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92nd Liège-Bastogne-Liège Live Ticker
By Staff
Date: 4/23/2006
92nd Liège-Bastogne-Liège Live Ticker

92nd Liège-Bastogne-Liège Live Ticker
Join us in following the race live with commentary by Jan Jansens and Locutus. Updated with Photos of the Action by Bart Hazen

Race Summary:
At 32kms  Fedrigo and Pauwels took a flyer at at the 57km mark the chasing group of 26 riders caught the duo. Some of the contenders are in the group:
Serrano (LSW), Voigt (CSC), Rogers, Wesemann (TMO), Flecha, Kolobnev (RAB), Hiekmann (GST), Engels (QSI), Commesso (LAM), Van den Broeck (DSC), Brandt (DVL), Garcia Acosta, Portal (CEI), Perez Rodriguez (COF), Pauriol (C.A), U.Etxebarria (EUS), Duran Arroca (SDV), Fedrigo (BTL), Nibali (LIQ), Goubert (AG2R), Wynants, Pauwels (JAC), De Waele, Kleynen, Simon (LAN) and Cox (BAR)

The lead group on the Cote de Roche-en-Ardenne
Photo c. Bart Hazen

This group by the 110 kms the break had a 7 minute gap 30 kms later at the halfway point as the peloton driven by Milram and of the race had Phonak first and then Milram joining in started to brought the gap to 5:30.

The peloton 7 minutes behind the break Valverde, Sanchez, Perdiguero and Rebellin in attendance at the front. Photo c. Bart Hazen

Joining the race with just having past the 150 kms, the deficit is now down to three minutes and dropping fast.

Province of Liege
Km 171: Côte de Wanne 2.2-km climb at 7.7°
Steffen Wesemann attacks and is off solo on the Côte de Wanne while CSC moves to the front of the chasing peloton. (Click on photos for a larger image.)

The group of 26 now splits as they chase T-Mobile's Wesemann who has a gap of :20.

Km 177.5: Côte de Stockeu 1.1-km climb at 11.6°
Wesseman presses on as he climbs the hill his break mates stretch out in the chase. Meanwhile back at the peloton CSC has the full team pressing the front with Rabobank and Davitamon/Lotto in attendance but not contributing to the chase effort.

Kolobenov drives the chase
Photo c. Bart Hazen

Km 183: Côte de la Haute-Levée 3.4-km climb at 6° Wesemann leads with :40 with the gap to the CSC led peloton dropping to 2:05.

Jan Jansens and Locutus are our commentators today:

Welcome to the ticker ladies and gentlemen! We get into the race while climbing the côte de Wanne, with a group of some 20 leaders including big names such as Flêcha, Wesemann, Voigt, impressive group!!

the full list of riders according to the official LBL ticker is: Fedrigo (BTL), Pauwels (JAC), Serrano (LSW), Voigt (CSC), Rogers, Wesemann (TMO), Flecha, Kolobnev (RAB), Hiekmann (GST), Engels (QSI), Commesso (LAM), Van den Brueck (DSC), Brandt (DVL), Garcia Acosta, Portal (CEI), Perez Rodriguez (COF), Pauriol (C.A), U.Etxebarria (EUS), Duran Arroca (SDV), Nibali (LIQ), Goubert (AG2R), Wynants (JAC), De Waele, Kleynen, Simon (LAN) et Cox (BAR)

There are constantly small groups falling back or taking a small lead on the larger group of escapees, but nothing major yet. We'll have to make a damage report when we're over this hill

Wesemann still has a small lead over the rest of the escapees, but they're trying to get back to him. In the back CSC and Liquigas are whittling down the lead step by step...
So the first chase group is at 1' 30", the second chase is at 2' 03", and the peloton is at 2' 43".

