Milan-San Remo - World Cup event

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No Jalabert and no Fontanelli in Milan-San Remo

Defending champion Laurent Jalabert has now definitely said no to starting in Milan-San Remo Saturday, checking up on his knee injury with team doctors and his directeur sportif in Madrid Friday. He has been advised to take no risks and wait until Criterium International for his next start,

Just like Jalabert Fabiano Fontanelli, one of the big stars of the season so far, has been forced to say no the first World Cup race of the season. Suffering from an injury in his right groin he will leave his place in the race to team mate Nicola Loda.

87th Milan--San Remo - Progress Reports from Radio Europe via Roger

Preliminary Report

Report received at 21:36 Saturday Night OZ time = 11:30 Paris Time Saturday. With the 87th Milan--San Remo already under way, I still have no reports on the progress of the race.

Laurent Jalabert has definitely scratched from the race and gone to Spain for treatment on his injured knee. The prognosis is that there is no serious injury and Jalabert hopes to ride the two-day, three-stage Criterium International March 30-31.

Mapei-GB's team for today's race: Ballerini, Bomans, Bortolami, Museeuw (team leader), Olano, Peeters, Tafi, Vandenbroucke

Rabobank directeur sportif Jan Raas, who has two riders in good form for today's race -- Rolf Sorensen and Edwig Van Hooydonck -- has a distinct view on the way the race will go. "In my view," he said Thursday, "the race won't be decided on the Poggio this year. In fact I think the sort-out will come much earlier."

MG Technogym's Fabiano Fontanelli, with five wins under his belt so far this year, will ride today despite having pulled out of Tirreno-Adriatico Monday with a strained thigh muscle. Fontanelli rode five hours Thursday without any problem and is fit to ride as a lieutenant for Michele Bartoli and possible outsider for the victory. Gianni Bugno, who has yet to show form this season, is riding despite having been doubtful earlier, but only as a team rider. "He couldn't aspire to anything else for the moment," said directeur-sportif Giancarlo Ferretti.

Carrera's Claudio Chiappucci is riding today but without much hope of a high placing. He has suffered recently from haemorrhoids...

Thursday there was a traffic jam of riders and team cars on the Poggio reconnoitring the usually decisive hill. Among those getting their first sight of it was Chris Boardman, who flew in from England that morning.

"La Primavera" -- every year since 1907 except 1916 and 1945 1907 winner Lucien Petit-Breton (France) 1995 winner Laurent Jalabert (France)

AS IT HAPPENS First report - Midnight OZ time = Saturday 13:00GMT

With 115km to go the peloton is together after an early break on the climb of the Turchino pass by Rolf Aldag (Ger, Telekom) and Mariano Piccolo (It, Brescialat). This built a lead of 2.50 on a second pair, Fabio Roscioli (It, Ceramiche Refin) and Nicolai Bo Larsen (Den, Amore e Vita). I don't what gap the latter two had on the peloton, but the race came together on the long descent of the Turchino...

AS IT HAPPENS REPORT 2: - Sunday 1.00 am OZ time = Saturday 14:00GMT

CORRECTION: Piccoli and Aldag were NOT caught (although apparently the other two escapees were). With the race approaching the first of the "capi" (Mele, Cervo, Berta, Cipressa and Poggio), Piccoli and Aldag have a lead of 2.12 on a peloton moving at an accelerated pace with Mapei, Motorola and Saeco the main protagonists at the front of the peloton...

AS IT HAPPENS Report 3: Sunday 2 am OZ time = Saturday 15:00 GMT

As the race approaches the Poggio, four riders have a lead -- of only a few seconds -- on another leading group. The four are Gabriele Colombo (It, Gewiss Playbus), Michele Coppolillo (It, MG-Technogym), Max Sciandri (GB, Motorola) and Alexandre Gontchenkov (Ukr, Roslotto-ZG Mobili).

The chasers include Berzin, Tchmil, Zulle, Baldato, Leblanc, Bugno, Chiappucci, Sorensen, Brochard, Museeuw and Cipollini.

Sunday 2.20 am OZ time = Saturday 15:20 GMT

Gabriele Colombo had made the decisive break on the Cipressa, 20km out. Gontchenkov, Sciandri and Coppolillo then hauled themselves up to him. They weren't caught. Colombo attacked again about 1km out, the peloton was led in by Baldato a few seconds later.

