Competitive Cyclist
New Sun Nutrition
Craft USA
BBB Parts
Vellum Cycles

93rd Züri Metzgete - Championship of Zurich - ProT

Switzerland, October 1, 2006

Main page     Map     Start list    Results

Live report

Live Commentary by Jeff Jones

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

14:55 CEST   
Welcome to the 93rd Züri-Metzgete (Championship of Zurich), the third last ProTour race of the season. 241 km long, the race consists of one 72.5 km lap and four 42 km circuits. At the moment, the peloton is hunting down two breakaways: Jeremy Roy (Française des Jeux), Fumiyuki Beppu (Discovery), who have been clear since km 25 and had a maximum lead of 17'00. The pair were with Michele Gobbi for a while, but he was dropped.

Liquigas is leading the chase at the moment, and Carlos Abellan (Astana) has just crashed on the wet and tricky descent back into town. It's not as wet as last year, but the roads are certainly damp.

14:57 CEST    157km/84km to go
The gap comes down to 6'31 as the chase continues, somewhat disorganised. Liquigas attempted to break up the bunch, but did not succeed.

The two leaders, Beppu and Roy, come up to the line with two laps to go.

14:59 CEST    160km/81km to go
CSC's Lars Bak does a big turn, along with Fabio Sacchi (Milram). They get a small gap over the peloton, which is in bits. Bak's teammates, together with Discovery and FDJ allow these two riders to get a gap.

Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

15:01 CEST    161km/80km to go
Now Philippe Gilbert is on the front, working hard. The peloton is fairly small - maybe 50 riders max. Paolo Bettini is at the back, getting rid of his rain jacket. He's enjoying the rainbow jersey.

15:03 CEST    162km/79km to go
The peloton passes through the feed zone with one Milram rider using this as an opportunity to attack. The gap at the finish line is 4'48.

the first peloton comes though at 4'56, with CSC, Discovery and Quick.Step quite prominent. A second peloton - maybe 60 riders - comes through at 5'28. Paolini, Boogerd and Bettini are in this one.

15:09 CEST    166km/75km to go
The Milram rider is Alessandro Vanotti, and he is 4'12 behind the two leaders, who are now into the second last lap. A group of seven catches Vanotti, then the rest of the front group.

Group 2 is at 5'20 and it could be the end of Bettini's chances.

15:12 CEST    167km/74km to go
The first group (38 riders) starts the climb to Forch with Arvesen leading. This lasts for six kilometres at 3.2%. One of Arvesen's teammates in about fourth wheel leaves a gap to close, but there are others to do this job.

Meanwhile, Beppu and Roy are further up the climb, not looking too flash.

15:17 CEST    169km/72km to go
It starts to rain again. This is looking like last year. Di Luca does a turn in group 1, then Cancellara swings off, looking for his teammates.

In group 2, Bettini and Paolini are together. Despite riding for different teams, they are good friends. Last week, Paolini probably remembered Bettini's "help" in his Vuelta stage win.

Cofidis is leading group 2 at 5'04, while Group 1 is already 2'29 behind the two leaders.

15:18 CEST    171km/70km to go
Philippe Gilbert attacks group 1 and gets Van Goolen and Noè for company.

15:20 CEST   
FDJ and Discovery probably realise that their two guys in front are soon to be history. That's why Gilbert and Van Goolen are on the attack. Together with Andrea Noè, they are joined by a couple more riders.

15:22 CEST   
The six chasers: Philippe Gilbert (FDJ), Jurgen Van Goolen (Discovery), Andrea Noè (Liquigas), Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d'Epargne), Matteo Tosatto (Quick.Step), Fabian Cancellara (CSC). A few more riders are trying to bridge up.

Meanwhile, the two leaders are at the top of the climb in Forch, but have just 1'25 on the counter attacking group. The rest of group 1 is at 1'48.

15:25 CEST    174km/67km to go
The lead pair hammer along the train tracks on the steady descent towards the Pfannenstiel. They won't last out here too much longer.

