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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

90th Liège-Bastogne-Liège - CDM

Belgium, April 25, 2004

Results    Live report    World Cup standings

The cards fall to Rebellin again

Italian takes triple crown and World Cup lead

By Jeff Jones in Ans

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: AFP

The 'reborn' Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) has won his third major race within the space of eight days, adding the 90th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège to his triumphs in the Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne last week. Once again, the cards fell in Rebellin's favour, as he found himself in the company of eternal Dutch hope Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) and fiery Kazakh Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile) with 5 km to go. Rebellin played it cool, allowing Boogerd and Vinokourov to match each other's attacks, and had the perfect position on Boogerd's wheel with 250m to go. From there, there was no doubt that he would win the sprint, and he did not disappoint.

"I'm very, very satisfied with this result," said Rebellin, as calm and relaxed as he was at the start of the race. "It's a race that suits me and it couldn't have gone better for me in the finale. I felt that Boogerd would attack on Saint-Nicolas so I stayed on his wheel. I wasn't super strong, but the sprint went well for me."

Rebellin added his Amstel Gold Race victory liberated him from two years of health problems, Flèche Wallonne was the confirmation, and today was the realisation that he can be a great rider again. After two years suffering from an intestinal parasite, Rebellin is in the form of his life and he means to make the most of it.

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Gunnar Mjaugedal

In winning Liège, Amstel and Flèche in the same year, Rebellin has done what no-one else has before him, and it's a performance that perhaps betters Peter Van Petegem's Ronde Van Vlaanderen/Paris-Roubaix double last year. Rebellin also takes the lead in the World Cup, scoring 200 points compared to Michael Boogerd's 146. His goals now focus on the Giro d'Italia, where he hopes to win a stage and wear the maglia rosa, and then the second half of the season including the Olympics, World Championships and remaining World Cup races.

Once again, Michael Boogerd had to settle for second place, the Dutchman countering Alexandre Vinokourov's move with 1.5 km to go, then trying to go on his own with 500m out. But Rebellin was there, right on his wheel. "Rebellin was unbeatable," admitted Boogerd. "I played all my cards. You know you are beaten when Rebellin is on your wheel with 150m to go."

How it unfolded

The peloton
Photo ©: Gunnar Mjaugedal

Absolutely perfect racing conditions greeted the 193 riders in Liège's Place Saint-Lambert for the start of the 90th edition of this classic. Unfortunately for Team Saeco's changes, favourite Danilo Di Luca did not make it to the sign on, suffering from a fever last night that forced him to withdraw. That left Saeco relying on Mirko Celestino, who didn't have the same form as Di Luca and couldn't make a difference in the finale.

Assisted by a light tailwind from the northeast, the first hour of racing was fast with 44 km covered. Jan van Velzen (Chocolade Jacques) and Peter Wuyts (MrBookmaker-Palmans) tried to escape after 22 km, but were caught. It wasn't until just before the 60 km mark - just 40 km from Bastogne - that the break of the day was established. Jurgen Van de Walle and Raivis Belohvosciks (Chocolade Jacques), Bram Tankink (Quick.Step), Laurent Lefèvre (La Boulangère), Iñaki Isasi (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and - importantly for Rebellin's team - Marcel Strauss (Gerolsteiner) all made the move.

Raivis Belohvosciks (Jacques)
Photo ©: Gunnar Mjaugedal

The six already had five minutes lead by the Côte Saint-Roch (km 89), with the peloton still very much in cruise mode. When the leaders reached the turnaround at Bastogne, they had close to 10 minutes, their maximum lead. Under impulse from Phonak, CSC, Rabobank and Lotto, the peloton strung itself out on the homeward run back to Liège. The break lost Belohvosciks before halfway (km 129), reducing it to five men.

On the 2.7 km Côte de Stockeu with just under 90 km to go, the five leaders were just 4'30 in front of the main bunch, with Jurgen Van De Walle crossing the top first. Over the next 25 km, some strong work from Niki Aebersold (Phonak) and Jörg "what broken elbow?" Jaksche (CSC) helped reduce the gap to around 2 minutes at the foot of the Côte du Rosier with 64 km to go. CSC made a tactical move at the top of the climb, sending Jaksche and Kurt-Asle Arvesen along with Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole) in pursuit of the break, which had disintegrated leaving just Tankink and Strauss in front.

