Amstel Gold Race
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0 KM; A sunny and bright start for the riders in the Grote Markt in Maastricht - 194 have started the race three riders failed to start - two riders from the ONCE team: Koldo Gil and Joaquin Rodriguez, and Sergio Mariangeli (Domina Vacanze).
Three teams were blood tested this morning Lotto - Domo, Team Fakta and Marlux. Mauricio Ardila (Marlux) failed the test and was not allowed to start.
6 km; Paul Van Hyfte. (Team CSC) tries an early break but he is pulled back after one kilometre.
9 km; Thomas Eriksen (Team CSC) starts the second break and is joined by Matthe Pronk (BankGiroLoterij).
15 km; Eriksen and Pronk are caught but Vincent van der Kooij (BankGiroLoterij) and Roberto Petito (Fassa Bortolo) have counter attacked they have an advantage of around 20".
22 km; Peloton back together Petito and Van der Kooij are caught.
Speaking to LDH this morning, US Postal DS Dirk Demol said, "The fact that Amstel takes place one week earlier than last year really does not work for Armstrong. On the other hand, the Gold Race will be his first Classic of the year. He could find it difficult to adjust to the rhythm. I will give you important information: Lance has targeted Liege-Bastogne-Liege. I feel he is ready to do a great race there!"
28 km; 8 riders have broken away - Paul Van Hyfte (CSC), Marek Rutkiewicz (Cofidis), Bram de Groot (Rabobank), Alexandr Shefer, Stefano Zanini (both Saeco), Gregory Rast (Phonak), Jose Luis Rubiera (US Postal) and Bart Voskamp (BankGiroLoterij).
40km; The eight leaders have a lead of 0.45’’.
44 km; First hour of racing.
60 km; The eight riders have a lead of 1'10’’.
65 km; The eight leaders have an advantage of 1’30’’; Bert Grabsch (Phonak) abandons.
80 km; Rubiera has punctured but got back to the leading 8 riders who now have an advantage of 2’15’’. Fassa have now man in the break and are doing the work at the front of the peloton.
100km; The eight leaders are up to 2’30’’.
115 km; Bad luck for Cofidis rider Marek Rutkiewicz, he has a mechanical problem and is dropped by the leading group.
123km; 3 hours racing, the gap to the 7 leaders 1’50’’, average speed 41km/h.
145km; Paul Van Hyfte (CSC) is dropped by the leading group of 6 riders. They are Bram de Groot (Rabobank), Alexandr Shefer, Stefano Zanini (both Saeco), Gregory Rast (Phonak), Jose Luis Rubiera (US Postal) and Bart Voskamp (BankGiroLoterij).
150 km; the 6 men have a lead of around 1’50’’ - Van Hyfte will soon be back in the peloton.
155 km;Gerard Bulens, DS of Landbouwkrediet-Colnago was very happy with the victory of Capelle last Wednesday, on the other hand he has had words with Marc Streel yesterday regarding his attitude. Gerard Bulens also hopes that Popovych recovers in time from the influenza, that led him not to start today, for the Ardennes races "where he has a good chance of a result."
The six leaders have a lead of around 1’45’’.
Great news for British fans - Nicole Cooke continues her progress, she has just won the womans race.
168 km: Fassa still lead the peloton the gap is still just under the 2 minute mark.
The 6 leaders are -Bram de Groot (Rabobank), Alexandr Shefer, Stefano Zanini (both Saeco), Gregory Rast (Phonak), Jose Luis Rubiera (US Postal) and Bart Voskamp (BankGiroLoterij). So great work by the Saeco boys. Zanini did win the race in 1996 - the man from Varese, Italy, has been a pro since 1991. Bart Voskamp is a rider in great form and Rubiera's presence will save the Postal legs foscing Fassa to lead the peloton.
Fassa give up the lead of the peloton.
170km; Over the Cauberg for the second time the lead is down to 1'25'' - Nardello abandons. Good ride today by the young Phonak rider Gregory Rast 23 years old and a first year pro.
