Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Peloton live ticker for the Clasica San Sebastian race. Commentary by podofdonny and Anita van Crey.
Four riders have been in the break: García Acosta (iBanesto.com), Jorg Jaksche (Once-Eroski), Leif Hoste (Lotto-Domo) and Nicolas Portal (AG2r Prevoyance). They had built a big lead which is now rapidly falling.
So far it has been the Saeco and Fassa teams who have been leading the peloton in an effort to reduce the gap.
The principal difficulties today are:
Km 19: Alto de Orio (3rd cat: 1,5 km à 4,7%)
Km 29: Alto de Garate (2nd cat: 3 km à 7,3%)
Km 59: Alto de Azkarate (2nd cat: 5 km à 6,5%)
Km 101: Alto de Udana (2nd cat: 8 km à 3,6%)
Km 195: Alto de Jaizkibel (1st cat: 8 km à 5,1%)
Km 213: Alto de Gurutze (3rd cat: 2,8 km à 5%)
14.09: The riders have crossed the summit of the Alto de Udana and now have the rolling countryside leading to the Alto de Jaizkibel, after 195 kilometres, which is usually the decisive point of the race.
14.17, 85 km to go: So the four men have a lead of around 11 minutes. Jorg Jaksche (Once) will of course be joining the Gerolsteiner team next season - where he will ride as team captain in the major tours. The man from Fürth, Germany, is a hugely talented rider, although his palmares do not reflect this fact, since he has always ridden in support of riders like Beloki and Galdeano.
Also in the break is young gun Nicolas Portal of AG2R - born on the 23/4/1979 in Auch, France, he is in his second year as a pro with the AG2R team.
Leif Hoste (Lotto) is from Kortrijk, Belgium, and has been a pro since 1998. In 2001 he became Belgian TT champion and is another young rider who graduated through the pro ranks via the excellent Vlaanderen 2002 team.
José Vicente Garcia Acosta of the iBanesto team is the most experianced rider in the break. It was his birthday this week (4/8/1972) and he has been a pro rider with Banesto since the glory days of Indurain; he joined the team in 1994.
Of course both Once and Banesto will, sadly, not be in the peloton next season, and Spanish fans will have a worrying time to see if any new sponsors can be found.
14.33: The gap is slowly falling and is now below the 10 minute mark - previous winners of the race are Claudio Chiapucci (1993), Armand de las Cuevas (1994), Lance Armstrong (1995), Udo Bolts (1996), Davide Rebellin (1997), Francesco Casagrande (1998 and 1999), Erik Dekker (2000) and Laurent Jalabert (2001 and 2002).
Bolts, Rebellin (both Gerolsteiner) and Casagrande (Lampre) all know how to win this race and are in the peloton today.
14.45, 50 kilometres to go: The peloton has still not reponded, the gap is still hovering around the 10 minute mark - is it possible that the break will succeed?
Correction: the gap is about six minutes.
14.51: The foot of the Jaizkibel is about twenty k. to go for the leaders.
Just to remind ourselves of the current World Cup standings:
1. Peter Van Petegem (BEL, Lotto-Domo) 203 pts
2. Paolo Bettini (ITA, Quick Step-Davitamon) 200 pts
3. Michael Boogerd (PBS, Rabobank) 140 pts
4. Mirko Celestino (ITA, Team Saeco) 127 pts
5. Davide Rebellin (ITA, Gerolsteiner) 123 pts
6. Dario Pieri (ITA, Team Saeco) 117 pts
7. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ, Telekom) 100 pts
Peter van Petegem on his chances on wearing the leader's jersey after today's race: "50/50 chance, whether I wear it or I do not. For sure now I know Bettini's strengths. And sure my teammates like Baguet can go today their own chances. Last week we lost some important riders before the climbs of the Waseberg, we sure could have used them to get Bettini back."
The conditions are very warm again - at the start it was already 30C and was expected to warm up - so a hot day in the saddle.
Portal shows some difficulties and has, on and off, let the other three go and come back.
Peter Farazijn (Cofidis) said yesterday after his training ride that the % of oxygen really is low. In his opinion it a bit irresponsible to have riders race in such conditions.
14.59: Vicente Garcia Acosta now has attacked his three companions and is on his own at the front. Jorg Jaksche (ONCE), Leif Hoste (Lotto-Domo), Nicolas Portal (AG2R) are working together to try and bring him back.
Garcia Acosta has been at the front of the race since the 11th kilometre, so it is a long day in the saddle for him. But he is looking very cool and composed in the torrid conditions.
