Italy, October 21, 2001
Dominant Dekker Clinches 2001 World Cup Title; Di Luca Lucks Out For Win in Bergamo
By Tim Maloney, cyclingnews.com correspondent
In today's 95th edition of the Giro di Lombardia, affectionately called the Race Of The Falling Leaves, the 2001 World Cup wrapped up with the overall victory of Dutchman Erik Dekker (Rabobank), while Italian Danilo Di Luca (Cantina Tollo) got a lucky break in the sprint to take the win in Bergamo.
Today's cold and rainy edition of Lombardia might have been called a Race Of Falling Rain & Riders, but the crap conditions took nothing away from the shine of Dekker's World Cup win.
Erik Dekker has been the dominant World Cup rider almost all season long. Dekker's April to October performance is the mark of a true champion rider and Dekker must be considered the most complete World Cup champion in years. After exploding for 14 wins, including three TdF stages in 2000, the talented Dekker went from being somewhat of an underachiever to real winning machine. A close 2nd place to Gianluca Bortolami in the Ronde van Vlaandren opend his accouts this spring, followed by a victory over Lance Armstrong in Amstel Gold, which propelled Dekker into the World Cup lead at of the end of the 5 spring rounds.
Dekker's win today in the 2001 World Cup wrapped up an amazing season for the friendly Dutchman. When the World Cup re-opened in August, the stage was set for Dekker to either show his stuff or wilt in the summer heat. Another TDF stage win on the brutal, cold Stage 8 from Colmar to Pontarlier showed that the 31 year old from Hoogeveen was more than ready for the challenge; with placings like 9th in San Sebastian, 3rd in HEW, 5th in Zurich, 13th in Paris-Tours and finally a 14th in Lombardia, not to mention his 4th place in the World Championship last week. And although the official results are not yet in, it looks like Dekker's Rabobank team powered to a World Cup Team win as well.
Kudos & congratulations to Dekker, his Rabobank team and team leader Theo De Rooy.
As for todays final round of the World Cup, the usually sunny Northern Italian weather didn't smile on the peloton as they headed out from Varese in a cold, wet fog. The real racing started on the Berbenno climb; as the couse headed for San the Pellegrino Terme, local lad Wladimiro Belli (Fassa Bortolo) led the forcing up front with Virenque. However the chasers behind were too determined and there was a large group still together when lanky Swede and ex-Mercury man Niklaas Axelsson (Alessio), went solo with 25km to race.
Axelsson was caught in the final kilometer of last last year's Lombardia and certainly had the bit in his teeth today with an excellent move on the cold, rainy fog approaching Villa d'Alme. Behind the Swede, Boogerd (Rabobank) bridged up and this looked liked THE move of the day, but the unlucky Swede crashed and Boogerd was left alone in the lead.
The Dutchman didn't lack for company for too long; the ubiquitous Virenque, Danilo Di Luca and a raging Giuliano Figueras (Panaria) soon joined Boogerd. Beat Zberg was chasing at 40 seconds, the Dekker & Bartoli group were at 1 minute 10 with a cold, peloton at 5 minutes, and out of the race.
In the atrocious conditions, the quartet powered through the suburbs of Bergamo towards the final climb up the Colle Aperto to the Citta Alta', then down for the final sprint on Corso Matteotti. With 7km, Figueras and Di Luca looked the freshest, with a cagy Boogerd following wheels and Virenque looking cooked from his earlier efforts. Figueras was first through Porto Garibaldi into the Citta Alta' and on to the small, slippery and irregular cobblestones.
His first effort dropped Virenque, then a fast-pedaling Di Luca attacked. He got a 30, then 50 meter gap as Figueras slipped on the pave'. As Di Luca flew through the Porta Pantano after 1100 meters of cobbles, he had 5 second gap. A determined Figueras chased all the way down from the walled Citta' Alta into Bergamo with Boogerd clinging to his wheel, finally pulling back Di Luca at the 1km to go kite.
Figueras, ‘96 U23 World champ from Naples had a great Worlds last week in Lisbon with strong climbing and a solid 7th place. He had beaten Di Luca in a tight sprint in the Giro del Veneto last month and was looking for his biggest win yet in Bergamo. Boogerd made a counter move with 800m to go but Figureas pulled him back and as the trio made the 90 degree right onto Corso Matteotti, Figueras was again right on Di Luca's wheel.
But once again, the rain complicated things in the 95th Giro di Lombardia. As Figueras made his move on the right side of Di Luca, his powerful jump coincided with a stretch of slippery paving stones along the Corso. His rear wheel slipped once, twice and it was only his great balance that kept Figueras from crashing. But the slips and slides cost Figueras his momentum and the Neopolitan had to coast over the line as a delirious Di Luca fell into the arms of his friend and manager Johnny Carrera. Himself a runner-up in '99, Di Luca finally took the Lombardia victory, and his first World Cup victory for the talented Abruzzese rider, who will move to Saeco next season.