Bjorn Leukemans (Davitamon) has made it up to the chase group, together with the rest of the front group. Andrea Moletta does a turn. The gap is 1'07.

15:29 CEST    177km/64km to go
The riders in the first group (approximately): Gilbert, Bileka, Van Goolen, Noè, Albasini, Di Luca, Reynes, Lastras, Efimkin, Moletta, Bak, Cancellara, Arvesen, Vigano, Vasseur, Tosatto, Efimkin, Sinkewitz, Ballan, Szmyd, Isasi, Perez, Löwik, Flecha, Weening, Fofonov, Leukemans, Monfort, Scheirlinckx, Sacchi, Celestino, Visconti, Goubert, Kemps, Arreitunandia.

Vasseur gets a gap with Albasini and Weening.

15:31 CEST    178km/63km to go
Beppu and Roy are approaching the Pfannenstiel. They're not on it yet, but it's still a climb. They have just 43 seconds on the chasers and are looking very knackered. The total climb is 5.7 km long averaging 4.1% (including a short descent), with the steepest bit being 12%.

15:32 CEST    178km/63km to go
Albasini, Weening and Vasseur can see the rest of the front group at 30 seconds behind. Bettini's main peloton is at 2'00, so they're not out of it yet.

15:34 CEST    179km/62km to go
Bettini's group is hammering on the Pfannenstiel, led by Boogerd and Bettini. They are dropping plenty of riders.

Beppu and Roy reach the top of the first bit of the climb, with Beppu looking the best. The three chasers are 10-15 seconds behind.

15:35 CEST   
The three chasers become seven with Leukemans, Cancellara, Van Goolen, and Di Luca joining. Albasini does a massive turn for Di Luca.

15:37 CEST    180km/61km to go
And Beppu and Roy are caught by the Di Luca group, which is now on the second part of the Pfannenstiel, led by Di Luca himself. The rest of the front group is at 15 seconds, then Bettini's group at 1'11.

That breakaway lasted 155 km.

15:39 CEST   
Tosatto makes it across to the front group as Albasini drops off. The rest of the chasers are strung out in pursuit, with Gilbert fairly prominent. They hit the steep part of the climb.

In group 2, Boogerd is sitting behind a teammate at 1'00 behind the leaders. Bettini is last wheel.

15:40 CEST    182km/59km to go
The lead group reduces to five: Di Luca, Cancellara, Leukemans,Tosatto, Van Goolen. Di Luca is doing all the work and really giving it gas on this climb.

15:41 CEST    183km/58km to go
Szmyd and Moletta are the next two riders chasing the five, then the rest of the first group, and the Bettini/Boogerd peloton led by Rasmussen at 1'05.

Di Luca has ridden a good climb, and hasn't lost any time.

15:44 CEST    184km/57km to go
Cance leads them over the top, with Moletta and Szmyd at just 9 seconds. Then the rest of the group at 25 seconds, led by Löwik. then a few stragglers, including Weening, then the peloton at 1'08, led by Rasmussen.

15:45 CEST    185km/56km to go
Bettini is back with the Quick.Step car again, chatting to the boss. It doesn't look like his day today, but you never know with him.

Rasmussen could do better if he zipped up his jacket.

15:47 CEST    186km/55km to go
Szmyd could also do better with a zipped up jacket, but that would cost him time in the chase. He's alone, having dropped Moletta, at 15 seconds and losing ground.

15:48 CEST    187km/54km to go
It's damp at the top here in Wetzwil as the last little climb starts (500m at 8%). Szmyd can see the five leaders tantalisingly out of reach.

15:50 CEST   
He's climbing well though, and is just about on the back at the top. Nice riding. It's raining hard here and quite misty.

Ah - Moletta is already up here, so we have seven leaders: Di Luca, Cancellara, Leukemans, Tosatto, Van Goolen, Moletta, Szmyd.

Wegmann attacks the Bettini/Boogerd group, which is at 1'02. O'Grady chases him.

