9th Classique des Alpes, Cat 1.1

France, June 5, 1999

1998 Results     Map of Route     Past Winners     Teams    


Since its inception in 1991, the Classique des Alpes has allowed the climbers in the peloton to test their form in the mountains that are used a month later in the Tour de France. It winds its way over several cols including the famous Col du Granier and thus is practise for the climbs to come in July. In its 8 editions, the good climbers have dominated the Classique des Alpes. The race has been dominated by French riders with Charly Mottet winning the first edition. Gilles Delion followed in 1992. Then Laurent Jalabert won in 1996 and 1998, with Laurent Roux coming first in 1997.

The race traces a route between Aix-les-Bains, the popular thermal area and Chambéry, the tourist town in the ski area of the Savoie. The parcours favours climbers without doubt but it also allows for a courageous rider to attack and win alone like in the cast of Eddy Bouwmans in 1993.


Spanish rider Unai Osa won the 9th Classique des Alpes and in doing so achieved his first major professional victory. He is now clearly the in-form rider for Banesto after finishing 3rd in the Bicicleta Vasqua, 5th in the Tour of Mallorca and 10th in the Ruta Del Sol.

He said afterwards: "I have been very strong since the Bicicleta Vasqua." Osa said he won the race on the col du Cruchon around 40 kms before the end. He attacked with French rider Benoît Salmon, and they went away and then Osa was too strong in the sprint.

He said: "I am quite surprised and happy that I won the sprint because it is not my strong point. I am also happy to win my first major race."

Salmon, was aggressive all day but conceded that Osa was the stronger. He said: "All day, the Casino team was in the attacking moves. I had to do very little. Osa was very strong and stronger than I was. I have not done much since I won the Midi-Libre. I now will plan to win a stage in the Dauphiné Libere."

Report from Daniel Schamps:

144 started this morning in the very centre of Aix-les-Bains in the northern part of the French Alps. The Classique des Alpes took the riders to Chambéry just 15 kms from Aix-les-Bains via the direct road. But today the it took the riders more than 5 hours. Seven climbs were required as well as two climbs of the Col du Granier in the Massif de la Chartreuse - thus about seventy kilometres of tough climbing and a corresponding number of downhill riding. There is almost no flat road riding to recover from the efforts.

The race started under a grey sky. There was a bit of rain around twelve and then it became sunny for the rest of the day. The most prominent man of the day was surely Benoît Salmon, victor two weeks ago of the GP du Midi Libre. After a long battle all over the climbs it wasn’t surprising to see him in the lead at Saint-Pierre-d’Entremont at the foot of the last ascent of the day, the Granier. The top of this climb is 19 kms from the finish line.

At that time Salmon was in company with Unaï Osa (Banesto) the youngest of the Osa brothers (24 next week) trying his best to maintain the 40 seconds lead they both had built. Behind them was Kurt van de Wouwer (Lotto), riding with his jersey wide open, and working well with Roland Meier (Cofidis) and the diminutive ONCE rider David Etxebarria. There aim was to close the gap. They also had lost Jörg Jaksche who slipped on a hair-pin bend and lost contact.

Forty seconds further behind was a second group with Casero (Vitalicio), Del Olmo (Euskaltel), Escartin (Kelme), Bouvard (Home market), Jens Heppner (Telekom) and Tim Jones (Amore e Vita). According to the Amore e Vita WWW site, Jones has a hematocrit level of only 37 on the same day as Pantani’s level was over 50!. This group was quickly regaining ground but as the road began to climb once more after St Pierre d’Entremont the gaps did remained stable.

The two leaders crossed the top of the Granier 59 seconds clear of their closest rivals. Osa was suffering on the climb and asked Salmon several times to set the pace. But he was strong enough (or maybe he was bluffing) to keep in contact. At the 10km to go mark, at the foot of the Granier, the gap was still of 58 seconds. Behind, Casero, Heppner, Del Olmo and Escartin had joined Meier, Etxebarria and van de Wouwer but the race was now down to the two leaders. Osa had a one-kilometre pursuit after a problem on a bend just before the leaders reached familiar roads (those used in the 1989 World road championship which was won by Greg Lemond) at Chambéry. Both of them are poor sprinters and Salmon tried his luck on his own with 4km to go. It wasn’t a very strong attack and Osa easily remained with the Casino rider and then didn’t dare to take the lead leaving Salmon ahead. He did accidentaly take the lead with 2 km to go but he only remained 100 m ahead and then asked with big gestures to Salmon to come back to him. Salmon regained contact but the pace was now so slow that Osa passed him once more with only 800 metres to go.

The chasers were regaining ground on the "two leading tourists". The sprint began with only 120 metres to go as Osa decided to try his luck. Salmon wasn’t surprised but the finish was too close for him to win and he finished at a half-wheel to Unaï Osa who won there his first great international victory.

Salmon said: "My directeur sportif Vincent Lavenu asked me to wait the for as long as I could before I sprinted. But I think I waited two seconds too long."

