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39th Amstel Gold Race - CDM
Netherlands, April 18, 2004
Rebellin spoils Boogerd's party
By Jeff Jones in Valkenburg
In his first World Cup win since 1997, Italian Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) knocked perennial favourite Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) into second position in the Amstel Gold Race, a race that Boogerd calls his own after having finished on the podium five times. But Rebellin is no stranger to podiums himself, and has accumulated his fair share of them over the years. This time he nailed it, as Boogerd started his sprint on the Cauberg with 350m to go, which turned out to be far too long for an uphill, two man sprint.
When Cyclingnews asked why he started to sprint that early, Boogerd replied simply, "Because last year [when he finished second] I attacked at the same place and won the sprint." This year, Rebellin was stronger and immediately took Boogerd's wheel, comfortably passing him in the final 100 metres to take his third World Cup win after San Sebastian and Zurich in 1997.
"In the last kilometre I was calm," said Rebellin of his tactics on the Cauberg. "I saw that the finish suited me, I felt in good condition and I wasn't scared of Boogerd."
Rebellin and Boogerd had escaped a six man lead group on the Fromberg with 17 km to go, with Paolo Bettini, Peter Van Petegem, Danilo Di Luca and Matthias Kessler in hot pursuit. "I thought it was a good moment to go," said Rebellin. "We worked perfectly together and it was definitely the right break. We knew what the gap was and maybe there was a bit of risk letting the speed drop, but Boogerd would go, as he certainly didn't want to lose. For me it was perfect that Boogerd led out."
Rebellin's last win in a World Cup was seven years ago, but he attributed his long recess to health problems which he says he has finally put behind him. Often accused of following wheels rather than attacking, Rebellin has renewed strength. "In future you can expect more from me. I think I can continue at this level now."
The death of his friend Denis Zanette early last year has also had a big effect on Rebellin, who, reminiscent of Alexandre Vinokourov/Andrei Kivilev, said "The win today was for Denis Zanette. He was my best friend and I hoped I could win a big race for him and his wife. I certainly got the strength today from Denis Zanette to win."
World Cup leader Steffen Wesemann (T-Mobile) finished 20th today and was able to hold onto his jersey. The German winner of the Ronde van Vlaanderen said that, "It's my objective to hold this jersey for as long as possible. It was hard to change from the style of racing in Paris-Roubaix to the Amstel Gold Race. I'll try to finish in the top 20 in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, but to win that race will be very hard."
How it unfolded
184 riders started in Maastricht's Markt at 10:15am under sunny skies. The key factor today was the wind, which was blowing strongly from the south, and would wreak havoc with the peloton as it twisted and turned along the narrow roads in southern Limburg. The temperatures crept up to 14 degrees, although later on in the day the riders were greeted with rain.
The first serious attack came after 15 km and contained favourite Erik Dekker (Rabobank), who took Johan Van Summeren (Relax-Bodysol) and Jan Kuyckx (Vlaanderen) with him. The trio was able to get up to 3'00 lead after 48 km before Dekker was ordered back to the peloton. In the meantime, Peter Wuyts (Mr. Bookmaker) and Alain van Katwijk (BankGiroLoterij) set off in pursuit of the break, but they never caught them - the closest they came was 1'10 at km 55 and they came back to the peloton at km 130.
A crash at km 28 took out Beat Zberg (Gerolsteiner) and Niels Scheuneman (Relax-Bodysol) with Zberg having to go to hospital with knee and head injuries. Beat's brother Markus was also involved in a crash later on, but survived to play an important part in the finale.
Van Summeren and Kuyckx battled hard at the head of the race to increase their advantage to 9'40 after 105 km, the maximum they were able to obtain. The peloton was controlled by Rabobank, who were determined to keep their key men Boogerd, Dekker and Freire in top positions. The chase behind started now, with Maarten den Bakker and Steven de Jongh doing a lot of work for the home boys in orange.
The two leaders continued to ride a good race, and on the second climb of the Cauberg (km 170) they were 5'00 clear. The action in the peloton started to heat up at this point, with Dutchman Leon van Bon (Lotto-Domo) trying several moves, all of which were unsuccessful. With 60 km to go, a group of five with Aldag (T-Mobile), Rogers (Quick.Step), Kroon (Rabobank), Vierhouten (Lotto-Domo), and Van Velzen (Jacques) tried to escape the bunch and close the two minute gap to the leaders. They succeeded in catching Kuyckx on the Bemelerberg, where Aldag and Kroon dropped the rest of the group. Van Summeren followed soon after when he punctured, a somewhat ignomious end to a 185 km breakaway.
The presence of a T-Mobile and Rabobank rider up the road forced Fassa Bortolo to do a lot of the chasing, and Ferretti's men caught Aldag and Kroon with 46 km to go, prompting a new round of attacks from Horrillo, Merckx, Ivanov, Mazzoleni, M. Zberg, Coenen, Sorensen, Popovych, Verheyen, Dekker and Landis. But the first really decisive move came from blond German Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile), who attacked on the Eyserbosweg with 20 km to go, taking Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo) and Danilo Di Luca (Saeco) with him.
The six men put their horsepower to good use and rode away from the now shattered peloton. Erik Dekker, Michele Bartoli, Oscar Camenzind, Floyd Landis formed part of a chase group, but Dekker's continual accelerations disrupted their rhythm and the six leaders could not be caught.
Rebellin took the race in hand on the Fromberg with 17 km to go, taking Michael Boogerd with him and assuming the leadership of the race. The pair realised that they needed to put time into riders like Bettini and Van Petegem, and worked hard to establish a gap over the four chasers. They stuck together over the Keutenberg, with its nasty 22 percent grade, and opened up 30 seconds lead to Bettini and co., which was enough insurance for the finishing climb of the Cauberg.
There was therefore time for tactics to be played out on the Cauberg, as Rebellin led all the way up the climb at a gradually slowing pace, with a very nervous Boogerd on his wheel, checking behind to see where the chasers were. After one final glance back, Boogerd accelerated hard with 350m to go as the Cauberg began to level out, but it was not enough. Rebellin easily took his wheel and waited until the last 100m, when he was able to sail round Boogerd for his third World Cup win after San Sebastian and Zurich in 1997.
Bettini led home Di Luca, Van Petegem and Kessler in the chase group, while Dekker put in a nice solo effort to finish seventh. But for the second time in two years, the super favourite Michael Boogerd had to settle for second place behind someone quicker than him on the day.
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
Images by Olympia Photo
Images by AFP Photo
Images by DCP-Bert Geerts
1 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 6.23.44 (39.262 km/h) 2 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 0.01 3 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 0.18 4 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco 5 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo 6 Matthias Kessler (Ger) T-Mobile Team 0.26 7 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.41 8 Sergei Ivanov (Rus) T-Mobile Team 0.52 9 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco 0.53 10 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Liberty Seguros 0.55 11 Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.57 12 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 1.00 13 Axel Merckx (Bel) Lotto-Domo 1.12 14 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank 1.16 15 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Team CSC 16 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team 17 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco 18 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Fassa Bortolo 19 Arcos Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Liberty Seguros 20 Steffen Wesemann (Swi) T-Mobile Team 21 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC 22 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze 23 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 24 Serhiy Honchar (Ukr) De Nardi 25 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance 1.23 26 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 27 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 1.28 28 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Alessio-Bianchi 29 Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service-Berry Floor 30 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi 31 Jose Azevedo (Por) US Postal Service-Berry Floor 1.44 32 Jose Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) US Postal Service-Berry Floor 1.54 33 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Quick.Step-Davitamon 3.43 34 Phillippe Gilbert (Bel) FDJeux.com 35 Michael Barry (Can) US Postal Service-Berry Floor 36 Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi 37 Paolo Valoti (Ita) Domina Vacanze 38 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf 39 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank 40 Markus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 41 Michael Blaudzun (Den) Team CSC 42 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 43 Rolf Aldag (Ger) T-Mobile Team 44 Wim Vanhuffel (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 45 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto 46 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank 3.55 47 Andrea Noe (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi 48 Bram Tankink (Ned) Quick.Step-Davitamon 49 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 50 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi 51 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Liberty Seguros 52 Gregory Rast (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 53 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo 54 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Lampre 55 Erwin Thijs (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans 6.13 56 Johan Coenen (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans 57 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner 58 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Lotto-Domo 59 Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) Domina Vacanze 60 Chris Peers (Bel) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf 61 Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Lampre 62 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 63 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC 64 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Domina Vacanze 65 Daniele Nardello (Swi) T-Mobile Team 66 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 67 Benoit Joachim (Lux) US Postal Service-Berry Floor 68 Ellis Rastelli (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi 69 Uan Ant Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 70 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Lotto-Domo 71 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 6.46 72 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Lotto-Domo 6.56 73 Bert Hiemstra (Ned) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf 7.50 74 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJeux.com 8.37 75 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 9.15 76 Osé Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto 9.55 77 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Liberty Seguros 78 Alexander Bazhenov (Rus) Domina Vacanze 11.23 79 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) Ag2R Prevoyance 11.31 80 Francesco Failli (Ita) Domina Vacanze 11.44 81 Massimo Giunti (Ita) Domina Vacanze 82 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner 83 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) De Nardi 84 Dariusz Baranowski (Pol) Liberty Seguros 85 Roger Hammond (GBr) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans 86 Mark Scanlon (Irl) Ag2R Prevoyance 87 Javier Ramirez Abeja (Spa) Liberty Seguros 88 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Lampre 89 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Lampre 90 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre 91 Uros Mum (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems 92 Jan Van Velzen (Ned) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf 93 Davide Bramati (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 94 Nico Mattan (Bel) Relax-Bodysol 11.56 95 Roberto Petito (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 96 Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre 97 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 12.04 98 Pieter Mertens (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 99 Ruslan Ivanov (Mda) Alessio-Bianchi 100 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo 101 Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Domina Vacanze World Cup standings after round 4 1 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) T-Mobile Team 116 pts 2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank 115 3 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 100 4 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Alessio-Bianchi 100 5 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 94 6 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo 94 7 Leif Hoste (Bel) Lotto-Domo 84 8 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile 80 9 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 79 10 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 76 11 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) Team CSC 70 12 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Lotto-Domo 68 13 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service-Berry Floor 53 14 Roger Hammond (GBr) MrBookmaker-Palmans 50 15 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf 50 16 Stuart O'grady (Aus) Credit Agricole 50 17 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 47 18 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Lampre 43 19 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco 40 20 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo 40 21 Alessadro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 40 22 Frank Hoj (Den) Team CSC 40 23 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) T-Mobile Team 40 24 Andreas Klier (Ger) T-Mobile Team 37 25 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) US Postal Service-Berry Floor 36 26 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco 34 27 Mathiaa Kessler (Ger) T-Mobile Team 32 28 Igor Astraloa (Spa) Cofidis 32 29 Rolf Aldag (Ger) T-Mobile Team 28 30 Antonio Flecha G. Juan (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 27 31 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 21 32 Angel Martin Perdiguero Miguel (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 20 33 Giampalo Casuro (Ita) Liberty Seguros 16 34 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Team CSC 16 35 Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 15 36 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Lotto-Domo 15 37 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 14 38 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance 14 39 Axel Mercks (Bel) Lotto-Domo 13 40 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 12 41 Jorg Ludewig (Ger) Saeco 12 42 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) FDJeux.com 12 43 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi 12 44 Daniele Nardello (Ita) T-Mobile Team 11 45 Josu Silloniz Aresti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 11 46 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco 9 47 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole 9 48 Guido Trenti (USA) Fassa Bortolo 9 49 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Fassa Bortolo 8 50 Frederic Guesdon (Fra) FDJeux.com 8 51 Xavier Florencio C. (Spa) Relax-Bodysol 8 52 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 8 53 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2R Prevoyance 8 54 Marcos Serano Roddriguez (Spa) Liberty Seguros 7 55 Roberto Petito (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 7 56 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi 7 57 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team CSC 6 58 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 6 59 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC 5 60 Stijn Devolder (Bel) US Postal Service-Berry Floor 5 61 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze 4 62 Michele Gobbi (Ita) De Nardi 4 63 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 3 64 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team CSC 3 65 Inigo Landaluze (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 3 66 Serhiy Honchar (Ukr) De Nardi 2 67 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Gerolsteiner 2 68 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 2 69 Christophe Mengin (Fra) FDJeux.com 1 70 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros 1 Teams 1 T Mobile 35 pts 2 Lotto-Domo 26 3 Rabobank 25 4 Quick.Step-Davitamon 22 5 Fassa Bortolo 18