15:51 CEST   
Correction: Bettini is not in this group any more. His race might be over.

15:51 CEST    189km/52km to go
Gilbert and Flecha tackle the wet descent, 23 seconds behind the seven leaders. Flecha is having problems following the fast Belgian.

15:53 CEST    190km/51km to go
The rain is driving on the descent, as in the front group, Szmyd sits last wheel. They fly through and over a roundabout and round more corners. This is rather tricky. Gilbert and Flecha ride over the roundabout. Others, including Visconti and Efimkin come back to them.

15:54 CEST    191km/50km to go
The seven leaders are at the foot of the descent now, taking the tricky right hander. Then Gilbert and Visconti at 22 seconds.

15:55 CEST    192km/49km to go
Back to the front riders: Di Luca is on the front, doing a hard turn, then Leukemans and Van Goolen, both with flapping rain jackets. Szmyd is still on the back.

15:57 CEST   
Correction to the four chasers: Visconti and Lastras are with Gilbert and Flecha. They're 29 seconds behind the seven leaders, and working well together.

16:00 CEST    197km/44km to go
The larger chasing groups look to have consolidated, with Rabobank and Cofidis sharing the work. 48 seconds behind the seven leaders.

Gilbert and co are just 8 seconds behind the front riders.

16:03 CEST    199km/42km to go
The two small groups in front merge and we have: Di Luca, Cancellara, Leukemans, Tosatto, Van Goolen, Moletta, Szmyd, Gilbert, Flecha, Visconti, Lastras.

The bunch is just 40 seconds back, though, driven by Weening and Löwik (Rabo), Monfort and Scheirlinckx (Cofidis).

16:05 CEST    200km/41km to go
The leaders ride through the feed zone and most grab musettes. They can sense that the bunch is coming back to them. Cancellara looks back, bidon in mouth.

1 lap to go! The gap is just 15 seconds to a bunch of about 50-50. Horner is here, but at the back. So is Paolini.

16:06 CEST    201km/40km to go
Gilbert has decided that it's all or nothing, and takes Leukemans, Di Luca and Cancellara with him.

16:08 CEST    202km/39km to go
The four in front open up their lead to 25 seconds. Van Goolen does a turn in the chasing group, which is now caught by the bunch.

16:11 CEST    204km/37km to go
Di Luca, Cancellara, Gilbert and Leukemans now have half a minute as Flecha powers the peloton with Scheirlinckx in tow. It's still wet, but not really raining much. This has been a very tough race - the pace hasn't really eased off.

There are six CSC riders behind the front chasers in the peloton. And they have Cance in front.

16:12 CEST   
Paolo Bettini riders across the line at 7'10, and abandons. Last year's champ won't make the podium this year.

16:14 CEST    206km/35km to go
Stijn Devolder lifts the tempo in the bunch as the climb to Forch starts. The Discovery rider has cut the gap back to 11 seconds in quick time.

16:15 CEST    207km/34km to go
Devolder joins the front group, which is now mostly Belgian. But the peloton is not far behind.

16:17 CEST    208km/33km to go
Boogerd attacks the peloton, which is looking rather destroyed. The Dutch rider should make it across to the leaders, where Devolder is doing a turn.

Boogerd does make it, but another 15-20 riders do as well.

16:18 CEST   
Gusev appears at the front and does a hard turn. Then Cancellara again with Boogerd. Four riders have a little gap over the next group of 10, then bits...

16:22 CEST    210km/31km to go
The leaders: Sanchez, Boogerd, Cancellara, O'Grady, Devolder, Rebellin. And lots of riders trying to get up, in bits. This is looking like a very good group.

The chasers: Pozzato, Schleck, Kroon, Sorensen, Wegmann, Leukemans, Di Luca, Evans, Moreni, Gusev.

16:24 CEST    212km/29km to go
Gilbert makes it back onto the chasers at the top of the Forch climb. This group is 25 seconds behind the leaders. CSC has five riders in the front 17. They are in the boxed seat.

Other groups are trying to chase. It's all in bits.