Gabriele Colombo, the winner of today's Milan-San Remo, is 23 years old (the son of a 1970s pro) and in his second year as a pro with Gewiss. This was his first Milan-San Remo. He was 51st in the 1995 Tour de France and adds his victory in La Primavera to his other two pro wins, both this year -- stage 1 of the Tour of Calabria and the final overall in that race.

He has had a number of high finishes this year, including 4th in Trofeo Laigueglia, 3rd in stage 5 of Tour Mediterraneen (up Mont Faron), 4th in stage 5b (time trial) of Tirreno-Adriatico and 5th overall in that race.

Results - 87th Milan - San Remo (WC 1) 294 km:

  1. Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Gewiss               7.00.27   (41,995 km/h)
  2. Alexander Gontchenkov (Ukr) Roslotto         + 0.01
  3. Michele Coppolillo (Ita) MG-Technogym          s.t.
  4. Maximilian Sciandri (Eng) Motorola             s.t.
  5. Stefano Zanini (Ita) Gewiss                  + 0.32
  6. Fabio Baldato (Ita) MG-Technogym
  7. Mario Cipollini (Ita) Saeco
  8. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-GB
  9. Laurent Brochard (Fra) Festina
 10. Andrej Tchmil (Rus) Lotto
 11. Lance Armstrong (USA) Motorola
 12. Michele Bartoli (Ita) MG-Technogym
 13. Gianluca Pianegonda (Ita) Polti
 14. Gianluca Gorini (Ita) Aki-Gipiemme
 15. Wladimir Belli (Ita) Panaria-Vinavil
 16. Vjatjeslav Ekimov (Rus) Rabobank
 17. Maurizio Fondriest (Ita) Roslotto
 18. Neil Stephens (Aus) Once
 19. Axel Merckx (Bel) Motorola
 20. Franck Vandenbroucke (Bel) Mapei-GB
 21. Laurent Dufaux (Sch) Festina
 22. Abraham Olano (Spa) Mapei-GB
 23. Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) San Marco Group
 24. Alex Zulle (Sch) Once
 25. Rodolfo Massi (Ita) Refin-Mobilvetta
 26. Melchor Mauri (Spa) Once
 27. Roberto Petito (Ita) Saeco
 28. Evgeni Berzin (Rus) Gewiss
 29. Sergei Outschakov (Ukr) Polti              + 0.48
 30. Bruno Boscardin (Ita) Festina              + 0.49
 31. Van Petegem (Bel)
 32. Magnien (Fra)
 33. Abdujaparov (Uzb)
 34. Conte (Ita)
 35. Dekker (Ned)
 36. Tafi (Ita)
 37. Gianetti (Sch)
 38. Jaermann (Sch)
 39. Zabel (Ger)
 40. Bortolami (Ita)
 41. Bontempi (Ita)
 42. Serpellini (Ita)
 43. Gallorini (Ita)
 44. Hamburger (Den)
 45. Sorensen (Den)
 46. Diaz Zabala (Spa)
 47. B. Zberg (Sch)
 48. Ullrich (Ger)
 49. Heppner (Ger)
 50. Saligari (Ita)
 51. Boogerd (Ned)
 52. Wauters (Bel)
 53. Peeters (Bel)
 54. Scirea (Ita)
 55. Gelfi (Ita)
