92nd Meisterschaft von Zürich - Championship of Zurich - ProT
Switzerland, October 2, 2005
Commentary by Jeff Jones
Live coverage starts: 15:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:00 CEST
Welcome back to Cyclingnews (yes,
it lives after the World Championships) for our live coverage of the 92nd Züri-Metzgete/Meistershaft
von Zürich/Championship of Zurich. We've been led to believe that the Swiss-German
"Züri-Metzgete" actually translates as "Butcher of Zurich". Theories welcome
on that one - they don't have to be backed up by actual facts, which are only
a few clicks of the mouse away.
In any case, it's a very tough race,
beginning with one 72.5 km lap starting and finishing in Zurich and travelling
along the Zürichsee for a part of it, then four laps of a testing 42.1 km circuit,
including the climbs of Forch and Pfannenstiel each lap. The latter is usually
where the bunch explodes in the final lap, forming a selection from which the
winner will come, but last year this wasn't quite the case, as 30 riders came
to the finish together with Juan Antonio Flecha winning the bunch sprint.
What will happen this year? Will Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step) get anyone to ride
to the finish with him? Will Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) find his best form?
Will Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) nail the ProTour jersey once and for all? Or
will one of the players in the World's race last Sunday shine today?
Now read on...
15:16 CEST 135km/106km to go
The riders started
on wet roads this morning with grey clouds looming. The first serious attack
came from Mauricio Ardila Cano (Davitamon Lotto), Karsten Kroon (Rabobank),
Joost Posthuma (Rabobank), Jan Hruska (Liberty Seguros Würth), Gorka Verdugo
(Euskaltel Euskadi) and Aurélien Clerc (Phonak), who escaped after 15 km and
were not pursued. After 40 km, they had a five minute lead, and stuck together
on the first ascent of the Pfannenstiel after 55 km, building their advantage
to seven minutes.
By the time the lead group had reached Zurich for
the first time after 72 km, the peloton had increased its tempo and pegged them
to 6'30, as the rain continued to fall. After the second climb of the Pfannenstiel
after some 100 km, a 17 man group escaped in pursuit of the six leaders, including
Wauters (Rabobank), Van den Broeck and Ekimov (Discovery), Fothen and Totschnig
(Gerolsteiner) and Reynes (Illes Balears). But the counter attacking group was
brought back to the peloton at the completion of the first 40 km circuit, with
112 km covered in total.
The attack had the effect of reducing the
gap to the leaders, and after 125 km, the early break was caught. Bradley McGee
(Francaise des Jeux) crashed and was taken to hospital in the meantime.
15:17 CEST 136km/105km to go
Rik Verbrugghe (Quick.Step)
is the next rider to attack, and is joined by another nine riders.
Coming back to the meaning of Züri-Metzgete...
"Metzger" means "butcher", and a metzgete is basically a massacre. In fact,
there's even a splatter movie called "Züri-Metzgete" (think Texas Chainsaw Massacre
in Swiss), according to that well-known source of 100 percent reliable info:
15:28 CEST 145km/96km to go
The 10 man attacking
group contains Verbrugghe and his Quick.Step teammates Patrik Sinkewitz and
Cristian Moreni, along with Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa Bortolo), Aurélien Clerc
(Phonak - again), Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros Würth), Andrea Moletta and
Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner) Vladimir Miholjevic (Liquigas Bianchi) and
Andriy Grivko (Domina Vacanze).
A chasing group has formed behind
this lead group, containing 35 riders and including Danilo Di Luca. The main
peloton sits at 2'00.
15:36 CEST 151km/90km to go
So far, this has
been a more open race than in previous years, when the usual "let the early
break get 15-20 minutes then bring them back and let the big boys play in the
last 50 km" is the order of play. But the early break didn't even last half
the distance, and now we have a peloton that's split into three with around
90 km to go. It's a total metzgete.
Of course, the rain is probably
having a big effect, as it's not much fun riding in a peloton in the rain.
15:39 CEST 160km/81km to go
The lead group numbers
11 as Stijn Devolder (Discovery Channel) bridges up with two laps to go. Behind,
the 35 man chase group has been caught by the main peloton, which is 3'00 behind
15:51 CEST 165km/76km to go
The lead group continues
to maintain its 2 minute plus gap over the watchful peloton, which is now into
the second last lap. Quick.Step has the strength up front with three riders,
but Gerolsteiner also has two up there.
