By Andrew Hood
Czech rider Ondrej Sosenka (CCC-Polsat) and race leader Steffen Wesemann(Telekom) powered away from a 10-man chase group that and converted thePeace Race into a two-rider battle.
The stage from Klodzko to Walbrzych was loaded with difficult climbsand a group of six riders attacked early, isolating Wesemann without protectionfrom Telekom teammates.
Wesemann and Sosenka were among two other riders that bridged out, butthe pair chugged away and no one was strong enough or motivated enoughto organize a chase. Sosenka got the win in the 179km stage as the PeaceRace entered Poland on a sunny, pleasant day.
Peace Race, Stage 4, Klodzko to Walbrzych, 179km:
1. Ondrej Sosenka, CCC-Polsat 4 hours, 37 minutes, 36 seconds
2. Steffen Wesemann, Telekom s.t.
3. Jakob Piil, Team CSC +6.58
4. Enrico Poitschke, Wiesenhof
5. Eddy Serri, Mercatone Uno – all same time
21. Wiktor Rapinski (Blr) +16.28
36. Phil Zajicek (USA) s.t.
45. Tim Johnson (USA) +23:02
53. Marc McCormack (US) s.t.
91. William Frischkorn (US) +33:52
92. Charles Dionne (Can) s.t.
Overall standings after four stages:
1. Steffen Wesemann, Team Telekom 16 hours, 20 minutes, 35 seconds
2. Ondrej Sosenka, CCC-Polsat + 0:07
3. Enrico Poitschke, Wiesenhof + 7:10
4. Jakob Piil, Team CSC +7.13
5. Zbigniew Piatek, Mroz s.t.
25. Wiktor Rapinski (Blr) +16:47
34. Phil Zajicek (USA) s.t.
55. Marc McCormack (US) +23:21
56. Tim Johnson (US) s.t.
75. William Frischkorn (US) +36.04
82. Charles Dionne (Can) +37.21Two Americans in UCI top 10
Tyler Hamilton (CSC) pushed higher in the latest world rankings released Monday thanks to his wins at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Tour of Romandie. Hamilton surged to No. 6 in the world and is ranked No. 1 based on points earned so far in the 2003 season.
Perennial No. 1 Erik Zabel (Telekom) retained his overall world ranking while Lance Armstrong (USPS) nudged up into the second position. Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo) slipped back to fifth while Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) moved up to third overall.
“It’s a pretty nice achievement. I’ll take it and it’s a nice extra to have in my book,” Hamilton said. “The rankings are not something I’m focused on. Points are great, but it’s not what gets me out the door every morning. It won’t be an objective of mine to keep that status. I focus more on racing.”
In the team rankings, Saeco moved into the top position thanks to a steady spring that saw results both in the one-day classics and in stage races. Team CSC and Milaneza-MSS, sixth and seventh, pushed solidly into the top-10 based on strong results mainly in stage races. Quick Step lost its top ranking as the racing calendar moves out of the classics season which favors the Belgian team.
The next rankings will be released June 1.
World rankings as of May 11 (previous ranking April 27)
1. (1) Erik Zabel, Telekom 2,161 points
2. (3) Lance Armstrong, USPS 1,942
3. (5) Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner 1,889
4. (4) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step 1,871
5. (2) Dario Frigo, Fassa Bortolo 1,670
6. (10) Tyler Hamilton, Team CSC 1,645
7. (7) Robbie McEwen, Lotto-Domo 1,485
8. (6) Aitor Gonzalez, Fassa Bortolo 1,435
9. (8) Mario Cipollini, Domina Vacanze 1,428
10. (9) Roberto Heras, USPS 1,427
122. (130) Fred Rodriguez, Vini Caldirola 406
132. (137) Levi Leipheimer, Rabobank 394
Top 10 so far in 2003 season
1. Tyler Hamilton, Team CSC 924 points
2. Paolo Bettini, Quick Step 764
3. Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner 701
4. Michael Boogerd, Rabobank 662
5. Laurent Brochard, Ag2r 652
6. Alexandre Vinokourov, Telekom 640
7. Erik Zabel, Telekom 628
8. Iban Mayo, Euskaltel 621
9. Jaan Kirsipuu, Ag2r 586
9. Peter Van Petegem, Lotto-Domo 586
62. Fred Rodriguez, Vini Caldirola 221
68. Tom Danielson, Saturn 217
72. Henk Vogels, Navigators 209
Division One team rankings (previous ranking April 27)
1. (2) Saeco, 3,129 points
2. (1) Quick Step, 2,932
3. (4) Telekom, 2,731
4. (5) Fassa Bortolo, 2,698
5. (3) Rabobank, 2,696
6. (14) Team CSC, 2,193
7. (12) Milaneza-MSS, 2,139
8. (9) Alessio, 1,936
9. (6) ONCE, 1,914
10. (7) Gerolsteiner, 1,898
11. (13) Brioches la Boulangere, 1,872
12. (11) Ag2r, 1,850
13. (10) Euskaltel, 1,813
14. (17) Cofidis, 1,695
15. (15) Lampre, 1,676
16. (8) Kelme, 1,627
17. (16) iBanesto.com, 1,591
18. (19) Fdjeux.com, 1,567
19. (20) Vini Caldirola, 1,481
20. (18) Lotto-Domo, 1,452
21. (23) Phonak, 1,444
22. (22) Credit Agricole, 1,274
23. (21) Domina Vacanze, 1,245
24. (24) U.S Postal Service, 1,144
25. (25) Team fakta, 1,049
26. (27) Jean Delatour, 906
27. (26) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, 875
28. (28) Coast, 588
29. (29) Palmans-Collstrop, 565
30. (30) CCC Polsat, 262Bianchi may rescue Coast
According to reports in L’Equipe, Bianchi is poised to step in and effectively take over as title sponsor of the troubled Coast team. The UCI banned the German team from racing last week and is on the edge of imploding, but the Italian bike maker wants to cover the team’s debts.
The team would become Bianchi-Coast and would mark the first title sponsor role for Bianchi since 1984. Team Coast owner Günther Dahms has struggled to cover costs of running the Division One team and in March Bianchi stepped in to cover the salaries of star Jan Ullrich and his entourage, allowing Coast re-entry into the peloton.
Ullrich has publicly stated he wants to stay at Coast, but several teams, including Quick Step, Cofidis and Phonak are said to be trying to entice the 1997 Tour winner to leave.
Tour challengers: Moreau, Beloki and Botero optimistic
Three of Lance Armstrong’s challengers for July’s Tour de France are optimistic after a weekend of strong results. Credit Agricole’s Christophe Moreau shook off a year of bad form and illness to win the Four Days of Dunkirk while ONCE’s Joseba Beloki roared to victory in the Clasica de Alcobendas in Spain.
Telekom’s Santiago Botero finished second in the time trial sector in his first race of the season in Europe. Botero finished fourth in last year’s Tour and spent most of the spring training in the high mountains surrounding his home in Medellin, Colombia.
“I am satisfied that I have good condition and I hope to arrive in top form for the Tour,” Botero told Spanish television. “To battle Armstrong? Well, that’s difficult but it’s not impossible.”
Beloki said he was surprised to be so strong so early in the season.
“I’ve trained well, but I didn’t expect to ride as I did. This month things are going well,” Beloki said after relegating world time trial champion Botero to second place. “I am very motivated. The team is working together well and I hope to have some good races, above all else the Tour. In France, we’ll see in what condition we arrive and if it’s possible to fight for the victory against Armstrong.”
For Moreau, his two stage victories and overall title at Dunkirk are his first wins since he won last year’s time trial stage at Dunkirk, his only victory of the 2002 season. Moreau finished fourth in the 2000 Tour, but abandoned last year with illness.
Moreau was hindered by injuries and crashes last year but bounced back by winning Saturday’s climbing stage in the hills of the Boulogne region before dominating Sunday morning’s 19km individual time trial.
“I honestly didn’t think I would win. This victory put to an end a disappointing year. I had a virus, then a crash,” Moreau said. “I really needed to know where I stand.”