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97th Giro di Lombardia - CDM
Italy, October 18, 2003
Proud Mickey keeps on burnin'
Bartoli wins second consecutive Lombardia; Bettini takes second consecutive World Cup title
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Bergamo, Italy
On a cool fall Saturday afternoon in Bergamo's Piazza Matteotti, Michele Bartoli easily sprinted in to win in the final race of the 2003 World Cup ahead of his breakaway companion Angelo Lopeboselli (Cofidis). Bartoli had something to prove today in the final World Cup of the 2003 season as he was still angry and bitter about being left out of the Italian team for last weekend's World Championships in Hamilton, Canada by Italian selector Franco Ballerini, who didn't see his fellow Tuscan Bartoli as enough of a team player to support his former gregario Paolo Bettini.
"I was able confirm today that I still have what it takes to win the big races", said a proud Michele Bartoli today post-race as he won his second consecutive Giro di Lombardia, a feat unequalled since Eddy Merckx did the double in 1971-72. "I'm happy to be able to win this one for my sponsor (Fassa Bortolo)", added Bartoli, who will move to CSC next season.
After the win, the 62nd by an Italian rider in the long history of the classic of the falling leaves, Bartoli embraced his former teammate Paolo Bettini and congratulated him for the World Cup title win. Bartoli told RAI-TV's Alessandra DiStefano that "I'm really happy! and for Bettini too..."
But there were still a few prickles when DiStefano asked Bartoli about his exclusion from the World Championship. "Oh, I'm sure I could have done a lot for the Italian team at Hamilton either for Bettini or even for myself," said Bartoli, who also paid homage to his final win for Fassa Bortolo before he moves to CSC next year. " Yeah, for me to leave an Italian team is not that great. I was really happy at Fassa because it was like a with a big family for me, but with Bjarne Riis I'm sure things will go great at CSC."
Although Paolo Bettini retired with 30km to go today on the Berbenno ascent, Quick Step's pocket rocket was happy with his overall result for his second consecutive World Cup. "I'm really satisfied the way things went this season", said Bettini, "Even if I had jet lag from traveling back from Canada this week."
Bettini won an unprecedented three World Cup races this season (Milan-San Remo, HEW Cyclassics Cup and Clasica San Sebastian), and was indisputably the best one day rider of 2003.
It seems that the bad vibes over the supposed bribe offered by Bettini to World Champion Astarloa at last Sunday's World's are finished as Astarloa appeared in the post-race interviews alongside Bettini. There will be no legal action taken by Bettini over the incident, but Astarloa might watch his words more carefully in future.
Astarloa finished in the main group today, as his Saeco team clinched the World Cup team classification. "I'm pleased to win this title with my team today", said the tired Basque rider, who will move to the Cofidis squad next season along with World TT champion David Millar.
How it unfolded
On a cool, overcast day across the hills of Lago di Como, Brianza and Bergamo, 191 riders from 25 teams (11 Italian-14 foreign) took the start in Como's Piazza Cavour. Four teams were tested by the UCI this morning and Brit Charlie Wegelius (De Nardi-Colpack) was found unfit to ride. His team communique' explained that he had an accident in 1998 where his spleen was removed, which could provoke variations in the haematocrit level of Wegelius.
After 22km of the 97th Giro di Lombardia, Cappe' (Formaggio Pinzolo Fiave') and neo-pro Bellotti (Mercatone Uno) took off and gained a big lead as the peloton let them ride away. Eventually Bellotti dumped Cappe' and went solo with his lead soaring to 14'00, but with Saeco and Rabobank chasing, Bellotti was finally reeled in at base of the 12km climb of Selvino after a break of 162km. At the summit of the Selvino, it was a chilly 8 degrees and with Rasmussen (Rabobank) pounding away, 14 riders made a selection on the ascent, but by the base of the Selvino climb, there was a general regroupment including Bettini, Astarloa and Casagrande.
Juan Antonio Flecha (Banesto) attacked on Bracca climb with 50km to go, followed by Peron (CSC), Den Bakker and Zberg (Rabobank), while both World Champion Astarloa and World Cup leader Bettini were having trouble staying with the front runners. Den Bakker was dropped at the top as the peloton caught them, but Zberg tried again on the descent, with Peron and Flecha going with him once more.
In Zogno with 42km and the tough 4km ascent of Berbenno looming, Flecha, Zberg and Peron pounded away up front with eight riders chasing 20" behind and the 40 strong peloton at 50". The chase group included Sinkewitz (Quick.Step), Masciarelli (Caldirola), Kessler (Telekom), Sastre (CSC), Brandt (Lotto-Domo), Fofonov (Cofidis) and Serrano (ONCE).
Zberg was active today like last weekend in Hamilton, as the Swiss rider still doesn't have a contract next year. The chasing group began to shatter as last year's Lombardia winner Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo) powered after the lead trio from the peloton. At the summit of the Berbenno with 28km to go, the break had 30" on the Bartoli chase group, while Bettini retired. Sinkewitz and Serrano had bridged to the lead trio with Frigo, Bartoli Boogerd and Garcia-Casas in hot pursuit on the penultimate ascent of the day.
