Profile of course and Preview
1. Michele Bartoli (Ita) MG, 262 km in 7.19.28 (35,7 km/h) 2. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) Once + 0.08 3. Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Batik + 0.21 4. Luc Leblanc (Fra) Polti + 0.22 5. Maximilian Sciandri (Gbr) FDJ + 0.27 6. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei 7. Beat Zberg (Sch) Mercatone 8. Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone 9. Laurent Madouas (Fra) Lotto 10. Mauro Gianetti (Sch) FDJ 11. Eugeni Berzin (Rus) Batik 12. Stefano Della Santa (Ita) Mercatone 13. Pascal Hervi (Fra) Festina 14. Richard Virenque (Fra) Festina 15. Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Saeco 16. Axel Merckx (Bel) Polti 17. Claudio Chiappucci (Ita) Asics 18. Rolf Svrensen (Den) Rabobank 19. Laurent Roux (Fra) TVM 20. Udo Bvlts (Ger) Telekom 21. Erik Breukink (Ned) Rabobank all s.t. 22. Chris Boardman (Gbr) Gan + 0.31 23. Benoit Salmon (Fra) Lotto 24. Michele Coppolilli (Ita) MG 25. Davide Rebellin (Ita) FDJ 26. Enrico Zaina (Ita) Asics 27. Dirk Baldinger (Ger) Polti 28. Bjarne Riis (Den) Telekom + 0.36 29. Davide Casarotto (Ita) Scrigno 30. Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Roslotto 31. Scott Sunderland (Aus) Gan + 0.40 32. Luc Roosen (Bel) Vlaanderen 33. Andrea Noe (Ita) Asics + 0.42 34. Stiphane Heulot (Fra) FDJ + 0.51 35. Franco Ballerini (Ita) Mapei + 0.54 36. Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto 37. Laurent (Sch) Dufaux Festina + 1.03 38. Bo Hamburger (Den) TVM 39. Vjatjeslav Djavanian (Rus) Roslotto + 1.10 40. Alberto Elli (Ita) Casino 41. Alex Z|lle (Sch) Once + 1.43 42. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mercatone + 1.47 43. Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) TVM + 1.52 44. Angelo Lecchi (Ita) MG + 1.57 45. Cyril Saugrain (Fra) Cofidis + 2.15 46. Patrick Jonker (Ned) Rabobank + 3.21 47. Alexandre Moos (Sch) Saeco + 4.05 48. Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Mapei + 5.27 49. Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Mapei 50. Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra) US Postal 51. Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank + 5.40 52. Dimitri Konychev (Rus) Roslotto + 7.09 53. Francesco Frattini (Ita) Batik 54. Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) MG 55. Andrei Teteriuk (Kaz) Lotto 56. Sergio Barbero (Ita) Mercatone 57. Rodolfo Massi (Ita) Casino 58. Geert Verheyen (Bel) Vlaanderen 59. Rolf Aldag (Ger) Telekom 60. Tony Rominger (Sch) Cofidis 61. Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Asics 62. Joona Laukka (Fin) Festina 63. Alexei Sivakov (Rus) Roslotto 64. Marty Jemison (Usa) US Postal 65. Alberto Volpi (Ita) Batik 66. Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei 67. Peter Meinert (Den) US Postal 68. Bruno Cenghialta (Ita) Batik 69. Jose Luis Arrieta (Spa) Banesto 70. Johan Bruyneel (Bel) Rabobank + 7.12 71. Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom 72. Santiago Blanco (Spa) Banesto 73. Bruno Thibout (Fra) Cofidis 74. Andrea Peron (Ita) FDJ 75. Peter Farazijn (Bel) Lotto 76. Marcelino Garcia (Spa) Once 77. Maurizio Fondriest (Ita) Cofidis + 7.15 78. Felice Puttini (Sch) Refin 79. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spa) Banesto + 9.30 80. Gilles (Fra) Bouvard Festina + 10.02 81. Rolf Jdrmann (Sch) Casino + 10.20 82. Girard Rui (Fra) Gan 83. Cidric Vasseur (Fra) Gan 84. Christian Henn (Ger) Telekom 85. Oscar Pellicioli (Ita) Mercatone 86. Roberto Pistore (Ita) MG 87. Fabio Baldato (Ita) MG 88. David Etxebarria (Spa) Once + 10.40 89. Rafael Diaz Justo (Spa) Once 90. Serguei Ivanov (Rus) TVM + 11.42 91. J|rgen Werner (Ger) Refin + 15.55 92. Michael Blaudzun (Den) Rabobank 93. Mirco Gualdi (Ita) Polti 94. Bobby Julich (Usa) Cofidis 95. Frank Corvers (Bel) Telekom 96. Darren Baker (Usa) US Postal 97. Marco Saligari (Ita) Casino 98. Francisque Teyssier (Fra) Gan 99. Christophe Moreau (Fra) Festina 100. Roberto Sierra (Spa) Once 101. Prudencio Indurain (Spa) Banesto 102. Mario Aerts (Bel) Vlaanderen 103. Michel Lafis (Swe) Telekom 104. Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Vlaanderen 105. Michael Andersson (Swe) TVM 106. Armin Meier (Sch) Batik 107. Tyler Hamilton (Usa) US Postal 108. Georg Totschnig (Aut) Telekom 109. Xavier Jan (Fra) FDJ 110. Tobias Steinhauser (Ger) Refin 111. Sergio Previtali (Ita) Scrigno + 18.25 112. Amilcare Tronca (Ita) Scrigno Started 188, Finished 112
