Varese-Bergamo 250km, via the climbs of: Olgiate Comasco 415m - 34.5 km Valbrona 494m - 72.9 km Madonna del Ghisallo 754m - 94.7 km Colle Brianza 558m - 125.1 km Roncola 854m - 157.0 km Colle Valpiana 989m - 180.0 km Colle de Gallo 753m - 230.0 km
1. Andrea Tafi (Italy) 5.51.46 2. Fabian Jeker (Switzerland) 2.19 3. Axel Merckx (Belgium) 2:22 4. Daniele Nardello (Italy) 2:29 5. Davide Rebellin (Italy) s.t. 6. Gianni Bugno (Italy) 3:03 7. Richard Virenque (France) 3:04 8. Mauro Gianetti (Switzerland) 9. Laurent Jalabert (France) 10. Andrea Peron (Italy) all s.t. 11. Stefano Cattai (Ita) 7:10 12. Dimitri Konyshev (Rus) 8:27 13. Johan Museeuw (Bel) 12:06 14. Stefano Zanini (Ita) 15. Oskar Camenzind (Swi) 16. Laurent Brochard (Fra) 17. Massimo Apollonio (Ita) 18. Francesco Casagrande (Ita) 19. Alessandro Calzolari (Ita) 20. Alberto Elli (Ita) all s.t. 21. Chiappucci 22. Den Bakker 23. Roscioli 24. Roux 25. Fois 26. Lebreton 27. Mauleon 28. Lecchi 29. Faustini 30. Bobrik 31. Faresin 32. Pistore 33. Breukink 34. Herve 35. Johnsen 36. Fincato 37. Bartoli 38. Dufaux 39. Furlan 40. Meinert 41. Leblanc 42. Blanco 43. Escartin 44. Gonzalez Arrieta 45. Coppolillo 46. Andersson 47. Santaromita 48. Rominger all s.t. (176 starters, 48 classified) Finished outside time limit: Bontempi, Paluan
Tafi's late surge at the Colle del Gallo hill just outside Bergamo left no chance for Swiss Fabian Jeker, who finished more than two minutes behind the Italian but managed to beat Belgium's Axel Merckx in a final sprint for second place.
``This is the best day of my life, after marrying my wife,'' said the Tuscan rider, who also won the Paris-Brussels race and the Tour of Lazio this year.
Two thirds of the race was dominated by Swede Michael Andersson, who took an early lead but fell back at the 170-km mark, when he was caught by a group of 10 riders including France's Laurent Jalabert and Italians Daniele Nardello, Davide Rebellin and Gianni Bugno.
Nardello and Rebellin finished joint fourth, Bugno was fifth and Jalabert was joint eighth.
Fatigued, Andersson was unable to stay with the leaders when they broke away 37 kms from the finish. They rode side by side until Tafi turned on the heat at the Colle del Gallo, two kms from the line in this northern hill town.
``I tried a first breakaway, looked back and saw the other two, then tried another, looked back and there was nothing,'' said Tafi.
``To win in cycling you've got to be willing to make sacrifices, and I have made them and now I have been justly awarded,'' added Tafi, who rides with Museeuw's Mapei-GB team and is now ranked fifth in the World Cup standings.
Museeuw, who won the World Cup crown in Bergamo last year despite failing to finish, ended back in the pack. He will now have to wait until the final race of the 11-event series, the Japan Cup on October 27, to try to clinch the title again.
1. Johan Museeuw (Belgium) 162 points 2. Andrea Ferrigato (Italy) 126 3. Michele Bartoli (Italy) 124 4. Stefano Zanini (Italy) 88 5. Andrea Tafi (Italy) 87 6. Lance Armstrong (U.S.) 81 7. Fabio Baldato (Italy) 77 8. Alexandre Gonchenkov (Russia) 67 9. Gabriele Colombo (Italy) 58 10. Andrea Tohmil (Ukraine) 56 10 equal. Fabiano Fontanelli (Italy) 56 12 equal. Udo Bolts (Germany) 50 12 equal. Pascal Richard (Switzerland) 50 12 equal. Davide Rebellin (Italy) 50 12 equal. Nicola Minali (Italy) 50 16. Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) 47 17. Richard Virenque (Fra) 46 18. Maximilian Sciandri (Gbr) 45 19. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) 44 20. Stefano Cattai (Ita) 41