91st Meisterschaft von ZŁrich - Championship of Zurich - CDM
Switzerland, August 22, 2004
Commentary by Jeff Jones
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:30 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 91st ZŁri-Metzgete/Meisterschaft
von ZŁrich/Championship of Zurich, the eighth round of the World Cup and the
last one before the World Championships in Verona in October. Today's race will
likely be a pivotal one in determining the outcome of the World Cup. Currently
Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) leads the 10 race series with 282 points, but
his nearest challenger Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon) on 238 points is
certainly in good form, having won the Olympic road race last weekend. Rebellin
has enough of a buffer to hold off Bettini at the moment, but one slip by Rebellin
(or Bettini for that matter) in the last three races could be costly.
There will be plenty of other riders up for the challenge in Zurich, such as
World Champ Igor Astarloa (Lampre) and his teammate Francesco Casagrande. Defending
Zurich champion Daniele Nardello will be hard pressed to repeat, but his T-Mobile
teammates include Alexandre Vinokourov, Paolo Savoldelli and Cadel Evans, who
could all play a role. Then there's Belgian Axel Merckx (Lotto-Domo), Danilo
Di Luca (Saeco), Michele Bartoli (CSC), Philippe Gilbert (FDJeux.com) and Yaroslav
The course consists of one lap of a 72 km circuit followed by four laps of a
testing 42.1 km lap, including the steep climbs of Forch and Pfannenstiel each
lap. The last ascent of the Pfannenstiel with 18 km to go is usually where the
final selection is made, but the winning move can come on the run in to town.
The weather today is a bit cooler than usual, with heavy clouds hovering around
Zurich. Temperatures are barely up around the 20 degree mark, and there is a
light/moderate northeast wind blowing, which will be across and against the
riders in the final part of the course.
An update on the race so far: 172 riders started at 11:50am, and after 10 km,
two riders attacked: David Zabriskie (US Postal) and Carlos Barredo (Liberty
Seguros). After 72 km the two leaders were being chased by Christophe Mengin
(FDJeux.com) at 6'30, while the peloton languished 17 minutes behind.
14:59 CEST 124km/117km to go
The peloton has just come past the finish line for the second time after completing
114 km - still three laps and 126 km to go. The gap to the two leaders decreased
to 15 minutes, but then it went up again to 21 minutes. At the moment, it's
16'25 with the lone Christophe Mengin at 11 minutes behind.
15:06 CEST 130km/111km to go
Barredo and Zabriskie are looking a little tired, but they have a pretty handy
lead over the peloton, which is being led by Quick.Step's Michael Rogers and
T-Mobile's Giuseppe Guerini.
15:10 CEST 132km/109km to go
Landbouwkrediet has come to the front of the bunch to help T-Mobile, Quick.Step
and Gerolsteiner chase the three leaders. The peloton is starting to stretch
out a bit on the second 42 km lap. Zabriskie and Barredo still have a very handy
lead, while Mengin will be caught soon it looks like.
Mengin is now on the Forch climb, while Zabriskie and Barredo are flying down
the other side, en route to the Pfannenstiel.
At 109 km to go, the two leaders have an incredible 19'12 advantage over the
peloton, while Mengin still has 12'17 over the bunch, so he should stay out
there now. But the chase is on in earnest, and T-Mobile, Gerolsteiner, Quick.Step
and Landbouwkrediet are making the tempo.
15:18 CEST 134km/107km to go
Barredo and Zabriskie are both out of the saddle at the foot of the Pfannenstiel,
trying to keep a steady but hard tempo to limit their loss to the peloton. With
such a big lead, they are a real chance to stay away. It depends on how they
handle the 241 km with just each other as company.
Barredo continues to set the pace as the climb steepens, while Zabriskie sits
behind. Barredo is still out of the saddle, while Zabriskie is seated.
In the peloton, Guerini is once again at the front, working hard.
15:26 CEST 139km/102km to go
Zabriskie and Barredo reach the top of the Pfannenstiel, with two more ascents
to come. They are now descending back into Zurich. Mengin still follows them
at about 8 minutes, while the peloton has closed the gap slightly.
15:40 CEST 149km/92km to go
The two leaders are now coming back into Zurich again, pursued by Mengin and
the hungry peloton. The weather has cleared up a little and there is plenty
of blue sky in between the clouds - really a perfect day for racing.
15:56 CEST 159km/82km to go
The last time check between Zabriskie/Barredo and the peloton was 18'35, with
Mengin still in no-man's land at 12 minutes behind the leaders. The leading
duo cross the line with two 42 km laps to go, and a real chance of staying away.
In the peloton, Lagutin (Landbouwkrediet) drops back for a bottle or three,
along with several other riders. It's important before the pace gets really
hard to stay hydrated.
16:03 CEST 164km/77km to go
It's still T-Mobile, Quick.Step and now Rabobank leading the peloton behind
the leaders. There's a couple of Saeco riders there too.
Barredo and Zabriskie are now on the third of four laps, on the Forch climb.
The peloton is like a dart at the moment as it heads towards the start/finish.
The two leaders went through 10 minutes ago already. Guerini and Konecny are
working for T-Mobile, while Rogers is still up there for Quick.Step.
16:06 CEST 167km/74km to go
The peloton passes through the feed zone just before the finish line, with most
riders grabbing feed bags. Still Guerini on the front and that gap to the two
leaders is 10'58 with 2 laps (84 km) to go.
Bettini is near the middle of the bunch with gold sleeves on his jersey!
Michele Scarponi (Domina Vacanze) has abandoned. The peloton is still quite
large, and most of the favourites are here.
16:09 CEST 167km/74km to go
Given that the peloton made up 9 minutes on that last lap, it looks like these
two leaders will be caught with about 30 km to go. Barredo leads on the Forch,
with Zabriskie looking a lot more comfortable sitting behind him. Mengin has
been caught by the bunch.
Zabriskie takes over for a turn. The pair are still looking good, but the chase
behind is pretty serious with T-Mobile and Quick.Step in charge.
Christophe Oriol (Ag2r) flats at the foot of the Forch, but is on his way again.
16:15 CEST 169km/72km to go
Konecny and Guerini drive the peloton up the Forch climb, 9'42 behind Zabriskie
and Barredo, who have been away since km 10.
Guerini drops off at last, leaving just Konecny in front followed by Rabobank's
Kevin de Weert. Konecny looks back for some help, and another T-Mobile jersey
Further down the peloton, Rebellin looks cool, calm, relaxed, tranquil and at
one with the world.
16:20 CEST 172km/69km to go
After 10 km of climbing, Zabriskie and Barredo reach the top of the Forch and
begin the descent that takes them to the Pfannenstiel.
Guerini is back at the front of the bunch, working very hard with two teammates.
The gap has come down to 8'30, and the two leaders are fighting a losing battle
16:25 CEST 175km/66km to go
Aitor Gonzalez (Fassa Bortolo) picks up a bottle from his team car and heads
back towards the front of the bunch.
Zabriskie and Barredo pass a tram as they continue on their way to the Pfannenstiel.
The gap is down to 8'08 with 66 km to go.
16:28 CEST 177km/64km to go
There are now five T-Mobile jerseys at the front of the peloton, so obviously
they believe in the chances of Vinokourov (and Nardello and Evans). The tempo
is very high as the bunch rides on a flat section before the descent.
Zabriskie has attacked Barredo at the foot of the Pfannenstiel.
16:29 CEST 180km/61km to go
Zabriskie reaches the steep section of the climb and already has 15 seconds.
Barredo tried to react to the attack of the young American, but couldn't take
Barredo hasn't given up completely, and trails Zabriskie by about 15 seconds
as the US Postal rider takes a left hand turn onto a steeper part of the climb.
But all the time, the peloton is getting closer: 7'24 is the last time check,
and now Gerolsteiner, Quick.Step and Lampre are at the front. There's also a
Prodir-Saunier Duval jersey up there too.
Zabriskie is really motoring now, despite the steepness of the Pfannenstiel
climb. He still has 15 seconds lead on his former companion, who will be feeling
pretty annoyed at not getting Zabriskie's wheel when he attacked at the bottom
of the climb.
16:35 CEST 181km/60km to go
Barredo continues to pursue Zabriskie at 11 seconds as they hit the final part
of the climb, cheered on by a sizeable bunch of spectators, but not what you'd
call huge crowds.
Rebellin has moved right to the front of the peloton, which is being towed by
Rabobank's Bram de Groot. CSC and T-Mobile are still active up front. Freire
is also well placed.
16:38 CEST 183km/58km to go
The gap has come down to 6'45 with 60 km to go for the bunch, and Paolo Savoldelli
is taking a turn on the front.
Meanwhile, Zabriskie is continuing with his solo effort, getting to the summit
of the Pfannenstiel at last. But Barredo is still 10 seconds behind him.
16:40 CEST 184km/57km to go
Barredo has closed the gap to 5 seconds on the descent, but it's hard work.
Slowly but surely, the Spaniard is getting back to the American, who perhaps
attacked a little early.
16:41 CEST 185km/56km to go
It's agonisingly close between the two leaders, and Carlos Barredo is giving
it everything to catch Dave Zabriskie on the descent of the Pfannenstiel. But
he can't quite close the gap.
Back in the peloton, Mick Rogers is driving the pace on the Pfannenstiel with
Paolini and Bettini on his wheel. the peloton starts to break up. Hincapie is
in fourth wheel.
Casagrande, Bartoli and Van Den Broeck are towards the front of the Rogers driven
peloton, which has strung out on the Pfannenstiel. Rebellin is a bit further
back. There are about 30 riders in the front group, thanks to Rogers' pace.
Rogers leads over the top of the Pfannenstiel as Casagrande attacks. A bit.
Paolini hauls him back and leaves him on the front. Maybe 25 men in the front
16:47 CEST 190km/51km to go
Barredo has caught and passed Zabriskie on the descent of the Pfannenstiel,
but the two are still essentially together.
The chase group contains: Bettini, Rogers, Paolini, Rebellin, Casagrande, Vila,
Vinokourov, Nardello, Evans, Freire, Hincapie, Barry, Luis Perez and Bartoli
among others - about 25 riders total.
Quick.Step has strength in numbers in the chase group, which has grown a bit
on the descent to perhaps 28 riders. Sinkewitz, Paolini, Rogers are all there
Mirko Celestino (Saeco) leads a larger group behind the front bunch at about
15 seconds. They should get back on.
16:52 CEST 194km/47km to go
There's now a group of 60 riders together on the short climb of Wetzwil, just
before the rest of the descent into Zurich. Patxi Vila (Lampre) leads them.
The gap to Zabriskie and Barredo has come down to 4'24 with 47 km to go.
Zabriskie and Barredo are now back together on the flat run into the start/finish.
The cooperation is probably not as good as it was before the attacking, and
Barredo gives Zabriskie an evil look as he comes past for his turn. He looks
a bit knackered.
Barredo languidly pulls off after his turn, and has another chat with Zabriskie.
Vila, Paolini and Hincapie have a small gap, and are joined by Sinkewitz, Guerini
and a couple of others - Evans, Zberg and Freire. Markus Zberg is there, and
tries to force the pace to hold the peloton off. But it doesn't work.
Rogers surges, trying to keep the pace up. A Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile rider
go with him.
17:00 CEST 197km/44km to go
Vila and Savoldelli hammer on the front of the peloton, with Rogers doing a
lot of work too. The gap to the lead pair is coming down rapidly.
Barredo grabs a bidon at the feed zone just before the start/finish. Zabriskie
is glued to his wheel.
17:06 CEST 201km/40km to go
The main peloton, numbering perhaps 50-60 riders, is really getting strung out
by the T-Mobile/Quick.Step pace. Rogers is doing a great job for Bettini, and
grabs a bidon at the feed as well. The gap at the start/finish is 2'40, as a
Landbouwkrediet rider attacks. Another big group comes through at 3'00.
The Landbouwkrediet rider is Lorenzo Bernucci. He has about a 5 second gap to
17:09 CEST 203km/38km to go
Bernucci is caught at the foot of the Forch climb as Gerolsteiner wind up the
pace to a heinous speed. The gap is 1'53 with 39 km to go, but Zabriskie and
Barredo are still out there - full credit to them.
There's a group of 10 riders split off the front of the bunch, including a US
Meanwhile in front, Barredo gets revenge on Zabriskie as he attacks him on the
Forch. He gets a 10 second gap, and Zabriskie looks a bit cooked.
17:12 CEST 204km/37km to go
Zabriskie puts it in the 39 x 23 and relaxes. His race is done. Just one leader
now while Francesco Casagrande (Lampre) and Markus Zberg (Gerolsteiner) are
in pursuit. A couple more are coming up to them.
Casagrande's group of four has 20 seconds on the peloton, where Aitor Gonzalez
has just attacked.