At the base of the Berbenno in Alme' with 20km to go, the lead group had now swelled to 20 riders, with the break caught by a powerful Frigo working hard for his Fassa teammate Bartoli to close the gap. As soon as road to Bergamo flattened out, Bartoli made a surprise move and attacked solo, but was quickly covered by Lopeboselli (Cofidis). The pair rode away from the leading group which had 1'20" on the remains of the peloton, and wouldn't play a role in the rest of Giro di Lombardia.
With 15km to go, Lopeboselli and Bartoli already had 25" lead, with Beat Zberg leading the 21 strong chase along with Peron and Serrano. But it was too little, too late, as Bartoli's surprise move had worked to perfection. The Pisano was still PO'd about his exclusion from the Italian team in Hamilton and wanted to show that he deserved to be selected for the World Championships. Plus with Lopeboselli's three Cofidis teammates Vasseur, Moncoutié and Trentin behind, there was no chance for the rest to close down on the leaders.
Bartoli and Lopeboselli's lead soared to 1'10 with 10km to go, with only the steep 1.4km climb up Colle Aperto to Bergamo's Citta' Alta remaining. Lopeboselli still had great legs and Bartoli made a move on the final to drop the Cofidis rider but couldn't crack him. The front duo streaked down from Citta' Alta towards the finish in Piazza Matteotti, while behind, Frigo got rid of the other chasers and headed for a the final podium spot. Zberg took the sprint from the chase group for fourth, while his Rabobank teammate Michael Boogerd was 10th, thus scoring 16 World Cup points to move into second place in the 2003 World Cup overall standings, just one point ahead of Lotto-Domo's Peter Van Petegem.
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
Images by AFP Photo
1 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 6.29.41 (38.184 km/h) 2 Angelo Lopeboselli (Ita) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone 0.02 3 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1.35 4 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 1.47 5 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Domina Vacanze-Elitron 6 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone 7 Serhiy Honchar (Ukr) De Nardi-Colpack 8 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) Quick.Step-Davitamon 9 Guido Trentin (Ita) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone 10 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 11 Peter Luttenberger (Aut) Team CSC 12 Aitor Garmendia Arbilla (Spa) Team Bianchi 13 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) iBanesto.com 14 Felix M. Garcia Casas (Spa) Team Bianchi 15 Matthias Kessler (Ger) Team Telekom 1.58 16 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski 17 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 18 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) iBanesto.com 19 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone 20 Andrea Peron (Ita) Team CSC 21 Marcos A. Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski 22 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 23 Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Alessio 3.08 24 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 25 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Team Saeco 26 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank 3.12 27 Massimo Giunti (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron 28 Mario Aerts (Bel) Team Telekom 29 Isidro Nozal Vega (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski 30 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 3.35 31 Simone Masciarelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-SO.DI 4.35 32 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski 5.00 33 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Lotto-Domo 34 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo 35 Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron 36 Santiago Perez Fernandez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 37 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Team Saeco 38 Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre 39 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 40 Oscar Sevilla Ribera (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 41 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Team Saeco 42 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Lampre 43 Marco Fertonani (Ita) Phonak Hearing Systems 44 Daniel Atienza (Spa) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone 45 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 46 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre 47 Axel Merckx (Bel) Lotto-Domo 48 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio 49 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank 50 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) iBanesto.com 9.31 51 Francisco Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre 52 Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 53 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Fassa Bortolo 54 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 55 Dmitri Fofonov (Kaz) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone 56 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Domina Vacanze-Elitron 10.44 57 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Team Saeco 11.28 58 Leonardo Zanotti (Ita) De Nardi-Colpack 13.29 59 Daniel Schnider (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 60 Leonardo Giordani (Ita) De Nardi-Colpack 61 Gianni Faresin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 62 Igor Pugaci (Mda) Team Saeco 63 Piotr Przydzial (Pol) CCC-Polsat 64 Domenico Passuello (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 65 Massimo Codol (Ita) Mercatone Uno - Scanavino 66 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 67 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Mercatone Uno - Scanavino 68 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Alessio 69 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 70 Paolo Valoti (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron 71 Sergiy Avdyeyev (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 72 Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 73 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Team Saeco 74 Gianluca Tonetti (Ita) Tenax 75 Michele Gobbi (Ita) De Nardi-Colpack 76 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Fassa Bortolo 77 Vladimir Duma (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago Starters: 191 Classified: 77
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 365 pts 2 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 220 3 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo 219 4 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 187 5 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom 186 6 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Team Saeco 140 7 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Team Saeco 139 8 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Team Telekom 124 9 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 124 10 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre 123 11 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 106 12 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 92 13 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron 88 14 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Fassa Bortolo 79 15 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal presented by Berry Floor 74 16 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Team Saeco 71 17 Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Spa) iBanesto.com 68 18 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 62 19 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Team Saeco 54 20 Andrea Noè (Ita) Alessio 46 Teams 1 Saeco 79 pts 2 Quick.Step-Davitamon 72 3 Alessio 47 4 Rabobank 47 5 Fassa Bortolo 45 6 Telekom 30 7 Lotto-Domo 26 8 Cofidis 23 9 Gerolsteiner 21 10 Lampre 19 11 Domina Vacanze 16 12 ibanesto.com 14 13 Phonak 12 14 CSC 12 15 Ag2r-Prevoyance 9 16 Vini Caldirola 8 17 ONCE-Eroski 8 18 US Postal-Berry Floor 6 19 Crédit Agricole 4