Rebellin Wins La Fleche Wallonne
Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) has won his second victory in four days.
Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) has won his second victory in four days. The Italian took a two-up sprint to win La Fleche Wallonne in 4:31:33. Danilo Di Luca (Saeco) finished the 199.5-km race in second at 0:03, and Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile) finished third at 0:09.
From the beginning, the pace was fast. Wind, hills, and constant attacks split the peloton into small groups. With about 70 km left, Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC), Benoit Poilvet (Credit Agricole), Nick Nuyens (Quick Step), Erwin Thijs and Bjorn Leukemans (both from Mr. Bookmaker), Brad McGee (La Francaise des Jeux.com), and Massimo Gentili (Domina Vacanze) escaped.
The break was reeled in, but Jerome Pineau (Brioches La Boulangere) and Jurgen Van Den Broeck (U.S. Postal Service) countered, and Alexander Kolobnev (Domina Vacanze), Angel Vicioso (Liberty), Kevin de Weert (Rabobank), and Martin Elmiger (Phonak) joined the pair. The escapees forged a 40-second lead before the bunch caught them at the summit of the Bohissau.
With 26 km left, Erik Dekker (Rabobank) attacked. The Gerolsteiner-led peloton kept an eye on the Dutchman and reeled him in on the Cote de Ahin with 13 km remaining. Alexander Vinokourov (T-Mobile), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel), and Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo) countered. Mirko Celestino (Saeco) joined the trio, and the quartet tried to stay clear.
The 30-strong peloton pursued the four and caught them just before the base of the Mur de Huy. Andreas Kloden (T-Mobile) led Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Kessler into the last 500 m. Kessler and Di Luca sprang into the lead, and Rebellin took Di Luca's wheel. With 350 m left, Di Luca attacked, but Rebellin jumped him in the last 100 m to win.
Rebellin has won the Amstel Gold Race and La Fleche Wallonne. No rider has won these two races and Liege-Bastogne-Liege in the same year. Will Rebellin make history? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!