading quartet was 5'00 on a Lampre-Daikin led peloton. An hour later, at the top of the Bric Berton climb, the front quartet rode at a steady tempo and crested the 773m summit with 4 minutes on the steady peloton. Suprisingly, no team attacked the peloton to take the sting out of the sprinters' legs, and after the long descent south to the Ligurian coast, the break had an advantage of 9'15" at Finale Ligure with 84km, or almost two hours left to race.
The chasing peloton now began to get serious about reeling in the fugitives and by the 2nd feed zone in Ceriale, with 72 left to race, the Rabobank and Telekom led bunch had reduced the leaders' margin to 6'00. A light sidewind along the coast road via Aurelia was slowing the leaders and helping the chasers. As the first capi approached, Matveyev and Co had only 4'00 lead, and as the peloton hit the first slopes of Capo Mele, Lampre hit the front and upped the tempo significantly.
On the other side of Capo Mele through Andorra, the hometown of Saeco rider Mirko Celestino, celeste baloons of his fan club festooned the roadside as the leading quarted pounded through 3'30" ahead of the ever approaching chasers with 50 km to San Remo. By now, the sidewind had switched to a tailwind and the pace was increasing. Mapei weighed in with Andrea Tafi up front, pounding a huge gear chasing the fading fugitives up Capo Berta as the lead was now down to 2'00.
Muscular Matveyev had attacked the break and took off alone up Capo Berta towards San Remo. Down the other side into Alassio, Matveyev passed the fountain in Piazza Dante with 32km to go with a lead of only 1'18, while his former companions Rittsel, Latasa and Kadlec were all eventually swallowed up by the locomotive peloton.
The penultimate climb of Milano-San Remo, the Cipressa comes with 27km to go. Marco Pantani set the record for the climb in '99 with 9'38", while last year's attack by Michele Bartoli was slightly slower at 9'55", but any sub 10' climb of the difficult ascent would light up Milano-San Remo. Matveyev was caught just at the base of the 5km climb after 164km of liberty, but it didn't stay gruppo compatto for very long.
Sergio Barbero (Lampre-Daikin) attacked immediately and was joined by Bo Hamburger (CSC-World On-Line). This duo got a 50 metre gap, and were joined by Peter Farazijn (Cofidis), Mario Aerts (Lotto), Nathan O'Neill (Panaria-Fiordo) and Alexander Vinokorov (Deutsche Telekom), but the fireworks were just starting. Halfway up the Cipressa, Francesco Casagrande (Fassa Bortolo), the UCI's #1 ranked rider made a massive attack from the chase in a 53x15, bridging easily and then just blowing by the front riders into the race lead.
By the summit of the Cipressa with 22km left to race, Casagrande had chopped put an advantage of 15" on the chasers and 22" on the 120 strong peloton. On the tricky descent of the Cipressa, the Fassa Bortolo man was joined by his chasers, including Salvodelli (Saeco) who bridged with his fantastic descending skills. As the front group hit the coast road via Aurelia with 20km to go, there were 6 riders in the lead with a slim margin of 15". Casagrande, Farazijn, Salvodelli and Vinokorov had been joined by Roberto Bettini (Mapei) and Gabriele Balducci (Tacconi Sport).
With 7km of the flat section of via Aurelia ahead of them before the final climb of the Poggio, the sextet tried to make a go of it but neither Vinokorov or Bettini was working, which eventuallydoomed the break. Just after the break came back in Riva Ligure, Nico Mattan (Cofidis) made a classic counter move and got up to 8 seconds, but the hard charging group of 50 riders,led by the pink and black Deutsche Telekom squad pulled him back just as the Poggio began.
Vinokorov went back to the front with Zabel on his wheel and rode hard tempo to keep the attacks from blowing up his sprinter and the tactic worked for about two thirds of the Poggio climb, when former M-SR winner Gabriele Colombo (Cantina Tollo) attacked and was joined by Peter Van Petegem (Viatel-Mercury), Roberto Petito (Fassa Bortolo) and Italian champion Michele Bartoli (Mapei). This quartet tried to get away but over the top of the Poggio climb, with 4km to race, their lead was only a few ticks of the chronometer.
Despite a patented from Eric "Hat Trick" Dekker (Rabobank) with 2km to go, as the race wound up to a thrilling finale under the 1km to go kite, there were perhaps 40 riders ready to contest the sprint on via Roma, including Zabel, Mario Cipollini, World Champ Romans Vainsteins, Mapei's Stefano Zanini and Viatel-Mercury's Peter Van Petegem. Zanini however became the victim of a crash, which brought down Davide Rebellin, Dimitri Konyshev, Nicolay Bo Larsen and Mikel Zarrabeitia amongst others.
With 800 meters to go, Zabel's trusty lieutenant Gian-Matteo Fagnini (Deutsche Telekom) moved right, made a tremendous lead-out pull for Zabel and with 300 meters to go, the Telekom man hit the front, never to be bested by runner-up Cipollini or Vainsteins. Zabel's powerful Telekom team executed their strategy perfectly and delivered the goods for Zabel to once again zap the competition on via Roma.
1 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 7.23.13 (38.852 km/h) 2 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 3 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Domo-Farm Frites 4 Biagio Conte (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 5 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 6 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 7 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 8 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 9 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service 10 Rolf Sorensen (Den) CSC-World Online 11 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 12 Guido Trenti (USA) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 13 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Mercury-Viatel 14 Gian Matteo Fagnini (Ita) Team Deutsche Telekom 15 Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 16 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 17 Dario Pieri (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 18 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 19 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 20 Christian Vandevelde (USA) US Postal Service 0.39 21 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.50 22 Fabio Malberti (Ita) Liquigas-Pata 23 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 24 Marco Velo (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom 25 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre-Daikin 26 Bo Hamburger (Den) CSC-World Online 27 Andrei Kivilev (Kaz) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 28 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 29 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Fassa Bortolo 30 Bobby Julich (USA) Credit Agricole 1.01 31 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Deutsche Telekom 32 Cristian Gasperoni (Ita) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 33 Fabiano Fontanelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom 34 Philippe Gaumont (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 35 Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 36 Roberto Petito (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 37 Marco Serpellini (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 38 Mikel Pradera Rodriguez (Spa) O.N.C.E. 39 Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 40 Oskar Camenzind (Swi) Lampre-Daikin 41 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 1.08 42 Andreas Klier (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 1.15 43 Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Mercury-Viatel 44 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 1.37 45 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre-Daikin 1.43 46 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Pata 47 Matthew White (Aus) US Postal Service 48 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole 49 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 50 Mauro Radaelli (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 51 Denis Zanette (Ita) Liquigas-Pata 52 Juan Carlos Dominguez (Spa) iBanesto.Com 53 Uros Murn (Slo) Mobilvetta Design-Formaggi Trentini 54 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 55 Stuart O'grady (Aus) Credit Agricole 56 Mariano Piccoli (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 57 CÚdric Vasseur (Fra) US Postal Service 58 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 59 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 60 Mikel Artetxe Gezuraga (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 61 Michael Blaudzun (Den) CSC-World Online 62 Benoit Joachim (Lux) US Postal Service 63 Nathan O'neill (Aus) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 64 Mauro Gianetti (Swi) Team Coast 65 Yaugeni Syniuskine (Blr) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 66 Dmitri Fofonov (Kaz) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 67 Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 68 Luis Arrieta JosÚ (Spa) iBanesto.Com 69 Frank Hoj (Den) Team Coast 70 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 71 Igor Flores Galarza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 72 Daniele Contrini (Ita) Liquigas-Pata 73 Rolf Huser (Swi) Team Coast 74 Massimiliano Lelli (Ita) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 75 Jens Voigt (Ger) Credit Agricole 76 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 77 Francisco Cabello (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 78 Christopher Jenner (Fra) Credit Agricole 79 Massimo Giunti (Ita) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 80 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 81 Jan Schaffrath (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 82 Inigo Chaurreau Bernardez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 83 JosÚ Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) O.N.C.E. 84 Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 85 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 86 Alberto Elli (Ita) Team Deutsche Telekom 87 Abraham Olano Manzano (Spa) O.N.C.E. 88 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 89 Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom 90 Antonio Varriale (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 91 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 92 Chris Peers (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 93 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank 94 JosÚ Azevedo (Por) O.N.C.E. 95 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) Lotto-Adecco 96 Alex Zuelle (Swi) Team Coast 97 Niki Aebersold (Swi) Team Coast 98 Vjatceslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal Service 99 Txema Del Olmo Zendegi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 100 Sergio Barbero (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 101 Unai Etxebarria Arana (Ven) Euskaltel-Euskadi 102 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 103 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) iBanesto.Com 104 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 105 Enrico Cassani (Ita) Domo-Farm Frites 106 Mario Scirea (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 107 Pavel Padrnos (Cze) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 108 Luca Scinto (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 109 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 110 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo-Farm Frites 111 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Fassa Bortolo 112 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 113 Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 114 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) CSC-World Online 115 Timothy Jones (Zim) Mobilvetta Design-Formaggi Trentini 116 Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 117 Michele Coppolillo (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 118 Vladimir Duma (Ukr) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 119 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 120 Dmitri Konyshev (Rus) Fassa Bortolo 2.18 121 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 3.38 122 Ellis Rastelli (Ita) Liquigas-Pata 4.50 123 Mikel Zarrabeitia (Spa) O.N.C.E. 124 Nicolay Bo Larsen (Den) CSC-World Online 5.00 125 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom 5.17 126 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Mobilvetta Design-Formaggi Trentini 127 Devis Miorin (Ita) Mobilvetta Design-Formaggi Trentini 128 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Mercatone Uno-Albacom 129 Gian Mario Ortenzi (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom 130 Sergiy Matveyev (Ukr) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 5.40 131 Tom Leaper (Aus) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 132 Kai Hundertmark (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 6.34 133 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank 7.12 134 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank 135 Nicola Loda (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 136 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank 137 Fabrice Gougot (Fra) Credit Agricole 138 Wilfried Peeters (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 139 Marco Milesi (Ita) Domo-Farm Frites 140 Davide Bramati (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 141 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 142 Piotr Wadecki (Pol) Domo-Farm Frites 143 Koen Beeckman (Bel) CSC-World Online 144 Roland Meier (Swi) Team Coast 145 Jaime Javier Hernandez Bertran (Spa) Festina 146 Juan Manuel Cuenca Martinez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 147 David Etxebarria (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 148 Fabian De Waele (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 149 Ermanno Brignoli (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom 150 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) O.N.C.E. 151 Steffen Kjaergaard (Nor) US Postal Service 152 Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Mercury-Viatel 153 Domenico Gualdi (Ita) Mobilvetta-Formaggi Trentini 8.53 154 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) Mercury-Viatel 155 Mauro Gerosa (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 156 Zoran Klemencic (Slo) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 9.42 157 Javier Pascual Llorente (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 158 Hendrik Van Dyck (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 159 Gianpaolo Mondini (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom 160 Floyd Landis (USA) Mercury-Viatel 161 Alberto Benito Guerrero (Spa) iBanesto.Com 162 Federico Giabbecucci (Ita) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 163 Iban Sastre Estevez (Spa) Festina 164 Rodolfo Massi (Ita) Mobilvetta Design-Formaggi Trentini 165 Mirko Marini (Ita) Liquigas-Pata 166 Arvis Piziks (Lat) CSC-World Online 167 Cristian Salvato (Ita) Liquigas-Pata 168 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Lampre-Daikin 12.31 169 Antonio Tauler (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 170 Servais Knaven (Ned) Domo-Farm Frites 171 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team Coast 172 Jon Odriozola Mugarza (Spa) iBanesto.Com 173 Rafael Casero Moreno (Spa) Festina 174 Henk Vogels (Aus) Mercury-Viatel 175 David Clinger (USA) Festina 176 Raphael Schweda (Ger) Team Coast 14.24 177 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Lampre-Daikin 15.39 178 Martin Rittsel (Swe) CSC-World Online 179 David Latasa Lasa (Spa) iBanesto.Com 180 Francisco Leon Mane (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 181 Milan Kadlec (Cze) Mobilvetta Design-Formaggi Trentini
1 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 100 pts 2 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 70 3 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Domo-Farm Frites 50 4 Biagio Conte (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 40 5 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 36 6 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 32 7 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 28 8 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 24 9 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service 20 10 Rolf Sorensen (Den) CSC-World Online 16 11 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 15 12 Guido Trenti (USA) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 14 13 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Mercury-Viatel 13 14 Gian Matteo Fagnini (Ita) Team Deutsche Telekom 12 15 Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 11 16 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 10 17 Dario Pieri (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 9 18 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 8 19 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 7 20 Christian Vandevelde (USA) US Postal Service 6 21 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 5 22 Fabio Malberti (Ita) Liquigas-Pata 4 23 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 3 24 Marco Velo (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom 2 25 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre-Daikin 1 Teams 1 Saeco Macchine Per Caffe 12 pts 2 Team Deutsche Telekom 9 3 Cantina Tollo - Acqua&Sapone 8 4 Tacconi Sport - Vini Caldirola 7 5 US Postal Service 6 6 Cofidis 5 7 Rabobank 4 8 Fassa Bortolo 3 9 CSC - World Online 2 10 Mapei - Quick Step 1