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95th Giro di Lombardia - CDM

Italy, October 21, 2001

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Di Luca
Photo: © AFP

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.

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Photo: © AFP

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.


Danilo Di Luca - celebrates as he crosses the finish line
Erik Dekker - receives the Cycling World Cup Overall Winners trophy
Erik Dekker - getting to the bottom of the World Cup trophy
Danilo Di Luca - he knows winning is beautiful

Further photos from Fotoreporter Sirotti

Daniele Nardello and Oscar Freire - looking clean prior to the race
Italians Michele Bartoli and Wladimir Belli - from Fassa Bortolo
Italian Gilberto Simoni - picks up some mid-race advice.
Michele Bartoli - keeps the pace up
An odd view of the peloton - making their way through Ghisallo
The peloton - snaking along the course
Paolo Bettini from Mapei - with Gilberto Simoni
Dutch Rabobank riders - Erik Dekker and Michael Boogerd
Michael Boogerd and Nicklas Axelsson - in looked to be the break of the day
Mirko Celestino - looking about as fearsome as you can
Erik Dekker - on his way to the World Cup
Erik Dekker - receives his World Cup trophy
Di Luca leading Figueras - and Virenque
Danilo Di Luca - puts eveything he can into his move
Gilberto Simoni and Maximilian Sciandri - from Lampre - Daikin
Danilo Di Luca - takes the win from the clearly disappointed Giuliano Figueras
Double World RR Champion - Oscar Freire Gomez
Oscar Freire Gomez - shares an in-car joke
The peloton - moves through Ghisallo.
Gilberto Simoni - into the climb with Boogerd and Virenque
Rabobank - accepts the Team award
Danilo Di Luca - finally pries himself away from the podium girls, to meet his girlfriend

Results - 256 km

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

Final World Cup standings after round 10

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


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

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