75 km left. Voigt (CSC) is still working his brains out in that first chase group
It's the battle of the German hard-asses, Voigt trying to steal Wesemann's attacking thunder! (yes, I know Wesemann is 'Swiss' by now )

The first chase group of about twelve is fragmenting and reforming a bit... they aren't playing nice with each other right now. Wesemann has a 1.18 lead on Voigt and co, the peloton is 2.20 back

Milram leads the Peloton in the chase.
Photo c. Bart Hazen

72 km to go Wesemann might want to see a therapist: he's had such anti-social behavior over the last couple of races, always going out on the attack alone to get away from the other riders.

In the peloton, CSC, and Caisse d'Epargne are working to try to bring it all back together. CSC is working for Giro-hero Ivan "Bello" Basso, and Casse d'Epargne is working to set up Alejandro Valverde, that climbing/sprinting super-dynamo who seems to have the perfect skill set for this race.

Question remains if Basso is already strong enough to win this race when he's aiming at the Giro, and if Valverde won't be hampered by his lack of experience

Km 195.5: Côte du Rosier 3.9-km climb at 6.3°
68 km left. The peloton is still pretty big. Wesemann is on the long climb of the Rosier right now (4 km long), but he's grinding away (grumbling something about his childhood no doubt) cursing the Eastern German system and all.

CSC is driving up the pace in the peloton on the Rosier, it's going FAST now.
Well, at the back of the peloton, Unai Etxebarria (Euskaltel Euskadi) get's shelled, along with a few others. This pace is sure thinning the herd.

The escapees on the Cote de Roche-en-Ardenne
 Photo c. Bart Hazen

66 km to go and our favorite Swiss German still in the lead while Verbrugghe is tearing the rest of the chasers apart...but the peloton is going to swallow them; it's not far behind anymore.

And there's the CSC-lead peloton...everyone caught on the Rosier except for Wesemann, who still has a 1.20 lead

Bettini, Cunego and Vinokourov are moving up to the front of the peloton now; now it gets serious!
Well, the peloton is getting all big and friendly again. The riders will now head down into the final feed zone... time to gas up for that painful jaunt to the finish. meanwhile, riders are getting dropped from the peloton one by one
Jean Marie Leblanc, is in a red official car along the race. He's smiling, probably glad that his racing days are over and he doesn't have to ride over this course. meanwhile, riders are getting dropped from the peloton one by one.

64 kms to go: Liberty Seguros working on the front with CSC now. Chris Horner (Davitamon-Lotto) is near the front now too, along with a couple of T-Mobile riders.

Voigt comes to the front of the peloton for a last huge pull, and dude, that's some serious pace!! Sastre is telling Voigt "chill out man, you don't need to cook me in your wheel"

SO will the big grand tour men come to the front in this final segment of the race? Vinokourov (Liberty Seguros), Gilberto "G-Man" Simoni (Saunier Duval), Danilo "Nuke" Di Luca (Liquigas), Damiano "The Omen" Cunego (Lampre), Basso, and several others are trying to sharpen their legs for the big 3-week races to come.

Less than a minute for Wesemann, 63km to go

Crash for Portal, Valverde loses one of his few teammates that know the roads here; doesn't look too bad, thankfully. He receives a replacement bike remounts and is on his way.
He's remounting and back on the road. It will be hard to catch up at this point though: the peloton is all strung out.

Cunego is the Robert Johnson of cycling. Met a short skinny white guy at a mountain top who taught him the climbing skills in exchange for his soul fine-tuned his bike, too.

Rebellin and Perdiguero
Photo c. Bart Hazen

Wesemann is only 47" in front of the peloton with 60 km left.
The peloton is already brought down to a small bunch of fresh riders and then a whole lot of struggling guys who'll get dropped as soon as someone accelerates.
From the helicopter view, the peloton looks like a long line of angry ants. The army ants at the front are still dominated by CSC. Sastre and Voigt, wow, that's some impressive workers leading the chase. Both men are capable of getting a good result, but they're working for Basso now.  I think they're working for Kroon... Basso isn't explosive enough; Yeah, I think Basso will function more as a super domestique at the end, but who knows

The gap is back up to 54" again. So CSC is just keeping Wesemann close, but they aren't bringing him back just yet. They also slowed a bit in that last feed zone.There's a remarkable amount of Lampre riders at the front of the peloton; if Cunego fails it won't be because his team sucks.