The atmosphere in the Lotto-Domo team has really gone down the drain since they failed in winning in the recent Tour de France. Oil on the fire was the publication of the amount of money Rik Verbrugghe takes home as a salary: euro 500.000,00. It did not help the cohesion in the Hendrik Redant-led team.
15.03, 40 km to go: Acosta now has 40 '' on the trio of chasers who have 3.36 on the peloton so the gap is beginning to fall quickly.
This morning before the start all riders were out of their teamcars blabbering the heads off of their opponents, except Di Luca, who stayed in the car, eating and eating and eating...taking in as much fuel as he could.
Saeco now is setting the pace of the bunch a bit, and a lot higher, in order to bring the group as close to the leaders as possible before the attack of the Jaizkibel starts.
Acosta still ploughs his lonely furrow - Tour fans will remember his win in the 2000 race, 13th stage into Dranguignan - as Saeco really get organised and start to pull the peloton along.
15.10, 37 km to go: The difference in speed between the peloton and the four escapees is very noticable as the leaders tackle the start of the Jaizkibel.
Now Rabobank, riding for Michael Boogerd, pick up the pace - Acosta has 1 minute on the trio and the peloton is around 4 minutes back.
Parts of this peloton will ride the Vuelta de Burgos next week; temperatures are even higher there.
Casagrande is keeping near the front of the peloton; the former double winner is well aware of the importance of keeping to the front of the race.
Boogerd said beforehand he feels good today. His injury (leg and back) is getting better since he is seeing what he calls a hupseflupstonoom (something like 'somekindofIdunnoknowwhathedoes'- tonoom....commonly known as haptonoom).
Acosta, leading the race, has time and energy to smile at the passing camera man - Nicolas Portal (Ag2r), Jorg Jaksche (ONCE), Leif Hoste (Lotto-Domo) still chasing and the Rabobank-led peloton in pursuit.
Freire said he slept for days in a row after the Tour; he was really tired. Tired of the hard work and maybe also tired of trying to fill the expectations of team and fans.
Millar today did not have to travel long, since he is living at the other side of the border, in Biarritz.
Correction to previous distances: 45 km to go for the peloton, which is now 3'34'' behind Garcia Acosta, while David Millar is also high up in the peloton still being lead by the Rabobank boys. Acosta's gap is diminishing by the kilometre.
Acosta looks very determined today, and it is a long, hot, brave ride for the man from Tafalla, Spain.
15.27: One k. to go to the foot of the Jaizkibel. Hoste, Jaksche and Portal are now caught by the bunch, as Acosta starts to struggle on the hot slopes of the Jaizkibel. Garcia's face is showing pain, pain and more suffering. Camenzind and Zulle leads the bunch. Gap now is down to 1.55".
Acosta, head down, on the little ring, is fighting against gravity and fatigue while Bettini moves to the front of the peloton. The group now is seriously setting the pace higher. 1.49 the gap to Acosta on the Jaizkibel.
The peloton still playing poker, as the "Scorpion" Virenque moves up to help "Il Grillo".
Virenque dancing on the pedals, Bettini in his shadow, Casagrande behind him. The peloton is beginning to string out as the relentless climb continues.
The peloton still has many riders in it. Peter van Petegem in his leaders jersey still is present there. Also Alexandre Vinokourov is present. Could be expected his form is less than it was in the Tour, since he has been doing a lot of crits and a lot of travelling last week. Bettini touches the pedals cricketlike and looks like this climb does not bother him a bit.
Bettini starts to force the pace - Casagrande watching his every move. Bettini attacks. He looked over his shoulder to check out the competition and decided it was THE time to part.
The main group is diminishing at the back, present still are about 25 to 30 riders. Miguel-Angel Martin-Perdiguero attacks and causes more damage to the peloton. The Spaniard races for the Domina Vacanza squadra of Cipollini. But it is the Quickstep boys who bring him back.
Bettini still at the head of the race, the peloton reduced considerably now. At the back of the pack Bianchi's Angel Luis Casero has a hard time following his fellow companions. No more than 20 riders left in the top group.
With Van Petegem not in the first group, Bettini seems easily on his way towards the lead in the overall world cup classification.
Boogerd, Astarloa, Rebellin, Hincapie still in the main bunch.
Astarloa is not there, it is Di Luca. Mikel Artetxe Guezuraga also there.
But Bettini puts the pressure on again, and the front group splits again - Bettini is causing real pain to his rivals today...
15.43: Bettini, Rebellin, Boogerd, Casagrande, Rasmussen are focing the pace at the front. Home rider Gerrikagoitia from the orange Euskaltel team is present in the front. Van Petegem is now down the back with a gap of 1 minute to the leaders.
The leading group cross the top of the Jaizkibel; they have a good gap on the chasers.
Bettini, Casagrande, Boogerd, Rasmussen, Perdiguero, Andrea Noè in the leading group. Rasmussen crashes!
No, it is Boogerd. He is ok - he left the road but is ok as the leaders tackle the tricky descent. Boogerd seems to have developed a real habit of crashing at the weirdest places.
15.50: So 10 riders in the lead - they have 40 seconds on the second group and still have the Alto de Gurutze 3rd cat climb to cover.
Former escapee Leif Hoste together with Tonti and Commesso have already found their way to Donostia, to the showers. Their working day in the outdoor sauna has come to an end.
25km to go: The riders swoop down through the wooded hills: Perez, Bartoli, Rebellin, Boogerd, Rasmussen, Noe, Casagrande, Bettini, Gorka Gerrikagoitia and Di Luca in the lead group.
The leaders take the opportunity to get drinks as the road flattened out.
Noe now takes his turn at the front while Casagrande picks up the pace. Casagrande attacks, Bettini reacts. And so does Rasmussen.
Casagrande now brings the group back to the rear wheel of Basso and Bettini. The Italian riders are taking over this northern part of Spain. The group is not very coherent, all looking at the others.
So Bartoli, Di Luca, Bettini and Casagrande lead the race - but they have two Rabobank men to worry about...
16.02, 16km to go: The peloton is over a minute behind as Casagrande once again ups the pace of the leading group.
Paolo Bettini is on fire! He attacks again!
Bartoli responds. Bettini sets his own pace, not showing much difficulties. Unknown in the front though is the strength of the Basque rider Gerrikagoitia.
Not Bartoli but Basso. Basso now joins Bettini in the lead. 15 k. to go. Basso follows Bettini to the summit of this climb, struggling to hold on. From this summit it is 13,5 k. to the chalkline in Donostia. The four chasers have a gap of 25" to close. Casagrande though is at 17".
This race for sure is one suited well to Italians, at the list of previous year's winners one finds Casagrande (two times), Bugno and Rebellin.
16.12, 10 km to go: Bettini and Basso are over the last major climb and working well together as they power to the finish. Casagrande, Di Luca and Noe are chasing.
Sad news: one of the motards, who had to take care of the safety of the riders and make sure the roads were closed properly, crashed with his motorcycle and has died. Our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.
Boogerd fought his way back to the front. Bettini has 18 seconds over Noe, Casagrande and Di Luca.
Bettini is riding his way into first position in the World Cup - another ride of pure class from the Italian Champion. CRICKET POWER!!!
6km to go: The two leaders are riding very well together, Casagrande is chasing desperately.
It could well be Il Grillo's third world cup victory of the season - he has been on scintillating form.
5km to go: Bettini and Basso are in the industrial area of the town.
It could also be the fifth win in an world cup event for Bettini, he two times won Liege-Bastogne-Liege, he won the Zuri Metzgete, he last week won the HEW and now is on his way to yet another win?
16.20, 4km to go: Bettini and Basso power homewards; Casagrande, Noe, Di Luca continue to chase.
Casagrande refuses to give up hope, and keeps piling the pressure on, but Basso and Bettini will surely contest the two man sprint.
The gap now is 23", Casagrande though is not giving in in his attempt to regain contact with the two leaders.
2 kilometres to go: Bettini and Basso together - as Il Grillo starts to put even more pressure on.
Will this be a first big win for the youngster in white, silver and blue? USPS already has shown some interest in him signing for the LA-squad.
Under the Flamme Rouge, Bettini and Basso...Basso stays patient behind Bettini's tiny back.
Suspense is rising. Basso has to wait to surprise Bettini.
Bettini in the front, Basso refuses to pass, the line looms, now Bettini kicks - HE WINS!!!!! Then Basso, Di Luca, Casagrande, Noe. The first 5 places ALL ITALIAN!
Bettini wins his third world cup event this season. He takes the race and the lead in the World Cup; it is truly a remarkable season for Il Grillo.
Basso held onto his wheel, but Bettini just had too much for him. Once again he has been the main activator in the race, and the winner.
And Van Petegem's fears came true. After HEW he said: "Here he (Bettini) already was this strong, what will that mean for San Sebastian and Zurich? I will be having a hard time keeping my leader's jersey."
Boogerd finished 8th and now has 164 points in the overall, Rebellin finished seventh and now has 151 points in the world cup standings.
1 Paolo Bettini QuickStep
2 Ivan Basso Fassa Bortolo st
3 Danilo Di Luca Saeco 0.20
4 Francesco Casagrande Lampre
5 Andrea Noe Alessio 0.25
6 Gorka Gerrikagoitia Euskaltel 0.33
7 Davide Rebellin Gerolsteiner
8 Michael Rasmussen Rabobank
9 Michael Boogerd Rabobank
So it is now Bettini leading the world cup fight with a clean lead over his opponent.
This concludes our live coverage of the Clásica de San Sebastián. Thank you for joining us!
World Cup Standings after Round Seven
1. Paolo Bettini (ITA, Quick Step-Davitamon) 300 pts
2. Peter Van Petegem (BEL, Lotto-Domo) 203 pts
3. Michael Boogerd (PBS, Rabobank) 164 pts
4. Davide Rebellin (ITA, Gerolsteiner) 151 pts
5. Mirko Celestino (ITA, Team Saeco) 138 pts
6. Danilo Di Luca (ITA, Team Saeco) 124 pts
7. Dario Pieri (ITA, Team Saeco) 117 pts
8. Francesco Casagrande (ITA, Lampre) 108 pts
9. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ, Telekom) 100 pts
Clasica San Sebastian Full Results
1. BETTINI, Paolo QSD 5:44:42
2. BASSO, Ivan FAS m.t.
3. DI LUCA, Danilo SAE a 20
4. CASAGRANDE, Francesco LAM a 20
5. NOE, Andrea ALS a 23
6. GERRIKAGOITIA, Gorka EUS a 33
7. REBELLIN, Davide GST a 33
8. BOOGERD, Michael RAB a 34
9. RASMUSSEN, Michael RAB a 37
10. VALOTI, Paolo DVE a 1:53
11. ASTARLOA, Igor SAE a 1:54
12. GARZELLI, Stefano VIN a s.t.
13. VIRENQUE, Richard QSD a s.t.
14. CELESTINO, Mirko SAE a s.t.
15. HINCAPIE, George USP a s.t.
16. PAOLINI, Luca QSD a s.t.
17. MARTIN PERDIGUERO, Miguel DVE a s.t.
18. ZBERG, Beat RAB a s.t.
19. SERPELLINI, Marco LAM a s.t.
20. TURPIN, Ludovic A2R a s.t.
21. SINKEWITZ, Patrick QSD a s.t.
22. NOZAL, Isidro ONE a s.t.
23. DE LA FUENTE, David VIN a s.t.
24. VERBRUGGHE, Rik LOT a s.t.
25. ETXEBARRIA, Unai EUS a s.t.
26. BOTCHAROV, Alexandre A2R a s.t.
27. MERCKX, Axel LOT a s.t.
28. LARA, Francisco José BIA a s.t.
29. CAMENZIND, Oscar PHO a s.t.
30. COLOM, Antonio CRF a s.t.
31. FLECHA, J.Antonio BAN a s.t.
32. BRANDT, Christophe LOT a s.t.
33. LATASA, David KEL a s.t.
34. ASTARLOZA, Mikel A2R a s.t.
35. ARTETXE, Mikel EUS a s.t.
36. LELLI, Massimiliano COF a s.t.
37. TOTSCHNIG, Georg GST a s.t.
38. MONCOUTIE, David COF a s.t.
39. DUFAUX, Laurent ALS a s.t.
40. CASERO, Angel BIA a s.t.
41. LOBATO, Ruben DVE a s.t.
42. AZEVEDO, José ONE a s.t.
43. CANADA, David QSD a s.t.
44. NARDELLO, Daniele TEL a s.t.
45. SCARPONI, Michele DVE a s.t.
46. ZANDIO, Xabier BAN a s.t.
47. PEREZ, Luis COF a s.t.
48. BLANCO,Santiago CRF a s.t.
49. BERTOLINI,Alessandro ALS a 6:50
50. WEGMANN,Christian GST a s.t.
51. TOURNIER,Yan C.A a s.t.
52. KRISTENSEN,Lennie CSC a s.t.
53. JUFRE,José CRF a s.t.
54. FERRIGATO,Andrea ALS a s.t.
55. JALABERT,Nicolas CSC a s.t.
56. TRAMPUSCH,Gerhard GST a s.t.
