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World Cup 2003 - Round 8
The 90th edition of the Meisterschaft von Zürich (Championship of Zurich) presents yet another serious obstacle for those still in the battle for World Cup honours, or indeed those wanting the glory of a prestigious race in their palmares.
The course, like last weekend's in San Sebastian, requires a rider who has the ability to climb and then produce a devastating sprint at the end of affairs; the principal difficulties are -
Neue Forch (4 times): 5,2 km at 3,3%
Ausser Vollikon Egg (3 times): 1,9 km at 6,2%
Pfannenstiel (4 times): 2,9 km at 6%
Forchstrasse Wetzwil (4 times): 0,9 km at 7,3%
Once again the parcours suit a punchy climber who has the ability to out sprint a very select group. Current World Cup leader Paolo Bettini has an excellent record in the race and will certainly be favourite at the start up line. Bettini, who has just become the first man ever to win three world cup races in a season.
As “Mapeifan” observes: “If you look at all the times that a rider has won more than one World Cup race in one year (it's happened 17 times by 13 different riders), Zurich is the race that appears on their palmares more than any other World Cup race. In fact, Zurich appears 35% of the time as one of the races won when a rider wins more than one World Cup race in the same year. Of the races currently included, Paris-Tours is the race that appears the least, (only Museeuw has won it and another in the same year, 1993). So place your money on Il Grillo for Sunday!”
Multi - Winners World Cup Races
1991-Van Lancker(Wincanton, GP Americas)
1993-Fondriest (MSR, Zurich)
1993-Museeuw (RVV, Paris-Tours)
1994-Bortolami (Zurich, Leeds)
1995-Gianetti (Liege, Amstel)
1995-Museeuw (RVV, Zurich)
1996-Ferrigato (Zurich, Leeds)
1997-Rebellin (San Sebastien, Zurich)
1998-Bartoli (Liege, Zurich)
1999-Celestino (HEW, Lombardy)
2000-Zabel (MSR, Amstel
2001-Zabel (MSR, HEW)
2002-Museeuw (Roubaix, HEW)
2002-Bartoli (Amstel, Lombardy)
2002-Van Petegem (RVV, Roubaix)
2003-Bettini (MSR, HEW, San Sebastien)
However Bettini will naturally face stern opposition but has an equally impressive team in support and once again David Canada Gracia, Richard Virenque and Piotr Wadecki will be able to give him ample support on the climbs.
Certainly the opposition on Sunday is likely to be Italian. 5 men out of the top 5 last Saturday, and the main contenders on Sunday too, will come from Italy once again.
Fassa Bortolo (Dario Frigo, last years winner; Michele Bartoli, winner in 1998 and Ivan Basso, 2nd in San Sebastian), will certainly be looking for the victory. No lesser threat to “Il Grillo” comes from the formidable Saeco team.
Igor Astarloa, Mirko Celestino and Danilo Di Luca will all fancy their chances, while other Italian contenders are Francesco Casagrande (Lampre), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), both excellent in San Sebastian, while Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola-So.Di) possesses a killer sprint that might come in very handy.
“Jan the Man” Ullrich has a great record in this race, a native of Switzerland these days to avoid the huge publicity that follows him around in Germany, Ullrich will be highly motivated and has the legs to both climb and the power to gain a gap if required.
Make no mistake - the “real” Swiss riders will be highly motivated for this race: Oscar Camenzind, Martin Elmiger, Alexandre Moos (Phonak), the Zberg brothers, Marcus (Gerolsteiner) and Beat (Rabobank), and the last home winner, Laurent Dufaux (Alessio), will all be looking to make more than an impression.
Rabobank looked good last Saturday and Boogerd will be anxious to put behind him the crash which may have cost him dear, and knows he has the potential to do well.
CSC see the deadly duo of Tyler Hamilton and Carlos Sastre return. Hamilton, fresh from his triumphant homecoming in the USA, is definitely an unknown quantity, but the CSC team nearly always produces a professional performance.
In 1992 Viatcheslav Ekimov won the race ahead of novice Lance Armstrong (USA). Armstrong’s season is over in Europe so “good ol Eki” will be working for George Hincapie, who had a top ten finish in 2001.
Viatcheslav Ekimov, born 04/02/1966, is the oldest rider in the race while Yaroslav Popovych, born 04/01/1980, is one of the youngest. A podium spot in the Giro and recent 3rd in the TRW show that the man from Drogobic is still in great form. 14 years separate these masters of the peloton from the East; indeed Ekimov won the Regio Tour in 1988 when Popovych was just 8 years old. It will be very interesting to see how the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team with Yaroslav Popovych, Wolodimir Bileka, Wladimir Duma, Ruslan Gryshenko, Lorenzo Bernucci,
Sergey Avdyeyev, Johan Verstrepen and Bert De Waele fare in this race.
Last Year's Race
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.
The Iceman Cometh!
2002 1 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi 2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei 3 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal
2001 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Jan Ullrich (Ger) Fernando Escartin (Spa)
2000 Laurent Dufaux (Swi) Jan Ullrich (Ger) Francesco Casagrande (Ita)
1999 Grzegorz Gwiazdowski (Pol) Sergio Barbero (Ita) Andrei Tchmil (Bel)
1998 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Salvatore Commesso (Ita)
1997 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Jan Ullrich (Ger) Rolf Sörensen (Dan)
1996 Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Michele Bartoli (Ita) Johan Museeuw (Bel)
1995 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Gianni Bugno (Ita) Giorgio Furlan (Ita)
1994 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Johan Museeuw (Bel) Maurizio Fondriest (Ita)
1993 Maurizio Fondriest (Ita) Charly Mottet (Fra) Bruno Cenghialta (Ita)
1992 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) Lance Armstrong (USA) Jan Nevens (Bel)
1991 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Laurent Jalabert (Fra) Max Sciandri (GB)
1990 Charly Mottet (Fra) Greg Lemond (USA) Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)
1989 Steve Bauer (Can) Acacio Da Silva (Por) Rolf Gölz (Ger)
1988 Steven Rooks (Ned) Rolf Sörensen (Dan) Toni Rominger (Swi)
1987 Rolf Gölz (Ger) Raul Alcala (Mex) Cam Passera (Ita)
1986 Acacio da Silva (P) Steve Bauer (Can) Adri van der Poel (Ned)
1985 Ludo Peeters (Bel) Mario Beccia (Ita) Steve Bauer (Can)
1984 Phil Anderson (Aus) Hubert Seiz (Swi) Pierino Gavazzi (Ita)
1983 Johan van de Velde (Ned) Gilbert Glaus (Swi) Frans Pirard (Ned)
1982 Adri van der Poel (Ned) Hubert Seiz (Swi) Tommy Prim (Swi)
1981 Beat Breu (Swi) Henry Rinklin (Ger) Daniel Willems (Bel)
1980 Gery Verlinden (Bel) Jean-P Vandenbrande (Bel) Stefan Mutter (Swi)
1979 Giuseppe Saronni (Ita) Francesco Moser (Ita) Marc Demeyer (Bel)
1978 Dietrich Thurau (Ger) Francesco Moser (Ita) G. Van Roosbroeck (Bel)
1977 Francesco Moser (Ita) Ron. De Witte (Bel) Walter Godefroot (Bel)
1976 Freddy Maertens (Bel) Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel) Walter Godefroot (Bel)
1975 Roger DE Vlaeminck (Bel) Eddy Merckx (Bel) Franceso Moser (Ita)
1974 Walter Godefroot (Bel) G. Van Roosbroeck (Bel) Frans Verbeeck (Bel)
1973 André Dierrickx (Bel) Hennie Kuiper (Ned) Licien de Brauwere (Bel)
1972 Willy Vanneste (Bel) Vic van Schil (Bel) André Poppe (Bel)
1971 Herman Vanspringel (Bel) Romano Tumellero (Ita) Roland Berland (F)
1970 Walter Godefroot (Bel) Franz Mintjens (Bel) André Dierickx (Bel)
Images courtesy of zuerimetzgete.de.