Posted by Editor on 04/27/03
Liege-Bastogne-Liege World Cup #5
Tyler Hamilton (CSC) has won the oldest classic, Liege-Bastogne-Liege. After early breaks were chased down, Axel Merckx (Lotto-Domo) began the serious racing with just over 40 kilometres to go, taking a small group clear over the Cote de la Redoute climb and then going solo with 25 kilometres to go. He managed to carve out a lead of 25 seconds, but behind the chase was getting organized, with Armstrong, Michele Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo), Cristian Moreni (Alessio), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Alexandr Shefer (Saeco) chasing. With 15 kilometres to go Armstrong started to up the pace, with Bartoli and Moreni fallling back. Behind them, an organized chase containing Bartoli, Jan Ullrich (Coast), Merckx and most of the other favourites was getting close. and eventually caught the lead trio with 8 kilometres to go. Armstrong attacked as the groups merged, immediately breaking it apart as riders scrambled to get on his wheel. However, it wasn't enough and the U.S. rider gave up his ambitions of winning, dropping back from the front as more attacks began in the final 5 kilometres. Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) launched his own attack at this point, as the riders went over the top of the Saint Nicolas climb, but was brought back, and then Hamilton countered, going clear as everyone else looked at each other. On the final climb Hamilton managed to hold off a last ditch effort by Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Boogerd (who took second and third) to take the victory. Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo) will hold onto the overall leader's jersey.
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