The disappointed Figueras was second ahead of Boogerd, while Bartoli led in the next group at 45 seconds. But today's real winner sprinted in for 14th, 4'40 behind Di Luca. Clad in his wet and dirty World Cup jersey was Erik Dekker, a most worthy final winner in the 2001 World Cup.
Luca - celebrates as he crosses the finish line
Further photos from Fotoreporter Sirotti
and Oscar Freire - looking clean prior to the race
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 6.38.29 (38.847 km/h) 2 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 3 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 0.01 4 Richard Virenque (Fra) Domo-Farm Frites 0.04 5 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1.25 6 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 7 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre-Daikin 1.26 8 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1.27 9 Nicklas Axelsson (Swe) Alessio 1.32 10 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) iBanesto.com 2.25 11 Matthias Kessler (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 2.59 12 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) O.N.C.E.-Eroski 13 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 4.39 14 Vladimir Duma (Ukr) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 5.19 15 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 5.20 16 Tomas Konecny (Cze) Domo-Farm Frites 6.24 17 Mauro Gianetti (Swi) Team Coast 6.25 18 Peter Luttenberger (Aut) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 7.35 19 Cristian Gasperoni (Ita) Cantina Tollo Acqua & Sapone 7.58 20 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 8.35 21 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step 22 Denis Lunghi (Ita) Team Colpack-Astro 23 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 24 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Fassa Bortolo 8.36 25 Niki Aebersold (Swi) Team Coast 26 Nicki Sorensen (Den) CSC Tiscali 8.37 27 Claude Lamour (Fra) Cofidis 8.45 28 Michael Blaudzun (Den) CSC Tiscali 29 Piotr Wadecki (Pol) Domo-Farm Frites 8.47 30 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Liquigas-Pata 8.49 31 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 8.54 32 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski 8.55 33 Cadel Evans (Aus) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 34 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank 8.56 35 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 36 Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 37 Gianluca Valoti (Ita) Alexia Alluminio 8.57 38 Daniele De Paoli (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Stream TV 8.59 39 Gianni Faresin (Ita) Liquigas-Pata 9.00 40 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 9.02 41 Uros Murn (Slo) Mobilvetta Design-Formaggi Trentini 9.07 42 Mikel Zarrabeitia (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski 9.18 43 Massimo Codol (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 9.20 44 Ivan Gotti (Ita) Alessio 9.30 45 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 9.51 46 Santiago Blanco Gil (Spa) iBanesto.com 9.59 47 Sergei Lelekin (Rus) Mobilvetta Design-Formaggi Trenti 17.58 48 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 49 Rolf Huser (Swi) Team Coast 17.59 50 Stefano Cattai (Ita) Liquigas-Pata 18.00 51 Marcellino Garcia Alonso (Spa) CSC Tiscali 18.01 52 Domenico Romano (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 53 Gianluca Tonetti (Ita) Selle Italia-Pacific 18.02 54 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 55 José Vincente Garcia Acosta (Spa) iBanesto.com 18.04 56 Thomas Leaper (Aus) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 18.11 Starters: 177 Abandons: 121 Finishers: 56
1 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 331 pts 2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 250 3 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Domo-Farm Frites 229 4 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 201 5 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Liquigas-Pata 170 6 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 156 7 Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Lampre-Daikin 141 8 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldiro 130 9 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 116 10 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 101 11 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 96 12 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service 89 13 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 88 14 Rolf Sorensen (Den) CSC Tiscali 72 15 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre-Daikin 71 16 Chris Peers (Bel) Cofidis 68 17 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 64 18 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Mercury 60 19 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 58 20 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 57 21 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Lampre-Daikin 56 22 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Mercatone Uno-Stream TV 54 23 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole 40 24 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola 39 25 Marco Serpellini (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 38 26 Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis 30 27 Piotr Wadecki (Pol) Domo-Farm Frites 28 28 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 28 29 Niki Aebersold (Swi) Team Coast 25 30 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 24 31 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank 20 32 Michael Blaudzun (Den) CSC Tiscali 16 33 Luca Paolini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 15 34 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) Lotto-Adecco 14 35 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Mercury 12 36 Rolf Aldag (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 10 37 Mauro Gianetti (Swi) Team Coast 9 38 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 7 39 Enrico Cassani (Ita) Domo-Farm Frites 6 40 Raphael Schweda (Ger) Team Coast 6 41 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 5 42 Andrei Kivilev (Kaz) Cofidis 4 43 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank 3 44 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank 2 Teams 1 Rabobank 73 pts 2 Domo - Farm Frites 64 3 Mapei - Quick Step 55 4 Fassa Bortolo 45 5 Lampre - Daikin 41 6 Tacconi Sport - Vini Caldirola 40 7 Lotto - Adecco 38 8 Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 29 9 Team Deutsche Telekom 28 10 Saeco Macchine Per Caffe' 21 11 CSC - Tiscali 14 12 Liquigas - Pata 13 13 Team Coast 8 14 Mercatone Uno - Stream Tv 2