15:52 CEST 168km/73km to go
The Quick.Step boys
are working hard in front, as are the other riders. Danilo Di Luca sits towards
the front of the peloton, his white jersey looking very grey. The gap is down
15:54 CEST 169km/72km to go
Aurelien Clerc (Phonak)
sits at the back of the lead group, looking a bit knackered. He was also in
the early break. He's got a TV camera on the back of his bike too!
15:56 CEST 171km/70km to go
The leaders pass
through Forch, with the rain continuing to pour down. There's not much of a
view over the Zürichsee, unless you like fog.
The gap is coming down
all the time, and it's under two minutes now.
15:59 CEST 173km/68km to go
The bunch is led
by Gianluca Bortolami (Lampre), working for his team leader Damiano Cunego.
Gorazd Stangelj does a turn next, opening up a bit of a gap. Paolo Bettini is
very watchful, sitting towards the front of the peloton.
gets a Domina Vacanze rider, then Lastras (Illes Balears) for company.
16:01 CEST 175km/66km to go
The peloton regroups
on the descent after the Forch climb, with Lampre keeping control. Stangelj
keeps going through a bit too hard, and his teammates have to keep him in check.
The peloton is quite small - 40 riders maximum. Di Luca and Bettini are here,
as is Cunego.
In front, the group is: Rik Verbrugghe, Patrik Sinkewitz
and Cristian Moreni (Quick.Step), Stijn Devolder (Discovery Channel), Lorenzo
Bernucci (Fassa Bortolo), Aurélien Clerc (Phonak), Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros
Würth), Andrea Moletta and Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner) Vladimir Miholjevic
(Liquigas Bianchi) and Andriy Grivko (Domina Vacanze).
In the front group, Clerc is continuing
his role as neutral Phonak observer, sitting right at the back and following
Carlos Barredo's wheelspray. The break is working pretty hard as it approaches
the Pfannenstiel again. It's holding 1'38 over the chasing group, which is actually
only between 25-30 riders strong.
16:08 CEST 179km/62km to go
to drive the bunch behind as the leaders hit the tougher part of the Pfannenstiel.
Cunego and Bettini are well placed in second and third wheel in the chasing
bunch. Ivan Basso is also up there, it looks like. And Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis).
Di Luca is further back. No sign of Rebellin.
The bulk of the peloton
is at 7'20. They're definitely out of it.
16:09 CEST 180km/61km to go
The leaders have
lost another half a minute of their once three minute advantage, and it's now
1'05 as they hit the next part of the Pfannenstiel.
16:11 CEST 181km/60km to go
Stangelj is enjoying
his work as Cunego chats to him. The chasing bunch starts to splinter on the
second bit of the Pfannenstiel, and the gap comes down to 56 seconds.
16:14 CEST 181.5km/59.5km to go
Di Luca looks
pretty comfy in the chasing bunch, where Stangelj pushes the pace even more
and strings everyone out. It's 43 seconds to the leaders. Now Stangelj pulls
off and Cunego and Bettini take over. It's thinning down on the second bit of
the climb. 29 seconds - it's plummeting!
The lead group isn't exactly messing
about, but the pace is really high behind and it looks like the various teams
are waiting for their team leaders. Moletta tries to keep the tempo up.
Bernucci takes over in front with
Devolder on his wheel, as they get to the top of the Pfannenstiel climb for
the second last time. Clerc is dropped from the group, but should be able to
16:19 CEST 183km/58km to go
Bettini sits up in
the chasing group and has something to eat. The gap goes up to 59 seconds again!
20-25 riders left in front.
16:21 CEST 186km/55km to go
The tempo slowing
allows Stangelj to get back on, and the Slovenian immediately gets to the front
of the chase group and starts driving. 56 seconds as the leaders hit the descent.
Clerc has made it back to the lead
group, but is still not contributing of course. There are still 11 riders in
In the chase group, Bettini yells at and gesticulates to
the TV moto to ride a bit further ahead, which it does.
16:24 CEST 188km/53km to go
Stangelj takes another
slippery right hander at the appropriately named Wetzwil, and the road goes
up again. He pulls off and tells Cunego to do a bit of work, which he does.
The group breaks up a bit on this short climb, but the two Quick.Steps get to
the front and slow it down a bit. 49 seconds.
Di Luca now chats with Bettini. Quick.Step
is in the perfect position here, as it has three riders in front and two behind.
Bettini looks very, very strong.
16:27 CEST 190km/51km to go
Cunego leads the
chasing group on the descent, with Bettini following. The other Quick.Step rider
looks to be Luca Paolini, who is up there with Cunego and Bettini. Then Di Luca
and five others join on, with another 10 chasing.
Reader Philip Sinclair was in Zurich
this morning to ride the cyclosportif event, and reported, "This morning I did
the cyclosportifs (volksmetzgete) in the torrential rain, and only 10 degrees.
I couldn't see a damn thing! The road is one of the best, and most pleasant
I have seen this year. I wouldn't say that for the L'Étape du Tour (nor many
others). Even though it was very wet, it was really not that slippery. The bends
are mostly safe. There were a few annoying traffic calming devices, and especially
"As I sprinted down the final straight, dead flat
and dead straight - absolutely perfect, then three times in short succession
in the last 300 metres, I had a curious sensation that maybe I had punctured.
No, in the centre is a whole line of slippery manhole covers. If it is still
wet, and there is a bunch sprint, I suspect that could slow a few."
16:31 CEST 193km/48km to go
Bettini and Paolini(?)
have attacked the chase group!! They're riding away in pursuit of the leaders.
Not even Cunego can go with them.
16:32 CEST 195km/46km to go
Bettini and Paolini
close the gap quickly, and it's down to 25 seconds. Di Luca and Cunego and co.
are another 10-15 seconds behind the Quick.Step chasers.
Quick.Steps in the front group look back and see they have support coming. The
others are probably not too happy to see them.
16:34 CEST 196km/45km to go
Bettini swigs down
a drink as he sits on Paolini's wheel. He's really good today, and would love
to win to make up for the World's last week. See his diary
The gap is bridged with 45 km to go, and there are five
Quick.Steps in the lead group of 13.
16:37 CEST 198km/43km to go
The lead group again:
Paolo Bettini, Luca Paolini, Rik Verbrugghe, Patrik Sinkewitz and Cristian Moreni
(Quick.Step), Stijn Devolder (Discovery Channel), Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa Bortolo),
Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros Würth), Andrea Moletta and Heinrich Haussler
(Gerolsteiner) Vladimir Miholjevic (Liquigas Bianchi) and Andriy Grivko (Domina
Vacanze), Aurélien Clerc (Phonak).
Bettini takes his leg warmers
off, but his overshoes make it hard. You have to get them below your heel first.
Bernucci gives him a push. He's on a different team, but he realises the importance
of having Bettini driving the group.
The chasers, about 15 in total,
with Di Luca and Cunego, are half a minute behind the lead group.
16:38 CEST 199km/42km to go
Bettini even takes
his overshoes off, but doing it from fifth wheel creates a bit of a gap. Now
it's a Quick.Step team time trial going full gas. 35 seconds.
16:39 CEST 200km/41km to go
Bettini looks very
nervous as he checks on the rest of the group. He's got Moreni, Sinkewitz, Paolini
and Verbrugghe riding for him as they reach the end of the third lap. Just one
41 km lap to go.
16:41 CEST 201km/40km to go
The chasing group
has grown to 30 or so, led by Garcia Acosta and Valverde (Illes Balears). The
gap is 58 seconds at the line. Some names in this group: Valverde, Rebellin,
Di Luca, Cunego, Chavanel, Cancellara, Nardello, Garcia Acosta.
16:43 CEST 202km/39km to go
It's over a minute
now as the four Quick.Steps of the Apocalypse drive the break through Zurich,
protecting Bettini. The others will try to hang on when Bettini makes his inevitable
attack. The chase group isn't completely out of it, but a minute will be hard
16:46 CEST 204km/37km to go
The lead bunch motors
through Zollikon, led by the blue and white jerseys of Quick.Step, now 1'15
ahead of the chase group with Di Luca, Cunego and Valverde. It's still raining,
by the way.
Clerc is finally and definitively dropped, but he's been
on the attack for most of the day. A good ride by the Swiss sprinter.
Bettini attacks already! Well he's
got nothing to fear from the Di Luca chase group, but 36 km to go is a fair
way. It looks like a good move, as Bettini loses his chain and is caught by
three chasers. Oops.
16:49 CEST 206km/35km to go
Miholjevic and Bernucci
close the gap to Bettini, who attacks again and drops them. Then he sits up
a bit. Only Bernucci is there. Bettini keeps hammering, jersey flapping.
Haussler, Devolder, Grivko and one other are dropped, as are most of the Quick.Steps.
16:52 CEST 207km/34km to go
The race now looks
like a total metzgete:
Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step) in front
Then Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa Bortolo), Vladimir Miholjevic (Liquigas Bianchi),
Andrea Moletta (Gerolsteiner) at 25 seconds.
Then Stijn Devolder
(Discovery Channel) and Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner).
Barredo (Liberty Seguros Würth) and Andriy Grivko (Domina Vacanze).
Then the other three Quick.Steps, who will get caught by the chasing bunch of
16:54 CEST 209km/32km to go
Paolo Bettini is
going to win this race by a lot, provided he stays on the bike. The nearest
chase group is at 0'34 seconds, while the big bunch is at 1'50.
team car comes up and asks him if he needs any help. Parsani gives him some
encouragement, not that he really needs it. He's really determined today.
Bernucci, Miholjevic and Moletta
try but fail to make any impression on Paolo Bettini. They're 45 seconds.
Di Luca has started a rearguard action with Schleck (CSC), Chavanel, Bertagnolli
and a few others. They pick up the Quick.Steps, and are in turn caught by another
six or seven riders. But they're 2'00 behind Bettini.
16:58 CEST 211km/30km to go
30 km to go and Bettini
already has a minute on his nearest chasers. The Italian is powering along alone,
finally ditching his long sleeved jacket. It's only 10 degrees, but he's not
feeling that at all.
17:00 CEST 213km/28km to go
The three chasers
will try to hold off the rest to fight it out for second. Behind that trio,
is Stijn Devolder (Discovery Channel), Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner), Carlos
Barredo (Liberty Seguros Würth), and Andriy Grivko (Domina Vacanze) at 1'40.
Then Di Luca's chase group at 2'21.
Paolo Bettini is now alongside the
railway, heading down towards the Pfannenstiel climb. The Forch is behind him.
As is the rest of the peloton.
17:03 CEST 216km/25km to go
The chasing three
are holding a steadier tempo behind Bettini, with Bernucci, Miholjevic and Moletta
trying to save as much energy as possible before the final climb.
The Devolder/Barredo quartet follows
Bettini at 1'49, also taking the long descent down towards the Pfannenstiel.
17:06 CEST 218km/23km to go
Bettini, gold shoes
flashing as they turn the pedals, has his mind set on one thing today: victory
in Zurich. With every pedal stroke, he's pulling further away from his chasers.
He takes another right hander and starts the climb.
17:08 CEST 219km/22km to go
The first chasers
also reach the foot of the climb at 1'17, then Devolder's group comes through
17:10 CEST 220km/21km to go
Bettini tackles the
first part of the Pfannenstiel, and can afford to take it a bit easier as he
has over a minute.
Di Luca's group, which looks to be fighting for
ninth place is at 3'00.
Devolder is dropped from the third chase
group, then Grivko goes off. Only Haussler and Barredo are left, and Barredo's
not looking too hot either. The young German may be en route to a fifth place,
or better if he can catch the three ahead.
17:13 CEST 222km/19km to go
Bettini picks up
speed on a flatter section, then takes the left hander and hits the steeper
bit of the Pfannenstiel, now with 1'51 on the three chasers! Haussler (and others)
follow at 2'26, then Di Luca is trying to get away from his group at about 3'00.
Bernucci, Moletta and Miholjevic
are now two minutes behind the flying Italian. They too reach the steeper bit
of the climb for the last time.
17:16 CEST 223km/18km to go
Bernucci drops Moletta
and Miholjevic on the climb, and is going for second place. But Miholjevic doesn't
Further back, Gregory Rast has caught Haussler, it looks like.
17:17 CEST 223.5km/17.5km to go
that he has a gap and makes the best of it, driving towards the top of the Pfannenstiel.
The young Italian could salvage a nice second place today.
is stopping Paolo Bettini though. He's already got 2'15 on Bernucci.
17:18 CEST 224km/17km to go
Bettini reaches the
top of the Pfannenstiel and is cheered on by the crowds who have braved the
rain up here.
Bettini powers over the top and picks
up speed on the false flat before the descent proper begins. All he can see
in front is grey clouds over the Zürichsee.
17:22 CEST 226km/15km to go
Lövkvist and Chavanel
have caught and passed Haussler, it looks like. We'll see soon enough.
