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Amstel Gold - Race Report
 
By Podofdonny
Date: 4/17/2005
Amstel Gold - Race Report
 

Di Luca – The Celeste Killer!

Rarely has a team entered a one day Classic with so much confidence. Following their victory in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco the Liquigas Bianchi team declared

With Di Luca and Pellizotti , Liquigas Bianchi go to the Amstel Gold to win !” Their confidence was to be well founded.

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi) has had a quite extraordinary career. “The killer” of Spoltore burst onto the racing scene 7 years ago when he not only won the Baby Giro but also a bronze medal in the World Championships Espoirs in Valkenburg. In 1998, he joined the professional peloton and has rarely let his employers down. Three years with Cantina Tollo and three years with Saeco saw him rarely out of the headlines: 2nd in the Giro di Lombardia on his first attempt in 1999, stage winner in the Giro in 2000, Giro di Lombardia winner in 2001 (oddly in similar foggy climatic conditions as today), a stage of the Vuelta in 2002, 3rd in the Amstel Gold Race and Clasica San Sebastian in 2003, but 2004 saw a stall in progress. His best result was probably 2nd in the Flèche Wallonne good, but not good enough for a man bold enough to be nicknamed the killer.

29 years old and Di Luca started 2005 with a new team and a new approach. Dubbing 2005 as his “year of revenge” for his poor 2004, he seemed to settled in well with his new team. With his Liquigas-Bianchi team mates, Dario-Davide Cioni, Devis Miorin, Charles Wegelius and Roberto Damiani he spent February in Mexico, training at altitude for three weeks. His return to Europe and racing started well with fifth place in the Milan-Turin.

Early expectations were confirmed with a superb attacking ride in the Vuelta al Paìs Vasco, which not only saw him attack the entire peloton on stage 5a, but also do a superb time trial in terrible weather to take the overall.

But if Di Luca and his team entered the race with confidence, there were many contenders with equal, and possibly better qualifications for victory. Astarloa, Basso, Bettini, Boogerd, Celestino, Dekker, Etxebarria, Jaksche, Merckx, Rebellin, Valverde, Verbrugghe, Vinokourov, Voigt, all came to Holland this morning with very real hopes of victory.

A Foggy Day

The race will be remembered as the foggy year. In a climatic conditions eerily reminiscent of the Valkenburg World championships, the race developed beneath a blanket of mysterious fog. The helicopters could not fly, and with visibility so poor even those on the ground struggled to keep up with events.

Of course we could expect an early attack from the "Flahutes". And who better to make that move than Erwin Thijs (MrBookmaker.com-SportsTech). This rider is pedalling in the paths of Jacky Durand and Ludo Dierckxens. Not content with 200 kilometres at the head of affairs in the Paris-Roubaix, he once again attacked after 4 kilometres today.

Erwin Thijs did not have to ride the remaining 247 kilomètres and 31 climbs alone. He was soon joined by Andriy Grivko (Domina Vacanze), Alain Van Katwijk (Axa) Christophe Moreau (Crédit Agricole). These 4 “baroudeurs” pressed on through the fog building a maximum lead of 12'30" as the peloton crossed the finish line at the top of the Cauberg for the first time. Enough was enough for home team Rabobank, who began to real the escape misty escapees in.

Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) has been a virtual permanent fixture on the podium of the Amstel Gold Race since he won the event in 1999, 2nd in 2000, 3rd in 2002 and 2nd in both 2003 and 2004, the Orange team were more than motivated to give their leader a good chance.

With Rabobank pressing, Moreau and Thijs left Grivko and Van Katwijk with 125 kilometres to go and Leon Van Bon (Davitamon-Lotto) and Steffen Wesemann (T-Mobile) made a good attack to try and bridge to the two leaders with 58 kilomètres to go. As Van Bon and Wesemann caught Moreau and Thijs on the Kruisberg, the peloton was close behind and the counter attacks started.

David Etxebarria (Liberty Seguros-Würth), Karsten Kroon (Rabobank) and Marc Lotz (Quick Step) joined with Wesmann and gained 30 seconds but with the finish looming and all the favourites, Boogerd, Celestino, Di Luca, Freire, Kirchen, Leukemans, Martin-Perdiguero, Rebellin, Sinkewitz and Valverde pushing for victory there was a leading group of around thirty riders as they hit the foot of Cauberg. Rabobank had three men including world champion Oscar Freire leading Michael Boogerd up the wall of the Cauberg.

Boogerd, once again on the Cauberg, seemed to kick for home too early. On his shoulder Di Luca, who had been led into the final climb by Marcus Ljungqvist, looked very comfortable. Then Di Luca made his jump. He not only passed Boogerd but had time to look around and confirm his win.

It was, as they say, a Killer move.

Results

1 Di Luca, Danilo Liquigas - Bianchi
2 Boogerd, Michael Rabobank
3 Celestino, Mirko Domina Vacanze
4 Rebellin, Davide Gerolsteiner
5 Martin Perdiguero, Miguel Angel Phonak Hearing Systems
6 Sinkewitz, Patrik Quickstep
7 Leukemans, Bjorn Davitamon-Lotto
8 Etxebarria Alkorta, David Liberty Seguros - Würth Team
9 Pineau, Jerome Bouygues Telecom
10 Freire Gomez, Oscar Rabobank
11 Kirchen, Kim Fassa Bortolo
12 Astarloa Ascasibar, Igor Barloworld - Valsir
13 Valverde Belmonte, Alejandro Illes Balears - Caisse d´Epargne
14 Arvesen, Kurt-Asle CSC
15 Schumacher, Stefan Shimano - Memory Corp.
16 Zaballa Gutierrez, Constantino Saunier Duval - Prodir
17 Coenen, Johan MrBookmaker - SportsTech
18 Brandt, Christophe Davitamon-Lotto
19 Mertens, Pieter Chocolade Jacques - T Interim
20 Mori, Manuele Saunier Duval - Prodir
21 Ljungqvist, Marcus Liquigas - Bianchi
22 Kessler, Matthias T-Mobile
23 Murn, Uros Phonak Hearing Systems
24 Landaluze Intxaurraga, Inigo Euskaltel - Euskadi
25 Pereiro Sio, Oscar Phonak Hearing Systems
26 Voigt, Jens CSC
27 Merckx, Axel Davitamon-Lotto
28 Sørensen, Nicki CSC
29 Rodriguez Oliver, Joaquin Saunier Duval - Prodir
30 Moos, Alexandre Phonak Hearing Systems
31 Lotz, Marc Quickstep
32 Dekker, Erik Rabobank
33 Dekker, Thomas Rabobank
34 Gusev, Vladimir CSC
35 Wesemann, Steffen T-Mobile
36 Verbrugghe, Rik Quickstep
37 Bettini, Paolo Quickstep
38 Tankink, Bram Quickstep
39 Kroon, Karsten Rabobank
40 Kashechkin, Andrey Crédit Agricole
41 Zberg, Markus Gerolsteiner
42 Vicioso Arcos, Angel Liberty Seguros - Würth Team
43 Haussler, Heinrich Gerolsteiner
44 Wiggins, Bradley Crédit Agricole
45 Wegmann, Fabian Gerolsteiner
46 Botcharov, Alexandre Crédit Agricole
47 Bileka, Volodymyr Discovery Channel
48 Wijnants, Maarten Chocolade Jacques - T Interim
49 Zabel, Erik T-Mobile
50 Weening, Pieter Rabobank
51 Codol, Massimo Fassa Bortolo
52 Sivtsov, Konstantin Fassa Bortolo
53 Kleynen, Steven Chocolade Jacques - T Interim
54 De Weert, Kevin Quickstep
55 Calcagni, Patrick Liquigas - Bianchi
56 Fofonov, Dmitri Cofidis, le crédit par téléphone
57 Stangelj, Gorazd Lampre - Caffita
58 Basso, Ivan CSC
59 Vinokourov, Alexandre T-Mobile
60 Chavanel, Sylvain Cofidis, le crédit par téléphone
61 Moletta, Andrea Gerolsteiner
62 Vila Errandonea, Patxi Xabier Lampre - Caffita
63 Brochard, Laurent Bouygues Telecom
64 Vansummeren, Johan Davitamon-Lotto
65 Van Bon, Leon Davitamon-Lotto
66 Noval Gonzales, Benjamin Discovery Channel
67 Hincapie, George Discovery Channel
68 Moreau, Christophe Crédit Agricole
69 Voeckler, Thomas Bouygues Telecom
70 Reynes Mimo, Vicente Illes Balears - Caisse d´Epargne
71 Vanhecke, Preben Davitamon-Lotto
72 Lagutin, Sergey Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
73 Jalabert, Nicolas Phonak Hearing Systems
74 Ivanov, Sergei T-Mobile
75 Aldag, Rolf T-Mobile
76 Engels, Addy Quickstep
77 Pellizotti, Franco Liquigas - Bianchi
78 Pozzato, Filippo Quickstep
79 Loosli, David Lampre - Caffita
80 Jeker, Fabian Saunier Duval - Prodir
81 Sanchez Gonzalez, Samuel Euskaltel - Euskadi
82 Thijs, Erwin MrBookmaker - SportsTech
83 Ivanov, Ruslan Domina Vacanze
84 Valoti, Paolo Domina Vacanze
85 Den Bakker, Maarten Rabobank
86 Padrnos, Pavel Discovery Channel
87 Castresana Del Val, Angel MrBookmaker - SportsTech
88 Mengin, Christophe Française des Jeux
89 Facci, Mauro Fassa Bortolo
90 Elmiger, Martin Phonak Hearing Systems
91 Grabsch, Bert Phonak Hearing Systems
92 Le Mevel, Christophe Crédit Agricole
93 Carlström, Kjell Liquigas - Bianchi
94 White, Matthew Cofidis, le crédit par téléphone
95 Dewaele, Bert Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
96 Giunti, Massimo Fassa Bortolo
97 Schleck, Frank CSC
98 Zaugg, Oliver Saunier Duval - Prodir
99 Barredo Llamazales, Carlos Liberty Seguros - Würth Team
100 Righi, Daniele Lampre - Caffita
101 Ten Dam, Laurens Shimano - Memory Corp.
102 Willems, Frederik Chocolade Jacques - T Interim
103 Commesso, Salvatore Lampre - Caffita
104 Ballan, Alessandro Lampre - Caffita
105 Arreitunandia, Pedro Barloworld - Valsir
106 Marichal, Thierry Cofidis, le crédit par téléphone
107 Jäksche, Jörg Liberty Seguros - Würth Team
108 Serrano Rodriguez, Marcos Antonio Liberty Seguros - Würth Team
109 Fernandez Bustinza, Bingen Cofidis, le crédit par téléphone
111 Joachim, Benoit Discovery Channel
112 Farazijn, Peter Cofidis, le crédit par téléphone
113 Hesjedal, Ryder Discovery Channel
115 Posthuma, Joost Rabobank
116 Geslin, Anthony Bouygues Telecom
117 Kannemeyer, Tiaan Barloworld - Valsir
118 Pronk, Matthé MrBookmaker - SportsTech
119 Van Der Wal, Eelke Shimano - Memory Corp.
120 Bertolini, Alessandro Domina Vacanze
121 Rous, Didier Bouygues Telecom
122 Irizar Aranburu, Markel Euskaltel - Euskadi
123 Nozal Vega, Isidro Liberty Seguros - Würth Team
124 Montfort, Maxime Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
125 McCarty, Jonathan Patrick Discovery Channel
126 Isasi Flores, Inaki Euskaltel - Euskadi
127 Etxebarria Arana, Unai Euskaltel - Euskadi
128 De Schrooder, Benny Chocolade Jacques - T Interim
129 Veikkanen, Jussi Française des Jeux
130 Poilvet, Benoît Crédit Agricole
131 Ghyllebert, Pieter Chocolade Jacques - T Interim

 
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