Chambery - Aix-les-Bains, 187.5 kms:

 1. Unai Osa (Spa) Banesto 			      5.01.36 (34.814 km/h)
 2. Benoit Salmon (Fra) Casino
 3. David Etxebarria (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank		 0.37
 4. Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom				 0.37
 5. Roland Meier (Swi) Cofidis				 0.37
 6. Fernando Escartin (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca		 0.37
 7. Angel Luis Casero (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros		 0.37
 8. Txema Del Olmo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi		 0.37
 9. Kurt van de Wouwer (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar		 0.37
10. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Casino			 2.27
11. Gilles Bouvard (Fra) Home Market-Charleroi		 3.12
12. Giusvan Piovaccari (Ita) Cantina Tollo		 3.14
13. Dominique Rault (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93		 3.25
14. Cédric Vasseur (Fra) Crédit Agricole		 3.29
15. Laurent Madouas (Fra) Festina			 3.31
16. Thierry Bourguignon (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93		 3.31
17. Christophe Rinero (Fra) Cofidis			 3.31
18. Timothy Jones (Zim) Amore e Vita			 3.31
19. Giuseppe Guerini (Ita) Telekom			 3.37
20. Joerg Ludewig (Ger) Gerolsteiner			 4.08
21. Sergei Ivanov (Rus) TVM Farm Frites			 4.08
22. Branko Filip (Slo) Gerolsteiner			 4.08
23. Inigo Gonzalez Heredia (Spa) Vitalicio		 4.11
24. Andrei Kivilev (Kas) Festina			 7.11
25. Sebastien Demarbaix (Fra) Lotto-Mobistar		 9.23
26. Roberto Laiseka (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi		 9.23
27. Pascal Chanteur (Fra) Casino			 9.57
28. Jon Odriozola (Spa) Banesto				 9.57
29. Fabrice Gougot (Fra) Casino				 9.57
30. Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Casino			 9.57
31. Massimo Giunti (Ita) Cantina Tollo			 9.57
32. Mario Aerts (Be) Lotto-Mobistar			 9.57
33. David Garcia (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros		 9.57
34. Abraham Olano (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank 		 9.57
35. Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra) La Française des Jeux 	 9.57
36. Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Banesto 			10.17
37. Bingen Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 		10.17
38. Luis Perez Rodriguez (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank 	10.20
39. Joseba Beloki (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 		10.20
40. Joerg Jaksche (Ger) Telekom 			10.22
41. Inigo Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 		12.22
42. François Simon (Fra) Crédit Agricole 		12.22

Outside time:

Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
Tyler Hamilton (USA) US Postal 
Jean-Michel Tessier (Fra) La Française des Jeux
Angel Castresana (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
David Delrieu (Fra) Casino
Christophe Oriol (Fra) Casino
Andrea Patuelli (Ita) Amore e Vita
Jonathan Vaugthers (USA) US Postal
Denis Leproux (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93
Philippe Bordenave (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93
Ernesto Manchon (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros
Thanks to Pascal Meisser, Switzerland for results

Starting List

Casino					TVM-Farm Frites

1 Benoit Salmon (Fra)			11 Serguei Outschakov (Ukr)
2 Christophe Agnolutto (Fra)		12 Serguei Ivanov (Rus)
3 Fréderic Bessy (Fra)			13 Geert Van Bondt (Bel)
4 Pascal Chanteur (Fra)			14
5 David Delrieu (Fra)			15 Martin Van Steen (Ned)
6 Fabrice Gougot (Fra)			16 Bart Voskamp (Ned)
7 Christophe Oriol (Fra)
8 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz)

Lotto-Mobistar				ONCE-Deutsche Bank

21 Mario Aerts (Bel)			31 Abraham Olano (Spa)
22 Sébastien Demarbaix (Bel)		32 Rafael Diaz Justo (Spa)
23 Chris Peers (Bel)			33 David Etxebarria (Spa)
24 Kurt Van de Wouwer (Bel)		34 Marcelino Garcia (Spa)
25 Paul Van hyfte (Bel)			35 Luis Perez Rodriguez (Spa)
26 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel)			36 José Rebollo (Luis (Spa)
27 Geert Verheyen (Bel)			37 Marcos Serrano (Spa)
28 Peter Wuyts (Bel)			38 Roberto Sierra (Spa)

Cofidis					Crédit Agricole

41 Christophe Rinero (Fra)		51 Cédric Vasseur (Fra)
42 Steve De Wolf (Bel)			52 Frédéric Delalande (Fra)
43 Grégory Gwiazdowski (Pol)		53 Frédéric Finot (Fra)
44 Claude Lamour (Fra)			54 Sébastien Hinault (Fra)
45 Massimiliano Lelli (Ita)		55 Christopher Jenner (NZ)
46 Thierry Loder (Fra)			56 Anthony Langella (Fra)
47 Roland Meier (Swi)			57 Jérome Neuville (Fra)
49 Jérome Delbove (Fra)			58 François Simon (Fra)

Team Deutsche Telekom			Festina

61					71 Laurent Madouas (Fra
62 Udo Bolts (Ger)			72 Félix Garcia Casas ()
63 Giuseppe Guerini (Ita)		73 Patrice Halgand (FraSpa)
64					74 Franz Hotz (Swi))
65 Jens Heppner (Ger)			75 Rolf Huser (Swi)
66 Jorg Jaksche (Ger)			76 Andrei Kivilev (Kaz)
67 Andréas Kloden (Ger)
68 Bjarne Riis (Den)

La Française des Jeux			Vitalicio Seguros

81 Stéphane Heulot (Fra)		91 Angel Casero (Spa)
82 Franck Bouyer (Fra)			92 Elio Aggiano (Ita)
83 Christopher Horner (USA)		93 David Garcia (Spa)
85 Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra)		95 Inigo Gonzalez Heredia (Spa)
86 Cyril Saugrain (Fra)			96 Ernesto Manchon (Spa)
87 Jean-Michel Tessier (Fra)		97 Ramon Medina (Spa)
89 Christophe Bassons (Fra)		98 Ivan Ramiro Parra (Col)
					100 Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa)

Kelme-Costa Blanca			US Postal Service

101 Fernando Escartin (Spa)		111 Lance Armstrong (USA)
102 José De los Angeles (Spa)		112 Pascal Derame (Fra)
103 José Javier Gomez (Spa)		113 David George (RSA)
104 Javier Otxoa (Spa)			114 Tyler Hamilton (USA)
105 Javier Pascual Llorente (Spa)	115 Kevin Livingston (USA)
106 Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Spa)	116 Glenn Magnusson (Swe)
107 José Luis Rubiera (Spa)		117 Peter Meinert-Nielsen (Den)
108 José Angel Vidal (Spa)		118 Jonathan Vaughters (USA)

Cantina Tollo-Alexia			Banesto

121 Alessandro Baronti (Ita)		131 Vicente Garcia-Acosta (Spa)
122 Marco Di renzo (Ita)		132 Dariusz Baranowski (Pol)
123 Fédérico Giabbecucci (Ita)		134 Pablo Lastras (Spa)
124 Massimo Giunti (Ita)		135 Francisco Mancebo (Spa)
125					136 Jon Odriozola (Spa)
126 Luca Mazzanti (Ita)			137 Unai Osa (Spa)
127 Emanuele Negrini (Ita)		138 César Solaun (Spa)
128 Giusvan Piovaccari (Ita)		139 Aitor Garmendia (Spa)

Euskaltel-Euskadi			Big Mat-Auber 93

141 Joseba Beloki (Spa)			151 Lylian Lebreton (Fra)
142 Angel Castresana (Spa)		152 Philippe Bordenave (Fra)
143 Inigo Chaurreau (Spa)		153 Thierry Bourguignon (Fra)
144 Txema Del Olmo (Spa)		154 Oleg Joukov (Rus)
145 Bingen Fernandez (Spa)		155 Loïc Lamouller (Fra)
146 Roberto Laiseka (Spa)		156 Denis Leproux (Fra)
147 Alberto Lopez de Munain (Spa)	157 Dominique Rault (Fra)
148 Aitor Silloniz (Spa)		158 Alexei Sivakov (Rus)

Home Market-Charleroi			Team Gerolsteiner

161 Gilles Bouvard (Fra)		171 Jorg Ludewig (Ger)
162 Jérome Bernard (Fra)		172 Branko Filip (Slo)
163 Vincent Cali (Fra)			173 Edouard Gritsoun (Rus)
164 Stéphane Cueff (Fra)		174 Sascha Henrix (Ger)
165 Frédéric Gabriel (Fra)		175 Volker Ordowski (Ger)
166 Charles Guilbert (Fra)		176 Andreas Sauerborn (Ger)
167 Laurent Pillon (Fra)
170 Ludovic Capelle (Bel)

Amore e Vita

181 Timoty Jones (Zim)
182 Maurizio De Pasquale (Ita)
183 Marco Cannone (Ita)
185 Simone Leporatti (Ita)
186 Andréa Patuelli (Ita)
187 Mirco Puglioli (Ita)
188 Steven Tibbitts (USA)
189 Gilberto Zattoni (Ita)

Past Winners


 1. Charly Mottet (Fra)
 2. Robert Millar (Sco)
 3. Luc Leblanc (Fra)


 1. Gilles Delion (Fra)
 2. Luc Leblanc (Fra)
 3. Dante Rezze (Fra)


 1. Eddy Bouwmans (Ned)
 2. Thierry Clavyrolat (Fra)
 3. Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra)


 1. Oliverio Rincon (Col)
 2. Laurent Roux (Fra)
 3. Ronan Pensec (Fra)


 1. Ramón Gonzalez-Arrieta (Spa)
 2. Gerard Rué (Fra)
 3. Richard Virenque (Fra)


 1. Laurent Jalabert (Fra)
 2. Luc Leblanc (Fra)
 3. Iñigo Cuesta (Spa)


 1. Laurent Roux (Fra)
 2. Laurent Madouas (Fra)
 3. José Maria Jimenez (Spa)


 1. Laurent Jalabert (Fra)
 2. Francesco Casagrande (Ita)
 3. Benoit Salmon (Fra)


 1. Unai Osa (Spa)
 2. Benoit Salmon (Fra)
 3. David Etxebarria (Spa)