Rebellin Wins Amstel Gold Race
Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) has won the Amstel Gold Race. The Italian took a two-up sprint from Dutchman Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) to take the 251-km race, Round 4 of the World Cup, in 6:23:44. Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) pipped Danilo Di Luca (Saeco) for third at 0:18. Steffen Wesemann (T-Mobile) continues to lead the World Cup.
The racing began early. At 15 km, Erik Dekker (Rabobank), Johan Van Summeren (Relax), and Jan Kuyckx (Vlaanderen) attacked. Dekker was ordered back to the peloton, but Van Summeren and Kuyckx forged ahead and built a 9:40 lead by 105 km. Rabobank rode tempo and gradually brought the escapees back.
At 191 km, with the fugitives' lead down to 2:00, Rolf Aldag (T-Mobile), Michael Rogers (Quick Step), Karsten Kroon (Rabobank), Aart Vierhouten (Lotto), and Jan Van Velzen (Chocolade Jacques) attacked from the peloton. They bridged up to the leaders, and Aldag and Kroon set off on their own.
Fassa Bortolo began to chase. The bunch reeled in the break with 46 km left, and a large group of riders countered. That break was reeled in, but Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile) attacked on the Eyserbosweg with 20 km remaining. Bettini, Boogerd, Rebellin, Peter Van Petegem (Lotto), and Di Luca joined him.
With 17 km left, Rebellin attacked on the Fromberg, and Boogerd joined him. The pair cooperated on the Keutenberg and opened a 30-second lead on their erstwhile companions.
On the finishing climb of the Cauberg, Rebelllin led Boogerd at a progressively slowing pace. Boogerd looked behind repeatedly to see where the pursuit was. With 350 m left, Boogerd attacked, but Rebellin came around him in the last 100 m to win.
In the World Cup, Wesemann received six points for 20th place and has 116 points. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) got 12 points for 14th and is in second with 115 points. Rebellin's 100 points for his Amstel Gold Race victory have thrust him into a third place tie with Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt (Alessio). Each has 100 points.
Later this week, many of the riders in the Amstel Gold Race will cross swords in Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Who will prevail? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!