|Saturday 23 March 2002 -
San Remo - Italy.
Mario Cipollini sprinted
to victory on the Via Roma ahead of Fred
Rodriguez and Markus Zberg to finally win the
race of his dreams.
196 riders left
the Via della Chiesa Rossa at 0938 hours with 287km
ahead of them. The race got off to a very quiet
start with nothing happening for the first two
hours. At the 125km mark three riders - Abraham
Olano (Once-Eroski), Torsten Schmidt (Gerolsteiner)
and Vladimir Duma (Ceramiche-Panaria) went away
and were soon joined by Olano's teammate René
Andrle. They were to gain a one-minute lead over
Bric Berton Inigo Cuesta (Cofidis) bridged the
gap with Laslo Bodrogi (Mapei-Quick Step) chasing
at 32". Bodrogi caught the five leaders on
the descent and they had a 1' 30" lead over
the group. The leading six were pursued by Martin
Hvastiga (Alessio) and Marco Serpellini (Lampre-Daikin).
Hvastiga eventually made it across. Serpellini
persisted but was eventually swallowed up by the
bunch. The leading group of seven worked well and
built up a lead of 4' 30". Saeco and Fassa
Bortolo began to chase and the gap started to
the Capo Mele with less than 52km to the
finish the seven man break still lead but
the gap was down to 1' 30". Schmidt
was the first to be dropped and was
caught. On the Capo Berta Bodrogi and
Andrle were also dropped. Andrle however
managed to get back to the leaders going
through Oneglia. The peloton at this
point appeared to stop chasing. Just
after Oneglia, probably due to the bunch
slowing, someone crashed into the back of
Erik Zabel (Telekom) forcing him to
change bikes. A second crash shortly
after saw one of the race favourites
Danilo Di Luca (Saeco) fall. After a few
minutes he eventually got going again
helped by a couple of his teammates but
was travelling very slowly. He eventually
Danilo Di Luca
the crash was Erik Dekker (Rabobank), the
2001 World Cup winner, who suffered more
serious injuries with a fractured femur.
Zabel's chase was hindered by this second
crash and he was to be denied his record
three in a row of wins, as he never saw
the leaders again.
||Photo © Susanne
& Florian Schaaf@cyclingpictures.de
gruppo was now riding hard towards the next climb
- the Cipressa. After approximately 300m of the
Cipressa Paolo Bettini (Mapei-Quick Step)
attacked and took five or six with him including
Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom) who marked him
closely. Bettini got no help at all. Next to
attack was Andrei Kivilev (Cofidis) who gained a
12" lead. The Spanish national champion Jose
Ivan Gutierrez (iBanesto) jumped clear and
eventually joined him just before the top. Their
lead was only 2" and it was over just past
summit. Mirko Celestino (Saeco) attacked on the
descent and was joined by Michele Bartoli (Fassa
Bortolo) but they too are soon brought back.
(Telekom - earlier
reported as Wesemann) crashed on the way down
with a Mercatone Uno rider and looked to be in a
bad way. He was lying motionless face down under
the barrier at the side of the road. He did
however get going again to finish 141st.
|On the Via Aurelia heading towards
the final hill, the Poggio, saw more attacks.
Unai Extebarria (Euskaltel-Euskadi) with Mauro
Radaelli (Tacconi Sport) went, but the break came
to nothing. Andrea Peron (CSC-Tiscali) and Juan
Antonio Flecha (iBanesto) tried next and gained
14". Going through the tunnel at Arma di
Taggia with 12km to go their lead was only 6".
They were reeled in at the other side. The Poggio
got closer with the main group all together. Ivan
Basso (Fassa Bortolo) lead them onto this famous
climb and rode a steady tempo. Vinokourov was the
first to jump and took Samuel Sanchez (Euslaltel-Euskadi)
with him. Sanchez went to the front alone.
Kivilev crashed with others on a corner. Sanchez
was chased by a small group containing Bettini.
Over the top of the Poggio Bettini had a lead of
4" over Giuliano Figueras (Ceramiche-Panaria)
with a further 11" to the group.
The descent into San Remo
saw Figueras eventually catch Bettini. Figueras
went to the front with 3km to the finish and did
most of the work. Onto the old finish of the
Corso Cavallotti (last used in 1993) the lead was
only a few seconds. At the 1km to go kite it was
a mere 1". The Acqua & Sapone Cantina
Tollo team were now on the front and brought
Cipollini onto the 400m long finishing straight
in an ideal position for the win.
Cipollini wins Milano-Sanremo
|2002 Post race comment
|" I want to dedicate this
win to my father, who was with me when I saw my
first Milano-Sanremo in 1982. He's not very well
now, but I hope he will understand me when I tell
him that I have fulfilled my promise I made to
him that one day I would win Milano-Sanremo. "