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HEW-Cyclassics-Cup - ProT

Hamburg, Germany, July 31, 2005

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Commentary by Jeff Jones

Live report

Live coverage starts: 15:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST

14:57 CEST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews and the Hindenburg IV (patent pending) for the live coverage of the 10th HEW Cyclassics Cup in Hamburg, Germany. This race is the youngest of the so-called "Classics", which used to be collected into the World Cup series. But things have become a little more blurred with the ProTour this year, and it is now merely part of the ProTour calendar. Despite this, HEW does kick off the second half of the classics season, with Clasica San Sebastian, Championship of Zurich, Paris-Tours, and Giro di Lombardia to follow.

Today's circuit is slightly different from years gone by, and the traditionally bumpy course takes a new turn into the countryside south of Hamburg, peaking with the moderate climb of Langenrehm after 58 km. It then maintains the finishing loop established in the 2004 edition with a view to make life harder for the sprinters, making the bunch climb the Waseberg (a 600 metre wall of up to 16%) four times, with the last coming at 15 km to go. Then it's a downhill/flat run into Hamburg for the final sprint.

15:10 CEST    140.5km/110km to go
The story so far: Although it was sunny before the start in Hamburg, by the time the gun went off at 11 o'clock, it had started to rain. The usual early attacks ended up with Domina Vacanze's Jörg Ludewig getting clear after 25 km. He was chased down by Leif Hoste (Discovery Channel) and André Greipel (Team Wiesenhof), but the three only came together at the 105 km mark. The peloton had let them go, and coming up to the Waseberg for the first time, the trio had 12'00.

T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner have taken the responsibility to chase, as the top two German teams, both with excellent victory chances (Zabel, Ullrich for T-Mobile, and Rebellin for Gerolsteiner).

15:20 CEST    152.5km/98km to go
Hoste is first to the top of the Waseberg for the first time, beating Ludewig and Greipel for the points. Greipel can't hang on, and is trying to chase the two more experienced riders in front. They roll down to the finish line, where Hoste takes the sprint points on the line ahead of Ludewig. Greipel is 4 minutes behind - he's gone.

At last report, the peloton was at 15'20. They're going to have to pull their fingers out to get these two in front, as there's less than 98 km to go.

15:30 CEST    154.5km/96km to go
The peloton has started to wake up a bit, and at the finish line passage with around 100 km to go, it has reduced the gap to Ludewig and Hoste to 13'00. It's still T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner doing the hard yards on the front of the bunch.

15:43 CEST    168.5km/82km to go
Ludewig and Hoste continue to hammer away in front - they have a real chance of making it today. As they reach the feed zone with 87 km to go, the peloton hasn't made much more ground up. In fact, the gap is out to 14'20 again!

15:57 CEST    178.5km/72km to go
Quick.Step has lent its strength to the chase, as Ludewig and Hoste tackle the Waseberg for the second time. The gap is coming down, but will it be enough?

16:03 CEST    180.5km/70km to go
Ludewig takes the points on the Waseberg this time, ahead of Hoste. The isolated Greipel is third across the top of the 600m/16% climb.

16:04 CEST    185.5km/65km to go
A chasing group has extracted itself from the peloton with Salvatore Commesso (Lampre) in it. Saunier Duval has a man there, but the yellow jerseys are also leading the peloton. Jan Ullrich is in fifth wheel.

The gap to the two leaders is 8'58...

16:07 CEST    188.5km/62km to go
Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) bridges the gap to the chase group, as the peloton bears down on it. Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa) and José Ivan Gutierrez (Illes Balears) are also in the group, but it's all together now.

Save for the three in front. The wet weather has probably aided their chances of staying away. It looks like they should do it, but the peloton will have to be organised.

16:09 CEST    194.5km/56km to go
The two leaders reach the line for the second time with Ludewig leading Hoste across, looking tired but determined. Their team cars have their windscreen wipers on, although it's not raining that hard.

16:10 CEST    195.5km/55km to go
Another chase group has counter attacked the peloton, with Sergei Ivanov (T-Mobile) driving it ahead of Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner). But the peloton is not too far behind.

16:13 CEST   
The bunch is very strung out as it heads back to the start/finish, led by a couple of Lampre riders. Ivanov is still near the front, with one of his teammates up there too. Haselbacher does another strong turn. Obviously Gerolsteiner is not working for him today.

16:14 CEST    197.5km/53km to go
Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step) has also moved up, with Nico Mattan (Davitamon-Lotto) next to him. They're riding quite hard, and will have to in order to recapture the two leaders. It's possible, but there will have to be no mistakes.

16:17 CEST    198.5km/52km to go
Hoste and Ludewig are now 9'07 ahead of the charging peloton, where Bettini does a turn as it crosses the finish line. The 8'58 reported previously was more like 10'00, as the GPS updating seems to be a bit awry.

