March 18, 2007

Contador takes Stage 7, Paris-Nice, ProTour lead | Paris-France: Alberto Contador on Miguel Indurain's path

Photo: Graham Watson/VeloNews

Paris-Nice was more like a prizefight this year, and Discovery Channel's Alberto Contador was the last man standing.

Davide Rebellin had taken every punch that Discovery Channel threw this week, but every day, he found himself with fewer supporting teammates, and on Saturday, survived by reeling in Contador with less than 2 kilometers to ride.

Sunday's Stage 7 was reminiscent of Discovery Channel's Lance Armstrong days: Everybody knew what they were going to do, and they went out and executed to perfection. With Rebellin down to 3 teammates in the race, Discovery put Sergio Paulinho and Stijn Devolder in a break with just 5 kilometers ridden.

Thomas Voeckler was also in that break, nailing down the overall climber's jersey, and leading the field over the day's first two climbs. Just behind him over the Col de la Porte, setting a torrid pace, were the Discos, with Danielson, Leipheimer and Popovych leading Contador, and Caisse d'Epargne's survivors and Rebellin just behind.

On the day's third climb, La Turbie, Discovery whittled the field to less than 50 riders, reeling in Voeckler, and setting up a Rebellin-Contador showdown on the day's final climb, the Col d'Eze. When Contador launched, no one could match him, and he quickly opened up 30 seconds on Rebellin.

But Rebellin wasn't giving in, taking help where he could find it, and driving the pace himself where he couldn't. With less than 10 kilometers to ride, Contador had 25 seconds in hand, and Rebellin, working with Frank Schleck of CSC, closed the gap to about 17 seconds. If Contador took the stage, bonus time would guarantee a win, so with about 2 kilometers to ride, Rebellin soloed out of his little group riding all-out for the victory.

But Contador wasn't going to be caught today, and in the end, he finished 19 seconds ahead of Caisse d'Epargne's David Lopez and Joaquim Rodriguez, who overtook an exhausted Rebellin before the line. Rebellin finished 8th on the day to take 2nd overall, but all eyes were on the 24-year-old Contador.

“The key for my victory was the team work,” he continued. “The other days I was struggling in the last kilometers. Today I was well. I won with a lot of rage. I finished the job that was unaccomplished yesterday. I knew I had only one occasion to break away. With 1.5km, I saw the victory more clearly than before. Only when I passed the red flag was I sure that no one would catch me anymore.”

Contador also won the race's young riders competition. Voeckler takes the climbers jersey, Franco Pellizotti of Liquigas the points jersey, and Caisse d'Epargne the team competition.

Given the current state of ASO-UCI relations, it's no surprise there was no ceremony recognizing Contador as the first leader of this year's ProTour, but so he is.


VeloNews | Contador wins Paris-Nice with last-stage assault

Photos: | Paris-Nice Stage 7 | Paris-Nice Stage 7 Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on March 18, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Davide Rebellin, Levi Leipheimer, Paris-Nice 2007, Thomas Voeckler, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 17, 2007

Disco revival: Popovych takes Paris-Nice Stage 5

VeloNews | Popo' doubles down for Disco'; Rebellin holds lead at Paris-Nice

AFP/Frank Fife

Ukraine's Yaroslav Popovych took his first victory of 2007 with a signature attack out of a strong breakaway group to win Stage 5 at Paris-Nice.

Popovych got in a quality break, along with Dave Zabriskie, Predictor-Lotto's Johan Van Summeren, Rabobank's Koos Moerenhout, T-Mobile's Bert Grabsch, and 8 others, right after the start. The lead group, whittled down to 7, stretched its advantage to 4 minutes at the summit of the Côte des Agnels. Gerolsteiner set a furious pace to keep Popovych from threatening leader Davide Rebellin.

Indeed, Gerolsteiner set such a fast pace on the mountainous stage that they dropped their own Heinrich Haussler, who started the stage in the race's climber's jersey and had to solo in alone for 60 kilometers, finishing dead last on the day. Almost half the field finished more than 5 minutes back, with 60 riders more than 12 minutes back. Haussler somehow holds the polka-dot jersey for at least another day.

With about 20 miles to ride, Popovych decided to go it alone, and was the only member of the break who could outdistance the chase, finishing with 14 seconds in hand. Francisco Ventoso of Saunier Duval took the field sprint, ahead of AG2R's Samuel Dumoulin and Caisse d'Epargne's David Lopez.

It's been a very good year so far for the Discovery Channel team. Levi Leipheimer took the Tour of California, his first appearance for the team. Thursday, Alberto Contador, a late signing after being linked with Operación Puerto, took Stage 4 at Paris-Nice, and sits just 6 seconds back of Rebellin. Look for Discovery Channel and Gerolsteiner to slug it out Saturday and Sunday.

T-Mobile's Michael Barry didn't make the start, choosing to return to his European base, recover from a cold, and and return at the Vuelta al País Vasco in April.

There was one possible setback for Discovery Channel, as Ivan Basso took a fall with teammate Vladimir Gusev at Tirreno-Adriatico on Friday, and injured his wrist. X-rays were negative, but Basso may have to pull out of the race. | Popovych rides glorious day away | photo gallery | Paris-Nice Stage 5 | Bob Martin's Paris-Nice Stage 5 summary

Posted by Frank Steele on March 17, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Dave Zabriskie, Davide Rebellin, Ivan Basso, Levi Leipheimer, Paris-Nice 2007, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 08, 2006

Schumacher takes classics-style Giro stage, Petacchi out | Schumacher takes lead after wet, ugly day at Giro

Schumacher's powerful win
Schumacher's win at Namur
Fotoreporter Sirotti/
Stefan Schumacher took an enormous win in Belgium today, winning Stage 3 of the Giro on the ascent to the citadel of Namur.

Schumacher wisely marked QuickStep's Paolo Bettini, who dropped the field to try to reel in Discovery Channel's Jose-Luis Rubiera, but couldn't close the gap. At about 800 meters to ride, Schumacher squashed the Cricket, kung-fued Chechu, and took the biggest win of his career. Chechu was 2 seconds back for 2nd, and Schumacher's Gerolsteiner teammate Davide Rebellin led in the field 6 seconds back.

Factoring in his margin of victory over Paolo Savoldelli, and the 20-second stage win bonus, Schumacher finds himself in the race leader's jersey, 13 seconds ahead of Savoldelli, 23 seconds ahead of Davide Rebellin.

Despite losing the race lead, Paolo Savoldelli gained time on most of his overall GC rivals, and now leads Sergei Honchar by 18 seconds, Danilo Di Luca by :23, Ivan Basso by :28, Damiano Cunego by :30, and Gilberto Simoni by :49.

Team Milram sprint superstar Alessandro Petacchi got tangled up in a late race pileup, needed medical attention, and came in 14:38 back. After the race, he abandoned, with a fractured kneecap. He's returning to Italy for surgery, and may not be able to start the Tour. Petacchi has 19 stage wins in the last 3 Giros.

Tomorrow's the Giro's last day in Belgium, with a rest day Wednesday and the team time trial from Piacenza to Cremona on Thursday.

Also: | Petacchi leaves the race | Giro Stage 3 wrapup | Full results

Posted by Frank Steele on May 8, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 06, 2006

Savoldelli takes Giro Stage 1

Defending Giro champion Paolo Savoldelli of Discovery Channel took today's short time trial in Belgium.

Savoldelli was the only rider to covered the 6.2 kilometers in less than 8 minutes. His 7:50 was 11 seconds faster than Française des Jeux's Bradley McGee, and 13 seconds ahead of José Enrigue Gutierrez of Phonak.

Among other favorites, Danilo Di Luca was 10th on the day, at 19 seconds, Ivan Basso was at 23 seconds, Cunego was at :25, and Gilberto Simoni was at :26.

Paolo Bettini, who had hoped to wear the race leader's jersey after Stage 3, came in at 8:32, so he'll need to take 42 seconds out of Savoldelli.

Among Americans, Bobby Julich finished in 8:35, Tom Danielson was in at 8:11, Jason McCartney at 8:21, Phonak's Patrick McCarty, starting his first grand tour, was 93rd in 8:44, and Saunier-Duval's Aaron Olson, likewise starting his first GT, finished in 9:07.

Jan Ullrich finished in 8:39 for 80th on the day.

Top 10:
1) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, in 7:50
2) Bradley McGee, Française des Jeux, at :11
3) José Enrique Gutierrez, Phonak, at :13
4) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, same time
5) Serguei Honchar, T-Mobile, at :15
6) Francisco Perez, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, at :16
7 José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, same time
8) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :17
9) Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner, at :18
10) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas, at :19

Also: | Savoldelli throws down the gauntlet

Eurosport | Back in pink for Savoldelli | Full results | Photo gallery

Tickers: Daily Peloton | VeloNews |

Posted by Frank Steele on May 6, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Bradley McGee, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 16, 2006

Frank Schleck takes Amstel Gold

Eurosport | Schleck's golden gift

CSC's Luxembourg champion Frank Schleck has been in more breaks this season than Allan Iverson. Sunday, he took it to the hoop.

Schleck attacked out of a 10-man break with 9 kilometers to ride, to beat Steffen Wesemann of T-Mobile and perennial Amstel podium finisher Michael Boogerd of Rabobank. Shleck is the first Luxembourgian to win Amstel, and the first to win a classic since Marcel Erzner took Liége-Bastogne-Liége in 1954.

T-Mobile had three men in the lead group late, but Wesemann couldn't match Schleck's move. Pre-race favorite Paolo Bettini of Quickstep was 8th on the day, back 53 seconds.

Somebody noted the youth movement apparent in the classics so far, with Boonen, Cancellara, and Schleck all 26 or less.

Don't forget OLN has same-day coverage of Amstel Gold this afternoon on Cyclysm Sundays.

Top 10:
1) Frank Schleck, Team CSC, 6:25:39
2) Steffen Wesemann, T-Mobile, at :22
3) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank at :46
4) Karsten Kroon, Team CSC, at :48
5) Patrik Sinkewitz, T-Mobile, same time
6) Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
7) Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Phonak, s.t.
8) Paolo Bettini, QuickStep, at :53
9) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, at :57
10) Sergey Ivanov, T-Mobile, at 1:07

Also: | Amstel gold fan pics

Daily Peloton | Amstel Gold live ticker | 41st Amstel Gold results

Posted by Frank Steele on April 16, 2006 in Davide Rebellin, Frank Schleck, Paolo Bettini, Patrik Sinkewitz, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 05, 2005

Hink! Discovery's George Hincapie takes Dauphiné prologue | Hincapie wins prologue in Dauphiné Libéré Discovery Channel's George Hincapie will wear the first leader's jersey in this year's Dauphiné Libéré, after topping an American-flavored prologue on Sunday. Hincapie's 9:55 just edged Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer (1 second back). Andrey Kashechkin  (bless you) of Credit Agricole was 3rd, with Floyd Landis of Phonak and Lance Armstrong just behind. Americans took 4 of the top 5 placings in the prologue. Top 10: 1) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 9:55 2) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at :01 3) Andrey Kashechkin, Credit Agricole, at :03 4) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :05 5) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, at :06 6) Oscar Pereiro, Phonak, at :07 7) Alberto Contador , Liberty Seguros, at :09 8) Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner, at :13 9) José-Ivan Guttierez, Illes Balears, same time 10) Correction: Francisco Lara, T-Mobile, at :14 Also: Yahoo! Sport | Technical slip-up for Armstrong as Hincapie wins Sayeth Big George:

"That's the first time I've beaten Lance in a time trial, it's very special for me," said an exhausted Hincapie. "I gave everything today."

Armstrong reportedly lost a little time when he pulled out of his newfangled clipless pedals (they should make all the other guys wear those too, to balance things out). VeloNews | Hincapie wins Dauphiné prologue | Full results

Posted by Frank Steele on June 5, 2005 in Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2005, Davide Rebellin, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2005

Di Luca holds ProTour lead

UCI ProTour | Rankings as of 5/29/05

Danilo Di Luca continued to lead the inaugural UCI ProTour competition, ahead of Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi.

Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli leapfrogged into 5th overall with his Giro d'Italia win, while Bobby Julich and George Hincapie, still deadlocked at 75 points, are now tied for 8th in the standings.

Current Top 10:
1) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas-Bianchi, 184 pts
2) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, 112 pts
3) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, 111 pts
4) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, 94 pts
5) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, 89 pts
6) Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner, 86 pts
7) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, 80 pts
8) Bobby Julich, Team CSC, 75 pts
9) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 75 pts
10) Jens Voigt, Team CSC, 72 pts

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Bobby Julich, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, George Hincapie, Jens Voigt, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 20, 2005

Di Luca takes Flèche Wallonne | Flèche Wallonne win gives Di Luca ProTour lead

Danilo Di Luca rode smart and strong to win Flèche Wallonne today.

With CSC strongman Jens Voigt (2nd at last year's Tour de Georgia) whittling down a seven-man break, Di Luca's Liquigas squad, led the peloton in chasing Voigt, who had been with the leaders for 150 km, and spent 40 kms on his own. Voigt was reeled in with 4 kms to ride.

"It was only when we reached the foot of the last climb that I thought of winning," Di Luca finally said. "The strongest riders were all at the front and I knew what I had to do. I made a mistake last year on the steep [19 -percent] turns and I finished second to Rebellin."

Top 5:
1) Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi)
2) Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo)
3) Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner)
4) David Etxebarria (Alkorta), at :04
5) Oscar Freire (Rabobank), at :04

Di Luca takes the ProTour lead away from Tom Boonen, who he now leads by 19 points.


Eurosport | Di Luca hits the Wallonne target

Posted by Frank Steele on April 20, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, Oscar Freire, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 17, 2005

Di Luca takes Amstel Gold

The Amstel Gold just finished up, with Danilo Di Luca of Liquigas continuing to move up the podium, edging Michael Boogerd for the overall win. Boogerd is second here for the third consecutive year.

Mirko Celestino of Domina Vacanze was third on the day. Last year's winner here, Davide Rebellin, was fourth overall, while Oscar Freire was back aound 10th. Discovery Channel's George Hincapie doesn't appear to have factored in the last two hours of the race, although race reports are a little sketchy because of heavy fog on the course.

Live reports: | Amstel Gold Live | The Amstel Gold Race: Live Coverage

DailyPeloton | Amstel Gold Live Report

Eurosport | Amstel Gold Race

Posted by Frank Steele on April 17, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, George Hincapie | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 15, 2005

Amstel Gold previews | Amstel Gold preview: Rebellin back for another crack at gold

BBC Sport | Hincapie targets Amstel triumph

Davide Rebellin is the returning Amstel Gold champ, the first in his 2004 three-run of Amstel, Fleche Wallone, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. This season, he was second at the Tour of the Basque Country to Danilo Di Luca, both of whom bear watching on Sunday.

Discovery Channel DS Johan Bruyneel says George Hincapie is good to go:

"George is in great shape, both mentally and physically," said Discovery director Johan Bruyneel.

Other riders to watch include Paolo Bettini, Oscar Freire, and Michael Boogerd. Tom Boonen, who is seemingly winning at will, won't be racing, nor will Peter Van Petegem, who's hurt.

Update: VeloNews has posted a preliminary start list for Amstel Gold.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 15, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, George Hincapie, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 25, 2004

Graham Watson Liege-Bastogne-Liege gallery

(click through for full-size images)

Graham Watson has posted his photo gallery for Davide Rebellin's Liege-Bastogne-Liege win on Sunday.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 25, 2004 in Davide Rebellin, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (1)

Rebellin takes 3rd win of week at Liege-Bastogne-Liege | The cards fall to Rebellin again: Italian takes triple crown and World Cup lead

Davide Rebellin, who won last Sunday's Amstel Gold and Wednesday's Fleche Wallone, took Liege-Bastogne-Liege Sunday. Rebellin played a tactically strong race, getting in a break with classics specialist Michael Boogerd of Rabobank and Alexandre Vinokourov of T-Mobile. Vinokourov and Boogerd marked each other while Rebellin set up for the finishing sprint.

"Rebellin was unbeatable," admitted Boogerd. "I played all my cards. You know you are beaten when Rebellin is on your wheel with 150m to go."

Rebellin is the only man to win all 3 of these classics in the same year, and takes the lead in the World Cup.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 25, 2004 in Davide Rebellin | Permalink | Comments (0)