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96th Giro di Lombardia - CDM

Italy, October 19, 2002

Main Page    Live report    Results    World Cup Standings

Festa Festa! Italians dominate World Cup

Bettini takes overall, Bartoli best in Lombardia romp

By Tim Maloney, Bergamo, Italy

Bartoli the best
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

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.

Paolo Bettini
Photo: © AFP
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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

Cipo and Bettini
Photo: © AFP
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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.

Bartoli and Bettini
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

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.

Photography

Images by AFP

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Results - 251 km

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

Final World Cup Standings

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