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Photo ©: Sirotti

72rd La Flèche Wallonne - HIS

Belgium, April 22, 2009

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Rebellin, genius of the Huy

By Gregor Brown in Huy, Belgium

Italian Davide Rebellin of Serramenti Diquigiovanni celebrates
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The gesture he made as he crossed the line for his third Flèche Wallonne title said it all: pointing to his head before pumping his fist exuberantly, Davide Rebellin demonstrated that he won not just with his legs, but by riding the smartest finale of the race.

"I knew I had to continue to finish off the great work by my team," said the 37-year-old Rebellin. "I thought I would have good feelings and I did, I won. It might just be be the best of my three wins."

The Mur de Huy's punishing 1300 metres favors those who can be patient and time their efforts to maximum effect. Silence-Lotto's Cadel Evans knows that now, after he led the field in pursuit of Frenchman David Le Lay (Agritubel) for the better part of a kilometre only to hit the wall at 200m to go. Le Lay will take note as his attack at the base of the climb was brilliantly strong, but ill-timed.

Rebellin, perfectly positioned in third behind Evans and Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) bided his time as Le Lay was caught. He let Evans set a furious pace, then made his charge just as the Australian blew and easily sprinted to the victory ahead of Schleck. Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) slipped past Evans to claim third and fourth.

"I did not want to be too explosive right away, that is why at the bottom of the climb you saw Nicki Sørensen pulling," explained Schleck. "Cadel went too early and we were able to get on his wheel, at that point there was a lull in speed and I would have preferred it remained at a high speed."

Cunego found himself a bit too far back on the steepest part of the climb, but was pleased to have battled back to make the podium. "When we were at 500 metres it got really tough. Those who did not have the legs faded and those who had the legs fought. Through that tough S-turn at 300 metres, I lost a little bit of ground on Schleck and Rebellin. Amstel was a bit unlucky, but I am happy for today."

For his part, Evans was happy with his fifth place. "I didn't feel well at all today so I am quite surprised at the result," said Evans. He attacked at the côte de Bousalle with 22km to go, trying to set up his teammate Philippe Gilbert.

"Since I didn't feel well, I told the team that they shouldn't be riding for me and we would go for Gilbert today." Evans was then asked if the attack came too early and he should have saved his energy for the final climb up the Mur. "Funny, usually people tell me I don't attack..."

French-Japanese alliance

Frenchman Christophe Moreau (Agritubel) and Japanese Fumiyuki Beppu (Skil-Shimano) lit up the first part of the Flèche Wallonne. Under the drive of Moreau, the duo established a gap over the peloton at kilometre eight.

The duo's time advantage grew to 15:30 by the start of the first of three climbs of the Mur de Huy, kilometre 63.5. The peloton brought the duo to a reasonable 11:25 by the top of the second ascent of Huy, at kilometre 96.5.

Moreau, active from the start, said au revoir to Beppu, and led the race solo with 78 kilometres and eight climbs remaining. Lampre led the chase of the lone Frenchman: at 61 kilometres remaining the gap was 6:05 and 4:10 to Beppu.

Peloton arises

Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank) woke up the peloton with an attack at 43 kilometres remaining. He did not get free but he stretched out the group and opened up a series of counter-attacks.

Enrico Gasparotto (Lampre-NGC) forced clear a group of 17 at the top of the Côte de Bonneville. The move lasted to the base of the next climb, the Côte de Bohisseau, the eighth of 11 for the day.

Moreau's move ended at the top of the Bohisseau, 162.5 kilometres after he began and 25 kilometres left to race. The next action came on the Côte de Bousalle. Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) and Alexandr Kolobnev (Saxo Bank) hit the front near the top, and José Serpa (Diquigiovanni) too over. The Columbian led the race by 15 seconds over the Caisse d'Epargne-controlled peloton with 20 kilometres and two climbs to race.

The Spanish team reeled in Serpa, and Alexandre Botcharov (Katusha) stretched out the peloton on the Côte de Ahin. Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni) pulled it back and held a small lead with Gasparotto and Christian Pfannberger (Katusha) at the top.

The peloton, all together, braced itself for the Mur de Huy 8.7 kilometres later. Coming into the base of the climb, Nicki Sørensen (Saxo Bank) took the lead, but Le Lay came charging past in a dangerous-looking move which earned him a five second lead. But with Evans towing an elite group in pursuit, the Frenchman stood little chance of success.

Only Schleck and Rebellin could hold the wheel of the charging Australian, and when Evans faded, Rebellin pounced to nab the victory for the third time in his career.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com

Images by AFP

Images by Sirotti/www.sirotti.it

Images by ISPA/www.ispaphoto.be


1 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli    4.42.15  (41.56 km/h)
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank                                           0.02
3 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                            
4 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                                    0.07
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto                                                 
6 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad                                  
7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                                   0.11
8 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Cervelo Test Team                                           
9 Michael Albasini (Swi) Team Columbia - Highroad                                 
10 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale                                   0.15
11 Clément Lhotellerie (Fra) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team                     0.18
12 David Lelay (Fra) Agritubel                                                0.21
13 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha                                              
14 Ben Hermans (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator                               
15 Chris Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank                                            
16 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick Step                                            0.24
17 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago                              0.26
18 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram                                               
19 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                        
20 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Française Des Jeux                                    
21 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team Saxo Bank                                     0.29
22 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step                                             0.32
23 John-Lee Augustyn (RSA) Barloworld                                             
24 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank                                            
25 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Slipstream                                   0.34
26 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team                          0.36
27 Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana                                                    
28 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli     0.39
29 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                                       
30 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom                                   
31 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas                                                 
32 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram                                          0.43
33 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne                                
34 Christopher Froome (GBr) Barloworld                                            
35 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                       0.48
36 Gerben Löwik (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team                            0.51
37 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom                                    
38 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                        0.54
39 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha                                         
40 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team Columbia - Highroad                                   
41 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano                                             
42 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team                          0.57
43 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Astana                                               1.03
44 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team Columbia - Highroad                                  
45 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française Des Jeux                               1.07
46 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française Des Jeux                                       1.09
47 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) Française Des Jeux                                 1.12
48 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                  1.13
49 Francis De Greef (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                           
50 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank                                             
51 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas                                             1.16
52 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Team Katusha                                               
53 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team                               
54 Alberto Losada (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                                      1.21
55 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli       
56 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Slipstream                                    1.24
57 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank                                              
58 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank                                                    
59 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step                                                 
60 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                          
61 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Caisse d'Epargne                                        
62 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                        
63 Inigo Landaluze (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                                      
64 Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                                        
65 Luca Solari (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli              
66 Christian Pfannberger (Aut) Team Katusha                                       
67 Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - Highroad                                     
68 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago                              
69 Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel                                                   
70 Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator                              
71 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil-Shimano                                            
72 Daniel Fleeman (GBr) Cervelo Test Team                                         
73 Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli          
74 Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago                               
75 Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil-Shimano                                              
76 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank                                                    
77 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne                               
78 Jan Bakelandts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator                            
79 Serguei Klimov (Rus) Team Katusha                                              
80 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                           
81 Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas                                            
82 Reinier Honig (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team                               
83 Thomas Rohregger (Aut) Team Milram                                             
84 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Katusha                                                   
85 Thomas Peterson (USA) Garmin - Slipstream                                      
86 Jason Donald (USA) Garmin - Slipstream                                         
87 Craig Lewis (USA) Team Columbia - Highroad                                     
88 Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel                                                
89 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin - Slipstream                                     
90 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram                                          
91 Alexander Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale                                       
92 Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram                                                 
93 Nikita Eskov (Rus) Team Katusha                                                
94 Steven Cummings (GBr) Barloworld                                               
95 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank                                            
96 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale                                        
97 Jose Serpa (Col) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli               
98 Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom                                     
99 Mauricio Ardila (Col) Rabobank                                                 
100 Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank                                                 
101 Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank                                                   
102 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale                                          
103 Ruben Perez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                                         
104 Edward King (USA) Cervelo Test Team                                           
105 Inaki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                                         
106 Alan Perez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                                          
107 Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana                                              
108 Lucas Euser (USA) Garmin - Slipstream                                         
109 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Cervelo Test Team                                      
110 Bingen Fernandez (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne                            
111 Kevin Seeldrayers (Bel) Quick Step                                            
112 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                            
113 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Cervelo Test Team                                         
114 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team                          
115 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Saxo Bank                                           
116 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne                               
117 Francesco Reda (Ita) Quick Step                                               
118 Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervelo Test Team                                        
119 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator                         
120 Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano                                              
121 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom                                   
122 Xavier Florencio (Spa) Cervelo Test Team                                      
123 Cyril Gautier (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom                                     
124 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Silence-Lotto                                             
125 Addy Engels (Ned) Quick Step                                                  
126 Julien El Fares (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne                             
127 Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom                                  
128 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Liquigas                                                
129 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana                                                 
130 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana                                                    
131 Giampaolo Cheula (Ita) Barloworld                                             
132 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator                          
133 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                                          
134 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                         
135 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                      
136 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank                                                
137 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Agritubel                                             
138 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française Des Jeux                                     
139 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel                                                  
140 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Team Katusha                                                
141 Juan Jose Oroz (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                                      
142 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quick Step                                               
143 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil-Shimano                                               
144 Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team Columbia - Highroad                                
145 Nazareno Rossi (Swi) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli          
146 Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team                               
147 Christian Meier (Can) Garmin - Slipstream                                     
148 Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne                              
149 Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago                            
150 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago                                
151 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Française Des Jeux                                        
152 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank                                               
153 Benjamin Gourgue (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago                              
154 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française Des Jeux                                       
155 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne                                         
156 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Barloworld                                         
157 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas                                                 
158 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Liquigas                                               
DNF Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                         
DNF Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                             
DNF Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.                                           
DNF Francesco Ginanni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli       
DNF Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas                                                 
DNF Rui Da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne                                           
DNF Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                                        
DNF Patrick Calcagni (Swi) Barloworld                                             
DNF Marco Corti (Ita) Barloworld                                                  
DNF José Luis Arrieta (Spa) AG2R La Mondiale                                      
DNF Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                          
DNF Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                      
DNF Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom                                  
DNF Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBox Bouygues Telecom                                   
DNF Jonathan Bertrand (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago                             
DNF Kevin Neirynck (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago                                
DNF Gorka Verdugo (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                                       
DNF Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step                                                  
DNF Jesus Hernandez (Spa) Astana                                                  
DNF Berik Kupeshov (Kaz) Astana                                                   
DNF Benjamin Noval (Spa) Astana                                                   
DNF Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française Des Jeux                                      
DNF Ronny Scholz (Ger) Team Milram                                                
DNF Paul Voss (Ger) Team Milram                                                   
DNF Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram                                               
DNF Rémi Cusin (Fra) Agritubel                                                    
DNF Yann Huguet (Fra) Agritubel                                                   
DNF Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel                                             
DNF Marcel Wyss (Swi) Cervelo Test Team                                           
DNF Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream                               
DNF Maryan Hary (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne                                 
DNF Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne                                
DNF Lasse Bochmann (Den) Team Saxo Bank                                           
DNF Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano                                             
DNF Theo Eltink (Ned) Skil-Shimano                                                
DNF Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano                                              
DNF Tom Criel (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator                                
DNF Sven Renders (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator                             
DNF Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator