HEW Cyclassics - CDM
Germany, August 3, 2003
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Commentary by Jeff Jones
Time conversion guide: GMT = CEST - 2 hrs, AEST = CEST + 8 hrs, EDT = CEST
- 6 hrs, PDT = CEST - 9 hrs
Start time: 11:15 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:00 CEST
14:16 CEST 123 km/130 km to go
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the HEW Cyclassics Cup in Hamburg. Today's race takes place over 253 kilometres of a largely flat parcours. However, the final two laps (of 41 km each) contain a couple of short but steep climbs, which usually serve to break up the field. However, if one or two sprinters' teams are strong enough, then they can try and bring it back together over the last 15 km for a bunch sprint.
On paper, Erik Zabel (Telekom) and Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) are the two strongest sprinters in the field, as fast men like Petacchi and McEwen are not racing today. In addition there are plenty of other sprinters who would benefit from a bunch finish, such as New Zealander Julian Dean, who recently won the Tour de la Region Wallonne (and two stages).
The chance for a small group to get away like last year is also quite high, with the likes of Jan Ullrich, Peter Van Petegem, Paolo Bettini, Johan Museeuw, Igor Astarloa, Danilo Di Luca, on Michele Bartoli, Michael Boogerd, Francesco Casagrande and George Hincapie all riders to look out for.
For now, the field has completed approximately half the distance (123 km).
14:55 CEST 153 km/100 km to go
The weather conditions today in Hamburg are sunny and warm, with temperatures hovering around the 30 degree mark and little wind. Certainly a good day to be out riding a bike.
Currently, there is a breakaway of two riders: Stephane Auge (Credit Agricole) and Roberto Lochowski (Wiesenhof). Auge attacked after only 5 kilometres, and was joined by Lochowski a little while later. The pair now have a 14 minute lead, with just under 100 km to go.
15:22 CEST 175 km/78 km to go
The two leaders, Auge and Lochowski, have crossed the start/finish line with two laps to go. The field is still over 10 minutes behind, cruising along the Elbe with a bit more speed.
The pair's maximum lead was 16'10.
15:53 CEST 186 km/67 km to go
According to our sources on the course, the two leaders, Stephane Auge (Credit Agricole) and Roberto Lochowski (Wiesenhof) are approaching the first climb of the Grotiusweg with a four and a half minute lead on the peloton. So there has been some serious chasing going on. These two should be caught fairly soon, as they look quite tired.
The peloton is still quite large, and is moving quickly with Lotto and Saeco at the front. There are also a lot of Team Bianchi riders there.
15:59 CEST 192 km/61 km to go
US Postal and Rabobank have got to the front of the peloton now, and the speed is high. The two leaders are less than 2 minutes in front, and Lochowski is doing most of the work.
16:04 CEST 195 km/58 km to go
Lochowski and Auge shake hands, as they realise the field is coming up right behind them. It's over, as the Postal train flies past with Matt White at the front, followed by Saeco with Commesso.
This part of the parcours is quite shaded, providing some relief from the baking sun.
16:08 CEST 197 km/56 km to go
The peloton is approaching the Waseberg, led all the time by Saeco's Salvatore Commesso. Peter Van Petegem and MAgnus Backstedt (fakta) are in the first couple of rows, as is Rene Haselbacher, George Hincapie, Michele Bartoli, Jan Ullrich, Paolo Bettini. Matt White does a big turn again, but it's Bettini who crests first.
16:13 CEST 204 km/49 km to go
The peloton is essentially together on the descent, but numerous riders are pushing the pace to make sure it stays strung out. It's a hard task though, as there's not much cooperation in front.
Australian champion Staurt O'Grady gets to the front with Museeuw on his wheel. There are a lot of small gaps appearing in the bunch now, a result of the high speed.
16:17 CEST 205 km/48 km to go
It's very nervous at the moment, with riders going everywhere, trying to gain an advantage. Bettini and Bartoli are very active, as is Andy Flickinger (Ag2r) and Stefano Zanini (Saeco).
Matt White and George Hincapie help to create a gap with Bettini, Zanini, Van Petegem, Moreni, Wegmann, Kessler, Bossoni, Flickinger, De Groot and Schweda. The peloton has let them get 15 seconds.
16:22 CEST 211 km/42 km to go
The leading group is now strung out, with Matt White doing a lot of work in front (and bears the marks of a crash) for his teammate Hincapie, who is looking strong today. But with riders like Bettini and Van Petegem in the break, the peloton will need to work hard to bring them back.
16:26 CEST 212 km/41 km to go
The leading 12 cross the start/finish line with a 19 second gap to the peloton, led by Matt White. Just one lap (41.9 km) to go for the riders.
Kim Kirchen leads the peloton, for Fassa Bortolo. He's followed by Maarten den Bakker (Raboank) and Scott Sunderland (fakta) is also right up there.
The crowds are huge at the finish, as expected.
16:31 CEST 216 km/37 km to go
Hincapie and Bettini have a small gap to the rest of the break, as they fly along this flat part of the course through Hamburg. The gap is up to 34 seconds, and it's looking dangerous.
The rest of the break is disintegrating, as they watch these two strong riders get away. Flickinger and Wegmann decide to attack the break, but they cannot get clear. This lack of cooperation will play right into Bettini and Hincapie's hands.
16:36 CEST 221 km/32 km to go
Bossoni is the next rider to attack the break, with the same result. Meanwhile, Bettini and Hincapie are riding further in front. It looks like the break will be mopped up by the peloton.
That's exactly what happens, and Lotto-Domo is on the front of the peloton, driving hard. The gap to Hincapie and Bettini is 35".
16:40 CEST 224 km/29 km to go
Jan Ullrich and Erik Zabel are a little way back in the peloton, but looking quite comfortable. The speed is extremely high, and it will be tough for Hincapie and Bettini to stay clear. Rabobank has got some riders on the front now.
Bettini and Hincapie are caught! The speed is just too high. It will happen on the Waseberg it looks like (if it happens at all).
16:42 CEST 226 km/27 km to go
Rabobank keep the tempo high for Michael Boogerd, who is sitting second on the World Cup standings. He is just behind Robbie Hunter's wheel.
Rolf Aldag is also doing his bit on the front for Telekom, then the Binachi and fakta guys get up there. Ullrich looks good behind Thorsten Rund in second position.
16:47 CEST 229 km/24 km to go
Jo Planckaert (Cofidis) attacks on the flat, a few km before the Grotiusweg. It's a crazy move, but he'll get some exposure. The rest of the peloton is massed behind him, at high speed.
Planckaert gets 5 seconds, looks back and realises that this is suicide. He sits up.
16:49 CEST 231 km/22 km to go
The speed is over the 60 km/h mark on the flat, as riders continually come up the outside of the peloton and increase the tempo. It's very hard to hold your position in a bunch when it's like this - it's like leading up to the sprint in the final 5 km. Everyone wants position before the Waseberg.
16:52 CEST 233 km/20 km to go
Commesso, Zanini and Astarloa set up a little Saeco train, but there's constant surges on front. Sacchi is also up there.
the back of the peloton is strung out a long way, and these riders will not see the front again.
Sacchi does a strong turn on the front on the Grotiusweg, and there are quite a few zebra striped jerseys (Domina Vacanze) there too. They want Lombardi well placed.
Michael Boogerd moves up, as does Zabel. Then Steffen Wesemann (Telekom).
16:57 CEST 236 km/17 km to go
The concentration on the faces of the riders is intense, as Zabel, Astarloa and Celestino ride next to each other in the second row over the Grotiusweg. Fabrizio Guidi (Bianchi) is next man on the chopping block in front.
The descent is quite steep, shady and narrow, and it's Thor Hushovd who leads the way at the bottom. Not far to go to the Waseberg now.
Romans Vainsteins is on the side of the road, looking miserable and waiting for a team car.
Igor Astarloa puts in a premptive attack, just before the Waseberg.
16:59 CEST 238 km/15 km to go
The peloton sprints up the Waseberg, with Jan Ullrich leading the bunch and hurting a lot of people. Bettini gets on his wheel, as does Celestino. They catch Astarloa at the top.
Bettini and Astaraloa have a small gap to Ullrich, Rebellin and Celestino over the top. It comes together on the descent, as there is a crash in the peloton. It looks like Contrini is down.
17:02 CEST 241 km/12 km to go
We've got five leaders in the final 12 km, with Jan Ullrich, Paolo Bettini, Igor Astarloa, Mirko Celestino and Davide Rebellin. A very nice group indeed.
17:04 CEST 243 km/10 km to go
Bettini is the favourite if this comes to a sprint, but what is the peloton doing behind them? Not much at the moment, as there are plenty of gaps in it. A group of 35 or so riders is chasing at 20 seconds.
17:05 CEST 244 km/9 km to go
CSC is leading the chase, but there are plenty of Quick.Step riders up there not contributing. The gap is 25 seconds to the leading five, and it looks good for them.
Celestino skips a turn in the break, but they forgive him that. Saeco has two riders here, but not the fastest sprinter. And what can Ullrich do against riders like Bettini and Rebellin?
17:08 CEST 245 km/8 km to go
8 km to go for the five leaders, Astarloa, Celestino, Bettini, Ullrich and Rebellin. The gap is 23 seconds. the chase is still very disorganised, with Quick.Step marshalling their men at the front to slow it down.
Hincapie puts in a big attack in the bunch, with O'Grady right on his wheel. Hayman is also there, as is Backstedt.
17:11 CEST 248 km/5 km to go
Hincapie attacks the bunch again, and takes a Gerolsteiner rider with him. The gap is still at 22", as there are a number of teams slowing down the chase. Magnus Backstedt is next to do a big turn, but no-one wants to work in the bunch.
17:12 CEST 249 km/4 km to go
The leading give are working smoothly still - essential with the bunch so close behind them. Ullrich looks good, but Bettini and Rebellin are quicker. And don't forget the two Saeco boys.
17:13 CEST 250 km/3 km to go
3 km to go, and the gap is down to 17 seconds. The leaders need to work right to the finish, otherwise the peloton will get them.
Bettini is powering...
17:14 CEST 251 km/2 km to go
The peloton can't seem to orgnise itself - too many Quick.Steps in the way. Matt White comes back to the front for one last turn.
Bettini drops to the back of the break, watching...
17:15 CEST 252 km/1 km to go
Last kilometre, and the five are still together. Celestino is in last wheel, but then moves through. The gap is 15 seconds....
Ullrich gets a small gap in the final kilometre, but then Celestino goes hard with Bettini on his wheel. Astarloa is right behind, but then goes to fifth wheel. Astarloa looks back for the peloton.
Celsetino leads out but gets hit by a moto camerman, then Bettini attacks and wins from Rebellin. Ullrich third, Astarloa fourth, Celestino fifth and the peloton right on their wheels. Erik Zabel won the sprint for sixth.
Peter van Petegem finished 23rd, and will keep his world cup leader's jersey, but now Bettini is breathing right down his neck, three points behind.
That's all from Hamburg folks, but we'll be back in under an hour with live coverage of the New York City Cycling Championships . Until then!
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 5.58.20
2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
3 Jan Ullrich (Ger) Team Bianchi
4 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco
5 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco
6 Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom 0.03
7 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Alessio
8 Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) Domina Vacanze
9 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Saeco
10 Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Alessio
23 Peter van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo
World Cup standings after round 6
1 Peter van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo
2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon
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