175 km; Now the Lotto boys take up the chase for pre race favourite Peter Van Petegem - Nico Mattan suffers from a mechanical problem.
A few details about the brilliant ride of Nicole Cooke: She escaped with two others on the final ascent of the Cauberg, she then held off the peloton by about 30 metres to take the race. Gollan won the mass sprint.
1. Nicole Cooke; 2. Olivia Gollan; 3. Edita Pucinskaite.
180 km; Lotto have three men on the front of the peloton which is now strung out - the gap to the escapees has tumbled down to 50''.
Peter Van Petegem is still at the back of the peloton in spite of the fact his team mates are forcing the pace. CRASH! It is Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto-Domo).
185 km; The gap down to 40''.
Verbrugghe seems ok - while at the front of the race the 6 escapees are working very well together.
188 km; Verbrugghe is back in the peloton - which is still lead by Lotto.
189 km; The gap is down to 35 seconds.
190 km; US Postal pick up the pace at the front of the peloton - the escapees are in sight - it is all over for this escape.
CRASH - Cadel Evans (Telekom), Gabriele Balducci (Sidermec), Roger Beuchat (Phonak).
Basso, Sacchi and Bram Schmitz have attacked and now lead the race.
Basso (Fassa), Sacchi (Saeco), and Schmitz (Bankgiroloterij) have gained a small advantage and are working well together - the peloton is strung out.
199 km; They have got a gap of thirty seconds on the peloton.
200 km; The gap has increasd to 45''for the three race leaders.
Bram Schmitz has already won the Tour of Rhodes this year. The three riders are on the climb at Honthem.
201 km; 8 classified climbs to go, the gap is now 47''.
203 km; The three front men working well together; it is Rabobank now leading the peloton.
204 km; All orange at the front of the peloton.
206 km; The peloton now strung out by the Rabobank's efforts at the front - 5 Rabobank men force the pace at the front of the race.
207 km; Sidermec and CSC are also near the front of the peloton.
208 km; 5 hours of racing as the riders pass through Mheer.
210 km; The riders approach the Wolfsberg climb - Lotto move towards the front of the peloton.
The peloton is dropping down into Noorbeek - Rabobank still lead the race - the peloton is still pretty much at full strength.
Petacchi has just won the final stage of the Vuelta a Aragon - Piepoli takes his third overall victory in the event.
211 km; The leaders are on the Wolfsberg - Rabobank still lead the peloton.
CRASH -Sylvain Chavanel crashes over a hedge - he is ok but will have a hard time to chase back.
Basso (Fassa), Sacchi (Saeco) and Schmitz (Bankgiroloterij) are in Slenaken - 36 kilometres to go. The gap is at 30''.
They now tackle the Loorberg climb - they are still working well together.
215 km; Armstrong and Ekimov start to move up through the peloton - still led by Rabobank, with Fassa also near the front.
Rik Verbrugghe and Miguel A. Martin Perdiguero attack.
They have gained a useful gap - very dangerous duo.
220 km; Rabobank pull Verbrugghe and Perdguero back into the peloton - which is now strung out - the pace is now very high.
225 km; The three leaders are now in Gulpen - huge crowds as they now tackled the Gulpenberg climb.
27 km to go; Museeuw is dropped.
26 km to go; Bram Schmitz (Ned - Bankgiroloterij) has been caught by the peloton.
23 km; An attack by Phonak rider; the peloton still very intact.
Onto the Kruisberg climb - Armstrong, Boogerd at the front.
22 km to go; Peloton still compact, Rabobank still lead. Armstrong third in the group.
Eyserbosweg climb - 19 km to go - 10% climb - Armstrong just behind the Rabobank duo; Alexandre Vinokourov is also there.
Now Saeco move up, and Rebellin, Pieri puts the pressure on.
Over the top of the Eyserbosweg climb - three men break away - Armstrong, Boogerd and Vinokourov!
Oh La La! Van Petegem in trouble. Rebellin tries to bridge the gap to the leading three men.
17 km to go; Rebellin bridges the gap, and other riders are coming across to the Armstrong, Boogerd group.
Onto the Fromberg, 12km to go - Armstrong and Boogerd lead a group of around 12 riders.
Boogerd, Armstrong, Kessler, Rebellin, Bartoli,
Vinokourov are in the leading group which now is around twenty riders.
VDB and Van Petegem do not seem to have made the break.
Casagrande has attacked!
12 km to go; Casagrande has put in a big effort - he is on the Keutenberg.
Casagrande is storming up the Keutenberg - he has caused real damage.
10 km to go; Now Armstrong has powered back to Casagrande with Boogerd, Casagrande, Vicioso Arcos, Astarloa Askasibar, Kessler, Rebellin, Bartoli, Vinokourov, Celestino, Di Luca.
It will be between these 12 riders.
10 km to go; Bartoli tries an attack but no.
9 km to go; Casagrande has another attack, Boogerd chases him down.
Correction: Bartoli is trying to bridge the gap.
Casagrande, Vicioso Arcos, Astarloa Askasibar, Boogerd, Armstrong, Kessler, Rebellin, Vinokourov, Celestino, Di Luca, Scarponi lead the race - 8 km to go. Armstrong looking super strong.
5 km to go; Kessler making the pace - Kessler has attacked! Boogerd and Armstrong respond.
They are on the descent.
Correction: it is Alexandre Vinokourov, not Kessler.
Vinokourov is charging down the hill.
They are about to tackle the Cauberg.
Alexandre Vinokourov still leads. Now Vicioso Arcos attacks. Vinokourov starts the final climb - 15'' gap.
Huge crowd - Vinokourov is not slowing down.
He bridged the gap and now he nears the finish. He is hurting but will not give up.
It is painful to watch, surely he will make it. 75 metres to go. HE WINS THE AMSTEL GOLD!!!!!!
Alexandre Vinokourov takes the 2003 edition of the race - a brave solo effort on the descent and no one could respond - he looked like he was dying a thousand deaths on the final climb but he held out and has got a famous victory.
Thank you for joining us for Amstel Gold Live Coverage!
Amstel Gold Official Results
1 Alexandre Vinokourov KAZ 6:01:03
2 Michael Boogerd NED + 0:00:04
3 Danilo Di Luca ITA s.t.
4 Davide Rebellin ITA s.t.
5 Matthias Kessler GER s.t.
6 Francesco Casagrande ITA + 0:00:06
7 Michele Scarponi ITA s.t.
8 Lance Armstrong USA + 0:00:08
9 Angel Vicioso ESP + 0:00:12
10 Igor Astarloa ESP + 0:00:20
11 Sergei Ivanov RUS + 0:00:31
12 Gianni Faresin ITA s.t.
13 Laurent Dufaux SUI + 0:00.46
14 Óscar Freire ESP s.t.
15 Erik Zabel GER s.t.
16 Michele Bartoli ITA s.t.
17 Luca Paolini ITA s.t.
18 Javier Pascual Rodríguez ESP s.t.
19 Frank Vandenbroucke BEL s.t.
20 Mario Aerts BEL s.t.
21 Dave Bruylandts BEL s.t.
22 Ellis Rastelli ITA s.t.
23 Denis Lunghi ITA s.t.
24 Raimondas Rumsas LTU s.t.
25 Mirko Celestino ITA s.t.
26 Óscar Pereiro ESP s.t.
27 Laurent Lefèvre FRA s.t.
28 Romans Vainsteins LAT s.t.
29 Marcos Serrano ESP s.t.
30 Didier Rous FRA s.t.
31 David Cañada ESP s.t.
32 Rafael Schweda GER s.t.
33 Ivan Basso ITA + 0:00:58
34 Nicki Sørensen DEN + 0:01:03
35 Andrea Noè ITA s.t.
36 Massimo Giunti ITA + 0:01:09
37 Axel Merckx BEL + 0:01:13
38 Aitor Osa ESP + 0:01:26
39 Fabian Wegmann GER + 0:02:53
40 Scott Sunderland AUS + 0:03:41
41 Beat Zberg SUI s.t.
42 René Jørgensen DEN s.t.
43 Björn Leukemans BEL s.t.
44 Viatcheslav Ekimov RUS s.t.
45 Kurt-Asle Arvesen NOR s.t.
46 Fabio Sacchi ITA s.t.
47 Frank Høj DEN s.t.
48 Cédric Vasseur FRA s.t.
49 Martin Elmiger SUI s.t.
50 Médéric Clain FRA s.t.
51 Alexandr Kolobnev RUS s.t.
52 Alexander Moos SUI s.t.
53 Michael Blaudzun DEN s.t.
54 Geert Verheyen BEL s.t.
55 Kyrylo Pospyeyev UKR s.t.
56 Vladimir Duma UKR s.t.
57 Pierre Bourquenoud SUI s.t.
58 Fabien De Waele BEL s.t.
59 Ronny Scholz GER s.t.
60 Jörg Jaksche GER s.t.
61 Nico Mattan BEL s.t.
62 Franck Bouyer FRA s.t.
63 Marc Lotz NED s.t.
64 Jurgen Van Goolen BEL s.t.
65 Udo Bölts GER s.t.
66 Koos Moerenhout NED s.t.
67 Eugeni Petrov RUS s.t.
68 Marc Wauters BEL s.t.
69 Mathé Pronk NED s.t.
70 Miguel Angel Martín Perdiguero ESP s.t.
71 Eladio Jiménez ESP s.t.
72 Gerben Löwik NED s.t.
73 Max Sciandri ENG s.t.
74 Filippo Pozzato ITA s.t.
75 Paolo Bossoni ITA s.t.
76 Eddy Mazzoleni ITA s.t.
77 Gianluca Bortolami ITA s.t.
78 Rolf Aldag GER s.t.
79 Rik Verbrugghe BEL s.t.
80 Peter Van Petegem BEL s.t.
81 Serge Baguet BEL s.t.
82 Fred Rodriguez USA s.t.
83 Andreas Klier GER s.t.
84 Salvatore Commesso ITA s.t.
85 Cristian Moreni ITA + 0:03:58
86 Franco Pellizotti ITA s.t.
87 Ruggero Marzoli ITA s.t.
88 Kim Kirchen LUX + 0:04:09
89 José Iván Gutiérrez ESP + 0:04:42
90 Andrea Ferrigato ITA + 0:05:30
91 Ruslan Ivanov MDA s.t.
92 Andrej Hauptman SVN s.t.
93 Jakob Piil DEN s.t.
94 Dmitriy Fofonov KAZ s.t.
95 Alexandr Shefer KAZ s.t.
96 José Azevedo POR s.t.
97 Tristan Hoffman NED s.t.
98 Aart Vierhouten NED + 0:07:17
99 Bram Schmitz NED s.t.
100 Frank Schleck LUX s.t.
101 Bert Hiemstra NED s.t.
102 Christian VandeVelde USA + 0:07:25
103 Max van Heeswijk NED s.t.
104 Fabrice Gougot FRA s.t.
105 Roberto Heras ESP s.t.
106 Stefan Kupfernagel GER s.t.
107 Johan Museeuw BEL s.t.
108 Marco Milesi ITA s.t.
109 Thorsten Rund GER s.t.
110 Daniele Righi ITA s.t.
111 Juan Antonio Flecha ESP s.t.
112 Tom Stremersch BEL + 0:08:33
113 Bram de Groot NED s.t.
114 Alessandro Cortinovis ITA s.t.
115 Steven de Jongh NED s.t.
116 Benoît Joachim LUX s.t.
117 Bekim Christensen DEN s.t.
118 Stefano Zanini ITA s.t.
119 Sylvain Chavanel FRA s.t.
120 Marcel Strauss SUI s.t.
121 Emmanuel Magnien FRA s.t.
122 Kurt Van Landeghem BEL s.t.