Wesemann approaches the Cote de la Vecquee. It looks like a lot of favorites are starting to jocky for position at the front of the peloton. Then again who knows what surprise Bjarne Riis has in store for us for tactics or choice of rider? Schleck (CSC), who won last week, could also have a big role in the outcome of this race.

Km 208: Côte de la Vecquée 3.2-km climb at 6.2°
CSC is doing all the work so far, they must think themselves horridly strong.
Rogers and Zampieri are getting shelled
Evans is in the first 5 places, he's looking a LOT better than wednesday.

Voigt is tearing the group apart with his acceleration; he's got guys like Evans and Bettini in his wheel; Wesemann's lead is down to a mere 37"

53 km left: The Davitamon man isn't Evans, it's Horner!
Wesemann, Jaksche, Kessler, Horner, Bettini are the first 5 with some 10-20 other riders in their wheel

Chris "C Ho" Horner is looking good, only 4th wheel. 19 seconds for Wesemann
 Horner's skills suit this kind of race, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him attack in the last 50 km. Sastre has to let go of the peloton while his teammate is still putting the hammer down.

Garate, Boogerd, Basso, Schleck, and Asterloa are prominent near the front of the peloton too. I miss my main man Leukemans, where are you Bjorn!
Good to see Garate (Quick Step) up near the front. He could be there to work for Bettini, or to ride for himself.

And Wesemann finally caught! by a peloton led by -surprise- Jens Voigt. Christophe "Bug-Taster" Moreau (AG2r) is done, shelled out the back of the peloton.

I wonder if Jens has some sort of contract clause that says he must ride X amount of km at the front of the peloton every year. It was one of the conditions for bringing down the Berlin wall, I think; we're only 30 riders anymore, and we're riding towards de côte de la redoute!
"We'll tear it down, but Wesemann, and Voight must be off the front all the time for the next couple of decades, or we'll be back."

50 km to go: The peloton is split into to large groups. The peloton is descending for a bit, and then it's the climb of the the Cote de la Redoute. That's a really nasty little bugger, that one. yeah, because it's so late in the race it relaly splits the peloton in the weak and the strong. The riders who can handle 200+ kms, and those who can't, by and large.
The Redoute is 2.3 km long with an average gradient of 7%. Historically, that's where the smack starts to come down.

Indeed...let us recall VdB and Bartoli battling it out on la redoute in 99', and revel in the blissful memories.

The riders roll past a lumberyard on the side of the road. Voigt continues his pacing of this front group of about 50 men.
Attack Gilbert in the lead group! Gutsy rider, the young Walloon! (French-speaking belgian)

44km to go: Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) is really pushing it, and that front group is all strung out again.
 Seems like Gilbert's attack has finally cooked Voigt...but now I said this he'll probably pop up outta nothing and attack again.
Gilbert almost takes out a moto-camera in a corner. The group has chased back up to his wheel, so it's now just a wait until the next attack... most likely on the Redoute; and what did I say...Voigt has taken the lead again and is chasing down Gilbert... controlling the front of the peloton for CSC.

Lots of pink near the front now, with T-Mobile and Lampre in a lot of the top position. Gilbert has been caught...back to the 30 leaders with all the big favorites it is
Di Luca looks to be in the 2nd group. He makes a gesture at the camera indicating that he's not planning on winning this race. Saving those bullets for the Giro now, Di Luca is.

40 kms to go: Voigt is STILL leading the group towards la redoute.

Attack Wesemann!!

