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93rd Milan - San Remo - CDM

Italy, March 23, 2002

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Complete Live Report

Start time: 09:30 CET
Estimated finish time: 16:30 CET

08:30 CET - 0.0 km

Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the 93rd Milan-San Remo, the first round of the men's World Cup. At 287 kilometres, MSR is the longest of all the classics, and the riders can expect to be in the saddle for over 7 hours.

The parcours is identical to last year, when the race had to be re-routed via the Bric Berton Pass (773 m) due to a landslide on near the Turchino Pass. The Bric Berton is higher than the Turchino, but it did not have a great impact on last year's race.

For the last five years, the race has finished in a bunch sprint, with German superstar Erik Zabel winning four out of five times and finishing second in 1999 to Andrei Tchmil. This year seems a little more open than in previous years, and we could well see a small group detatch itself from the peloton on the Cipressa or the Poggio as the race nears its crescendo.

09:30 CET - 0.0 km

...And they're racing in the 2002 Milan-San Remo, with a mere 287 kilometres to travel in the first round of the World Cup. The weather should turn into a beautiful spring day, with maximum temperatures in the low 20's. At the moment, it's a cool 10 degrees or so.

There were no non-starters this morning, so we have 197 riders in the peloton.

10:00 CET - 17.0 km

After half an hour's racing, it's still "gruppo compatto" - the peloton is all together. Normally in a classic there will be an early breakaway, commonly termed a "suicide break". Riders from smaller teams will attempt to gain some valuable TV exposure by attacking early and building a large enough lead to ensure some air time once the live coverage starts. Generally they get caught...but not always.

11:22 CET - 71 km

We're nearly two hours into the race and there's not a lot happening, not even any suicide breaks. The peloton is all together with 71 kilometres covered. Slightly behind schedule at this point.

Marc Sergant (Domo-Farm Frites) told Cyclingnews: "They're riding like a bunch of softies. Everybody's waiting for Bric Berton [km 143] which is a tough climb. There's a strong sidewind from the Northwest."

11:38 CET - 81 km

There was in fact one non-starter this morning: Fabrizio Guidi (Team Coast). There was also some doubt about Laurent Jalabert (CSC) who was suffering from a cold, but he started in the end.

12:05 CET - 100 km

The average speed has increased, with 81.6 kilometres covered in the first two hours. The riders are now passed Novi Ligure, travelling at a good tempo. Still 43 kilometres to go until Bric Berton.

A bone of contention at last night's scheduled team managers meeting was the television coverage of this year's race. Most countries outside of Italy, save for Belgium, Holland and Germany, chose not to pay Italian broadcaster RAI for the retransmission rights, as they considered the price too high. All the team managers boycotted last night's meeting, meaning that (amongst other things) there was no start order allocated for the team cars.

12:30 CET - 117 km

The riders are approaching the first feed zone at Ovada (km 118). The road starts to go uphill now in preparation for the day's main climb of Bric Berton.

12:55 CET - 128 km

The first attack of the day comes at km 125, with Abraham Olano (ONCE), Torsten Schmidt (Gerolsteiner) and Vladimir Dum (Panaria) breaking the shackles of the peloton. Olano wins the intermediate sprint at Cassinelle.

The average speed for the first three hours was 41.5 km/h. The race is on target to finish at 16:20 or earlier.

13:04 CET - 135 km

Olano's ONCE teammate Rene Andrle joins the breakaways, meaning that there are now four leaders. Two riders from Saeco are leading the chase. The gap is reported to be 1'00.

13:15 CET - 143 km

The leaders are at the top of the Bric Berton, the halfway point of the race. There are now five in front: Olano, Andrle, Schmidt, Duma and Inigo Cuesta (Cofidis) who bridged up. Hungarian Laszlo Bodrogi is chasing at 32" while the peloton remains at 1 minute.

13:35 CET - 157 km

Bodrogi catches the leaders on the descent making a group of six riders. They are pursued by Hvastija (Alessio) and Serpellini (Lampre) at 56 seconds, with the peloton now at 1'30.

13:42 CET - 164 km

After four hours of racing, the average speed is 41 km/h. The six leaders Olano, Andrle, Schmidt, Duma, Cuesta and Bodrogi have extended their advantage to 3 minutes over the peloton. Hvastja has a slight gap to Serpellini in his pursuit of the leaders.

14:00 CET - 181 km

Hvastja catches the leaders to make it seven, but Serpellini is losing ground and is at 1'35. The peloton has let the gap stretch out to 4'28, and is being led by Saeco and Euskaltel. They will try and bring the leaders back by the Cipressa (km 265) so Di Luca can attack.

14:09 CET - 190 km

Serpellini is reabsorbed by the peloton. There are now less than 100 kilometres to go until the finish.

14:22 CET - 202 km

The seven leaders pass the 200 kilometre point with a 4'30 advantage over the peloton, which now has the gap pegged. The next 35 kilometres are quite flat as the race follows the coast. Then the first of the 'capi', Capo Mele will provide some variation.

14:40 CET - 216 km

The situation after 216 kilometres of racing is that there is a group of seven riders leading: Abraham Olano and Rene Andrle (ONCE), Torsten Schmidt (Gerolsteiner), Vladimir Duma (Panaria), Inigo Cuesta (Cofidis), Laszlo Bodrogi (Mapei) and Martin Hvastja (Alessio). The group escaped before the climb of the Bric Berton, with Olano initiating the attack at 125 kilometres.

Currently, their advantage is 3'33 as the peloton starts to reel them in.

14:47 CET

Results of La Primavera Rosa: 1. Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites-Hartol), 2. Diana Ziliute (Acca Due O) and 3. Chantal Beltman (Acca Due O)

After five hours of racing, the men are averaging 42.6 km/h, with the gap now down to 3'10.

14:55 CET - 227 km

The leaders still enjoy an advantage of 2'38 minutes to the peloton, which is being led by Saeco, Telekom and Acqua e Sapone. The weather is absolutely perfect - a slight tailwind with blue skies and temperatures in the mid-20's.

15:05 CET - 235 km

The tailwind has pushed the riders to a 42 km/h schedule, as they cross the Capo Mele just after Laigueglia. The lead is coming down rapidly an the seven escapees should be caught well before the Cipressa.

The gap is now 1'18 as Alessio Galletti (Saeco) takes a flyer off the front of the peloton. US Postal are leading the chase, with Lance Armstrong prominent doing the work for Hincapie.

15:15 CET - 248 km

Matthew White leads Benoit Joachim and the US Postal train in pursuit of the seven leaders. The Capo Servo has been crossed with the Capo Berta coming up next. The seven leaders (surprisingly with no Italians present) are very close to being caught.

15:21 CET - 250 km/37 km to go

The leaders start to crack as Andrle, Bodrogi, and Schmidt lose contact. The chasing peloton is led by a Rabobank rider, with Erik Dekker in second wheel in his World Cup jersey. Paolo Bettini is also in the top 10.

15:29 CET - 253 km/34 km to go

Andrle regains contact with the leaders so there are five again: Olano, Andrle, Hvastja, Cuesta, Duma. They have 34 seconds.

Robbie McEwen has a puncture/fall but quickly gets back on with the help of his teammate Christophe Brandt. Erik Zabel gets a new bike too - fall? Now Di Luca is involved in a fall. That's three favourites...Di Luca doesn't look as though he's getting up soon. Now Erik Dekker is down! He isn't moving far either.

15:33 CET

Danilo Di Luca and Erik Dekker are certainly out of the race after being caught up in a fall at around 252 km. Erik Zabel is chasing hard with his teammates, but he didn't seem to be hurt. The peloton is riding hard on the approach to the Cipressa.

15:36 CET - 263 km/24 km to go

Di Luca is now riding again in the company of his teammates, although he has almost no chance of regaining the lead. Zabel's group is chasing hard, and is just about to catch the second group on the road. It's going to be very hard for him to catch the leaders on the Cipressa. McEwen is in the second group too.

Paolo Bettini attacks in the first group, and is marked by a Telekom rider, then Sciandri. Bettini is doing 31 km/h up this climb, which is not easy. There is a counter attack from Kivilev (Cofidis)

Cipollini is in the front group, as is Freire. Zabel/McEwen are at 40 seconds.

15:45 CET - 266 km/21 km to go

Kivilev increases his lead on the Cipressa, as the front group of 50 riders hesitates. The real race is on for Erik Zabel and Robbie McEwen, who are trying to regain the leading group after a fall. They are in a group of about 20, with a lot of Coast and Cofidis riders. The gap is now 1'00, and it looks as though Zabel's race is over.

Ivan Gutierrez (ONCE) attacks in pursuit of Kivilev, followed by Konecny (Domo). Figueras now is on the attack.

15:50 CET - 268 km/19 km to go

Gutierrez catches Kivilev before the top of the Cipressa, but their lead vanishes as the peloton comes up. Others in this lead group: Cipollini, Lombardi, Van Petegem, Bartoli, Petacchi, Celestino..

Zabel's group is now at 48 seconds. Can he get back?

Celestino and Bartoli lead on the descent of the Cipressa, and have a small gap at the bottom.

15:53 CET - 270 km/17 km to go

Steffen Wesemann (Telekom) and a Mercatone Uno rider fall on the descent. It doesn't look good for Wesemann who hit the gutter/barrier.

Unai Etxebarria (Eusktalel) attacks in pursuit Vinokourov (Telekom), Celestino and Bartoli. It comes back together and there is a counter-attack from Flecha (ibanesto) and Peron (CSC).

Oscar Freire is riding a good race in the middle of the peloton.

16:01 CET - 277 km/10 km to go

Flecha and Peron persist with their attack, but the peloton is breathing right down their necks and they get caught. Others still in this front group include Tchmil, Armstrong, Hincapie.

Mauro Radaelli (Tacconi) attacks on the Capo Verde. The Poggio approaches...

Radaelli is caught.

16:05 CET - 279 km/8 km to go

An Acqua e Sapone rider leads at the base of the Poggio, followed by Basso and Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo).

Vinokourov attacks hard, followed by Sanchez Gonzalez (Euskaltel) and two others. Gonzalez goes right past Vino and is clear. Figueras is there too.

16:08 CET - 280 km/7 km to go

Sanchez Gonzalez is caught by Vinokourov, Rebellin, Figueras, Pelizzotti, Bettini, but the Mapei rider goes right past and attacks. Bettini is first over the top of the Pggio with Figueras chasing. This is a good move.

16:11 CET - 282 km/5 km to go

Bettini's lead was four seconds to Figueras at the top of the Poggio, with the peloton (still about 50 riders) at 12 seconds.

Bettini is flying down the Poggio, but Figueras catches him on the tight hairpins. The peloton is close now - 6 seconds.

16:14 CET - 285 km/2 km to go

The pair of Paolo Bettini and Guiliano Figueras reach the bottom of the Poggio together. Cipollini, Freire, Petacchi are all in the chasing peloton. It's going to be very close at the end as Figueras looks behind.

16:15 CET - 286 km/1 km to go

There are a lot of Acqua e Sapone riders in the front group. It looks good for Cipollini who has Freire on his wheel. They catch the two leaders with 800 m to go.

16:16 CET - 287 km/0 km to go

Cipollini gets a good leadout from Lombardi and wins it from Fred Rodriguez (Domo). Finally, Re Leoni wins Milan San Remo!

Third was Markus Zberg (Rabobank), then Freire (Mapei) and Planckaert (Cofidis)

"I really don't know what's happening now," said Cipollini. "I need some time for this to sink in."

More news on Dekker:

According to RAI, who spoke with race Dr Tredici, Erik Dekker (Rabobank) broke his femur and is out for three months. That's really bad news for the reigning World Cup champion, and it means that he will have no chance of defending his jersey this year.


1 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua e Sapone     6.39.29 (43.105 km/h)
2 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo-Farm Frites
3 Markus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank
4 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis
5 Oscar Freire (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step
6 Tomas Konecny (Cze) Domo-Farm Frites
7 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
8 Jan Svorada (Cze) LAmpre-Daikin
9 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Tacconi Sport
10 Mario Manzoni (Ita) Index-Alexia