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96th Giro di Lombardia - CDM
Italy, October 19, 2002
Festa Festa! Italians dominate World Cup
Bettini takes overall, Bartoli best in Lombardia romp
By Tim Maloney, Bergamo, Italy
Michele Bartoli took his second World Cup win of the season today in Bergamo, where the 2002 World Cup came to a conclusion in a wide open, exciting 96th edition of the Giro di Lombardia, the "race of the falling leaves." Run on a warm, bright fall Saturday, 32 year old Bartoli was still miffed at being left off the Italian "squadra azzura" in Belgium at last weekends World's, where Lucca's Mario Cipollini took the rainbow jersey. Bartoli, Italy's "other" top Tuscan rider from Pisa was really looking to prove something today at the Giro di Lombardia.
With five top five finishes in this concluding fall classic over the last 7 years, and doubtlessly inspired by his exclusion from the World's, the proud, mercurial Fassa Bortolo rider came into Lombardia in great shape and handily won a sprint from a group of 15 for the victory, his second World Cup win of the season.
"I'm happy about this win today," said Bartoli to RAI-TV. "With two World Cup wins, it has turned out to be a good season anyway."
Bartoli was referring to his bad crash on Stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia last May, where he broke his leg and was laid-up for months. "Even if I didn't race much this season, I was usually one of the protagonists when I did race," exclaimed the proud Bartoli.
This year's Lombardia saw the final apogee of the legendary Mapei team, with the overall '02 World Cup win going to another Toscano, Mapei's Paolo "Grillo" Bettini, while Mapei captured the '02 World Cup team prize. With the Milano chemical firm pulling out of cycling at the end of the year, departing as #1 was a certainly a fitting way to go for Dr. Giorgio Squinzi, owner of Mapei and founder of what many considered to be the top team in cycling for the last decade to leave the sport.
Bettini said "I think this is a good podium for the World Cup with Museeuw and Bartoli. This is an important sign for me and my career as well, because at the beginning of the season, my goals were to win the overall World Cup and Liège-Bastogne-Liège for the 2nd time. It's a done deal with both of those goals," explained the diminutive 28 year old from near Grosetto in southwest Tuscany, who will race for the new Quick Step team in 2003.
After winning Wednesday's semi-classic Milano-Torino on the Velodromo Fausto Coppi in Torino, Bartoli showed he had good legs for Lombardia, so his Fassa Bortolo team and World Cup pretender Igor Astarloa's Saeco squad battled all day for control of Lombardia. In the final, Bartoli's boys came through for him and ultimately, the sometimes selfish Tuscan rightly credited his team, saying afterwards that "this was a real team win today - Basso and Casagrande did a great job of leading me out - the win is stupendous."
How it unfolded
Without World Cup challenger Museeuw, who opted out of the final race, but with newly crowned World Road Champ Mario Cipollini on hand, looking molto bello in his street clothes at the start of Lombardia, 192 riders hit the road on a bright, crisp October morning, including Swiss-Italian veteran Mauro Gianetti who was riding the final race of his career. The race started fast as the riders were looking to warm up from the cool temps before the start in Cantu', north of Milano in the Brianza district. Fall colours were sprinkled across the hills of Brianza, Lake Como and the Colle Bergamaschi but the peloton had not time to look at the scenery.
After only 15km, the big break of the day got clear. Seven riders were on the attack; Guido Trenti (Acqua e Sapone) attacked, and was joined by Paolo Tiralongo and Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo), Alexandre Shefer (Alessio), Jens Voigt (Credit Agricole), Enrico Cassani, (Domo-FF) and Bram De Groot (Rabobank). As the break established itself, Cipollini kept an appointment at the chapel of la Madonna del Ghisallo, the cyclists sanctuary situated high above Lake Como on the Lombardia parcours. Cipo presented his new World Champion jersey to the priest and former Italian champion Fiorenzo Magni, who is seeking support for a cycling museum adjacent to the historic cyclist's chapel.
Meanwhile the break was working well together and as they passed south of Bergamo with 125km to race across the tough Colle Bergamaschi, and five climbs remaining in the last 100km, the break had over 5' on the peloton. But no one was fooling around today, because after four hours of racing, the average speed was 41.4 km/h. on the Gerolsteiner-led peloton, and the real action was just about to start.
With two hours left to race, starting up the Selvino climb, Sicilian climber Tiralongo made a move on the 962m, 8 km long ascent after the break had been hammering for 160km. This blew the front of the race apart and once their man had exploded the break, Fassa Bortolo started to ride hard tempo behind to absorb the remnants of the escape and take control of Lombardia. Tiralongo was just 1'40" ahead of the fast closing main group of 40 riders at the summit of Selvino. Amid the pretty fall foliage of the Colle Bergamaschi, Tiralongo was still 1'00 in front at the summit of the steep and short Bracca, even after being away for almost 200km.
Streaking down the tricky descent of Bracca, Alessandro Guerra (Alexia) made a break for the front and bridged across to Tiralongo by Zogno. With the penultimate climb of Berbenno just up the road and 46km to go to the finish in Bergamo's Piazza Matteotti, Guerra dropped the tired Tiralongo and went on his own, but his solo move was too early, as both Fassa Bortolo and Saeco pounding away behind. The shadows lengthened early in Saturday's sparkling fall afternoon for Guerra, who was swallowed up after the Berbenno on the rolling road through Alme with 31 km to go. Solid riders like Codol, Vasseur and Vinokourov tried their hands at an escape on the run-in to Bergamo but with Fassa Bortolo and Saeco on the move, simply nothing stuck.
With the towers of Citta' Alta Bergamo looming over the nervous 35 rider group that sped through the 10km to go sign, and the final climb just be ginning, Fassa Bortolo made the first move, sending Tosatto on the attack. Up a steep side road and then left through Porta Garabaldi up a bumpy, cobbled road to Citta' Alta, this tough final climb in Lombardia has made the final selection in each of the last three editions of the race and this year was no exception.
After a wide open attacking climb up to the summit of Largo Colle Aperto, led by double Vuelta stage winner Lastras (Banesto), 13 riders re-grouped on the fast descent into Bergamo. Bartoli had Basso and Casagrande for his lead-out, and as the front group made the right turn 200m from the finish, Bartoli blasted to the win. In doing so the two-time World Cup winner catapulted into third place overall in the final '02 World Cup standings behind Paolo Bettini (Mapei-Quick Step) and runner-up Johan Museeuw (Domo-FF). Davide Rebellin moved into 4th and tied the fading Igor Astarloa. Zurich winner Frigo was 6th, with George Hincapie finishing a solid 7th in the 2002 World Cup, the USPS rider's best finish ever.
Lombardia was the sixth win by an Italian this year in the 10 race World Cup series. As the long shadows bathed the Giro di Lombardia podium where former teammates Bartoli and Bettini were both celebrating their respective wins, the 2002 season concluded after the Italian cycling spectacular last Sunday in Zolder on the happy note of yet another festa italiana in the heart of Bergamo.
Images by AFP
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
1 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 6.14.49 (40.98 km/h) 2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 3 Oskar Camenzind (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 4 Marco Serpellini (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 5 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 6 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 7 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) iBanesto.com 8 Joseba Beloki Dorronsoro (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 9 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 10 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) iBanesto.com 11 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom 12 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Team Coast 13 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) iBanesto.com 14 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 15 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.04 16 Angelo Lopeboselli (Ita) Cofidis 0.14 17 Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Team Colpack-Astro 18 Matthias Kessler (Ger) Team Telekom 0.27 19 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 20 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) Cofidis 21 Gerhard Trampusch (Aut) Mapei-Quick Step 22 Vladimir Miholievic (Cro) Alessio 23 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport 24 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Mercatone Uno 25 Fabiano Fontanelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno 26 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step 27 Vladimir Duma (Ukr) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 28 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Team CSC Tiscali 29 Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo 30 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 31 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 32 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 0.31 33 Andrea Peron (Ita) Team CSC Tiscali 0.36 34 Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 35 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 0.43 36 Massimo Codol (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 37 Sergio Barbero (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 38 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) iBanesto.com 1.17 39 Alessandro Guerra (Ita) Index Alexia 1.20 40 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Fassa Bortolo 41 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1.47 42 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 6.02 43 Daniel Schnider (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 44 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 6.04 45 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 7.44 46 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Formaggi Trentini 47 Pietro Zucconi (Swi) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 48 Mikel Artetxe Gezuraga (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 49 Andris Reiss (Lat) Index Alexia 50 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 51 Benoit Poilvet (Fra) Credit Agricole 52 Massimo Cigana (Ita) Mercatone Uno 53 Andrey Mizourow (Kaz) Mercatone Uno 54 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre-Daikin 55 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 56 Gianluca Valoti (Ita) Index Alexia 57 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo 58 Marcellino Garcia Alonso (Spa) Team CSC Tiscali 59 Isidro Nozal Vega (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 60 Marco Fertonani (Ita) Phonak Hearing Systems 61 Ellis Rastelli (Ita) Gerolsteiner 8.01 62 Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Team Coast 9.05 63 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner 10.04 64 Rolf Aldag (Ger) Team Telekom 65 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 10.18 66 Rolf Huser (Swi) Team Coast 67 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Team Colpack-Astro 68 Mauro Gianetti (Swi) Team Coast 69 Patrick Calcagni (Swi) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 70 Francisco J. Cerezo Perales (Spa) Team CSC Tiscali 71 Luis F. Laverde Jimenez (Col) Formaggi Trentini 72 Gianpaolo Caruso (Ita) ONCE-Eroski 73 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 74 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 75 Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 76 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 77 José Vincente Garcia Acosta (Spa) iBanesto.com Starters: 192 Classified: 77
Individuals 1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 279 pts 2 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 270 3 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 242 4 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport 183 5 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 179 6 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 156 7 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service 124 8 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 121 9 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step 111 10 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis 107 11 Jakob Piil (Den) Team CSC Tiscali 100 12 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 95 13 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service 90 14 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom 86 15 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Fassa Bortolo 85 16 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 81 17 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo-Farm Frites 79 18 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 74 19 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 67 20 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 67 Teams 1 Mapei-Quick Step 71 pts 2 Fassa Bortolo - 51 3 Saeco-Longoni Sport 49 4 Domo-Farm Frites 45 5 Lotto-Adecco 39 6 Cofidis 36 7 Rabobank 31 8 Team CSC Tiscali 28 9 Lampre-Daikin 28 10 Team Telekom 25 Full World Cup standings