Carlos Barredo is in a spot of bother on the Forch, and is all over his bike
on the steep part. He'll be caught very soon.
Barredo sits up and takes a long drink, but his strength is just about gone.
Despite this, he's still in the big chainring. He's looking back a lot, and
will not make it to the top before the chasers.
17:16 CEST 205km/36km to go
Barredo sits up and stretches his back. Casagrande, Rogers, Vinokourov and Zberg
blow past him at high speed. He was on the attack for 195 km.
17:17 CEST 206km/35km to go
The lead group is now Francesco Casagrande (Lampre), Markus Zberg (Gerolsteiner),
Michael Rogers (Quick.Step) and Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile). That's a very
nice looking quartet! They have 30 seconds to Joseba Albizu (Euskaltel).
Well Quick.Step, Lampre, T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner won't be chasing the leaders.
The other teams will have to do the work to get them back.
Verbrugghe (Lotto-Domo) realises he has to work, but he has Quick.Step, T-Mobile
and Gerolsteiner riders on his wheel. He gives it up.
The four leaders are cooperating, more or less. They have 25 seconds to Bartoli,
who is now on the counter attack. The peloton is at 30 seconds.
17:23 CEST 210km/31km to go
Rabobank now has a rider on the front of the bunch - Marc Lotz. But Wesemann
(T-Mobile) and Bettini (Quick.Step) are right on his wheel, not with the intention
to work. Rebellin is right behind Bettini.
The four leaders still have 30 seconds: Rogers, Vino, M.Zberg and Casagrande.
17:24 CEST 211km/30km to go
Rogers is sitting on the back of the break, as he is probably not in with a
good chance of victory against someone like Vinokourov. Casagrande attacks,
but Rogers closes the gap and it's back together.
17:26 CEST 212km/29km to go
Casagrande leads the break to the top of the Forch climb, with Rogers glued
to his wheel, then Markus Zberg and Alexandre Vinokourov. If this break can
make it to the Pfannenstiel intact, then watch for an attack from Vinokourov.
Rogers explains to Casagrande that he is not allowed to work.
In the peloton, Lotz and Weening are working for Rabobank. Weening looks back
at Wesemann, but the German isn't going to come through of course.
17:28 CEST 213km/28km to go
They're all on the descent towards the Pfannenstiel, with the front group just
17 seconds ahead of the peloton. Bartoli has been hauled back in. The front
group is not working well, and Casagrande keeps looking back at Rogers. But
there's no way the Australian is going to come through with Bettini in the peloton.
Aitor Gonzalez is leading the peloton as Philippe Gilbert (FDJeux.com) moves
up to the front. There are perhaps 60 riders here.
Zberg looks back, but Rogers is maintaining last position in the break.
17:30 CEST 214km/27km to go
Vinokourov does a short turn, stretches a bit, then Zberg and Casagrande come
through. Having one rider sitting on a break really kills it, because the others
don't want to tow the fourth rider to the line. It's much easier sitting on
than it is working in front, unless it's on a climb.
17:32 CEST 218km/23km to go
It's 11 seconds now and this break will be caught very soon. The peloton is
flying on the descent.
17:33 CEST 219km/22km to go
Erik Dekker (Rabobank) makes the junction first, with the rest of the peloton
on his wheel. All together right at the foot of the Pfannenstiel, and Bettini
goes straight to the front with Rebellin on his wheel. Then Michael Albasini
(Phonak). The three have a small gap already!
17:36 CEST 220km/21km to go
Bettini's turn has split the peloton - 25 riders left and falling. Bettini,
Rebellin and Albasini are still dangling a bit in front of the thinning peloton.
A Fassa Bortolo rider joins them, looks a bit like Frigo.
They slow, and Vila (Lampre) attacks. He has the front group in one long line.
It's splitting everywhere and they haven't yet got to the steep parts of the
Patxi Vila continues to drive as he hits a false flat, then takes the left hander
onto the narrow part of the climb. Vila is joined by three more, Vinokourov,
Frigo and Albasini. Then four more.
17:39 CEST 221km/20km to go
But they don't want to work, and Vila accelerates again and is alone in front
of the lead group, driving in the big ring on a flatter part of the climb.
Vila is caught by Verbrugghe, Vinokourov, Moncoutiť and Freire, and Moncoutiť
immediately lifts the pace. Georg Totschnig is trying to close the gap. Where
are Rebellin and Bettini?
Moncoutiť and Verbrugghe are together, with Vinokourov just a few metres off
the back of them and struggling. Vila is further behind. They have about 10
seconds on the Bettini/Rebellin led front group.
17:43 CEST 223km/18km to go
Rebellin accelerates from the group, but of course Bettini is right on his wheel.
They catch Totschnig.
In front, it's still Moncoutiť and Verbrugghe, with Vino about 15m behind at
the top of the climb.
Vinokourov is 5 seconds Verbrugghe and Moncoutiť behind at the top, and he is
joined by more riders.
The front group is very strung out, but there's still a good 25 riders in contention.
17:47 CEST 225km/16km to go
Freire, Vino, Vila, Casagrande have caught Verbrugghe and Moncoutiť on the descent,
but Rebellin and Bettini are also there. The 25 men are back together again!
17:49 CEST 227km/14km to go
Gentili attacks and nearly takes out a motorbike in front of him. The group
hits the Wetzwil mini-climb but no-one attacks. Barry (USPS) leads, then Rebellin
accelerates. Ouch. Bettini chases.
17:50 CEST 228km/13km to go
Rebellin's attack is a good one, but he gets Bettini and one other rider for
Vino is dropped.
17:51 CEST 230km/11km to go
Rebellin has 50m lead over Bettini on the descent, with one other rider in pursuit.
The rest of the group is strung out in pursuit. Frigo and Nardello are with
Bettini now. Frigo almost loses it on a corner.
17:53 CEST 232km/9km to go
Bettini has gotten rid of his companions and is closing the gap to the leader,
nearly cleaning up a moto which is in the way.
Bettini catches Rebellin on the descent. This will be interesting. Will they
cooperate? It's certainly good to see the World Cup leaders going on the attack!
17:55 CEST 233km/8km to go
Four riders are chasing Rebellin and Bettini on the descent into Zurich. This
will be interesting. The last 8 km are flat.
Savoldelli and Frigo have caught Rebellin and Bettini and we have four leaders.
In front we have Rebellin, Bettini, Frigo and Savoldelli, as Erik Dekker (Rabobank)
sets off in solo pursuit. He gets Verbrugghe and Borghi for company.
17:57 CEST 234km/7km to go
It's an Italian quartet in front with the top two riders in the World Cup -
Bettini and Rebellin, along with former Zurich winner Dario Frigo and Giro d'Italia
winner Paolo Savoldelli.
Dekker's group, which is now seven strong, catches the leaders with 6 km to
17:59 CEST 237km/4km to go
Dekker and Verbrugghe counter attack immediately, but they are not allowed any
space. The group is back together. 4 km left.
18:00 CEST 238km/3km to go
Michael Barry (USPS) attacks next, and Aitor Gonzalez chases but with Bettini
and Rebellin on his wheel, he gives it up. Barry is alone. But only with a 5
second gap. The Quick.Steps chase him down.
Sinkewitz did the damage there - this could well be a 25 rider group sprint.
18:01 CEST 239km/2km to go
Sinkewitz continues to drive the tempo with Dekker and Moncoutiť on his wheel.
There is a lot of jostling in the bunch with 2 km left. Can Bettini win or will
Freire do it?
18:02 CEST 240km/1km to go
Sinkewitz's turn is very strong, but Dekker tries to ride off the front. Straight
away, a Fassa rider is there, but he sits up. Dekker has 20 m with 1 km to go.
Dekker's gap isn't really big enough, but he has one. Still 20m with 800m to
18:04 CEST 241km/0km to go
The sprint starts with T-Mobile leading it out. Dekker is caught. Bettini goes
behind Barry and Flecha, then comes round but he's too late and it's Juan Antonio
Flecha (Fassa) who wins!!!!! Bettini second, moving up on the World Cup. Rebellin
1 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 6.13.25
2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step
3 Jerome Pineau (Fra) Brioches
4 Dmitri Fofonov (Kaz) Cofidis
5 Michael Albasini (Swi) Phonak
6 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
7 Michael Barry (Can) USPS-Berry Floor
8 George Hincapie (USA) USPS-Berry Floor
9 Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) Domina Vacanze
10 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
World Cup standings after round 8
1 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 314 pts
2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step 308
3 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank 198
4 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis 150
5 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 146
6 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 140
7 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 137
the commentary team
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