10th Classic Haribo
Jaan Kirsipuu 100 up!
Jaan Kirsipuu scored a sweet hat-trick today by winning the Classic Haribo for the third time. The victory was also his 100th success since he started his career in 1992.
The 33 year old scored his first victory in a stage of Paris-Bourges in 1992. Meanwhile his ambition this year remains Paris Roubaix.
An early escape after 30 kilometres by Eddy Seigneur, Guillaume Auger, Charles Guilbert and former race winner Lauri Aus underlined a gutsy performance by Lauri Aus all day. With Fabrice Gougot bridging the gap to the escapees and Aus attacking on his own, the peloton eventually pulled everyone back together with around 30 kilometres to go.
Luca Paolini takes the prize for most active rider of the day. Anticipating a sprint finish, the 26 year old rider of Quickstep–Davitamon, who has just returned from a good performance in the Ruta of the Sol, made a brave solo attack with 20 kilometres to go.
The sprinter's teams were in no mood to let anyone spoil their party and Paolini’s advantage never went above 30 seconds. He was caught with just 3 kilometres to go.
So it came to a mass sprint - Sean Yates (to visit the CSC website click here) summed up the race from the CSC viewpoint -
”Lars came very close to winning but the 2nd place is also a very impressive result. He came out of the final corner perfectly and he was very well positioned for the 100-man sprint. This has been a great weekend for us and it is great for the moral before the important Belgian races next weekend”.
Meanwhile US Postal will be equally impressed by the form of Max van Heeswijk who also looked strong in the closing stages.
1. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2r-Prevoyance 196,700 km in 4 h 55:26.(39..948km/h)
2. Lars Michaelsen (Den) CSC
3. Max van Heeswijk (Ned) US Postal Service
4. Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) Jean Delatour
5. Damien Nazon (Fra) Brichoes la Boulangere
6. Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Rabobank
7. Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco
8. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Credit Agricole
9. Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
10. Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
198 kilometres long with four major obstacles (Val D'Enfer at 50 k, the Col de Ceze 101 kms, Cote de la Cride 127 kms and Cote de Ventabren at 149 kms), the race is usually won in a sprint finish. Last year however, a select group of riders (Jaan Kirsipuu, George Hincapie, Enrico Cassani, Ludo Dierckxsens and Johan Museeuw), took the opportunity to sneak off down the road. Kirsipuu won ahead of George Hincapie with the peloton coming in nearly 6 minutes behind. Starting in Uzès and finishing in Marseille, the race is organised by the sweet manufacturer has the rather unusual prize of the winning rider receiving his own weight in sweets.
CSC Michael Blaudzun had a good race yesterday but a crash prevented him from taking part in the fight for 1st place.
”Michael crashed at a very bad time. Up until the crash he had been on top of events and he was clearly our best man today. Lennie Kristensen was also looking strong and was part of a serious breakaway that was caught”, said Bjarne Riis after the 180 km race. According to Riis, Blaudzun was not seriously injured and only sustained some superficial cuts and bruises.
Julian Dean, Paul Van Hyfte, Lars Michaelsen, Andrea Tafi, Jakob Piil, will ride in today's contest (CSC Website).
The battling Navigators send in this report of events yesterday and team news -
The Navigators Cycling Team raced today in the 35th edition of the GP Haut-Var, one of France's most popular events, and part of the Coupe de France series. This 180 km event featured plenty of climbing on the narrow, twisting roads of Southern France. Starting under sunny, but cool weather (50f), the climbing began just 5 km into the race. The first attack came by Richard Virenque (Quick-Step) and a La Boulangere rider.
The pair were the first to reach the first KOM at 52Km, to take the KOM points. However, 20Km later it was a different pair with an advantage, and as Andrey Kaschechkin (Quick-Step) and Lange Kristensen (CSC) approached the 2nd KOM at 80Km, they were joined by Ludovic Martin (Jean Delatour) and Walter Beneteau (La Boulangere). After 110 kms of racing, their gap was up to 2:30. As the group crossed through the start/finish area at the end of the large 155Km loop, and start of the final 25Km finishing loop, their lead had dropped to 1:25 over the remaining 40-rider field that included Navigators' Jeff Louder. The steep (18%) 2Km climb that came with 20Km remaining, brought an attack by Paolo Bettini (Quick-Step) and Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner).
After several attacks and counter-attacks, the lead group is now 11, but is further whittled down over the final 10Km, with 4 able to stay clear to the line. At the finish, it's Sylvain Chavenel (La Boulangere), followed by Samuel Sanchez (Euskatel). Jeff Louder was the Navigators strongman on the day, as the squad switches gears for tomorrow's Classic Haribo, which begins in Uzes and finishes 203 kms later in Marseille.
Navigators Riders: Chris Baldwin, Oleg Grichkine, Ryan Guay, Jeff Louder, Glen Mitchell, Burke Swindlehurst, Mark Walters, Chris Wherry.
Cofidis Have two riders making their professional debut - Arnaud COYOT and Hayden ROULSTON - good luck lads!
Gerolsteiner D.S. Michael Holczer was happy with his team's performance yesterday -
"Davide's second place in the Ruta del Sol this week surely cost him some strength. Nevertheless I am very content with our effort. Above all I must give praise to the team. It performed excellently. In the last 30 kilometres they had to work hard to bring our captain Rebellin back into the race. It was a true team effort."
Only Jalabert has won both the Haut Var and the Classic Haribo - but not in the same season. If he rides today, Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches La Boulangère) will be hoping to create that new record. Paolo Bettini, Laurent Brochard, Baden Cooke, Viatcheslav Ekimov (who had another good day yesterday finishing 12th), Jaan Kirsipuu, Stuart O'Grady and Andrea Tafi will all fancy their chances in today's race.
2002 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2R-Prevoyance
2001 Hans De Clercq (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
2000 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2R-Prevoyance
1999 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole
1998 Lauri Aus (Est) Casino
1997 Frédréric Guesdon (Fra)
1996 Laurent Jalabert (Fra)
1995 Giuseppe Citterio (Ita)
1994 Erik Zabel (Ger)