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Hamilton breaks elbow in crash
By Lennard Zinn
Oscar Camenzind outsprinted Davide Rebellin, David Etxebarria, Francesco Casagrande and Michael Boogerd in an exciting finish to the Ardennes classic.
Earlier in the race, American Tyler Hamilton suffered a broken elbow involved in a crash at the base of the Côte de Wanneranval.
Camenzind the Swiss Lampre-Daikin star followed the moves of the powerhouse Fassa Bortolo team of Casagrande and Raimondas Rumsas, who led in the bunch 25 seconds behind the first five.
Another Fassa Bortolo rider, Dario Frigo, had been off the front with Camenzind’s teammate, Max Sciandri, for well over an hour in a group that shrunk from 13 down to six by the time it was caught with a mere 10km to go.
At 165km, the pack caught solo breakaway Marc Streel (Collstrop-Palmans), who had departed 7km in and had pushed his lead to over 20 minutes by covering the first 155km, including the first two climbs, in four hours.
Alberto Martinez of Euskaltel-Euskadi led over the next two climbs, the Côte de Stockeu and the Côte de Wanneranval, and eight riders joined him at around km 180, including American Bobby Julich (Crédit Agricole).
On the Côte de Rosier with 64km to go, Frigo bridged across with Telekom’s Alexandre Vinokourov, Liquigas-PATA’s Gorazd Stangelj, and Domo’s Dave Bruylandts. The group worked smoothly together, maintaining a 40-55-second lead over the Mapei-led bunch. Julich won the KOM points from the 13-strong break on the top of the next climb, the Côte de Vecquée.
The lead group continued to share the work evenly, but it splintered on the 19 percent slopes of the Côte de la Redoute. It regrouped again and stayed together over the Côte de Sprimont, but it was reduced to six over the Côte de du Sart-Tilman with 14km to go. The leaders still included teammates of Camenzind, Rebellin, and Casagrande, who could relax in the pack while Mapei continued the chase. The six were finally reeled in on the flat before the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, when Fassa Bortolo threw its firepower to the fray, lining the field out on the approach to and the lower slopes of the climb.
Rumsas then hit the front, followed by a strong attack by Etxebarria (Euskaltel), and Casagrande countered with Rebellin (Liquigas), Camenzind and Boogerd (Rabobank) on his wheel.
Camenzind would later say, “The hardest point of the race was when Fassa Bortolo was pushing the pace on the St. Nicolas. But once the selection was made, it eased off, and I knew I could bite my teeth and hang on to the end.”
All five worked together on the descent and solidified their lead for the final two-kilometer uphill toward the finish. Two attacks from Casagrande on the climb dislodged Boogerd but not the others, who followed the Italian’s zigzag track up the hill and around the left turn into the flat 250-meter finish. Camenzind was second in line and jumped immediately, and Rebellin and Etxebarria did not have enough gas to pass him.
87th LIEGE-BASTOGNE-LIEGE, Ans, Belgium, April 22.
1. Oscar Camenzind (Swi), Lampre-Daikin, 258km in 6:42:38 (38.447kph);
2. Davide Rebellin (I), Liquigas-PATA;
3. David Etxebarria Alkorta (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi;
4. Francesco Casagrande (I) Fassa Bortolo;
5. Michael Boogerd (Nl), Rabobank, all s.t.;
6. Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:25;
7. Marc Serrano Rodriguez (Sp), ONCE;
8. Erik Dekker (Nl), Rabobank;
9. Markus Zberg (Swi), Rabobank;
10. Beat Zberg (Swi), Rabobank;
11. Igor Astarloa (Sp), Mercatone Uno;
12. Peter Luttenberger (A), Tacconi-Vini Caldirola;
13. Peter Van Petegem (B), Mercury-Viatel;
14. Udo Bolts (G), Deutsche Telekom;
15. Paolo Bettini (I), Mapei-Quick Step;
16. Pavel Tonkov (R), Mercury-Viatel;
17. Michael Blaudzun (Den), CSC-World Online;
18. Mikel Zarrabeitia (Sp), ONCE;
19. Wladimir Belli (I) Fassa Bortolo;
20. Eddy Mazzoleni (I), Tacconi-Vini Caldirola, all s.t.
27. Cedric Vasseur (F), U.S. Postal Service, s.t.;
74. Bobby Julich (USA), Credit Agricole, at 5:33;
94. Chann McRae (USA), Mercury-Viatel, at 13:04;
106. Steffen Kjaergaard (N), U.S. Postal Service, at 19:45;
107. David Clinger (USA), Festina, s.t.;
109. Jose Luis Rubiera (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, at 20:50.
World Cup Rankings (after four races):
1. Romans Vainsteins (Lat), Domo-Farm Frites, 116 pts.;
2. Gianluca Bortolami (I), Tacconi-Vini Caldirola;
3. Servais Knaven (Nl), Domo-Farm Frites, 101;
4. Camenzind and Erik Zabel (G), Deutsche Telekom, both 100;
6. Dekker, 99;
7. Johan Museeuw (B), Domo-Farm Frites, 80;
8. George Hincapie (USA), U.S. Postal, 73;
9. Rolf Sorensen (Den), CSC-World Online, 72;
10. Rebellin and Mario Cipollini (I), Saeco, both 70.
1. Rabobank, 27 pts.;
2. Cofidis, 24;
3. Lampre-Daikin, 22;
4. Lotto-Adecco, 20;
5. Domo-Farm Frites, 18.