16:26 CEST    213km/28km to go
The leaders: Boogerd (Rabobank), Cancellara, O'Grady (CSC), Sanchez (Euskaltel), Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Devolder (Discovery). They are on the steady descent past the railway tracks, en route to the Pfannenstiel. They're not riding away from the chasers, but they're not losing ground.

16:27 CEST    215km/26km to go
The leaders roll over well on the descent, and start to increase their gap. Behind them, the three CSC riders in the group of 11 aren't working, of course.

Boogerd does a big turn, then Sanchez.

16:29 CEST    216km/25km to go
It's up to 28 seconds now as the leaders near the foot of the descent with 25 km to go. The rain is constant, but not heavy.

16:30 CEST   
Leukemans is giving full gas in the chase with Sorensen in tow and Evans in third wheel. No-one's helping Leukemans though. Schleck is behind Evans, then Pozzato. Leukemans isn't closing the gap.

16:32 CEST    219km/22km to go
There's another group with Ballan 15 seconds behind the first chase group. Now Leukemans pulls off and is dropped, while Ballan closes the gap with Horner and a few others, including Paolini and Tosatto, Nardello and several more.

16:33 CEST    221km/20km to go
The Pfannenstiel starts and the chase group separates into smaller bits. Gilbert is gone, as are Ballan and Nardello. All that chasing just to get dropped again. That's bike racing for you.

16:34 CEST   
The leaders are just about at the top of the first part of the climb, and it's Devolder setting tempo with O'Grady and Rebellin on his wheel. 22 seconds to group 2...

16:35 CEST   
Pozzato is leading the chase group and has Kroon on his wheel, not working. The gap is 25 seconds. There's maybe 15 riders left in this group.

16:37 CEST   
The names of most of the chase group: Pozzato, Tosatto, Schleck, Ballan, Loosli, Kroon, Sorensen, Wegmann, Di Luca, Paolini, Horner, Evans, Wegmann, Moreni, Grivko, Nardello, A. Efimkin, Ricco, Gusev.

16:37 CEST    222km/19km to go
The leaders are now 40 seconds ahead, as they hit the second half of the Pfannenstiel. It looks like they'll stay clear, but you never know!

16:39 CEST    223km/18km to go
Devolder leads on the short descent before the final uphill bit of the Pfannenstiel. The leaders are cooperating well.

Ballan is having problems following the chase group.

16:41 CEST   
Fans clad in rain gear cheer on the leaders up the Pfannenstiel. It's still early to pick a winner from this group. Both O'Grady and Rebellin can sprint, and Cancellara is a handy lead out man. The Swiss rider has had a great race so far.

Tosatto (who has also had a great race) and Pozzato are towing the chasers at 30 seconds.

16:42 CEST    224km/17km to go
Attack! Rebellin, Sanchez and Boogerd have dropped O'Grady, then Cancellara and Devolder are further back. Sanchez is giving it full gas. Good thinking.

16:43 CEST    224km/17km to go
Cancellara is now chasing O'Grady alone, with Devolder trying to close as well. Ouch - this is hurting. The three remaining leaders are at the top of the Pfannenstiel. They have 9 seconds on O'Grady, then 16 seconds on Cancellara and 22 on Devolder.

16:45 CEST    225km/16km to go
Boogerd, Sanchez and Rebellin work well together. Sanchez is also quick, as you saw last week in the world's. But is he a match for Rebellin? Boogerd is the slowest of the three.

Cance is doing his best to get O'Grady. The Australian should wait for his teammate.

16:45 CEST   
The rest of the chase group is at 1'00, and is not going to make it back to the front.

16:46 CEST    226km/15km to go
Cance makes it back to O'Grady. Good work. Now they can work together. They are at 14 seconds.

16:47 CEST    227km/14km to go
The leaders slow a little as O'Grady and Cance get to within 12 seconds...11... It's foggy and wet at the top. Deja vu. Boogerd looks back and sees Cancellara leading O'Grady back. 5 seconds. 4 seconds.

