99th Giro di Lombardia - ProT
Italy, October 15, 2005
Start List Results
Commentary by Jeff Jones
Live coverage starts: 15:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST
Welcome one and all to the Cyclingnews
observation dirigible for our live coverage of the 99th Giro di Lombardia. It's
October, which means it's autumn, which means the leaves are falling, which
means that winter is coming. That pithy insight was provided free of charge
with no extra padding, also serving to lead into the fact that the Giro di Lombardia
is the last classic of the season. For many riders, it will be their last race
of 2005, and most will be looking forward to that end of season break.
There are still a few scores to be settled though, even if the ProTour classification
was sealed by Danilo Di Luca in Zurich a couple of weeks ago. He would of course
like to finish 2005 on a high note, but his form isn't quite what it was in
spring. Thus, late season bloomers like Paolo Bettini, Frank Schleck, Gilberto
Simoni and others stand quite a good chance of winning today.
race started in Mendrisio (Swi) and passed through the finish town of Como before
making a circuit of Lake Como. The riders are now on their way back there. It's
a cool, sunny day, with the temperature at the finish line standing at 18 degrees,
with a light south wind blowing. Quite nice, really.
Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi)
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
15:10 CEST 180km/68km to go
At the moment, we
have a breakaway of 11 riders: Giovanni Visconti (Domina Vacanze), Marcus Zberg
(Gerolsteiner), Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears), Carlos Barredo and
Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros), Devis Miorin (Liquigas-Bianchi), Valerio Agnoli
(Naturino), Davide Bramati (Quick.Step), Bram De Groot (Rabobank), Constantino
Zaballa (Saunier Duval), Ivan De Gasperi (LPR). They have a 1'05 lead on the
peloton at the moment, and are powering alongside Lake Como.
Urweider (Phonak) was with them, but has been dropped.
15:16 CEST 185km/63km to go
The race began at
10:25 without Bart Dockx (Davitamon-Lotto). It didn't take long for the attacks
to start, and Francesco Bellotti (Credit Agricole), Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi)
and Juan Mercado (Quick.Step) went clear inside the first 20 km. Di Luca's presence
doomed the break, although he did try to get away again in the company of Eric
Leblacher (Credit Agricole), Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto), Jose Vicente Garcia
Acosta (Illes Balears) and Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) after 35 km.
That break didn't stick, and after 41 km, the 12 riders who are away now (well,
11) escaped and quickly built a three minute lead after 68 km. Christiano Frattini
(Tenax) tried but failed to get across. The average speed after two hours was
very quick: 46 km/h.
Cut to the chase again: Danilo Di Luca has abandoned
in the feed zone after 184 km, as has Johan Vansummeren (Davitamon-Lotto). Well,
so much for Di Luca's chances today.
15:17 CEST 186km/62km to go
Lampre and Panaria
are leading the chase, having pegged the leaders back to 1'00. It'll probably
come together before or on the Madonna del Ghisallo climb.
15:22 CEST 188km/60km to go
Barredo and Davis
lead the break as it nears the foot of the Ghisallo climb, still holding 1'10
over the peloton. The pace is still very high, and it's tough going.
Damiano Cunego is towards the front of the peloton, which is now towed by Panaria
and FDJ. Philippe Gilbert probably fancies his chances today. Also near the
front are Carlos Sastre and Frank Schleck.
15:23 CEST 189km/59km to go
Markus Zberg accelerates
as the road goes uphill. He gets a gap.
15:28 CEST 191km/57km to go
Zberg's move destroys
the break, as Zaballa, Barredo, and Davis go with him.
in the peloton, Paolo Bettini and Emanuele Sella attack. Gilberto Simoni joins
them, as does Cunego, Schleck and a few more. The peloton is shattered.
15:32 CEST 194km/54km to go
Davis is now leading
the race on his own, with the rest of the break getting mopped up by the Bettini/Simoni
Bettini accelerates again, and that's the end of Davis.
Schleck and Sastre are chasing the Olympic champion, and Simoni, Cunego are
close behind. Sastre bridges the gap to Bettini first. Then Simoni, Schleck
and Giampaolo Caruso.
Cunego is having problems following
Bettini's pace on the Ghisallo climb, and has to let go. Five leaders: Bettini,
Simoni, Schleck, Sastre, and Caruso.
Paolo Bettini (Quickstep)
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
15:35 CEST 196km/52km to go
Cunego is caught
by a group containing Mazzanti, Sella, Bertagnolli and Rebellin.
In front, Bettini asks the others to work, but Sastre merely peels off from
second wheel and drops back. Now, Simoni and Sastre do a bit of tempo making.
Bettini looks very very good again.
15:37 CEST 198km/50km to go
The leaders reach
a flatter section of the climb, and Schleck and Bettini turn on the gas. Slowly,
the gap is opening up to the chasing five.
Of the front group, Caruso
is not working. Bettini wants him to.
Mazzanti and Bertagnolli are now
chasing the leaders together, having dropped the others. They are 15 seconds
15:43 CEST 203km/45km to go
The five leaders
now have 18 seconds on the nearest chasers as they near the top of the Ghisallo
15:44 CEST 204km/44km to go
Bettini powers the
group over the summit with Simoni and Sastre on his wheel. Schleck and Caruso
bring up the rear.
Next over are Mazzanti and Bertagnolli, then Sella,
Cunego, Rebellin and Gutierrez.
15:46 CEST 207km/41km to go
The leaders cooperate
on the descent, with Simoni signaling for his team car.
15:49 CEST 211km/37km to go
At the moment, Bettini
is looking like the favourite today, as he is strong on the climbs but can also
sprint. Simoni looks good too, but he's going to have to attack on the steep
San Fermo di Battaglia climb to get rid of the others.
hasn't caught Mazzanti and Bertagnolli, who are about half a minute behind the
After five hours the average speed
is still 41 km/h, which is brisk for this course.
15:51 CEST 212km/36km to go
Simoni powers along
on the front of the break, showing that he has deserved the team leader's status
today. Cunego isn't doing too badly, but he's not at top condition.
15:54 CEST 214km/34km to go
Sella, Mazzanti and
Bertagnolli get together, but are caught by Cunego, Rebellin and Ivan Gutierrez.
15:56 CEST 217km/31km to go
An overview at the
foot of the descent of the Ghisallo. We have five leaders: Bettini (Quick.Step),
Simoni (Lampre), Schleck, Sastre (CSC), and Caruso (Liberty). At 40 seconds
there are another six chasers: Sella, Mazzanti (Panaria), Bertagnolli (Cofidis),
Cunego (Lampre), Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), and Ivan Gutierrez (Illes Balears).
The peloton is at 1'05.
The next climb is that of Civiglio.
Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Caffita)
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
15:57 CEST 218km/30km to go
Cunego isn't working
with the chasers, of course. That's the advantage of having his teammate Simoni
16:01 CEST 221km/27km to go
The chasers have
pulled back another six seconds, and now sit 34 seconds behind the lead break,
which should still stay away until the finish. Frank Schleck is looking good
for another podium finish today.
16:02 CEST 222km/26km to go
Bettini gets out
of the saddle and does a hard turn, and only Sastre can hold his wheel. He eventually
sits up and Simoni takes the other two up to him. Bettini is super strong.
16:05 CEST 224km/24km to go
Simoni leads, pedaling
a big gear, then Bettini comes through for another turn. The chasers are also
cooperating well, although they don't quite have the firepower of the front
group. They're falling further behind.
16:06 CEST 225km/23km to go
now, and it's a minute to the nearest chasers. The peloton is at 1'30, and not
making much of an impression.
16:08 CEST 226km/22km to go
In the chase group,
the pain is evident on Bertagnolli's face. It's tough chasing riders like Bettini
16:10 CEST 227km/21km to go
Frank Schleck sucks
down an energy drink and hopes it will be enough to match the fireworks coming
up. The winner will definitely come from this front group of five. CSC has the
numbers, but as we saw last year with T-Mobile (4th and 5th in a five man break),
that doesn't always help.
16:12 CEST 229km/19km to go
The chase group with
Cunego, Rebellin and co. is caught by the peloton, which is 1'19 behind the
leaders. Immediately there are counter attacks as Lastras, Rubiera and a few
others have a go.
The leaders are on the steepest part of the Civiglio.
Gianluca Tonetti (Tenax) and Pieter
Weening (Rabobank) are the next to attack the bunch, without a lot of success.
16:15 CEST 230km/18km to go
Weening goes again
and gets a Naturino rider for company. They are still 1'15 behind the five leaders.
In front, Bettini powers the break, setting a hard but not attacking tempo on
the Civiglio climb. He is looking back a lot.
16:16 CEST 231km/17km to go
Schleck comes through
for a turn and Bettini waits about 5 seconds and attacks. But Schleck chases
him down with the others on his wheel. Sastre is dropped.
counters - nice move.
Bettini matches Simoni's acceleration
and now there are two. Schleck and Caruso have to regroup.
16:18 CEST 232km/16km to go
Simoni and Bettini
lead the Giro di Lombardia, and look to be the two strongest men in the race.
Bettini attacks again, but Simoni reacts. Schleck and Caruso are only 5 seconds
behind. Sastre is about 20 seconds back.
Stijn Devolder leads the
bunch with Rebellin on his wheel.
Schleck is chasing alone now.
16:20 CEST 233km/15km to go
The attacks continue
in the peloton as Lastras has another try. Celestino chases him.
The leading pair reach the narrow section of the Civiglio climb, where there's
barely enough room for a motorbike. You don't get a team car through here.
The lead pair are on the descent
and Schleck is coming back to them! The CSC rider is there now. Caruso can't
be too far away either. This is an incredibly technical descent.
The bunch is at 1'48, not coming back.
16:22 CEST 233km/15km to go
Bettini looks back
and sees Simoni and Schleck on his wheel as he takes another hairpin. Caruso
is also not too far behind. Schleck's jacket is flapping, but he doesn't have
a chance to zip it up.
