Posted by Editor on 04/21/02
Liège-Bastogne-Liège - World Cup #4
Paolo Bettini (Mapei-Quick Step) has just won his second Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Fabrice Salanson (Bonjour), instigated the action barely 30 kilometres into this 258 kilometre race, followed by Andreas Kloden (Telekom). The two reached a maximum lead of 22 minutes, before the peloton began to reel them in. Kloden was dropped by Salanson after 150 kilometres off the front, but the young Bonjour rider managed to stay clear until there was just over 40 kilometres remaining.
Behind, the pace had split the field apart, with a group of 14 at the front. The pace in this group was such that it began to disintegrate quickly, down to 6 riders with 14 kilometres to go: Paolo Bettini, Stefano Garzelli (Mapei - Quick Step), Massimo Codol (Lampre - Daikin), Matthias Kessler (Team Telekom), Ivan Basso (Fassa Bortolo) and Mirko Celestino (Saeco Macchine Per CaffÃƒÂ¨ - Longoni Sport). Lance Armstrong's US Postal squad was doing alot of work chasing, but was losing ground with every pedal stroke as Garzelli worked for Bettini at the front.
Mapei had one more trick up their sleeve - Garzelli attacked on a climb with 5 kilometres to go, and then Bettini jumped across. The chase was completely disorganized, with only Basso working. Bettini took the win, with Basso third, Cesetino fourth, Codol fifth and Kessler sixth - a sweep of the top 5 positions by Italy!
Women's Road World Cup #5 - Spain
Courtesy Team Saturn
The GP Feminas Castilla y Leon, the first round of the women's World Cup raced in Spain, was the stage of a dramatic exchange of the World Cup Leader's Jersey. Serving as the fifth round of the nine race series, the GP Castilla y Leon comes just four days after La Fleche Wallonne in Belgium, won by Italian climber Fabiana Luperini.
Although this course was significantly flatter than that of Australia or Fleche Wallone, although it did contain three climbs per each of the 35 kilometer lap, with each limb nearly 1 kilometer long and 5% gradient. After the three larger laps, a fast, long descent in to the final 6 km finishing circuit in the outskirts of the town of Valladolid brought the 143 competitors to the final 1000 meter uphill sprint, again at a 5% incline.
With Dutchwoman Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites Hartol) moving into the outright lead in the World Cup after her fourth place finish in Belgium on Wednesday, Saturn's Petra Rossner, only eight points behind, was keen to finish the race victorious and reclaim the lead of the series. With a large task at hand, Saturn focus was on keeping the field together and not allowing any valuable points to race up the road.
Bright sunny skies met with the deep green of the fields, making the perfect setting for a charming country-side bike race. With the wind picking up as the temperatures warmed, the seemingly benign flat sections became easy ammunition by the savvy teams to shatter the large peloton. However, many teams had faith in their sprinters, and although the wind did damage to many, the majority of the sprinters in the peloton arrived into the last two kilometers together.
Farm Frites had ridden a perfect race for Melchers, and with a hard tempo set by Melcher's teammate Leontien Van Moorsel, Melchers must have felt confident about the final 600 meter climb to the finish. Melchers jumped hard out of the corner and it was both Rossner and another German, Regina Schleicher hunting for the speed to come by Melchers. In the end it was Schleicher bringing home a much deserved win for her Italian Michela Fannini Team by meters over Rossner. Melchers hung on for third.
The World Cup Standings now see Rossner in the lead by seven points over Melchers, making the sixth stop in Montreal an obvious place for Melchers to try to reclaim the great honor of wearing the World Cup jersey.
1. Regina Schleicher - Michela Fannini Record Box
2. Petra Rossner - Saturn Cycling Team
3. Mirjam Melchers - Farm Frites
World Cup Standings:
1. Petra Rossner - 200
2. Mirjam Melchers - 193
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