Second over the top of the Pfannenstiel is Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa Bortolo)
Someone's coming back to Bernucci
- Frank Schleck (CSC). Fourth over is Miholjevic with Chavanel, Lövkvist, Di
Luca and an Euskaltel rider.
17:24 CEST 227km/14km to go
Bettini tackles the
very last climb in Wetzwil with 3'00 on the nearest chasers, Bernucci and Frank
Schleck. This is going to be a huge win by him today.
17:26 CEST 229.5km/11.5km to go
Second and third
places might be sewn up by Schleck and Bernucci, but chasing them are Di Luca,
Vladimir Miholjevic (Liquigas Bianchi), Chavanel (Cofidis), Lövkvist (FDJ) and
17:27 CEST 230km/11km to go
Schleck and Bernucci
are on the Wetzwil climb, but Bettini is now well on his way back down to Zurich
with 11 km to go.
17:29 CEST 231km/10km to go
Bettini has over
three minutes. He can afford to stop for a drink here if he wants.
Rast has made it up to Di Luca's group, which has lost Miholjevic. Now Sanchez
and Di Luca ride away from the rest.
Schleck drops Bernucci on the
Wetzwil climb. Maybe a second place for the Luxembourg champ? No, Bernucci is
17:29 CEST 232km/9km to go
Schleck reaches the
top with about 5 seconds on Bernucci. Di Luca and Sanchez are another 20 seconds
back. Di Luca could certainly seal his ProTour jersey today.
17:31 CEST 234km/7km to go
It's anyone's guess
who'll get second: Di Luca and Sanchez are picking up Bernucci and Schleck as
Sanchez leads on the descent.
Bettini is now at the bottom, being
urged on by Serge Parsani in the team car. He still has over 3'00 on the two
chasers Bernucci and Schleck, who have found each other again.
17:33 CEST 235km/6km to go
Bernucci leads Schleck
on the descent, taking the corners well. In front, Bettini powers along with
6 km to go.
Di Luca and Sanchez are just 18 seconds behind Schleck
17:35 CEST 236.5km/4.5km to go
Sixth on the road
at the moment is Thomas Lövkvist (Francaise des Jeux), followed by Sylvain Chavanel
(Cofidis) and Gregory Rast (Phonak).
17:36 CEST 237km/4km to go
Sanchez and Di Luca
are doing their best to catch Bernucci and Schleck, but the gap is still 20
seconds. It looks impossible with only 4 km to go.
17:37 CEST 238km/3km to go
Paolo Bettini, winner
of this race in 2001, is en route to one of his biggest victories. He's got
three minutes on his nearest chasers and there's only 3 km to go. Di Luca should
be unbeatable in the ProTour after today.
17:38 CEST 239km/2km to go
Schleck and Bernucci
are really giving it everything to stay away from Di Luca and Sanchez. They
just have to work for another 4 km or so. They have 18 seconds.
17:39 CEST 239.5km/1.5km to go
Bettini goes through
2 km to go and looks very pleased with himself, pulling out his lucky gold chain
to go with his lucky gold helmet, lucky gold shoes, lucky gold bike, etc.
17:40 CEST 240km/1km to go
Bettini is at 1 km
to go, and is not easing off yet. What a race by this man!
17:41 CEST 241km/0km to go
Bettini gives his
gold chain another kiss and can finally salute the crowd as he rides up the
finishing straight. He looks behind and salutes his team director as well. He's
very happy with himself, and he should be.
Schleck and Bernucci keep the tempo
up as they go under 1 km to go. If they play around too much, Di Luca and Sanchez
will get them.
Schleck leads under 1 km to go, just
10 seconds ahead of Di Luca and Sanchez. Schleck looks back and Bernucci. Nope,
no way. Schleck will have to lead out.
Schleck sprints at 30m to go and
Bernucci doesn't contest it. Frank takes second. Di Luca is fourth ahead of
Sanchez, and has got the ProTour in the bag.
That wraps it up from a very wet
Zurich, where we have seen Paolo Bettini take a meat cleaver to the rest of
the field and win by three minutes ahead of an excellent Frank Schleck and a
generous Lorenzo Bernucci. Danilo Di Luca's fourth place will keep him in the
ProTour jersey and no-one will be able to take it from him now, it seems.
Until next week's Paris-Tours, it's bye-bye from the blimp!
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step 6.06.22
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 3.00
3 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
4 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 3.09
5 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 3.11
6 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) T-Mobile 3.28
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi