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How the Cup was Won: Parts One and Two
 
By Podofdonny
Date: 10/20/2002
How the Cup was Won: Parts One and Two
 

How “Il Grillo” chirped his way to World Cup Glory

93rd Milan-San Remo

Italy, March 23, 2002

The Lion King and his newly formed Zebra striped team finally managed to gain what had been Cipollini’s major ambitions - victory in San Remo, Italy’s most famous race. With a superb team in support, experienced and able to "read" a race with text book precision the Acqua & Sapone men had not panicked when Bettini had launched an attack on the Poggio with what looked at the time to be a race winning move.

However for once, Bettini, "Il Grillo," had chirped too early and he was pulled back to allow Super Mario to take a memorable victory from America’s Fred Rodriguez and peloton ravaged by an earlier accident.

While “Ete” Zabel could complain of being held up by an accident, others involved were not so lucky. Defending World Cup champion Erik Dekker (Rabobank) was seriously injured and his season over before it started, while Danilo Di Luca (Saeco-Longoni Sport) was also sidelined for several months.

Results

1 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo 6.39.30 (43.105 km/h)

2 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo-Farm Frites

3 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank

CDM Standings

1 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo 100 pts

2 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo-Farm Frites 70

3 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 50

Super Mario!

86th Ronde van Vlaanderen

Belgium, April 7, 2002

So with Cipollini the toast of Italy and the fans from the USA delighted with the performance of “Fast Freddy” and full of optimism for George Hincapie, the peloton moved North to the cold damp fields of Flanders.

While it is true that many cyclists day dream of winning the Tour de France for an equal number victory in one of the true Northern Classics would be the ultimate achievement. The 86th edition of this famous race proved to be a classic in every sense of the word.

Once again it was Bettini who made the first telling attack of the day with 55 kilometres to go on the Koppenberg, a bold move but one which was equally matched by the true specialists. Tafi made his first of many attacks over the top of the climb, forcing the crucial race selection.

Attack and counter attack, with the leading teams all working hard for their Captains, saw the contenders reduce to just five men, Tafi, Museeuw, Van Petegem, Hincapie and Nardello. Tafi, the most active man of the day, realised that a small sprint finish would not suit him, and launched a truly awesome attack with just 4 kilometres to go - he kept his narrow lead to the finish.

Result

1 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 6.53.00 (38.354 km/h)

2 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 0.21

3 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco

CDM STANDINGS

1 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua e Sapone 120 pts

2 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 100pts

3 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo-Farm Frites 79pts

Tafi Attacks!

100th Paris-Roubaix

France, April 14, 2002

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," neither it seems does Johan Museeuw. Bitterly disappointed by his “failure” in the tour of Flanders where he had been looking to take a record fourth victory, the “Lion” and his team came to France in fighting mood.

Museeuw, once again proved to be master of the slippy cobbles and his experience and racing judgement proved once again to be matchless in the "Hell of the North." A bold attack, with still over 40 kilometres of racing to go, saw him storm to solo winning glory with a winning margin of over three minutes.

Steffen Wesemann again proved how well he can cope with the conditions, and once again he rode much of the race with pedal problems to take a throughly deserved second place.

If the Lion of Flanders was the king - his natural sucessor “lion cub” Tom Boonen was the day's revelation. At the head of the race almost from the start, US Postal's Tom Boonen showed a maturity and skill beyond his years, in what was one of the performances of the year. Meanwhile teammate George Hincapie moved steadily up the World Cup rankings with another solid show, but marred by his crash on pave section 4, Camphin-En Pevele, which certainly cost him a better finish.

Result

1 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 6.39.08 (39.35 km/h)

2 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Team Telekom 3.04

3 Tom Boonen (Bel) US Postal Service 3.08

CDM STANDINGS

1 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 170 pts

2 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone Cantina 120pts

3 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 109pts.

Museeuw and Mud!

88th Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Belgium, April 21, 2002

Cycle racing, it is said, is an individual sport undertaken by a team. It is the concept of team riding that is probably the most difficult for newcomers to the sport to understand. However, should any new enthusiast wish to learn the role of the Directeur Sportif and the team to a victory they could do no better than to study the video of this years edition of “La Doyenne.”

With the peloton gradually reeling in lone breakaway Salanson (Bonjour), with over 50 kilometres to the finish and the rest of the bunch thinking of la Redoute climb further on down the road, Mapei D.S. Serge Parsani launched a surprie attack that effectively won the race for his team.

Garzelli made a searing attack on the Cote de la Vecquée which totally surprised the slumbering peloton - only 12 men, including team mate Bettini, were quick enough to catch his wheel. From that moment on Bettini and Garzelli gave a near perfect display of team riding which first managed to demoralise the chasing peloton and then picked off the fellow breakaway men one by one until the Mapei pair could ride in triumph, to the delight of the “Tifosi Belga,” to a glorious double victory.

Bettini's second Liege victory moved him up into third place on the World Cup Standings, this being cycling though there was no happy ending for Garzelli. His flash of brilliance at Liege was to be lost in the mires of non negative results, accusation and counter accusation, and some conclusions that would have far-reaching consequences to all of cycling.

Maybe it is better for the fan to wear his rose tinted sunglasses and think back to the sunny day in Spring when the Italian duo ruled La Doyenne?

Results

1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 6.39.44 (38.8 km/h)

2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step

3 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.15

CDM STANDINGS

1 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 170 pts

2 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone Cantina Tollo 120pts

3 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 110pts

Bettini, tall in the saddle?

37th Amstel Gold Race

Netherlands, April 28, 2002

So far although the Italians had dominated the World Cup series one man had yet to show his hand. Michele Bartoli and his Fassa Bortola team had had a quiet start to the season, and entered this race with a point to prove. Meanwhile the Rabobank team and Michael Boogerd were similarly determined to do well on their home soil in spite of the fact their team was suffering from injury problems. Meanwhile Lance Armstrong always seems to target this race as an early season goal.

Once again the winning move of the day came with around 40 kilometres to go when 1999 winner Boogerd attacked on the steep Eyserbosweg climb. Only Bartoli, team mate Ivanov and Armstrong could match the flying Dutchman's speed and the four men got the crucial break on the peloton.

If Bartoli was to take the kisses from the misses on the podium he would have been well aware of the debt he owed to Ivanov. The Fassa duo worked together superbly to counter any attacks by Boogerd and Armstrong and up the pace at the crucial moments to take a deserved double for the lads in Silver.

Further down the field Bettini once again scored crucial points and consolidated his second position in the rankings.

Result

1 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 6.49.17 (37.37 km/h)

2 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Fassa Bortolo

3 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank

CDM STANDINGS

1 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 170 pts

2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 134pts

3 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 121pts .

Bartoli

HEW-Cyclassics

Germany, August 4, 2002

Billed as the showdown between McEwen and Zabel, and a continuation of their mighty Tour De France battle, the race failed to live up to that headline. McEwen and Zabel both got tangled up in crashes and once again it was the hard men who controlled the final kilometres.

"You come out of the Tour either in great shape or completely knackered," Max Sciandri once said. Museeuw, who had not ridden the Tour, was well aware of this and had spent three weeks in the South of France, “Filling my lungs full of oxygen and getting into great shape for a one day race."

On a day of constant attack and counter attack, eventually a group of around ten men formed the winning break - usual suspects all (Museeuw, Astarloa, Rebellin, Bettini, Hincapie, Baldato, Moreni, Ferrigato and Di Luca) as these men approached the finishing line it was Museeuw who jumped first. It seemed like a grave tactical error - but Museeuw once again not only proved to be the strongest rider, but also the most tactically aware. While his rivals were still finessing for position Museeuw was rolling back the years and winning his 111th World Cup Race in supreme style.

Astarloa gained second place with his Saeco team, still incensed at their non selection for the Tour De France, looking hungry for results and success. Rebellin also was back in the frame after his early season illness while Bettini kept the pressure on for the World Cup victory with fourth place and Hincapie again had a solid ride, finishing 5th.

Results

1 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 5.43.35 (44.216 km/h)

2 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco Longoni Sport

3 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner

CDM STANDINGS

1 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 270 pts

2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 174pts

3 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service 124pts

Over the Köhlbrandbrücke

22nd Clasica San Sebastian

Spain, August 10, 2002

The rain in Spain was certainly falling in San Sebastian when the race got underway, as usual the hill of the Jaizkibel situated 36 kilometres from the finish would prove to be the decisive point of the race.

It was Andrei Kivilev, anxious to prove a point after poor showing in the Tour de France, who made the decisive attack on the foothills of the climb. Jalabert, Astarloa (again having a great race), Missaglia, and Frigo proved to the only men strong enough to match the move and this select group of five managed to stay clear to the end.

Meanwhile, trailing in their wake, the peloton had hit the panic buttons, the race suddenly fell apart for US Postal who seemed to be in command up until that point - once again it was Armstrong trying to organise a chase - but a crash on the descent of the Jaizkibel ended Hincapie’s hopes of a world cup victory. Meanwhile the five men in the lead were happy to work together. But as they started the final sprint Jalabert proved to be a class above the other contenders. Kivilev jumped first, and it seemed an age before Jalabert responded, but when he did it was a class act. With enough time to gently warn Astarloa he was coming through, Jaja added to his hat collection and gave warm memories again to his many fans in Spain.

Bettini once again picked up vital CDM points with a useful 7th place, closing the gap at the top on Museeuw.

Result

1 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC-Tiscali 5.47.29 (39.19 km/h)

2 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport

3 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Lampre-Daikin

CDM STANDINGS

1 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 270 pts

2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 202pts

3 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport 152pts.

Jalabert gets his second Txapela!

89th Meisterschaft von Zürich

Switzerland, August 18, 2002

Controversy and cycling do seem to go hand in hand and the 89th version of this famous old race was in doubt until the last minute. Non-payment to the teams was the sticking point - but at the 13th hour all was sorted and it was race on.

In hot conditions and a high pace two major contenders Museeuw and Astarloa fell by the wayside early when their group lost contact with a speeding peloton. Bartoli, in spite of having only just come back from injury, put in a decisive attack with 40 kilometres to go - but his legs lacked the miles that his ambition wanted and the small group he led were pulled back by the select group of contenders on the Pfannenstiel.

It was then Dario Frigo came out of the cold with a scintillating attack that was to prove to be the race's winning move. While the blonde bombshell stormed up the climb he then used his considerable descending and time trial skills to keep his lead a group of 11 men gave chase.

Bettini knew he had to win the sprint for second place to take over the World Cup lead from the abandoned Museeuw. Il Grillo made no mistakes finishing ahead of Armstrong who had another strong ride for the Postal team. Bettini edged ahead of Museeuw by just two points in the CDM standings to the lead for the first time in the season.

Result

1 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport 5.56.54 (39.775 km/h)

2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 1.06

3 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service

CDM STANDINGS

1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 272 pts

2 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 270

3 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport 152

The ice man Cometh!

96th Paris-Tours

France, October 6,

The flat lands between Paris and Tours have for many years endangered the race from becoming a procession. They have changed the course, put in gear regulations, indeed, have tried any number of devices to stop the race becoming a sprinters' benefit. Ironically though, the race has not been won in a massed group sprint since 1996 and this year was no exception.

This is many due to the courage and determination of those riders prepared to have a solo effort. This year, once again it was the French fans favourite, DuDu, who was the guiding light to the great escape. Jacky Durand became the darling of the arm chair fan in France with another bold display of courage against adversity, and with typical Durand aplomb didn’t quite manage to capture all the glory.

That honour went to his solo partner for the day, Jakob Storm Piil. The CSC rider who went away with Durand and several others after only 5 kilometres was clearly the stronger of the two survivors and even managed to force Durand into sprinting for the line too early. You had to feeel sorry for Durand, but Piil had once again demonstrated what a tactically aware and professional squad Riis has put together. CSC Tiscali’s second World Cup Victory of the year is an indication how far this team has developed over the past two seasons.

Meanwhile the race behind for the CDM was between two men, Museeuw and Bettini. Museeuw has, like many older riders in the peloton, no desire to ride in mass sprints. In contrast, the much younger Bettini seems, as he demonstrated on the last lap of Zolder, to positively revel in the tense final stages.

Bettini finished in the points; Museeuw didn’t. With Museeuw having little chance in the Giro di Lombardia, his challenge for the World Cup ended in Tours.

Only one thing stood between Bettini and World Cup Victory - the persistent Astarloa - who finished ahead of Bettini in the sprint.

As the race for the World Cup title started in Italy so it would end in Italy. Bettini had one last challenge.

Result

1 Jakob Storm Piil (Den) Team CSC Tiscali 5.39.11 (45.46 km/h)

2 Jacky Durand (Fra) FDJeux.com st

3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom 0.20

CDM STANDINGS

1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 279 pts

2 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 270pts

3 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco - Longoni Sport 180pts

Museeuw bows out

96th Giro di Lombardia

Italy, October 19, 2002

So the final race of what had been a great World Cup event boiled down to two issues , could Astraloa and the Saeco boys steal victory from Bettini in a last final gasp effort, and who would win the 96th Race of the Falling Leaves .

The season turned full circle as Cipollini made a “guest appearance” at the start of the race - to thank his team mates and the Tifosi for their support in his succesful quest for the Rainbow jersey . The victor of Milan San Remo had achieved his dreams for the season and now it was left to the true hard men of cycling to settle the remaining questions .

Two other proud Italians also had points to prove , Bartoli and Rebellin , classic one day riders were determined to end their season on a high note .

With the Gerolsteiner , Saeco and Fassa Bortolo teams setting an extremely high pace through out the race at times it seemed that Bettini would just not have enough strength at the end of a hard season to hold his team mates wheels and keep in contention .

Ironically it was the determination of his friend Bartoli which was to preserve the brave Mapei riders hold on the World Cupp Jersey . The Fassa boys pushed so hard that eventually Astraloa had to concede the race too .

The final climb made the final selection - and it was no real surprise that Bartoli finished just ahed of Rebellin in the final sprint of this years World Cup Event . For a great interview with Bettini on how the race unfolded click here to read Fabios great report To read Bartoli’s views click here to read what the Warrior had to say

Results

1 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 6.14.49 (40.98 km/h)

2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner

3 Oskar Camenzind (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems

CDM STANDINGS FINAL

1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 279 pts

2 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 270pts

3 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 242pts

Teams

1 Mapei-Quick Step 71 pts

2 Fassa Bortolo - 51pts

3 Saeco-Longoni Sport 49pts

The Warrior and the Cricket

Photos thanks to Gazetta, sportschau.de, radsport, torelli.com, Isar Stubbe, UCI, BBC and DP. Regarding these photos, please contact info@dailypeloton.com.

 
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Giro di Lombardia - Michele Bartoli's interview
Giro di Lombardia: Quotes from Paolo Bettini's interview
UCI WORLD CUP 2002 - FINAL STANDINGS

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