57. LOPEZ,Joaquin ALM a s.t.
58. VILA,Francisco LAM a s.t.
59. CHAURREAU,Iñigo A2R a s.t.
60. PRADERA,Mikel ONE a s.t.
61. KOLOBNEV,Alexandr DVE a s.t.
62. FRATTINI,Davide ALS a s.t.
63. DOMINGUEZ,Juan PHO a s.t.
64. MIHOLJEVIC,Vladimir ALS a s.t.
65. MILESI,Marco VIN a s.t.
66. CALVENTE,Manuel CSC a s.t.
67. SEVILLA,Oscar KEL a s.t.
68. FERRIO,Jorge ALM a s.t.
69. SIMEONI,Filippo DVE a s.t.
70. SORENSEN,Nicki CSC a s.t.
71. CAMAÑO,Iker PHO a s.t.
72. AERTS,Mario TEL a s.t.
73. GONZALEZ,Aitor FAS a s.t.
74. VALJAVEC,Tadej FAS a s.t.
75. GIUNTI,Massimo DVE a s.t.
76. PERON,Andrea CSC a s.t.
77. YAKOVLEV,Serguei TEL a s.t.
78. MILLAR,David COF a s.t.
79. MAYO,Iban EUS a s.t.
80. FARESIN,Gianni GST a s.t.
81. EKIMOV,Viatcheslav USP a s.t.
82. MASON,Oscar VIN a s.t.
83. FREIRE,Oscar RAB a s.t.
84. SCHWEDA,Raphael BIA a s.t.
85. BAGUET,Serge LOT a s.t.
86. VAN PETEGEM, Peter LOT a s.t.
87. VAINSTEINS,Romans VIN a s.t.
88. LUTTENBERGER,Peter CSC a s.t.
89. FLORES,Iker EUS a s.t.
90. MOREAU,Christophe C.A a 12:05
91. BARRY,Michael USP a s.t.
92. FEDRIGO,Pierrick C.A a s.t.
93. JOACHIM,Benoit USP a s.t.
94. TORRENT,Carlos ALM a s.t.
95. GARRIDO,José ALM a s.t.
96. ATIENZA,Daniel COF a s.t.
97. MARTINEZ,Alberto EUS a s.t.
98. CASTRESANA,Angel ONE a s.t.
99. FERNANDEZ,Bingen COF a s.t.
100. KESSLER,Matthias TEL a s.t.
101. ISASI,Iñaki EUS a s.t.
102. PEREIRO,Oscar PHO a s.t.
103. CASERO,Rafael ALM a s.t.
104. PECHARROMAN,J.Antonio ALM a s.t.
105. CEREZO,Francisco L2C a s.t.
106. BRUSEGHIN,Marzio FAS a s.t.
107. VAN GOOLEN,Jurgen QSD a s.t.
108. TOSATTO,Matteo FAS a s.t.
109. POILVET,Benoît C.A a s.t.
110. RUND,Thorsten BIA a s.t.
111. ARRIETA,José Luis BAN a s.t.
112. DE GROOT,Bram RAB a s.t.
113. MOERENHOUT,Koos LOT a s.t.
114. HORRILLO,Pedro QSD a s.t.
115. GLEZ. GALDEANO,Igor ONE a s.t.
116. SERRANO,Marcos ONE a s.t.
117. BURGOS,Nacor CRF a s.t.
118. LASTRAS,Pablo BAN a s.t.
119. SASTRE,Carlos CSC a s.t.
120. HRUSKA,Jan ONE a s.t.
121. GONZALEZ,Santos DVE a s.t.
122. SANCHEZ,Domingo ALM a s.t.
123. BRAMATI,Davide QSD a s.t.
124. AEBERSOLD,Niki PHO a s.t.
125. GARCIA CASAS,Félix BIA a s.t.
126. MERCADO,Juan Miguel BAN a s.t.
127. JULICH,Bobby TEL a s.t.
128. VINOKOUROV,Alexandre TEL a s.t.
129. MAZZOLENI,Eddy VIN a s.t.
130. GARCIA ACOSTA,José BAN a s.t.
131. CONTRINI,Daniele GST a s.t.
132. PIEPOLI,Leonardo BAN a s.t.
133. GUERINI,Giuseppe TEL a s.t.
134. RATTI,Eddy LAM a s.t.
135. PORTAL,Nicolas A2R a s.t.
136. ORIOL,Christophe A2R a s.t.
137. MAESTRE,José CRF a s.t.
138. MOOS,Alexandre PHO a s.t.
139. GARCIA QUESADA,Adolfo KEL a s.t.
140. FERRARA,Raffaele ALS a s.t.
141. AUGE,Stephane C.A a 16:45
142. BAYARRI,Gonzalo PHO a 24:55
143. BERGES,Stéphane A2R a 25:51