16:48 CEST   
The CSC pair close the gap at the foot of the climb to Wetzwil.

16:48 CEST    228km/13km to go
Does anyone have the legs to attack? Boogerd doesn't seem to.

Devolder is 29 seconds behind, so he's not coming back.

16:49 CEST    229km/12km to go
Cancellara is having problems following, and is dropped on this steep climb. Ouch, just 200m to go. O'Grady can hang on ok. Sanchez attacks!

16:51 CEST    230km/11km to go
Sanchez has a nice gap over Rebellin, Boogerd and O'Grady, who is not working. Cancellara is finished this time, surely. But he's still trying. Then a long look back to Devolder, Evans, Sorensen and Wegmann.

16:52 CEST    231km/10km to go
Rebellin still on the front on the descent, which is very wet. Sanchez is a good descender, and could well open up a winning gap here. But it ain't over until it's over. He has 12 seconds.

16:53 CEST   
Cance is now on the descent, 14 seconds behind O'Grady's group of three. He flies over the roundabout and uses his extra weight to good advantage.

16:54 CEST    232km/9km to go
Sanchez goes under the railway bridge, then turns left onto the flat road at the bottom. The chasers aren't that far behind. 11 seconds. Cance is another 6 seconds back. Impressive work on the descent!

16:55 CEST   
The Evans, Devolder group is at a minute, and is not coming back to the leader.

16:55 CEST    234km/7km to go
Sanchez is now on the flat. This is going to be tough, as Cancellara has now joined the chase group. What a ride!

16:57 CEST    235km/6km to go
But the situation will change, as Boogerd and Rebellin might not cooperate with Cance and O'Grady. The gap is 15 seconds to Sanchez, who is looking back a lot. Cance is on the front in the TT position, and is expending himself in this chase.

16:57 CEST    236km/5km to go
Boogerd is also riding. Probably a good idea, as Sanchez still has 14 seconds. They have to get him back before Boogerd can even think about a win.

16:58 CEST    236.5km/4.5km to go
13 seconds, and Sanchez is in a fair amount of pain as he holds 53 km/h on the flat. Boogerd and Cancellara swap off, with O'Grady now doing a turn. 13 seconds still.

16:59 CEST   
Sanchez finds another gear and is now 15 seconds ahead. Cancellara is dropped again.

17:00 CEST    238km/3km to go
Cance tries to get back to the other three.

Meanwhile, Di Luca and Pozzato have joined the Evans group, along with a few more.

17:01 CEST    238.5km/2.5km to go
Sanchez looks like he's got this one. 17 seconds with less than 3 km to go, with O'Grady, Rebellin and Boogerd working their guts out to get him. Then Cancellara on his own at a few seconds.

17:01 CEST    239km/2km to go
Sanchez powers along with 2 km to go. They surely won't get him now. Great attack and great descent by the Euskaltel rider. This might be Euskaltel's first classic win(?)

17:03 CEST    240km/1km to go
Sanchez reaches the final kilometre with nearly 20 seconds. He checks back and keeps going. He knows he can win!

17:04 CEST    241km/0km to go
Sanchez can't believe it. He's really happy, smiling as he sits up and crosses the line. What a ride!!

17:04 CEST   
Cancellara makes it back to the chasers, then Boogerd leads out but it's O'Grady who takes second, then Rebellin, Boogerd and Cance.

17:07 CEST   
Moreni takes sixth ahead of Sørensen, Gusev, Di Luca, Pozzato and Wegmann. And we'll leave it there as the bunch comes in in dribs and drabs.

Thanks for following this very wet edition of the Championship of Zurich with us. We'll be back at roughly the same time next Sunday with Paris-Tours. Until then!


1 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi     6.03.48
2 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC                              
3 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                         
4 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                             
5 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC                           
6 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone      
7 Nicki Sørensen (Den) Team CSC                              
8 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team    
9 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas                              
10 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Quickstep-Innergetic                
11 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner                         
12 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC