Typically this race features an early suicidal break (same as every single one-day Classic) brought back by the sprinters teams, some hard racing over the small hills in the last 80kms and then a medium sized group contesting the sprint at the finish after 243kms.
Three riders wore the mantle of early aggressors today: Bodrogi, Andriotto, and Sweet.
Any Volunteers For The Break?
The boys that put their hand up for the early break today were Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole), Corey Sweet (Wiesenhof) and Dario Andriotto (Liquigas) who broke away after 40km. They worked well together and established a maximum gap of just over 13minutes before the peloton started to chase. The breakaway’s cause was not helped by Andriotto crashing into the TV motorbike and leaving the Australian, Sweet and the Hungarian champion, Bodrogi to continue the fight without him. Hhmm, 2 versus 184, with over 100kms still to go???? Good luck boys…
The climb of the Waseberg isn’t huge, but it’s still plenty good enough after nearly 150 miles to get the job done.
Sure enough they were brought back to the fold with 60kms to go after some good work by T-Mobile, Milram and Gerolsteiner. The three big German teams are desperate to show themselves in front of their sponsors and home crowds – now can their leaders come through with the goods in the final 1.5 hours of the race, when the real action begins?
Fabian Wegmann in hot pursuit of Philippe Gilbert. He made the juncture, but their break was doomed.
All Together…For A Minute
Numerous small attacks tried to get away from the peloton after Bodrogi and Sweet were caught but none could establish themselves until Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) got away by himself with 30km to go. He pushed very hard on the small winding roads before tackling the Waseberg climb for the 2nd last time in the race. On the Waseberg climb, Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) broke away from the peloton and soon joined Gilbert up the front. Their gap grew to a maximum lead of 45 seconds until some good work by Lampre and Milram pulled them back with 17kms to go. It’s anyone’s race now!
This break looked a bit more promising, but the combined efforts of numerous teams meant its demise with 7.5k to go.
Can A Break Do It?
Allessandro Ballan (Lampre) tried his luck over the last ascension of the Waseberg, but it was one of the pre-race favourites, Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) who got away with teammate Andrea Moletta and five others over the top of the climb and they quickly gained a gap of 15seconds. Some strong efforts from Rabobank, Discovery and Quickstep though, in what remained of the peloton brought it all back together with only 7.5km to the finish. Is it time for the predicted medium sized bunch sprint, or will a last minute attacker win the day?
The final sprint was quite the affair as Freire managed to just nose in front of Zabel on the line, and Pippo micrometers behind.
Time For Speed
Well, in the end it all came down to the predicted sprint and it was a close one! The old man himself, Erik Zabel led it out from 200m and he almost, almost got it…but it was a red hot Oscar Freire (Rabobank) who just beat him by a matter of inches in the end. 3rd home was last year’s winner Pozzatto (Quickstep) with his teammate Nuyens in 4th and Wiesenhof’s 19-year-old prodigy, Ciolek rounding out the top 5.
Top Three For 2006: Freire, Zabel, and Pippo. Zabel might not have won, but it’s scary just how close he came. Perhaps Paris-Tours again later this Fall?
So another Hamburg race finished and yet another bunch sprint. The breakaways tried hard, but this circuit is just made for the sprinters who have the strength to get over the small hills and get through a tough race like Freire and Zabel – it ain’t easy, otherwise there’d be 200 people at the line, not 40.
Vattenfall Cyclassics Results
1. Oscar Freire (Sp), Rabobank, 243.2km in 5:30:02
2. Erik Zabel (G), Milram
3. Filippo Pozzato (I), Quick Step
4. Nick Nuyens (B), Quick Step
5. Gerald Ciolek (G), Team Wiesenhof Akud
6. Grйgory Rast (Swi), Phonak
7. Samuel Dumoulin (F), AG2R
8. Giuliano Figueras (I), Lampre
9. Danilo Napolitano (I), Lampre
10. Manuele Moro (I), Saunier Duval, all s.t.
Updated ProTour Standings Post-Vattenfall
1. Alejandro Valverde (Sp) – 195 points
2. Floyd Landis (USA) – 175
3. Frank Schleck (LUX) – 150
4. Tom Boonen (BEL) – 145
5. Ivan Basso (I) – 138
6. Cadel Evans (AUS) – 120
7. Christophe Moreau (F) – 118
8. Jsrg Jaksche (G) – 110
9. Alessandro Ballan (I) – 110
10. Damiano Cunego (I) – 106
11. Oscar Freire (Sp) – 99
12. Filippo Pozzato (I) – 95
13. Patrik Sinkewitz (G) – 90
14. Samuel Sanchez (Sp) – 89
15. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) – 87
16. Michael Boogerd (Nl) – 85
17. Paolo Savoldelli (I) – 85
18. Paolo Bettini (I) – 84
19. Oscar Pereiro (Sp) – 83
20. Denis Menchov (Rus) – 83