Schleck lets Bettini and Simoni take
the corners in front, hoping to keep Caruso from coming back. The Liberty rider
is about 10 seconds behind, although it's hard to tell.
16:25 CEST 235km/13km to go
They reach the bottom
of the descent and Schleck keeps himself glued to the wheel, while zipping up
his jersey. Bettini looks very nervous, as always. He'd love to win solo, but
Simoni is not the easiest guy to drop.
Caruso follows at 15 seconds, but
Sastre is at 1'00. The next chase group is at 1'25 containing Cunego, Rebellin,
Lastras and a few Acqua e Sapone riders.
16:29 CEST 237km/11km to go
Caruso has rejoined
the leaders, and gets an energy gel from Manolo Saiz.
attacked the chase group, but they're going for 5th at best.
16:31 CEST 238km/10km to go
Gutierrez has a nice
gap over the chase group, which only has three riders working: Rebellin, Marzoli
and the other A&S guy. Cunego and Lastras are sitting on.
leaders hit the San Fermo di Battaglia, the final climb in the Giro di Lombardia.
Simoni goes first, then Bettini. The other two try to hold their wheels.
The road steepens and Gibo forces
the pace a little. Bettini waits, then comes through. They can't shake the other
The chase group is caught by the peloton at the bottom of
Bettini goes hard, and Simoni reacts.
Caruso is dropped immediately, but Schleck survives.
Caruso now follows the three at 5
seconds. Bettini leads, looking comfy.
16:34 CEST 239km/9km to go
The peloton is only
1'02 behind the three leaders, but it's not going to be enough.
attacks! That's fairly optimistic. Bettini reacts, and Simoni has to dig a bit
to close the gap. Surely Bettini will counter...
16:35 CEST 241km/7km to go
Now, it's Simoni who
counters! Impressive stuff. But the three keep together. Bettini goes again,
16:36 CEST 242km/6km to go
This looks to be a
good move by Bettini, less than a kilometre from the summit of the San Fermo.
He powers in and out of the saddle. He'll need a good gap though, as it's not
a summit finish. The two chasers are just 5 seconds back. Simoni drops Schleck....
16:37 CEST 243km/5km to go
Bettini and Simoni
reach the top together, with Frank Schleck just 3 seconds behind. He'll get
them, yes he does. One more descent.
16:38 CEST 244km/4km to go
That was an impressive
ride by Schleck, who can now go for the victory in Lombardy. Bettini is still
the best sprinter, so he shouldn't be too concerned, but he'll have to pay attention
to the CSC rider. Caruso might come back too.
16:38 CEST 245km/3km to go
The three leaders
have just four km to go and Caruso is about 10 seconds behind them. The Liberty
rider isn't giving up, and can definitely get them. Bettini goes through for
another turn, as Schleck takes the last wheel.
16:39 CEST 245.5km/2.5km to go
They near the
foot of the descent, take a sharp right and head into Como. Bettini does a turn
to keep the speed up.
16:40 CEST 246km/2km to go
Bettini rests his
legs, and talks to his director. Simoni takes a turn and Bettini drops back
to last wheel.
16:40 CEST 247km/1km to go
Caruso is getting
closer all the time as Simoni and Bettini occupy the front two positions again.
16:41 CEST 247km/1km to go
Caruso reaches the
team cars and attacks immediately. Bettini takes his wheel, forcing Simoni to
chase a bit. Schleck in final position with 1 km to go.
Caruso leads all the way up the straight,
obviously riding for fourth place now.
16:43 CEST 248km/0km to go
Bettini is in second,
keeping an eye on Gibo and Schleck. He kicks at 300m to go a long way out. But
he's too fast for the other two and beats Simoni and Schleck to the line!! Excellent
victory - he's never won this race before.
The sprint for fifth place is won
by Rebellin before one of his teammates - Fabian Wegmann, which will help his
ProTour standings a bit.
No arguing with the winner though - Paolo
Bettini was the strongest again. Caruso's move was a little strange, but he
was probably happy with fourth place in the Race of the Falling Leaves.
Well, did we pick it or what (refer
to second paragraph)? That's got to be worth at least 10 "if only I'd put money
on them" euros. Nevertheless, it was a good race and Bettini definitely didn't
have it all his own way. But with Zurich and Lombardy on his palmares, he can
definitely be satisfied with his end of season.
As expected, Danilo
Di Luca wins the inaugural ProTour, with Boonen taking second and Rebellin moving
up to third from 10th, courtesy of his fifth place today.
all from us here in Como, and that's also it from our live coverage of road
racing his season. We may or may not have a few other "live" surprises on Cyclingnews
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quickstep
2 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre - Caffita
3 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC
4 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team
5 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
6 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner
Final ProTour standings
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 229 pts
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 171
3 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 151
4 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team 140
5 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 139
6 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 136
7 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 131
8 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quickstep 130
9 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 130
10 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 129