The 2nd group is 1' 21" behind the lead group, so they are done for the day. It's down to these fifty men at the front.
Wesemann is just trying to piss people off now: "Look, I am dropping you again... why do you keep riding behind me

Km 225: Côte de la Redoute 2.3-km climb at 7.4°
the peloton now on la redoute, Cunego and bettini at the front while Erik Dekker is being dropped
Voigt has to pay for his display of power now and gets dropped, Yeah, this is really sorting things a bit. The climb is really getting steep, much steeper than 7%. Stangelj leading on the steeper parts for his leader Cunego

Attack Basso!
Rodriguez on his wheel, Bettini and Perdiguero on near
So wait, Di Luca is in this front group still. He's actually near the front of the pack. but he doesn't power on, just rides a hard pace; yeah, Di Luca is at the front Locutus.

Simoni , Cunego, Basso, Bettini! the Italians are conquering la redoute.

Attack Cunego!! Simoni is near the front, not far behind Vino. Bettini can stay with him, a -mobile rider keeps the peloton near

basso seems to be folding; well, not folding, he's just not up there with the rest. Looks like Schleck, Boogerd, Valverde, and Di Luca and Vinokourov are all there still. Now it's Bettini, Perdiguero and Cunego controlling at the front; they're going hard but not hard enough to destroy the rest.

Attack Horner! C Ho is still there, flying the Davitamon colors: take Davitamon vitamins, and you'll fly like C Ho in a group with Cunego et al. Wow, great attack by C Ho.

Vinokourov is chasing him, together with Bettini, they're getting back to the C to the H, T-Mobile has the most riders left at the front here it seems...Sinkewitz, Kessler and Kirchen
Now a counter by a T-Mobile rider over the top of the climb. It's all back together, but that group is down to about 30 men.
The strongest men in the front grouped looked to be Bettini, Cunego and the T-mobile armada.

32 kms to go: Basso setting the pace now, probably for Kroon and/or Schleck; Valverde is still hanging around, though, and if it comes down to a final sprint, Di Luca and especially Valverde will be big threats for the win.
and now Pelizotti and Horner attack...they're getting a nice gap.
Wow, Franco "Perm" Pellizotti is riding well to set up his teammate Di Luca. Horner is just kind of sitting on Pellizotti.
Bettini is making fun with some T-mobile guys now, he looks really chilled out

25 seconds for Franco "pretty boy" Pelizotti and Horner
Km 231: Côte de Sprimont 1.5-km climb at 5°

Pelizotti and Horner caught, and Caisse D'epargne's Rodriguez on the counterattack, good for his team leader Valverde; the favorites' group also catches him on the Sprimont now though...eveything back together, and attack Boogerd!! that looks good

Now the lead group of about 25 men is swerving all over the road. They are playing around.  Rodriguez is on Boogerd's wheel, and the two leaders are working together well. Liberty Seguros is organizing the chase as they have 4 guys left in the group of favorites.

There's a group with Quicksteppers riding towards the group of favorites, if they could get back to the front it could be good for someone like Bettini. Vino has got a lot of mates up here. That's good for the defending champ;
yeah, but Vino has to deal with a lot of fast guys of course

26km to go: 16 seconds for Boogerd and Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a good TT'ist and Boogerd is one of the strongest riders around over 200km...this could be interesting
Boogerd looks over his shoulder and smiles at Rodriguez, trying to blind him with the dazzling whiteness of his pearlies, but Rodriguez' sunglasses save him. But, as a Spaniard, Rodriguez perma-wears sunglasses, he is invulnerable to Boogerd's powers

Flat for Kroon...that's a REALLY bad timing, I guess it's game over for CSC's co-leader
27 seconds for Boogerd and Rodriguez already...

23km to go, heading towards the Côte de Sart-Tilman, the group of chasers containing guys like Baguet and Garate has caught up with the group of favorites though, and so now there's a whole new bunch of domestiques pulling the peloton behind Boogerd and his buddy; not good for the man with the whitest teeth in modern history, you gotta love Michael! Rodriguez is struggling just to keep Boogerd's wheel.

Funny sight now as two champions -Baguet for Belgium and Garate for Spain- are doing the work in the peloton
they're getting help from Bram 'the tank' Tankink and a few Liberty men, they're not getting any close however...30 seconds, 19km to go

 Cunego is getting a bit impatient, he's putting some guys up front as well; but....35 seconds for Michael Boogerd and his humane ballast bag Rodriguez

Km 246: Côte de Sart-Tilman-Tilff 3.7-km climb at 5.9°
Boogerd and the other guy on Sart-Tilman now, with 43 seconds; but Liberty is now going like madmen in the chase, with Lampre helping them out

I know this climb, this looks easy but it's not...and I usually don't have 230 km or racing in my legs, haha

16km to go, 43 seconds for Boogerd and Rodriguez, Jaksche sets the pace, Basso 2nd wheel, Vino right there too.
Horner still looking good too; Di Luca slowly coming to the front the Italian armada still controlling the race as the lead drops back to 38 seconds...still a good gap however; no matter how hard Liberty is working, they're not getting much closer to Boogerd and Rodriguez

Boogerd looks so freaking strong, Only 40" to the chaser group full of stars, but Boogerd seems strong enough to handle them right now. Rodriguez is still clinging to that wheel, but he is not looking as good as "Ultra-Brite"
The others are all waiting for something to happen, but they're not getting any closer...this could be Michael's chance

14km to go: 40 seconds
Attack Bettini!! Valverde on his wheel. The big names are playing pattycakes, and not attacking. Somebody needs to start to make a strong attack.
Bettini has shaken off Valverde and the others reacting; but it's gonna be hard bridging up to Boogerd on his own...20 seconds left for him
 basso reacting now but not very convincing..."Teeny" Bettini is grimacing, riding like a man posessed. Horner is on Basso's wheel. The only one with the balls reacting to bettini is Vino, unsurprisingly; but he's brought back by the

Horner grabs onto Vinokourov's wheel. Great to see Horner responding to these attacks. None of the other favorites capable of following bettini...Cunego has positioned his men at the front of the peloton Bettini at 19 seconds, but the lampre guys are bringing him back...
Boogerd still hammering off the front, Rodriguez pulling through now to help. Bettini is chasing some 19" behind, and the rest are 30" behind. Rodriguez pulling through now to help. Bettini is chasing some 19" behind, and the rest are 30" behind.

Bettini sits up, and gets caught with 12 km left
We're going to ride past the stadium of Belgian football club Standard de Liège who're corrently battling for the championship. For those of you who are into that sort of thing.

Thomas Dekker doing ace work disrupting the chase for his teammate Boogerd

9.5 km to go; 28 seconds! Boogerd and Rodriguez look good... they might be able to pull off this attack! They might dual for victory. With the current lead (26 seconds) a strong rider might be able to make the jump on St-Nicolas
heading towards St. Nicolas now, a km to go. The two leaders are approaching the penultimate climb. It will soon be too late if somebody doesn't counterattack.

7 km left, 26" still for Boogerd and Rodriguez. This is the Italian neighborhood, the Italian favorites might feel the need to show themselves here.
Lampre are chasing like MADMEN

Km 254.5: Côte de Saint-Nicolas 0.9-km climb at 11°
Boogerd and Rodriguez turn on St. Nicolas with 21 secondsm let's see if anyone can make the jump now!
For those of you who have lost track, this is Joaquim Rodriguez (Caisse d'Epargne) with Boogerd (Rabobank) off the front.

Attack Kaschechkin, Di Luca can't get on his wheel, no one going with the kazahk
6km to go, 17 seconds! This is a great attack by the Liberty Seguros man.

Boogerd knows this place like the back of his hand, but the chasers are getting closer! 13 seconds Kaschechkin overtaken by Di Luca, with Perdiguero Horner and bettini in his wheel

The road is cruelly steep here. Great ride by C Ho! Perdiguero is leaving the rest behind!! Perdiguero up and over Boogerd? no Boogerd stays with him

If Horner wins, I swear to god I'll shit myself. No offense, God.What a ride by the Dutchman Perdiguero has realy got some great legs here. What a great race this is turning out

5 km to go, Perdiguero and Boogerd leading, Rodriguez hanging on as Sinkewitz manages to bridge up, Valverde is there too. So over the top, it is a bit of a regrouping. A few riders coming back now, yes; Schleck is there too, with Horner

3.8km to go: Di Luca is up there, but Horner now has everybody where he wants them. Maybe. only real climb left is the final climb to Ans; but that's more of a long piece of false flat This will be a huge battle up the final finishing climb.

12 leaders then, Attack Schleck!!
Horner reacts; all the other non-sprinter riders are trying desperately to react, they know they have to get away from the others Horner is right on him. Great racing, with attacks and counters coming fast now.

2.3 km to go This dozen men is all together again.
Boogerd and valverde are there too, I think they're all there

These two have a gap! Basso pulls through. Bettini, Cunego too
attack Schleck, Boogerd has to react again, everyone's dead, the line is nearing; Cunego attentively up front

 Attack Booogerd! Well, now Cunego and Valverde are looking like they may have a duel in the sprint. Di Luca also has a sprint.
!! Basso on the other side of the road, Cunego and Valverde are looking like they may have a duel in the sprint. Di Luca also has a sprint.
Now Sinkewitz, Basso's brought back. This is attack after attack! Valverde and Bettini and Cunego on Sinkewitz' wheel, 300 meters: Sinkweizt in the lead,

Valverde comoing over VALVERDE WINS!!

Well he played that one perfectly. Bettini looked to be 2nd.  Valverde coming out of Sinkewitz' wheel, with Bettini and Cunego trying to come over but to no avail...valverde takes it

this was a weird was dead against dead-er
Valverde writing history as the first Spanish rider to win LBL...And Valverde will have to buy Rodriguez a big bottle of champagne and a fat dinner to thank him for that work today. Rodriguez really rode his brains out to set up his mate.

Valverde surprised me, but he's finally shaking off the "close but not beef" syndrome

And ANOTHER mid-twenties rider winning a classic, it truly is a sign o' the times
That sprint was more like a slow-motion acceleration. Valverde clearly smoked everyone though.

Bettini 2nd
Cunego 3rd
Sinkewitz 4th.
Boogerd 5th,
Perdiguero 6th,
Schleck 7th,
Horner 8th,
Di Luca 9th,
Basso 10th.

Wow...that was furious
That's some pretty heady company for Horner.
Valverde taking a serious option on the PT too if he manages to get a high lacing in the Gt's. Yeah, maybe Valverde can change that hot black shirt for the cool white Jersey of the Pro Tour leader before the really hot races to come.

Man, what a race
Yeah, great classics this year!
Bernard Hinault is a part of the podium party giving Valverde his trophy.

Well, here's hoping Valverde's knee can handle the Tour this year and make some noise. Everyone's going like "Basso Basso Basso"; but I've yet to see Basso show that he can WIN a Grand Tour; or any big race for that matter.

So yep, it's done with the Spring classics for now.

My prediction for what is to come: I predict Basso will make the Italian tifosi go all wonky by winning the Giro-Tour double for the first time since Pantani. You heard me. I, Locutus, predict it. Write it down.

Locutus :
I think this is a year where all those guys with "potential" really start to step up. We've already seen it in the classics. I think Danielson will be a major force in the Giro, Cunego will duel with Basso for the top step of the podium, and some of the older guys will really start to fade (like Savoldelli and Simoni).

Jan Jansen: Cunego will beat Basso is more like it hehe
Locutus: yeah, but Cunego can't ride a time trial to save his life. Basso has figured that out now. That's what will do him in, I think. For THIS YEAR. But I think he'll own the Giro after that, eh?

Jan Jansens: Mmm, I dunno, last year he was down with the mono stuff, I think his TT should be better than most people think. Heck, even Pantani could ride decent TT's if it came to it

Locutus says: True, but he did ride pretty good TTs when he had to; but yeah, he sucked at TTs for the most part

Well we'll see in May if Basso can find the legs to etch his way into the history books on the way to a double at the Giro.

That ends the ticker for today. Thanks for joining us. Photos and full results to follow...


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