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88th Liege-Bastogne-Liege / Luik-Bastenaken-Luik - (CDM)
Belgium, April 21, 2002
Another Italian Job
Bettini hops to win as Mapei dominates L-B-L '02
By Tim Maloney, European editor
With Italians winning three out of the last five editions of Liege-Bastogne-Liege, once again there was niente da fare today - simply no way to beat Mapei-Quick Step in round 4 of the 2002 World Cup as Paolo Bettini took his second L-B-L career victory, supported by super team-mate Stefano Garzelli.
"I have to thank Garzelli for today - we're going to have fun at the Giro d'Italia," said Bettini after his victory. "Garzelli showed he was a real champion today." Bettini lived up to his nickname of the Cricket "il Grillo" today, as his sharp attacks at just the right moments off his team-mate Garzelli's powerful tempo clearly crushed the opposition.
Bettini's victory was the 10th L-B-L win ever by an Italian, but La Doyenne had more spicy Italian flavor today than just the first two riders; in fact, the first five riders were all from the sunny peninsula, while 6th place German Matthias Kessler (Telekom) was riding an Italian bike!
L-B-L was a welcome World Cup deja-vu for Mapei-Quick Step after being shut down last week in Paris-Roubaix by Domo-Farm Frites. Two weeks ago on an uncharacteristically sunny day in the Tour of Flanders, Mapei riders dominated the winning break and took a raging victory with Andrea Tafi. Today's L-B-L win was a testament to Mapei teamwork, with former Giro d'Italia winner Garzelli forging the winning break 51 km from the finish on the Cote de la Vecquée (3.2km at 7.8% avg. grade).
Rather than wait for the difficult Redoute, Mapei D.S. Serge Parsani played the anticipation game plan and it worked perfectly to set up leader Bettini. Garzelli went away early in pursuit of lone race leader Salanson (Bonjour) and was quickly joined by Massimo Codol (Lampre-Daikin), Bettini, Kessler and Udo Bölts (Telekom), Ivan Basso (Fassa Bortolo), Mirko Celestino and Alessandro Spezialettti (Saeco), Serge Baguet (Lotto-Adecco) and others to form the key 13 man move of the day.
USPS and Rabobank rode hard behind this group, who were rapidly reeling in the fading Bonjour man, but with 35 km to race in Remouchamps, at the foot of the day's toughest climb, la Redoute, Salanson was caught after 200km of liberty and the chase group became the break of the day.
As Garzelli set a mean tempo up the 1,650m climb of la Redoute, with a difficult average grade of 9.8% (and sections of 21%!), his forcing blew the break to bits in front of the thousands of cheering spectators lining the steep one lane road. Only Basso, Celestino, Kessler and Bettini could follow Garzelli, while the chasers at the front of the peloton, let by Davy Bruylandts (Domo-FF), Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) and Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) were only 20" behind.
As lead break traversed the "Route des Legends" after the summit of la Redoute and began the descent to Sprimont with 31 km to Liege, the chase tempo increased behind as more riders came back after the tough ascent of la Redoute. With Boogerd, Armstrong, Vinokourov and Freire leading the chase just 8" behind at the foot of the cote de Sprimont (1.5km at 3.3% average grade), the break looked like it might be in danger of being caught. But Bettini looked back from the chase and saw the peloton closing down. Cleverly anticipating the flow of the race as had his team-mate Garzelli 25km before, "Il Grillo" immediately jumped from the back of the break, forcing the pace up and putting the peloton on the defensive with 25km to race.
Sure enough, the chase became disorganized and on the road to Tilff, at the base of the long, wooded climb of Sart-Tillman, near the University of Liege, the gap between the break and the chasing peloton began to grow. Euskaltel had Fleche Wallonne runner-up Unai Etxebarria powering away at the front, but it was too late. Bettini and Garzelli and the other Italians had taken over Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Up and over the 3.7 km 5.9% grade of Sart-Tillman powered Garzelli, and as the six man break began the long fast descent into Liege with 16km to go, they had a clear 1'00 gap on the Rebellin-led field.
Down into Liege the sextet swooped at 80 km/h, over the Meuse River sparkling in the spring sunshine, past the Standard de Liege football stadium and into the working class neighborhood of Tilleur, where the steep 900m penultimate climb up cote de Saint-Nicolas awaited.
