93rd Züri Metzgete - Championship of Zurich - ProT
Switzerland, October 1, 2006
Live Commentary by Jeff Jones
Live coverage starts: 15:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 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
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
Group 2 is at 5'20 and it could be the end of Bettini's
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
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
attacks group 1 and gets Van Goolen and Noè for company.
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.
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,
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
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
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.
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.
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.
He's climbing well though, and is
just about on the back at the top. Nice riding. It's raining hard here and quite
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pozzato, Schleck, Kroon, Sorensen, Wegmann, Leukemans, Di Luca, Evans, Moreni,
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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...
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
Cance is doing his best to get O'Grady. The Australian should
wait for his teammate.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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!!
Cancellara makes it back to the chasers,
then Boogerd leads out but it's O'Grady who takes second, then Rebellin, Boogerd
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