Arvesen had told Cyclingnews at the start this morning that, "My main thing is to take care of the middle of the race and the first part and not really the finale. If I'm feeling good then of course I'll be there, but I have to be ready from Bastogne. Bartoli and Basso are our main captains today. Jaksche is in really good shape but with a broken arm it's quite difficult. We'll see with him."

Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC)
Photo ©: Gunnar Mjaugedal

The CSC pair were having a good day, and together with Botcharov caught Tankink and Strauss on the Côte de Vecquee with 52 km remaining. The peloton was 1'10 behind at the top of the Vecquee, with Phonak and Rabobank leading a full speed chase on the descent before the crucial climb of La Redoute with 35 km to go.

The leaders became three on La Redoute, as Strauss and Tankink dropped off on the steep 1.9 km climb. Botcharov accelerated to take climbers points (and secure the climber's jersey) at the top, while Arvesen and Jaksche maintained a steady rhythm behind him. The peloton didn't quite explode on the climb, despite two accelerations from Bettini, one from Boogerd and some hard tempo work from Garzelli's teammate Oscar Mason. Over the top, there were 25 men left, but this grew to 50 on the descent as the three leaders were captured.

The attacks continued over the Côte de Sprimont and down towards the penultimate climb of the Côte du Sart-Tilman with 18 km to go. Michael Boogerd suffered an unfortunate puncture at this point, and had to chase hard with his teammates to regain the peloton. On Sart-Tilman, the bunch reduced further with Euskaltel's Iñigo Landaluze and Quick.Step's Patrik Sinkewitz managing to get clear halfway up. The two young riders managed to achieve an 18 second gap over the peloton on the wide downhill run to Liège, but with Lotto-Domo, Saeco and Fassa Bortolo leading the chase, the pair didn't quite have enough lead to survive until the top of the 1.1 km/10% Côte de Saint-Nicolas with 6 km to go.

Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo)
Photo ©: Gunnar Mjaugedal

It was on this climb that the 50 rider peloton exploded for the last time. First Peter Van Petegem then Michael Boogerd put in stinging attacks, and it was Boogerd who crested the top with a small lead over Alexandre Vinokourov and Davide Rebellin. This was the decisive move, and once again Rebellin had read it well. The three worked well on the descent into Ans with Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel), Ivan Basso (CSC) and Bjorn Leukemans (MrBookmaker) in pursuit, but the 15 second gap was uncloseable.

As they turned onto Rue Walthère Jamar with 1.5 km of uphill remaining, it was Alexandre Vinokourov who made the first acceleration. Rebellin didn't react immediately, forcing Boogerd to chase - the Dutchman obliged, despite the fact that he knew Rebellin was the faster sprinter. Boogerd gave it everything but once he caught Vino with 1 km to go, Rebellin was right on his wheel. Vino tried again, but didn't have enough gas and as the pace slowed, Boogerd dropped back to last wheel and accelerated as hard as he could.

Michael Boogerd (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Elmar Krings

Rebellin didn't wait this time, and immediately closed the gap to Boogerd as Vinokourov started to drop off the pace. That left Boogerd to take the final left-hander onto Rue Jean-Jaurès with 250m of flat to go and start the sprint. Rebellin didn't wait long and powered around for the third time in three races, winning by several bike lengths and proving himself as the strongest rider of the moment.

Now the World Cup leader, Rebellin will race next Saturday's Rund um den Henninger Turm, following that with the Giro d'Italia start on May 8. If he maintains this sort of form, then his goals of a stage win and the pink jersey (for a while at least) will be easily reached.


For a thumbnail photo gallery of these pics, click here.

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Gunnar Mjaugedal/Cyclingnews.com/www.catchlight.no

Images by Elmar Krings

Images by Mitch Clinton/www.clintonphoto.com

Images by Olympia Photo

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Images by Mani Wollner/www.foto-grafik-satz.de

Results - 258.5 km

1 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                           6.20.09 (40.8 km/h)
2 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                                  0.02
3 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team                        0.04
4 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                          0.08
5 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                                      0.12
6 Matthias Kessler (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                
7 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze                               
8 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC                                           
9 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems                         
10 Angel Vicioso (Spa) Liberty Seguros                                
11 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) T-Mobile Team                               
12 David Etxebarria (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                           
13 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco                                     0.16
14 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank                                        
15 Denis Menchov (Rus) Illes Balears-Banesto                          
16 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Fassa Bortolo                            
17 Inigo Landaluze (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                            
18 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance                             
19 Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal-Berry Floor                
20 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Lampre                                    
21 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                    
22 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                           
23 Manuel Beltran (Spa) US Postal-Berry Floor                     0.19
24 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco                                        
25 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                 
26 Oscar Mason (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie           0.21
27 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Team CSC                                     
28 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                0.25
29 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                        0.27
30 Björn Leukemans (Bel) MrBookmaker-Palmans                      0.28
31 Marcos Serrano (Spa) Liberty Seguros                               
32 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Liberty Seguros                         0.46
33 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) Quick.Step-Davitamon                    0.53
34 Gianni Faresin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                              1.03
35 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner                              1.05
36 Miguel Perdiguero (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                       
37 Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                         
38 José Luis Rubiera (Spa) US Postal-Berry Floor           
39 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Domina Vacanze                             
40 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) FDJeux.com                                  
41 Manuele Mori (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                            
42 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo                                    
43 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems                     
44 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJeux.com                                       
45 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Brioches La Boulangere                         
46 Laurent Dufaux (Swi) Quick.Step-Davitamon                          
47 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf              
48 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Credit Agricole                          
49 Didier Rous (Fra) Brioches La Boulangere                           
50 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Saeco                                        
51 Piotr Wadecki (Pol) Lotto-Domo                                 1.09
52 Patxi Xabie Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre                           
53 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                  1.32
54 Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                       
55 Axel Merckx (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                   1.35
56 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Credit Agricole                            
57 D'abusco Michele Scotto (Ita) Lampre                           1.45
58 Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre                                         
59 José Azevedo (Por) US Postal-Berry Floor                
60 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC                                      
61 Jan Hruska (Cze) Liberty Seguros                                   
62 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie      2.17
63 Massimo Codol (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                              2.40
64 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                 
65 José Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto                    
66 Nicolas Fritsch (Fra) FDJeux.com                                   
67 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                    2.57
68 Dario Cioni (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                    
69 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                            
70 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                       
71 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                          3.35
72 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank                                     
73 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Saeco                                          
74 Unai Etxebarria (Ven) Euskaltel-Euskadi                            
75 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                              5.34
76 Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Domina Vacanze                               
77 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                       
78 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC                                   
79 Pablo Lastras (Spa) Illes Balears-Banesto                          
80 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner                                 
81 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                 6.52
82 Bram Tankink (Ned) Quick.Step-Davitamon                            
83 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                       
84 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank                                           
85 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Saeco                                         
86 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                    
87 Andreas Kloden (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                 
88 Mikel Artetxe (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                              
89 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Brioches La Boulangere                      
90 Erwin Thijs (Bel) MrBookmaker-Palmans                          8.16
91 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) MrBookmaker-Palmans                       
92 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                              11.38
93 Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) Domina Vacanze                          
94 Alexandre Bazhenov (Rus) Domina Vacanze                            
95 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                        
96 Roberto Petito (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                 
97 Massimo Giunti (Ita) Domina Vacanze                                
98 Michael Barry (Can) US Postal-Berry Floor               
99 Benoît Poilvet (Fra) Credit Agricole                               
100 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie           
101 Benjamin Noval Gonzalez (Spa) US Postal-Berry Floor    
102 Iker Camano (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                               
103 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir                           
104 Joseba Albizu (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                             
105 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir                     
106 Paolo Valoti (Ita) Domina Vacanze                                 
107 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak Hearing Systems                         
108 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                 
109 Roger Beuchat (Swi) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie            
110 Javier Ramirez (Spa) Liberty Seguros                              
111 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Lampre                                        
112 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Fassa Bortolo                           
113 Ellis Rastelli (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                              
114 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) Team CSC                                       
115 Simone Masciarelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetteri        
116 Giuseppe Guerini (Ita) T-Mobile Team                              
117 Thomas Lovkvist (Swe) FDJeux.com                                  
118 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Saeco                                
119 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) FDJeux.com                                  
120 Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra) FDJeux.com                                 
121 Vladimir Duma (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                       
122 Daniele Nardello (Ita) T-Mobile Team                              
123 Inaki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                               
124 Marcel Strauss (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                 
125 Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) Liberty Seguros                        11.50
126 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank                                 13.28
127 Jens Renders (Bel) MrBookmaker-Palmans                            
128 Zbigniew Piatek (Pol) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf            
129 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                            
130 Walter Beneteau (Fra) Brioches La Boulangere                      
131 Davide Bramati (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                         
132 Francesco Failli (Ita) Domina Vacanze                             
World Cup standings after round 5
1 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                               200 pts
2 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                                   146
3 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) T-Mobile Team                             131
4 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank                                      127
5 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                                       115
6 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Alessio - Bianchi                         100
7 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step - Davitamon                        98
8 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto - Domo                              95
9 Leif Hoste (Bel) Lotto - Domo                                     84
10 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                   80
11 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) Team CSC                                   70
12 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Lotto - Domo                                  68
13 Matthias Kessler (Ger) T-Mobile Team                             64
14 George Hincapie (USA) Us Postal - Berry Floor                    53
15 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team                         50
16 Roger Hammond (GBr) Mr. Bookmaker.Com - Palmans                  50
17 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Chocolade Jacques Wincor - Nixdorf         50
18 Stuart O'grady (Aus) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone            50
19 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Quick Step - Davitamon                       47
20 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                         46
21 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Lampre                                   43
22 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco                                       40
23 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) T-Mobile Team                               40
24 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo                            40
25 Frank Hoj (Den) Team CSC                                         40
26 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                          40
27 Andreas Klier (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                37
28 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco                                      36
29 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Us Postal - Berry Floor                   36
30 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze                            32
31 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone             32
32 Rolf Aldag (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                   28
33 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Fassa Bortolo                          27
34 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC                                        24
35 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco                                       22
36 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance                           22
37 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step - Davitamon                          21
38 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems                      20
39 Miguel Perdiguero (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir                   20
40 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Fassa Bortolo                          18
41 Angel Vicioso (Spa) Liberty Seguros                              16
42 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Team CSC                                   16
43 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Liberty Seguros                           16
44 Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                     15
45 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Lotto - Domo                              15
46 David Etxebarria (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                       14
47 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick Step - Davitamon                        14
48 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                  13
49 Axel Merckx (Bel) Lotto - Domo                                   13
50 Inigo Landaluze (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                        12
51 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Fdjeux.Com                                12
52 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago                 12
53 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Alessio - Bianchi                            12
54 Jörg Ludewig (Ger) Saeco                                         12
55 Denis Menchov (Rus) Illes Balears - Banesto                      11
56 Daniele Nardello (Ita) T-Mobile Team                             11
57 Josu Silloniz (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                          11
58 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole                                9
59 Guido Trenti (USA) Fassa Bortolo                                  9
60 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Fdjeux.Com                                 8
61 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2R Prevoyance                               8
62 Xavier Florencio (Spa) Relax - Bodysol                            8
63 Floyd Landis (USA) Us Postal - Berry Floor                        7
64 Marcos Serrano (Spa) Liberty Seguros                              7
65 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio - Bianchi                           7
66 Roberto Petito (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                7
67 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Lampre                                   6
68 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team CSC                                     6
69 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC                                     5
70 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Us Postal - Berry Floor                      5
71 Michele Gobbi (Ita) De Nardi                                      4
72 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Us Postal - Berry Floor                      3
73 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                       3
74 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team CSC                                    3
75 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago                 2
76 Serhiy Honchar (Ukr) De Nardi                                     2
77 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                   2
78 Christophe Mengin (Fra) Fdjeux.Com                                1
79 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros                                 1

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