 56. Goubert (Fra)
 57. Radaelli (Ita)
 58. Den Bakker (Ned)
 59. Peron (Ita)
 60. Virenque (Fra)
 61. D. Rebellin (Ita)
 62. Colage (Ita)
 63. Bugno (Ita)
 64. Frattini (Ita)
 65. Zen (Ita)
 66. Bomans (Bel)
 67. Ballerini (Ita)
 68. Boardman (GB)
 69. Puttini (Sch)
 70. Hodge (Aus)
 71. Zaina (Ita)
 72. Furlan (Ita)
 73. Gasperoni (Ita)
 74. Cuesta (Spa)
 75. W. Nelissen (Bel)          + 5.50
 76. Svorada (Cze)
 77. Hincapie (USA)
 78. Citterio (Ita)
 79. Fidanza (Ita)
 80. Saitov (Rus)
 81. Van Bon (Ned)
 82. Mentheour (Fra)
 83. Zanette (Ita)
 84. Lino (Fra)
 85. Simon (Fra)
 86. Michaelsen (Den)
 87. Bettin (Ita)
 88. Rodriguez (Por)
 89. Casarotto (Ita)
 90. Ledanois (Fra)
 91. Pensec (Fra)
 92. Sunderland (Aus)
 93. Van Hooydonck (Bel)
 94. Sierra (Spa)
 95. Farazijn (Bel)
 96. Jaskula (Pol)
 97. Contrini (Ita)
 98. Chiappucci (Ita)
 99. Pelliconi (Ita)
100. Wesemann (Ger)
101. Loda (Ita)
102. Rodriguez (Col)
103. Knaven (Ned)
104. Moncassin (Fra)
105. Rue (Fra)
106. Sergeant (Bel)
107. Checchin (Ita)
108. Brasi (Ita)
109. Roux (Fra)
110. Hoffman (Ned)
111. Artunghi (Ita)
112. Benitez (Spa)
113. Spruch (Pol)
114. Miceli (Ita)
115. Indurain (Spa)
116. Ludwig (Ger)
117. Davidenko (Geo)
118. Savoldelli (Ita)
119. Faustini (Ita)
120. Dietz (Ger)
121. Manzoni (Ita)
122. Pedroni (Ita)
123. Holm (Den)
124. Dotti (Ita)
125. Skibby (Dan)
126. D. Bramati (Ita)
127. Calzavara (Ita)
128. Profeti (Ita)
129. Lombardi (Ita)
130. Barbagli (Ita)
131. Serrano (Spa)
132. Casero (Spa)
133. Rodriguez (Spa)
134. Podenzana (Ita)
135. Baronti (Ita)
136. Faresin (Ita)
137. Volpi (Ita)
138. Dominguez (Spa)
139. Fil. Casagrande (Ita)
140. Casagranda (Ita)
141. Salvato (Ita)
142. Mattan (Bel)
143. Vergnani (Ita)
144. Chiurato (Ita)
145. Bottaro (Ita)
146. Santaromita (Ita)
147. Tomi (Ita)
148. Redant (Bel)               + 8.20
149. Pellicioli (Ita)
150. Fleischer (Ger)
151. Yates (GB)
152. Livingston (USA)
153. Patuelli (Ita)
154. Camenzind (Sch)
155. Nijboer (Ned)              +10.40
156. Arrieta (Spa)
157. Chiesa (Ita)
158. Forconi (Ita)
159. M. Strazzer (Ita)
160. Arazzi (Ita)
161. Guerini (Ita)
162. Maggioni (Ita)
163. Cauz (Ita)
164. J. Jolydon (Sch)           +12.54
165. Piziks (Let)
166. Van Heeswijk (Bel)
167. Vidal (Spa)
168. Edo (Spa)
169. Uriarte (Spa)
170. Gonzalez Arrieta (Spa)
171. Pavanello (Ita)
172. Dalla Costa (Ita)
173. Rodrigues (Por)
174. I. Raimondi (Ita)
175. Bo Larsen (Den)            +16.27