World Cup Standings after Race 4
=1. Michele Bartoli (Ita) MG-Technogym 164 points (will wear white jersey) =1. Rolf Sorensen (Den) Rabobank 164 =3. Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom 100 =3. Frederic Guesdon (Fra) Frangaise des Jeux 100 5. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei 95 6. Jo Plankaert (Bel) Lotto) 94 7. Frederic Moncassin (Fra) Gan 94 8. Davide Casarotto, (Ita) Scrigno 87 9. Andrei Tchmil (Ukr) Lotto 80 10. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) ONCE 79 11 A Elli 70 12 M Sciandri 62 13 F Ballerini 52 14 F Casagrande 51 15 B Conte 50
Michele Bartoli - Brief Profile
Age: 26 Team: MG-Technogym Professional debut: 1992 Quick facts: Born in Pisa. Started his career with the Mercantone-Uno team. Moved to MG-Technogym last year. Won his first race in 1993. Won bronze medal in 1996 world championship behind Belgian Johan Museeuw and fellow Italian Mauro Gianetti. Won nine races in 1996. Liege-Bastogne-Liege is his fourth victory of 1997. Leading victories: Tour of Flanders 1996, Liege-Bastogne-Liege 1997.
More ReportingItalian cyclist, Michele Bartoli, from Team MG Technogym, was the winner of the cycling Classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege, fourth race of the World Cup series which was disputed over 263 kms., by imposing himself in the last meters of the race over race favorite ONCE's Laurent Jalabert. With only about 200 meters from the finish line, Jalabert could not respond to an attack by Bartoli, possibly a victim of a cramp, so the Italian didn't have any problems winning over Jalabert. Michele Bartoli covered the 263 kms with a time of 7 hours, 19 minutes and 28 seconds which translates into an average speed of 35.7 kms/hr. Jalabert came in ten seconds after, while Colombo was third marking the first peloton's time.
Bartoli's victory occurred after an exciting escape in which he was accompanied by two ONCE riders: Frenchman Jalabert and Swiss Alex Zulle. Even with his great form that was shown by Wednesday's win at Fleche Wallone, Jalabert didn't have the strength to hold on when the Italian rider attacked, who had accepted his odds in going away in a breakaway together with two riders from ONCE. The escape, which turned out to be a good one, happened in the final section of the race, in the toughest section at 40 kms. from the finish with a lot of "Cotes" or short climbs which can be terribly tough, when ONCE launched an attack with Jalabert and Zuelle. Only Michele Bartoli was able to hold their wheel and in the blink of an eye opened a one minute gap. In the chase group, Belgian Johan Museeuw, worked for a lot of kilometers until finally in the end he sunk.
The three escapees took advantage of the situation behind them, since the chase group was plagued with continuous attacks, first by Museeuw then World Cup leader Rolf Sorensen and finally British Chris Boardman. None of this pulls were successful although they were able to cut the gap, since on the front, most of the work was being done by Zuelle, since Bartoli was not taking his turn and when Jalabert would take his turn he appeared to be have some muscle trouble since he would unclip his feet from the pedals to stretch his legs. Even though the escapees didn't reach an agreement, they were able to maintain a gap of about 30 seconds, since the chase group was not organized either and each one was battling on his own, with a quartet finally getting organized behind which included Italians Casarotto and Casagrande, British Sciandri and Dane Sorensen who made the escape be in danger for a little while.
It was practically under the one kilometer to go banner (with Zuelle already left behind), when Bartoli tested Jalabert. They looked at each other back and forth and Jalabert kept looking back for Zuelle, since he wasn't well and needed help. Bartoli realized that Jalabert was going through a bad moment and didn't hesitate in launching the early sprint and found no opposition, since Jalabert couldn't due to cramps. In this way Michele Bartoli achieved the most important Classic win of his career.
More ReportsItaly's Michele Bartoli won a head-to-head battle against the world's No. 1 Laurent Jalabert Sunday to clinch the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic and take a share of the World Cup lead.
In the finale, Bartoli of the MG Technogym team was faced with Once teammates Jalabert and Alex Zulle, the world's second-ranked rider, and broke down their resistance during the uphill final four kilometers (2.5 miles) of the race.
Dane Zulle was the first victim and fell well back, and Jalabert gave way with one kilometer (0.6 miles) to go. The Frenchman finished second, eight seconds back.
Gabriele Colombo took third place ahead of France's Luc Leblanc and the rest of the chasing pack.
Bartoli grabbed a share of the World Cup lead, when Dane Rolf Sorensen finished 18th, leaving both level at 164 points after four World Cup races.
It long looked like Bartoli, No. 5 in the UCI rankings, would not get a shot at victory when he broke away with the two vaunted Once teammates some 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Liege.
Italy's Michele Bartoli won a battle against the world's top two riders Sunday to take the World Cup classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege ahead of No. 1-ranked Laurent Jalabert of France.
Gabriele Colombo took third place ahead of France's Luc Leblanc. The Italian led the chasing pack, which also included Alex Zulle, the Dane who had led the race with his Once teammate Jalabert and Bartoli throughout the finale.
Zulle is No. 2 in the UCI world rankings and it long looked like Bartoli, ranked three places lower, would not get a shot at victory when the trio broke away with 35 kilometers (22 miles) to go.
But in a high-powered battle between three of the world's top five riders, the Once teamwork failed to break the resistance of Bartoli, who first forced Zulle to drop back before making his final break on the uphill climb to the finish.
Jalabert, suffering from cramps, could not counter it and finished eight seconds back of Bartoli, who clocked a time of 7 hours 19:28 minutes for the 262-kilometer (162-mile) race.
Halfway in Bastogne, the 200 riders turned back into a fierce, chilly northerly wind, discouraging any long, solo efforts in the finale of the race through the hills of the wooded Ardennes in southern Belgium.
On La Redoute, the tenth of a dozen hills on the race circuit, Zulle made a forceful break and was joined by teammate Jalabert and Bartoli. They were clear of the pack with 35 kilometers (22 miles) to go.
With three top riders breaking away, it was no surprise that when World Champion and No. 4 in the ranking, Johan Museeuw gave the trio a long chase, the Belgian failed to catch them.
Museeuw fell back into a chasing pack a minute from the trio with some 25 kilometers (15 miles) to go.
Up front Jalabert and Zulle both tested Bartoli with intermittent attempts to break away, but each time the Italian caught the Once riders with powerful counters.
Then, he beat both of them on power on the many tough uphill stretches of the course.
Jalabert had already won last Wednesday's Walloon Arrow, a similar race through the Ardennes. Liege-Bastogne is the oldest cycling classic in the books. It started out in 1892 and is currently in its 82nd edition.
ReportsBartoli: 'It was more difficult than winning the Tour of Vlaanderen last year. The Once-team was strong."
Jalabert: 'I wasn't fresh enough in the finale. Nobody was better than Bartoli today'
Museeuw: 'I did a strong race. Now I know thi can win this LBL.Psycical i'm strong enough for it. Now i will concentrate on the Amstel Gold Race. And maybe i will start in the Tour de France'.
Michele Bartoli of Italy sprung free from pre-race favourite Laurent Jalabert of France one kilometre from the finish to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege World Cup cycling race on Sunday.
Jalabert was trailing Bartoli when the Italian struck on the final uphill stretch to the line in the 262-km race.
The Frenchman, who won the Fleche Wallonne classic in the same region on Wednesday, finished eight seconds behind Bartoli. Italy's Gabriele Colombo was third 21 seconds behind, with Luc Leblanc of France another second back.
"Second place is the worst there is but sometimes you can accept it if you're beaten by someone so strong," Jalabert said.
"I lacked freshness in the end. I was dead...the result of a combination of the cold and the number of climbs," he said.
The victory catapulted Bartoli to the top of the World Cup standings after four events. He and previous leader Rolf Sorensen of Denmark both have 164 points, 64 clear of German Erik Zabel and Frenchman Frederic Guesdon, winners of the Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix World Cup events respectively.
"Team director (Giancarlo) Ferretti told me to attack in the last kilometres and I did just that," Bartoli said.
The first half of the race was highlighted by a marathon escape by Austrian Georg Totschnig, who pulled clear after eight kilometres and at one stage was more than 20 minutes ahead.
He was eventually joined by Italian Ermanno Brignoli at the 177-km mark and by the bunched pack shortly afterwards.
Swiss rider Alex Zuelle, Jalabert's teammate in the ONCE stable, staged the decisive move 38 km from the line when he attacked on the climbs in hilly, southern Belgium.
Only Jalabert and MG-Technogym rider Bartoli were able to close the gap and the three quickly carved out a 13-second lead.
World champion and World Cup holder Johan Museeuw of Belgium counter-attacked but faded after coming to within 50 metres of the leaders.
"I didn't know he was so close. Luckily he didn't join us. It would have been a totally different finish," Bartoli said.
Jalabert and Zuelle took turns in staging surprise attacks in a joint effort to shake off Bartoli, but time and again the Italian fought back and it was Zuelle who finally succumbed.
"In the end they paid for all their efforts to leave me behind," Bartoli said.
After infiltrating an attack launched by ONCE strongmen Laurent Jalabert and Alex Zulle, Italian Michele Bartoli single-handedly dominated the two top-ranked riders in the world to win the 83rd Lihge-Bastogne-Lihge.
Crushing Jalabert on the excruciating 15-percent grade leading up to the finish, the 26-year-old Bartoli scored a victory that was trumpeted as "supreme" by race director Jean-Marie Leblanc.
Riding into frigid temperatures this morning, the peloton endured ridiculous conditions that included brief snow flurries during the first half of the race's 262 kilometers.
Hitting the renowned La Redoute climb under sunnier skies and at approximately 35 kilometers of the line, Zulle, in a calculated move, thundered away from the pack with just Jalabert and Bartoli in tow. Realizing that one of his most coveted race wins was slipping from his grasp, world champion Johan Museeuw of Belgium left the pack at the Redoute's summit in a desperate search for the three leaders.
Sitting precariously in no-man's land, Museeuw had to sink back to the peloton when he realized that he wouldn't be able to bridge the excruciatingly-close 200 meters remaining between himself and the trio.
Riding a tactically-perfect race, Bartoli, who is currently the number-five ranked rider in the world, was obviously the strongest man in the break -- a fact that did not escape Jalabert. "Neither Alex nor I were the strongest today," the ONCE team leader admitted at the finish. "After attacking on the Redoute climb, my legs were already tiring." On several occasions in the final 15 kilometers, Jalabert, when drafting in the number-three position, unclipped from his left pedal in an effort to stretch a cramping leg. "I was hoping that we would get caught," he said. "I might have had a better shot if it had been a field sprint."
Bartoli's team director, Giancarlo Ferretti, knew that the race would be driven by the motivated ONCE team. "ONCE took the number one and two spots at Flhche-Wallonne last Wednesday (Jalabert placed first and Zulle third), and I knew they would be the team to watch today," he said at the finish. "You gotta be there when the race happens."
While Zulle and Jalabert launched the attack that technically "made the race happen," Bartoli's gutsy riding and relentless attacks crowned the day's action. Seemingly caught in an ONCE trap, Bartoli monitored Zulle's and Jalabert's every move and took each and every one of his relays, despite the ONCE threat. "Whether you win or lose," Ferretti said proudly, "you gotta take your pulls."
Although Bartoli's 164 points on the current World Cup scale tie him with Tour of Flanders laureate Rolf Svrensen, the MG-Technogym rider will be wearing the World Cup leader's jersey at next Sunday's Amstel Gold race in the Netherlands (in the case of a tie, the second-best placings of the riders in question are considered).