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99th Giro di Lombardia - ProT
Italy, October 15, 2005
Bettini finishes with a bang
By Jeff Jones
Although it wasn't quite the same dominating ride that saw Paolo Bettini win the Championship of Zurich two weeks ago, the Olympic Champion still had it all over his rivals in today's 99th Giro di Lombardia. After forcing the decisive break on the Madonna del Ghisallo climb with less than 50 km to go, Bettini finished off the task by beating Gilberto Simoni (Lampre), Fränk Schleck (CSC) and Giampaolo Caruso (Liberty Seguros) in a four man sprint in Como. As he put it afterwards, there was no way he could lose.
Surprisingly, it was the first time that Bettini had finished on the podium in Lombardy. "It was a race that had eluded me a little, and this makes it even more enjoyable," said an excited Bettini after the finish. "I beat a great Simoni. To put a climber like him in difficulty on the Ghisallo makes me happy. Besides, I'm called Bettini: when I'm happy I make a racket. You'll excuse me today if I exaggerated.
"I couldn't lose. Since 2000, there hasn't been one year that I haven't one at least one or two big races. This year I counted 62 days of antibiotics up until July: my health was my biggest opponent...I have made up for everything in the last months, except for the World's. In 2006, who knows? I could aim at the Giro, but I would not say that now."
Bettini now counts eight classic wins in his palmares, which means that he's getting closer to Johan Museeuw's impressive tally of 11. "My friend Johan Museeuw, who won all the biggest classics, told me that one day I would beat him," said Bettini. I just need three more to equal him. To have a perfect career, I still should win Flanders, a World Championship, and besides those, the monumental Paris-Roubaix, even if it would take a miracle for the latter to happen."
Gilberto Simoni had a fine ride for second place, and he was always able to challenge Bettini, although he couldn't drop Il Grillo on the climbs. " "Today Paolo Bettini did a great race: he was almost unbeatable," said Simoni. "For a moment I thought I could beat him in the sprint but he was too strong. I tried to attack several times but without success. It was difficult to make the difference on the San Fermo climb, which is like the climbs of Milano Sanremo. It's too bad; I would have liked to win this race and finish a season which was not as I expected."
The third podium spot went to Fränk Schleck (CSC), who also finished off a very consistent period of racing, His second place in Zurich and third today being the highlights. "I really had to dig deep to reach the two up front again on the two last climbs," said the Luxembourg champion. "It was an extremely tough finish, but it was a fantastic feeling to be up there at the end of Giro di Lombardia. The team gave me the perfect support today and I'm happy to have secured a spot on the podium. I'm also proud of the way I've managed to finish this season, and it definitely has an effect on my expectations and ambitions for next year
How it unfolded
The 99th Giro di Lombardia got under way at 10:42am from the Swiss border town of Mendrisio, near Lake Lugano. Bart Dockx (Davitamon-Lotto) was the only non-starter of the 193-strong field. 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 29 km.
That break also didn't stick and lasted until km 38, but after 41 km, a dozen riders escaped and quickly built a three minute lead after 66 km: 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) and Sascha Urweider (Phonak). Christiano Frattini (Tenax) tried to get across, but was reabsorbed by the peloton at km 73.
With such a big group, the peloton didn't let the break get too far away, and pegged the gap to 5'15 after 104 km. CSC led the pursuit as the race left the shores of Lake Como for a while and hit the climbs of Taceno (km 145) and the Colle di Balisio (km 162). At the top of the Taceno climb, the gap had fallen to 2'00 as Urweider was dropped from the break.
CSC continued to lead the chase with the aim of recapturing the break before the crucial Madonna del Ghisallo climb which started at km 192. But before this, Danilo Di Luca attacked solo at km 152, catching Urweider and distancing the peloton by 20 seconds. The pair lasted until km 164, then Di Luca called it a day at the feed zone in Onno (km 184). He had already shown that he wasn't going to be completely anonymous today, although his actions indicated that he had little intention of being in the finale.
The peloton was within striking distance of the break as the climb to the Madonna del Ghisallo shrine started. The patron saint of cyclists was looking out for Paolo Bettini today, and the Olympic Champion ramped up the pace on the lower slopes of the climb to mop up the leaders, with Allan Davis the last man standing. Bettini set a fierce tempo, and only four other riders managed to stay with him: Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita), Fränk Schleck and Carlos Sastre (CSC) and Giampaolo Caruso (Liberty). Chasing them were Emanuele Sella and Luca Mazzanti (Panaria), Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Caffita) and Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Illes Balears).
Over the top of the climb with 44 km to go, the Bettini-driven group had nearly half a minute on the nearest chasers. They were able to capitalise on that on the descent and pushed it out to the magic minute through Albavilla with 23 km to go. The chase group was reabsorbed by the peloton, which was falling further behind the leading quintet as Bettini kept the pressure on.
On the penultimate climb through the narrow streets of Civiglio, Bettini and Simoni turned the screws and first Sastre, then Caruso and Schleck were dropped. But the Luxembourg champ hung tough and quickly chased back on the descent, while Caruso had to do a bit more work to regain the breakaways before the final climb of San Fermo di Battaglia with 10 km to go. The Bettini/Simoni battle resumed on this short but steep (10 percent) ascent, with Bettini getting a gap with 700m to the summit. It looked good for a short time, until Simoni and Schleck closed it at the top.
On the descent into Como, Schleck was taking a back seat role, as he knew the other two were stronger. Caruso had more work to do, again having to chase alone on the descent. But he had enough left to catch the leading three with 1 km to go. He tried to attack immediately, but Bettini was right on his wheel. Instead, the Liberty man chose to lead out the sprint. Bettini, Simoni and Schleck were glued to each other's wheels, but when Bettini hit out with 300 metres to go, there was nothing the other two could do, and they crossed in exactly the same order.
In the peloton sprint, Fabian Wegmann provided an excellent leadout for his Gerolsteiner teammate Davide Rebellin, who finished fifth and gained enough points to move him up into third in the ProTour standings behind Danilo Di Luca and Tom Boonen.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
Images by AFP Photo
Images by Davide Tricarico/www.laborraccia.it
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step 5.56.22 (41.42 km/h) 2 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 3 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 4 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 0.04 5 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.54 6 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner 7 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Lampre-Caffita 8 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 9 Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) Naturino-Sapore di Mare 10 Santo Anza (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Adria Mobil 11 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Adria Mobil 12 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 13 Luca Solari (Ita) Domina Vacanze 14 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 15 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 16 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team CSC 17 Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 18 Miguel A. Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 19 Mario Aerts (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 20 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 21 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 22 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Adria Mobil 23 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 24 Gianluca Tonetti (Ita) Tenax-Nobili Rubinetterie 25 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Fassa Bortolo 26 Juan Miguel Mercado Martin (Spa) Quick Step 27 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 28 Marcos A. Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 29 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 30 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 31 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 32 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 33 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 0.58 34 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 35 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 1.43 36 Marco Fertonani (Ita) Domina Vacanze 37 Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank 38 Guido Trentin (Ita) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 39 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 2.01 40 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Liquigas-Bianchi 41 Theo Eltink (Ned) Rabobank 3.22 42 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 4.29 43 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Française Des Jeux 4.57 44 Alexandr Arekeev (Rus) Acqua & Sapone-Adria Mobil 5.18 45 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick Step 6.35 46 Massimo Codol (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 47 Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Domina Vacanze 48 Antonio Quadranti (Ita) Naturino-Sapore di Mare 49 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Domina Vacanze 50 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 51 Mauro Gerosa (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 7.29 52 Saul Raisin (USA) Credit Agricole 8.00 53 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Davitamon-Lotto 54 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 8.53 55 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Credit Agricole 56 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 57 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC 58 Benoit Poilvet (Fra) Credit Agricole 59 Michael Blaudzun (Den) Team CSC 60 Christopher Horner (USA) Saunier Duval-Prodir 61 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 62 Constantin Zaballa Gutierrez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 63 Oscar Sevilla Ribera (Spa) T-Mobile Team 64 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 65 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank 66 Matthias Russ (Ger) Gerolsteiner 67 Giancarlo Ginestri (Ita) Tenax-Nobili Rubinetterie 68 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 69 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) T-Mobile Team 70 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 71 Nicolas Fritsch (Fra) Saunier Duval-Prodir 72 Andrea Tonti (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 73 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 74 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française Des Jeux 75 Bram De Groot (Ned) Rabobank 76 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Credit Agricole 77 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 78 Andrea Moletta (Ita) Gerolsteiner 79 Grégory Rast (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 80 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 81 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir 82 Andrea Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Adria Mobil 83 Andrea Peron (Ita) Team CSC 84 Rolf Aldag (Ger) T-Mobile Team 85 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 86 Paolo Valoti (Ita) Domina Vacanze 87 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Davitamon-Lotto 88 Roberto Laiseka Jaio (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 89 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Quick Step 9.03 90 Daniele Nardello (Ita) T-Mobile Team 91 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Naturino-Sapore di Mare 9.04 DNF Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Lampre-Caffita DNF Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Lampre-Caffita DNF Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Caffita DNF Bo Hamburger (Den) Acqua & Sapone-Adria Mobil DNF Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Adria Mobil DNF Kyrylo Pospyeyev (Ukr) Acqua & Sapone-Adria Mobil DNF Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom DNF Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) Bouygues Telecom DNF Mathieu Claude (Fra) Bouygues Telecom DNF Yohann Gene (Fra) Bouygues Telecom DNF Anthony Geslin (Fra) Bouygues Telecom DNF Franck Renier (Fra) Bouygues Telecom DNF Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom DNF Mirko Allegrini (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare DNF Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare DNF Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Col) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare DNF Sergiy Matveyev (Ukr) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare DNF Alejandro Alberto Borrajo (Arg) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare DNF Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone DNF Amael Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone DNF Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Credit Agricole DNF Eric Leblacher (Fra) Credit Agricole DNF Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Credit Agricole DNF Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto DNF Bjoern Leukemans (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto DNF Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto DNF Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto DNF Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team DNF Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team DNF Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team DNF Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team DNF Mirko Celestino (Ita) Domina Vacanze DNF Matej Jurco (Svk) Domina Vacanze DNF Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Domina Vacanze DNF Gorka Gonzalez Larranaga (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi DNF David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi DNF Anton Luengo Celaya (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi DNF Aketza Pena Iza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi DNF Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi DNF Joseba Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi DNF Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Fassa Bortolo DNF Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Fassa Bortolo DNF Massimo Giunti (Ita) Fassa Bortolo DNF Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo DNF Mickael Delage (Fra) Française Des Jeux DNF Christophe Detilloux (Bel) Française Des Jeux DNF Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Française Des Jeux DNF Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française Des Jeux DNF Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner DNF Marco Serpellini (Ita) Gerolsteiner DNF Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner DNF Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne DNF José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne DNF Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne DNF Mikel Pradera Rodriguez (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne DNF David Etxebarria Alkorta (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team DNF Isidro Nozal Vega (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team DNF Michele Scarponi (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team DNF Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team DNF Patrick Calcagni (Swi) Liquigas-Bianchi DNF Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi DNF Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi DNF Nicola Loda (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi DNF Devis Miorin (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi DNF Cristian Gasperoni (Ita) Naturino-Sapore di Mare DNF Murilo Fischer (Bra) Naturino-Sapore di Mare DNF Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Naturino-Sapore di Mare DNF Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Naturino-Sapore di Mare DNF Ignacio Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems DNF Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems DNF Sascha Urweider (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems DNF Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems DNF Davide Bramati (Ita) Quick Step DNF Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Quick Step DNF Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) Quick Step DNF Guido Trenti (USA) Quick Step DNF Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank DNF Thorwald Veneberg (Ned) Rabobank DNF Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank DNF Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir DNF Ruben Lobato Elvira (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir DNF Manuele Mori (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir DNF Christian Vandevelde (USA) Team CSC DNF Luca Nardello (Ita) Team L.P.R. DNF Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Team L.P.R. DNF Daniele Masolino (Ita) Team L.P.R. DNF Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Team L.P.R. DNF Ivan Degasperi (Ita) Team L.P.R. DNF Giuseppe Muraglia (Ita) Team L.P.R. DNF Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa) Team L.P.R. DNF Mikhaylo Khalilov (Ukr) Team L.P.R. DNF Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) Tenax-Nobili Rubinetterie DNF Cristiano Frattini (Ita) Tenax-Nobili Rubinetterie DNF David John Betts (Aus) Tenax-Nobili Rubinetterie DNF Kristjan Fajt (Slo) Tenax-Nobili Rubinetterie DNF David Mcpartland (Aus) Tenax-Nobili Rubinetterie DNF Ruslan Pidgornyy (Ukr) Tenax-Nobili Rubinetterie DNF Eric Baumann (Ger) T-Mobile Team DNF Bastiaan Giling (Ned) T-Mobile Team DNF Giuseppe Guerini (Ita) T-Mobile Team DNF Tomas Konecny (Cze) T-Mobile Team DNS Bart Dockx (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto Starters: 192 Classified: 91
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