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93rd Milan - San Remo - CDM

Italy, March 23, 2002

Results    World Cup standings

It was in the stars: tears of joy and destiny fulfilled

Mario Cipollini takes Milano-San Remo win

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Trophy time
Photo ©: Sirotti

By Tim Maloney, European editor

The first Italian victory in La Classicisima since '96 inspired major tears of joy and finally fulfilled Mario Cipollini's destiny in a storybook 93rd edition Milano-San Remo. Twice the bridesmaid, last year behind Zabel and in 1994, Mario Cipollini came back this year to finally, finally take his long sought win in the race of his dreams, the race he and his loyal Acqua & Sapone team-mates worked so hard to win this year. After Cipo's incredible victory, they and Mario's tifosi cried joyful drops all along the via Roma in San Remo.

Perhaps a curious fact added a special lustre to Mario Cipollini's victory. Cipo is known to be a superstitious person, sometimes even consulting a psychic. Strangely enough, in the 92 previous editions of La Classicisima, there had been 46 wins by Italian riders and 46 wins by foreign riders; 46 sprint wins and 46 solo victories.

Thus the sight of Cipollini crossing the finish with arms raised high in exultation was just "right"; the stars were in alignment and the just turned 35 year old Cipo, such a consummate pro, such a master of his two-wheeled art, finally won his Milano-San Remo. to the everlasting delight of his tifosi worldwide.

In fact, Cipo was not talking to the press before Milano-San Remo this year; according to his long-time teammate Mario Scriea, he thought it might jinx him if he talked too much about Milano San Remo and it turned out he was right!

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Stars were right
Photo ©: Sirrotti
After his dramatic win, Cipo seemed inchoate; telling Italian TV that he simply didn't know what was happening and needed some time to let it all sink in. But as Cipo arrived on the podium with his daughter Lucrezia in his arms, his radiant smile beamed across the crowd and rivalled the late afternoon sun setting over the capi of the Riviera di Liguria.

The stars must not have been aligned today for Erik Zabel to take his fifth Milano-San Remo, for with 30km to go in Imperia, a major crash KO'ed Zabel. Although he had a bike service just before the crash, Zabel was caught behind the chaos of the 20 rider crash and once he finally got back into the race, Zabel and his fuchsia and black Telekom train were stuck in the 2nd group at the foot of the 3.7km penultimate climb of la Cipressa, 30" behind the main group.

Other pre-race favourites like '01 World Cup champ Erik Dekker (Rabobank) and Danilo Di Luca. Saeco-Longoni Sport) hit the deck as well, with Dekker seriously injured, with a suspected fracture to his left femur, sidelining his quest for the World #1 UCI ranking and putting the flying Dutchman out of action indefinitely.

A disappointed Di Luca said after the race that "We were going really hard; a lot of guys went down in front of me and I just couldn't avoid them.." Di Luca got back on and finished, but his absence was felt when Bettini and Figueras attacked on the Poggio, for the exciting, in-form Di Luca would have certainly been up there.
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With daughter Lucrezia
Photo ©: Yuzuru Sunada

US Champion Fred Rodriguez (Domo Farm-Frites) had tremendous ride, runner-up to Cipo. "(I was) Almost there today...", the delighted Rodriguez told Cyclingnews, "(Cipo) is an expert sprinter and I just underestimated him...the final straight was slightly uphill with the wind in my face, and I hoped he would die, but he never faded..."

Rodriguez had "great legs today; I thought about going with Bettini but I had to hold myself back." The next goal for the US PRO champion is Tour of Flanders in two weeks and an outside shot at taking over the World Cup lead, since the Emeryville, CA rider is likely a better rider for the Ronde than Mario.

George Hincapie (USPS) had impeccable support from Lance Armstrong and his other USPS team-mates, as did in-form Fassa Bortolo sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, but in the hurly burly of the last two kilometres, it looked like both Hincapie and Petacchi got boxed in on the right against the barriers while the main flow of the sprint went left and both finished out of the top 10.

World Champion Oscar Freire (Mapei-Quick Step) saw his plans unravel once again, as the Mapei team self-destructed and abandoned Freire in the final, with the disappointed Spaniard finishing 5th behind the fast close of Markus Zberg (Rabobank) and Jo Planckaert (Cofidis).
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Bettini attacks
Photo ©: Sirrotti

In a déjà vu from last year's Milano-San Remo, Freire's team-mate Paolo Bettini took off on the Poggio in a classic counter move off Telekom's strangely indecisive Alexandre Vinokourov. Bettini, nicknamed il Grillo (cricket) for his diminutive stature took off with only Panaria's Giuliano Figueras in pursuit. At the summit of the Poggio, Grillo Bettini had 6" on the determined Neapolitan Figueras and 14" on the peloton, but the human avalanche cascading down the 23 turns of the Poggio into San Remo, led by mega descender Paolo Savoldelli (Index-Alexia) condemned the duo to be caught.

With 2km to go as the Poggio concluded and the via Aurelia began, Acqua & Sapone's Massimo Gentili organized the train for Cipo. Bettini and Figueras came back with just under 1 km to race and as the A&S train wound it up for Cipo, Guido Trenti and then Giovanni Lombardi took the 35 year old Lucca legend to 300 meters, where his powerful jump quickly gained a bike length on Rodriguez.

Cipo moved left to the centre of the road to give the stars & stripes clad Domo man a longer way around and Rodriguez tried valiantly, but Cipo once again showed that even after a 13 career at the top of cycling, he's still the greatest, most exciting road sprinter in the history of cycling.

Perhaps the tears of joy and emotion choked voice of Antonio Salutini, Mario Cipollini's long-time DS summed up best Milano-San Remo... "This was the most beautiful race, the most beautiful win we've had together."


1 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo      6.39.30 (43.105 km/h)
2 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo-Farm Frites
3 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank
4 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis
5 Oscar Freire Gomez (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 Alluminio
11 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Mobilvetta Design/Formaggi Trentini
12 Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Index-Alexia Alluminio
13 Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Tacconi Sport
14 Mauro Zinetti (Ita) Index-Alexia Alluminio
15 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
16 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service
17 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
18 Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Index-Alexia Alluminio
19 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank
20 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
21 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
22 Igor Flores Galarza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
23 Dario Pieri (Ita) Alessio
24 Enrico Cassani (Ita) Domo-Farm Frites
25 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) iBanesto.com
26 Alexandre Shefer (Kaz) Alessio
27 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
28 Jakob Storm Piil (Den) Team CSC Tiscali
29 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport
30 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
31 Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
32 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Index-Alexia Alluminio
33 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank
34 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) iBanesto.com
35 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
36 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio
37 M.A. Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
38 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre-Daikin
39 Unai Etxebarria Arana (Ven) Euskaltel-Euskadi
40 Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
41 Roberto Petito (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
42 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom
43 Moreno Di Biase (Ita) Mobilvetta Design/Formaggi Trentini
44 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service
45 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                       0.07
46 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
47 Guido Trenti (USA) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo           0.10
48 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) Lotto-Adecco
49 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo          0.14
50 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                      0.16
51 Raphael Schweda (Ger) Team Coast                          0.39
52 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner                          1.07
53 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                         1.10
54 Bekim Christensen (Den) Team Coast
55 Uros Murn (Slo) Mobilvetta Design/Formaggi Trentini
56 Gianni Faresin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
57 Richard Virenque (Fra) Domo-Farm Frites
58 Mikel Artetxe Gezuraga (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
59 Guido Trentin (Ita) Cofidis                               1.13
60 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Lampre-Daikin                 1.16
61 Andrei Kivilev (Kaz) Cofidis
62 Antonio Rizzi (Ita) Mobilvetta Design/Formaggi Trentini
63 Andrea Peron (Ita) Team CSC Tiscali
64 Luca Paolini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
65 Niki Aebersold (Swi) Team Coast                           1.40
66 Mauro Radaelli (Ita) Tacconi Sport                        2.52
67 Benoit Joachim (Lux) US Postal Service                    3.16
68 Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Mercatone Uno
69 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Team CSC Tiscali                   3.38
70 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom
71 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Team Telekom
72 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
73 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole
74 Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez (Spa) Kelme
75 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC Tiscali
76 Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno
77 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Mercatone Uno
78 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites
79 Alessandro Brendolin (Ita) Mobilvetta Design/Formaggi Trentini
80 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team Coast
81 Marco Milesi (Ita) Domo-Farm Frites
82 Dmitri Konyshev (Rus) Fassa Bortolo
83 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Lampre-Daikin
84 Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Alessio
85 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Fassa Bortolo
86 Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
87 Ruslan Ivanov (Mda) Alessio
88 Abraham Olano Manzano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
89 Jan Hruska (Cze) ONCE-Eroski
90 Gianpaolo Caruso (Ita) ONCE-Eroski
91 Robert Hunter (RSA) Mapei-Quick Step
92 Massimiliano Lelli (Ita) Cofidis
93 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Credit Agricole
94 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) ONCE-Eroski
95 Christopher Jenner (Fra) Credit Agricole
96 Sascha Hendrix (Ger) Team Coast
97 Dariusz Baranowski (Pol) iBanesto.com
98 Thomas Brozyna (Pol) iBanesto.com
99 Zbigniew Spruch (Pol) Lampre-Daikin
100 Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
101 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner
102 Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis
103 Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis
104 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport
105 Mario Scirea (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
106 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
107 Robbie Mc Ewen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco
108 Davide Bramati (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
109 Laurent Dufaux (Swi) Alessio
110 David Clinger (USA) US Postal Service
111 Alberto Elli (Ita) Index-Alexia Alluminio
112 Bo Hamburger (Den) Index-Alexia Alluminio
113 Pavel Padrnos (Cze) US Postal Service
114 Sergiy Matveyev (Ukr) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
115 Frank Hoj (Den) Team Coast
116 José Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Kelme
117 Cesar Solaun Solana (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
118 Sajà Gajicic (Yug) Mobilvetta Design/Formaggi Trentini
119 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Fassa Bortolo
120 Matthew White (Aus) US Postal Service
121 David Latasa Lasa (Spa) iBanesto.com
122 Inigo Cuesta Lopez De Castro (Spa) Cofidis
123 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) iBanesto.com
124 Vladimir Duma (Ukr) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo             4.48
125 René Andrle (Cze) ONCE-Eroski                            6.31
126 Médéric Clain (Fra) Cofidis                             10.45
127 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
128 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
129 Francesco Secchiari (Ita) Mercatone Uno                 11.43
130 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Kelme
131 Steve Vermaut (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
132 Kurt Van Lancker (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
133 Danny Jonasson (Den) Team CSC Tiscali
134 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) Team CSC Tiscali
135 Bobby Julich (USA) Team Telekom
136 Eladio Jimenez Sanchez (Spa) iBanesto.com
137 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank
138 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Kelme
139 Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank
140 André Korff (Ger) Team Coast
141 Jan Schaffrath (Ger) Team Telekom
142 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Tacconi Sport
143 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
144 Josu Silloniz Aresti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
145 Pietro Zucconi (Swi) Tacconi Sport
146 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Lampre-Daikin
147 Denis Bondarenko (Rus) Mobilvetta Design/Formaggi Trentini
148 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Credit Agricole                 12.34
149 Enrico Degano (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
150 Stefano Guerrini (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
151 Domenico Gualdi (Ita) Mobilvetta Design/Formaggi Trentini
152 Riccardo Forconi (Ita) Mercatone Uno
153 Nicola Minali (Ita) Tacconi Sport
154 Yohann Charpenteau (Fra) Credit Agricole
155 Cristian Gasperoni (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
156 Marco Serpellini (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
157 Ronny Scholz (Ger) Gerolsteiner
158 Olaf Pollack (Ger) Gerolsteiner
159 Ermanno Brignoli (Ita) Mercatone Uno
160 Graeme Brown (Aus) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo             12.44
161 Mikel Zarrabeitia Uranga (Spa) ONCE-Eroski              12.58
162 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport                 13.00
163 Alessio Galletti (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport              13.16
164 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Mapei-Quick Step                   14.16
165 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) Team CSC Tiscali                  16.43
166 Servais Knaven (Ned) Domo-Farm Frites                   17.53
167 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank
168 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank
169 Cristian Pepoli (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
170 Antonio Salomone (Ita) Index-Alexia Alluminio

World Cup standings after round 1

1 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo          100 pts
2 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo-Farm Frites                        70
3 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank                                  50
4 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis                                  40
5 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step                    36
6 Tomas Konecny (Cze) Domo-Farm Frites                         32
7 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Adecco                             28
8 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre-Daikin                              24
9 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Tacconi Sport                            20
10 Mario Manzoni (Ita) Index-Alexia Alluminio                  16
11 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Mobilvetta Design/Formaggi Trent      15
12 Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Index-Alexia Alluminio               14
13 Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Tacconi Sport                         13
14 Mauro Zinetti (Ita) Index-Alexia Alluminio                  12
15 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco                        11
16 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service                     10
17 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                      9
18 Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Index-Alexia Alluminio              8
19 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank                                     7
20 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi              6
21 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) ONCE-Eroski                     5
22 Igor Flores Galarza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                  4
23 Dario Pieri (Ita) Alessio                                    3
24 Enrico Cassani (Ita) Domo-Farm Frites                        2
25 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) iBanesto.com              1


1 Domo Farm Frites             12 pts
2 Index Alexia                 9
3 Tacconi Sport                8
4 Rabobank                     7
5 iBanesto.com                 6
6 Acqua e Sapone               5
7 Lotto-Adecco                 4
8 Lampre-Daikin                3
9 Euskaltel-Euskadi            2
10 Alessio                     1

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