Tilleur is where Italian immigrants settled as they worked in the now-shuttered steel mills of Liege and the emotional "tifosi belga" were beside themselves as once again, their Italian cousins put on a show for them. Extraordinary Garzelli just powered away at the front, setting up the move for Bettini to hop away from the rest of the break to him. Only Basso could follow, but the Fassa Bortolo man was always 50 metres behind the Mapei duo, who crested Saint-Nicolas with 10" advantage.
Up the final drag of Ans, Bettini and Garzelli drove towards the finish line, where coincidentally, Stage 2 of the upcoming Giro d'Italia will finish in three weeks. Bettini sprinted ahead for the win, with Basso coming in for the final podium spot. Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Addeco) took the sprint from the first chase group for 7th, while George Hincapie finished an excellent 20th in front of the 2nd chase group after solid work from his USPS squad.
With the in-form Bettini now jumping to third in the World Cup standings, behind Johan Museeuw (abandon) and Mario Cipollini (non-starter), next Sunday's World Cup Round 5 at Amstel Gold could see the spring classics campaign conclude with the diminutive Italian from La California taking over the lead in the season-long points competition.
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 6.39.44 (38.8 km/h) 2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 3 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.15 4 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 0.23 5 Massimo Codol (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 0.28 6 Matthias Kessler (Ger) Team Telekom 0.35 7 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 1.03 8 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 9 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 10 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom 11 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) iBanesto.com 12 Marcos A. Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 13 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 14 Andrei Kivilev (Kaz) Cofidis 15 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 16 Axel Merckx (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 1.08 17 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC Tiscali 1.14 18 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 1.27 19 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean Delatour 20 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service 21 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Mercatone Uno 22 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step 23 Peter Luttenberger (Aut) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 24 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) ONCE-Eroski 25 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 26 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Credit Agricole 27 Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis 28 Jens Heppner (Ger) Team Telekom 29 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 30 Franck Bouyer (Fra) Bonjour 31 Rolf Huser (Swi) Team Coast 32 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Lampre-Daikin 33 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Jean Delatour 34 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 35 Jose Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski 36 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 37 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei-Quick Step 38 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre-Daikin 39 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre-Daikin 40 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) iBanesto.com 41 Eladio Jimenez Sanchez (Spa) iBanesto.com 42 Mauro Gianetti (Swi) Team Coast 43 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Fassa Bortolo 44 Unai Osa Eizaguirre (Spa) iBanesto.com 1.42 45 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 46 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC Tiscali 1.51 47 Gianni Faresin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 2.11 48 Udo Bölts (Ger) Team Telekom 2.19 49 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) Cofidis 2.27 50 David Etxebarria Alkorta (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 51 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 52 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Rabobank 53 Christian Vandevelde (USA) US Postal Service 2.33 54 Markus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 2.37 55 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 2.42 56 Andrea Noe (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 57 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport 58 Unai Etxebarria Arana (Ven) Euskaltel-Euskadi 3.55 59 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 60 Thomas Brozyna (Pol) iBanesto.com 4.29 61 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 5.01 62 Massimo Donati (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 63 Sergio Barbero (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 64 Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 8.07 65 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service 8.12 66 David Muñoz (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 67 Ellis Rastelli (Ita) Gerolsteiner 68 Luca Paolini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 8.38 69 Matthias Buxhofer (Aut) Phonak Hearing Systems 70 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 71 Tomas Konecny (Cze) Domo-Farm Frites 72 Lukas Zumsteg (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 73 Thierry De Groote (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 74 Bobby Julich (USA) Team Telekom 75 Walter Beneteau (Fra) Bonjour 76 Daniel Schnider (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 77 Bekim Christensen (Den) Team Coast 78 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Fassa Bortolo 79 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Fassa Bortolo 80 Steve De Wolf (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 81 Marco Velo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 82 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Domo-Farm Frites 83 Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) iBanesto.com 84 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 85 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Jean Delatour 86 David Clinger (USA) US Postal Service 87 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 88 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) ONCE-Eroski 89 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Credit Agricole 90 Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 91 Marcel Strauss (Swi) Gerolsteiner 92 Denis Menchov (Rus) iBanesto.com 93 Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis 94 Benoît Poilvet (Fra) Credit Agricole 95 Alex Zülle (Swi) Team Coast 96 Jose Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) US Postal Service 97 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 98 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 99 Andrea Peron (Ita) Team CSC Tiscali 100 Torsten Hiekmann (Ger) Team Telekom 101 Guido Trentin (Ita) Cofidis 102 Jakob Storm Piil (Den) Team CSC Tiscali 103 Levy Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank 104 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank 105 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 106 Fabrice Salanson (Fra) Bonjour 8.54 107 Erwin Thijs (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 15.12 108 Cédric Herve (Fra) Credit Agricole 109 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank 110 Peter Wuyts (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 111 Torsten Schmidt (Ger) Gerolsteiner 112 Steffen Kjaergaard (Nor) US Postal Service 113 Pavel Padrnos (Cze) US Postal Service 114 René Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner 115 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 15.56 116 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 19.36 117 Charles Guilbert (Fra) Bonjour 118 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 119 Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 120 Bram Tankink (Ned) Domo-Farm Frites 121 Daniele Contrini (Ita) Gerolsteiner 122 Bruno Thibout (Fra) Jean Delatour 20.03 123 Joona Laukka (Fin) Jean Delatour 124 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 125 Cristian Pepoli (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
1 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 170 pts 2 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone Cantina Tollo 120 3 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 110 4 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 109 5 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 89 6 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service 88 7 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo-Farm Frites 79 8 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 70 9 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Team Telekom 70 10 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis 55 11 Tom Boonen (Bel) US Postal Service 52 12 Markus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 51 13 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 50 14 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team Coast 49 15 Enrico Cassani (Ita) Domo-Farm Frites 46 16 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco - Longoni Sport 40 17 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) Team CSC Tiscali 40 18 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step 40 19 Massimo Codol (Ita) Lampre Daikin 36 20 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 36 21 Matthias Kessler (Ger) Team Telekom 32 22 Rolf Sorensen (Den) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 32 23 Tomas Konecny (Cze) Domo-Farm Frites 32 24 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 28 25 Thierry Gouvenou (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93 28 26 Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Tacconi Sport 25 27 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 24 28 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Lampre Daikin 24 29 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Domo-Farm Frites 24 30 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre Daikin 24 31 Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis 23 32 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Team Gerolsteiner 20 33 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Tacconi Sport 20 34 Servais Knaven (Ned) Domo-Farm Frites 17 35 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom 16 36 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom 16 37 Mario Manzoni (Ita) Index Alexia 16 38 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) iBanesto.com 15 39 Raphael Schweda (Ger) Team Coast 15 41 Marcos A. Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 14 42 Hans De Clercq (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 14 43 Robert Hunter (Rsa) Mapei-Quick Step 14 44 Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Index Alexia 14 45 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 13 46 Andrei Kivilev (Kaz) Cofidis 12 47 Frank Hoj (Den) Team Coast 12 48 Mauro Zinetti (Ita) Index Alexia 12 49 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 11 50 Zbigniew Spruch (Pol) Lampre Daikin 11 51 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 11 52 Axel Merckx (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 10 53 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre Daikin 10 54 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Gerolsteiner 10 55 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC Tiscali 9 56 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 9 57 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 8 58 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Lampre Daikin 8 59 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Lotto-Adecco 8 60 Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Index Alexia 8 61 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean Delatour 7 62 Tom Flammang (Lux) Cofidis 7 63 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank 7 64 Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank 6 65 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 6 66 Matthew Wilson (Aus) La Francaise Des Jeux 6 67 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Mercatone Uno 5 68 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Team CSC Tiscali 5 69 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 5 70 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 5 71 Marco Milesi (Ita) Domo-Farm Frites 4 72 Igor Flores Galarza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 4 73 Peter Luttenberger (Aut) Tacconi Sport 3 74 Dario Pieri (Ita) Alessio 3 75 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) ONCE-Eroski 2 76 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank 2 77 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 1 78 Rolf Aldag (Ger) Team Telekom 1 79 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) iBanesto.com 1 Teams 1 Domo-Farm Frites 34 pts 2 Mapei-Quick Step 27 3 Lotto-Adecco 24 4 Cofidis 18 5 Telekom 17 6 Lampre-Daikin 17 7 Team Coast 14 8 Rabobank 12 9 Index-Alexia 9 10 Fassa Bortolo 9 11 Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 8 12 Acqua e Sapone 7 13 ONCE 6 14 BigMat 4 15 CSC-Tiscali 4 16 iBanesto.com 3 17 US Postal 3 18 Euskaltel-Euskadi 3 19 Saeco-Longoni Sport 2 20 Alessio 2 21 Française des Jeux 2