Starting 198, 175 finishers.

World cup standings after one event:

 1. Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Gewiss               50 pts
 2. Alexander Gontchenkov (Ukr) Roslotto        35
 3. Michele Coppolillo (Ita) MG-Technogym       25
 4. Maximilian Sciandri (Eng) Motorola          20
 5. Stefano Zanini (Ita) Gewiss                 18
 6. Fabio Baldato (Ita) MG-Technogym            16
 7. Mario Cipollini (Ita) Saeco                 14
 8. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-GB                12
 9. Laurent Brochard (Fra) Festina              10
10. Andrej Tchmil (Rus) Lotto                    8
11. Lance Armstrong (USA) Motorola               6
12. Michele Bartoli (Ita) MG-Technogym           5

Team classification:

 1. Gewiss-Playbus             12 pts
 2. Motorola                    9
 3. Mapei-GB (Ita)              8
 4. MG-Technogym (Ita)          7
 5. Festina-Lotus (And)         6
 6. Lotto (Bel)                 5
 7. Once (Spa)                  4
 8. Team Polti (Ita)            3
 9. Roslotto-ZG (Rus)           2
10. Saeco (SMR)                 1

Next World Cup-race: Ronde van Vlaanderen, April 7.

Race Notes

The 87th Milan-San Remo started on the via della Chiesa Rossa in Milan at 9.20 local time in sunny weather. This persisted until the Turchino pass when it became overcast but stayed dry. After a few unsuccessful attempts at breaks on the Milanese plain, a successful escape was made by Rolf Aldag (Ger, Telekom) and Mariano Piccoli (It, Brescialat) at 90km. Maurizio De Pasquale (It, Amore e Vita), who has been trying to get away since the start, was also able to get away with Luca Pavanello (It, Aki-Gipiemme) and this pair stayed between the peloton and the lead break until the ascent of the Turchino when they were caught. On the approaches to the Turchino tunnel near the summit, Gabriele Colombo (It, Gewiss) crashed together with team-mate Alberto Volpi and Maurizio Tomi (It, Aki) but they were soon back in the peloton.

Aldag and Piccoli crossed the summit of the Turchino 1.55 ahead of Luc Leblanc (Fr, Polti) who was a little ahead of the peloton, where the work of chasing was being put in by Gewiss, particularly Mauro Santaromita and Evgeni Berzin. Aldag/Piccoli's maximum lead was 6 minutes at 125km, with Nicolai Bo Larsen (Den, Amore e Vita) and Fabio Roscioli (Refin) attempting a counter- attack for a while. The peloton -- with Gewiss and Saeco working at the front -- then pulled the Aldag/Piccoli break down to 2 minutes, holding it at that for a long stretch.

After having been away for 165km, Aldag and Piccoli were caught at the foot of the Capo Berta with 40km to go and the pace picked up significantly on the way to the Cipressa. After a preparatory softening up of the peloton by Berzin on the early bends of the Cipressa, Colombo attacked, being joined before the summit by Alexandre Gontchenkov (Ukr, Roslotto). The two crossed the summit (km272.4, 21.6km to go) with less than 10 seconds on a splintered peloton.

On the winding descent of the Cipressa, Michele Coppolillo (It, MG-Technogym) and then Max Sciandri (GB, Motorola) joined the breakaway pair, and the four had about 25 seconds on a 30-strong first group of chasers at the foot of the Poggio. Approaching the summit Colombo attacked but the other three pulled him back and the four crossed the summit (5,3km to go) 18 seconds ahead of the chasers. On the Via Roma, with 1300km to go, Colombo attacked with only Sciandri seeming to respond, but then hesitating (he says because [former team-mate] Coppolillo showed no sign of coming to his aid). Gontchenkov took second to Colombo, a second behind...

Gabriele Colombo's attacking move had been mapped out at a team briefing the afternoon before the race.

The dialogue is said to have gone like this:

Emmanuele Bombini (Directeur-sportif): "Gabriele, you must strike 
you blow on the Cipressa, come what may, OK?"
Colombo: "But that's a long way from the finish..."
Bombini: "It's necessary to take risks -- that way we'll at least get rid 
of the sprinters before the peloton attacks the Poggio."
Colombo: "If I don't manage to do the job, the consequences will 
come back to haunt me" [ a very loose translation -- probably wrong! 
-- Je ne tiendrai jamais, ca reviendra sur moi]
Bombini: "You're going well at the moment, you can get there, but if 
things don't work out, the ground will have been prepared for 
[Gewiss sprinter] Stefano [Zanini]."
Zanini: "Wow, if I win I'll give all my prize money to the team."
Colombo (feeling under an obligation): "Well in that case I'll also 
give them my money if I win."

Colombo's father -- Ambrogio Colombo, a "gregario" in Gianni Motta's Molteni team between 1964 and 1966 -- was standing fairly low down on the Cipressa. "When I saw my father in the crowd," said Gabriele, "I understand that that was the spot where I should make my attack."

Gabriele Colombo's palmares

Born May 11, 1970, Varese
1.8m high, 70kg
UCI classification (March 3 1996) 67th

World Military Champion 1992
2nd Italian National Championships

Professional 1994 with Gewiss

Stage win Tour of Burgos 1995
In winning Gewiss team, stage 3 (team time trial) Tour de France 
Stage win and overall Tour of Calabria 1996
Milan-San Remo 1996

3rd overall Tour of Burgos 1995
6th Tirreno-Adriatico 1995
51st Tour de France 1995
3rd stage 5 Tour Mediterraneen 1996
6th Trofeo Laigueglia 1996
7th Monte Carlo-Alassio 1996
5th Tirreno-Adriatico 1996 (4th stage 5B -- time trial)