16:19 CEST    200.5km/50km to go
Ullrich is sitting in about 10th wheel, ahead of Pozzato. Will he get the chance to go for the victory today? Doesn't look like it at the moment.

Tom Boonen has abandoned. That probably won't put the brakes on Quick.Step's chase, as Paolini, Bettini, and Pozzato are still good. Now Barloworld is in front, with Sean Sullivan doing a big turn. The bunch is in one long line.

16:21 CEST   
Hoste and Ludewig are maintaining their tempo, as the Discovery rider pulls an energy bar out of his sodden jersey pocket and engulfs it. Their pace is still quite good, but they'll be hurting a lot now. The rain makes it hard to keep going too.

16:22 CEST   
It's now Gerolsteiner and Barloworld doing the chasing, with Ivanov the token T-Mobile rider. It is a very solid chase - you can tell by the length of the peloton at the moment.

16:24 CEST    203.5km/47km to go
Of the two leaders, Ludewig looks to be more comfortable. He has just ridden the tour de France, so has a few more racing kilometres in his legs. But then again, Hoste will be fresh. They do fairly short turns as they hit the headwind.

16:27 CEST    207.5km/43km to go
ProTour leader Danilo Di Luca, clad in his rather grey looking outfit, is being moved up towards the front of the peloton by his Liquigas teammates.

T-Mobile now has two men chasing the two leaders, together with Gerolsteiner and Barloworld. Greipel was caught before the last passage of the finish line. The gap is 7'30-ish.

16:29 CEST    209.5km/41km to go
The two leaders keep up a good tempo into the headwind. They're both big guys, and well suited to riding in front in the rain. Of course, the peloton is going faster, but it looks like it will finish a little short, maybe by one or two minutes. We'll see on the next climb of the Waseberg.

16:31 CEST   
Fassa also has a man in the chase. It looks like nine or two riders chasing, mostly from Gerolsteiner. Stephan Schreck is one of the T-Mobiles.

16:33 CEST    210.5km/40km to go
Matteo Tosatto is the rider from Fassa in the chase. It's a really solid tempo on the wide roads - quite easy to hold a high speed. 6'59 to the leaders, with just under 40 km to go.

16:35 CEST    212.5km/38km to go
The peloton will have to ride just over 6 km/h faster than the two man break in front, to make sure of catching them in 39 km. It's possible.

16:37 CEST    213.5km/37km to go
It's a relentless pace behind the two leaders, with the gap now just 6'16 and falling fairly fast. Barloworld, Rabobank, Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile are doing a lot of damage.

Ludewig and Hoste continue. Ludewig gets some more food from his team car, and sucks it down.

16:37 CEST   
Now the fluoro green Liquigas boys are moving up to the front with Di Luca up to fourth wheel. Milesi does a big turn, then swings off.

16:40 CEST    215.5km/35km to go
The rain starts to fall again lightly as the bunch heads towards the Elbe and the third climb of the Waseberg, now just 5'11 behind the leading pair. Haselbacher is doing a great job. Wesemann is there too for T-Mobile.

Hoste is stretching on the bike. He's pretty knackered.

16:42 CEST    217.5km/33km to go
It's the big figure of Stephan Schreck on the front again as the peloton gets nervous. Zabel and Ullrich are very close. Now Wegmann does a strong turn.

The peloton is doing a good job - so far - of avoiding the numerous road splits and traffic islands. It helps having ridden the laps before.

16:43 CEST   
Eric Baumann (T-Mobile) is towards the rear of the bunch, having done a fair chunk of work earlier today.

16:44 CEST    217.5km/33km to go
Now Tosatto lifts the pace as the spray off the road blinds the riders behind. Wegmann is in second wheel, and they're getting very close to the Waseberg.

16:46 CEST    219.5km/31km to go
The gap is down to 3'56! Ludewig leads Hoste on the approach to the Waseberg. They're hurting with every pedal stroke now, even if Ludewig looks relatively comfy.

16:47 CEST    220.5km/30km to go
The peloton shows no respite as it takes the sharp left hander and starts the approach to the feared climb. 600 metres at 16 percent can do a lot of damage. Still Tosatto in front, then Wegmann, Wesemann and a Rabobank rider.

16:48 CEST   
Wegmann takes over from Tosatto as the nervous riders behind move up. Everyone wants to be in front for the Waseberg. This time will probably split the bunch in half.

16:49 CEST    221.5km/29km to go
Hoste and Ludewig take the short but steep descent just before the climb really starts. They are going very slow, as it's quite dangerous.

16:49 CEST   
Now T-Mobile has taken over in front of the bunch, with Klier and Wesemann towing Ullrich and De Jongh. The gap is 2'51.

16:51 CEST   
Finally, the leading pair take the left hander and are on the Waseberg, with Ludewig doing the first turn. Hoste hangs on grimly.

16:51 CEST    222.5km/28km to go
The gradient steeps and Hoste suffers, but takes the lead. Thousands of fans are spinning noisemakers as Hoste rides away from Ludewig! Impressive from the Belgian!

16:52 CEST   
Hoste reaches the top with a 20 second gap over Ludewig, who looks really sore.

Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner) has crashed in the peloton, which is near the foot of the climb.

16:53 CEST   
Ullrich takes the lead - he's in his small chainring at least. Guidi is next to him, then Paolini and Pozzato right behind.

16:54 CEST   
Ullrich muscles his way to the top, just ahead of Guidi, Pozzato and Paolini. They have a bit of a gap on the peloton, led by Gerolsteiner. The gap is just 1'21 to Hoste!

16:54 CEST   
The peloton is in bits as it tackles the tricky section in between the top and the descent. Ullrich continues to lead the two Quick.Steps and Phonak rider.

16:55 CEST    224.5km/26km to go
More riders come back to the Ullrich group. Wegmann is there, and Rebellin.

Hoste has just 1'15 of his lead left. He's really suffering.

16:56 CEST   
The Ullrich/Rebellin chase group grows to 25 riders. Ullrich does a big turn and Pozzato marks him.

16:57 CEST   
Ullrich sits up as Tankink and Gussev attack. Tosatto(?) gives chase.

16:59 CEST    225.5km/25km to go
It's not Tosatto, it's Marco Velo. He takes an age to get up to Tankink and Gussev, but succeeds. They have 10 seconds on the next group of chasers, where Ullrich sits at the back.

17:00 CEST   
Leif Hoste is still alone in front, being chased by Jörg Ludewig (Domina Vacanze), then a trio with Bram Tankink (Quick.Step), Vladimir Gussev (CSC), and Marco Velo (Fassa Bortolo). His gap is under a minute though.

17:01 CEST   
It's 53 seconds between Hoste and the three chasers, who will surely catch Ludewig soon.

17:02 CEST   
Meanwhile, back at the ranch... the peloton is reforming behind the three chasers, as T-Mobile regroups on the front. Klier, Ivanov and Wesemann are working hard. Also a Gerolsteiner or two there.

17:03 CEST    227.5km/23km to go
Stuart O'Grady - last year's winner - also shows himself near the front of the peloton. Rabobank moves up to help T-Mobile a bit. Or is it just to keep De Jongh out of the wind?

Ludewig has been caught by Gussev and co.

17:06 CEST    230.5km/20km to go
Ludewig does his level best to hang onto the three fresh chasers, who are just 30 seconds from Leif Hoste. The peloton is at 1'00. Hoste hits another climb, just before the last time up the Waseberg (no finish line on this lap).

17:07 CEST   
The bunch is also on the pre-Waseberg climb, with Ivanov doing his best to drive the pace. The bunch is 15 seconds behind the three chasers, and about 30 seconds behind Hoste.

Ludewig is on his way back to the bunch.

Hoste has now been caught by the chasing three. It's over for him. Tankink says "well done!"

17:08 CEST    232.5km/18km to go
We now have four leaders: Leif Hoste (Discovery), Bram Tankink (Quick.Step), Vladimir Gussev (CSC), Marco Velo (Fassa Bortolo). They are on the tricky descent before the last climb of the Waseberg, with the T-Mobile led peloton just 15 seconds back.

17:09 CEST    233.5km/17km to go
The bunch can see the four leaders just out of reach as they near the Waseberg. Tankink in front again, puffing. They're on the climb!

17:10 CEST   
Hoste is dropped immediately.

17:10 CEST   
Gussev does a turn as the climb steepens. They have a 15 second gap still, as the peloton swallows Hoste whole. Velo looks back. Yep, they're coming.

17:11 CEST    234.5km/16km to go
Ullrich leads the bunch again, pedaling a lower gear than last time. Still Pozzato on his wheel. He rides past Gussev and Velo as Tankink goes over the top first. Zabel is right up there too!

17:12 CEST   
Alessandro Petacchi has crashed.

17:13 CEST   
Velo and Gussev are back with Tankink, with Ullrich and Greg Rast (Phonak) just behind. Rebellin is there, as is Juan Antonio Flecha. Serguei Gonchar is trying to get up to them.

17:15 CEST    236.5km/14km to go
Rast now takes the lead, with Gussev, Velo and Tankink coming through too. Rebellin is in fifth, with Pozzato on his wheel. More riders are coming back to them. Ullrich is there, but might choose to wait for Zabel. Or he might attack...

17:15 CEST   
It's Elmiger, not Rast. These Phonak Swiss champions all look the same to me.

17:16 CEST    238.5km/12km to go
A group of about 15 is riding to the finish, the survivors of the last time up the Waseberg. Fassa has four men there! Cancellara, Velo, Bernucci and Flecha.

17:18 CEST    239.5km/11km to go
Di Luca is trying to chase onto the leaders in a group that also contains Erik Zabel.

Ullrich wonders what to do. He's not really a sprinter, but might be able to do something here.

Grabsch and Commesso are in the lead group too.

17:19 CEST   
A rough composition of the front group: Ullrich, Gussev, Flecha, Velo, Cancellara, Bernucci, Rebellin, Pozzato, Paolini, Tankink, Elmiger, Grabsch, Commesso, Gonchar.

The cooperation behind is terrible, as Kim Kirchen slows the pace.

17:19 CEST    241.5km/9km to go
Flecha now does a turn on the front of the lead group. Fassa really has the numbers here, but Quick.Step has Tankink, Pozzato and Paolini. The latter two are in good form, finishing 1-2 in a stage of the Tour de la Region Wallonne last week.

17:21 CEST    242.5km/8km to go
A note for our readers: no, the aliens will not drop off Lance Armstrong so that he can win today. We apologise for the inconvenience. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

25 seconds between the two front groups. O'Grady is in the second group, along with Voeckler, Zabel, Di Luca, Bodrogi...

17:22 CEST   
Now Bert Grabsch does a big turn. Well, it's more of a stealth attack by riding off the front. Tankink hasn't got the gas to chase him down, and looks for support from Fassa Bortolo. Grabsch looks strong.

17:23 CEST    243.5km/7km to go
Grabsch holds a slender lead over the Fassa-led front group. The German Phonak rider looks back but keeps pedaling hard. They're coming back though.

17:23 CEST    244.5km/6km to go
Grabsch is swallowed with just over 6 km to go. Tankink takes over in front.

17:24 CEST    245.5km/5km to go
Velo now does a turn with Flecha in tow. They're obviously setting this up for Cance.

The Di Luca group is at 30 seconds. Not coming back today.

17:25 CEST   
It's a Fassa/Quick.Step lead out for Cancellara, Pozzato, and Paolini. If Quick.Step works out beforehand who to lead out today, then they might have it in the bag.

17:26 CEST    247.5km/3km to go
The chasers are making some ground, pegging it back to 23 seconds.

Allan Davis is in the front group too! As is Seb Joly (CA). Davis is probably the best sprinter on paper. But it's not done on paper.

17:26 CEST   
Rebellin sits second last wheel ahead of Paolini with 3 km to go. Ullrich in third last.

17:27 CEST    248.5km/2km to go
Flecha and Bernucci continue to drive the tempo as Cancellara gets a good sit behind.

A couple of Cofidis riders are leading the chasing bunch, but it might be too late for them.

17:27 CEST   
Tankink drives it hard, 16 seconds is the gap. They'll really need to floor it to ensure they stay away.

17:27 CEST   
Davis starts to move up, on Cancellara's wheel.

17:28 CEST    249km/1.5km to go
Tankink goes under 2 km to go with the tiring Fassa riders behind.

O'Grady's chances are improving though - 12 seconds to his group.

17:28 CEST   
Tankink gives it everything, but there's not much left. 1 km to go nearly.

17:29 CEST    249.5km/1km to go
Now the speed lifts as Bernucci drives it up. The chasers won't get them.

17:29 CEST   
Ullrich is not doing much other than sit on at the back.

17:29 CEST   
The leaders are into the final straight now with 500m to go. Flecha leads it out for Cancellara.

17:30 CEST    250.5km/0km to go
Davis is still on Cancellara's wheel, then hits out ... but Pozzato and Paolini come round him to take 1-2!!!! Amazing! Pozzato wins!

17:32 CEST   
Pozzato just got it from Paolini, who did a great bike throw to get ahead of Davis in the final 10 metres for second place. Rebellin was fourth, ahead of Cancellara.

17:38 CEST   
It's been confirmed: Filippo Pozzato is the winner of the 10th HEW Cyclassics Cup ahead of Luca Paolini. You can all go and claim your money from the bookies now. Danilo Di Luca should keep the ProTour leader's jersey.

That's all from us from a damp Hamburg. Until next week's Clasica San Sebastian - see you then!


1 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Quick.Step                        6.00.58
2 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick.Step          
3 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros
4 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
5 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo
6 Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Lampre-Caffita
7 Martin Elimiger (Swi) Phonak
8 Vladimir Gussev (Rus) Team CSC

ProTour standings

1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                       184 pts
2 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team    139
3 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team                    136
4 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step                                 120
5 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                     111
6 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                          101
7 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team                              98
8 Santiago Botero Echeverry (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems       95