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World Cup #9: Piil Takes Paris-Tours!

World Cup Round 9: Paris-Tours

Piil Scores Big!

CSC-Tiscali’s Jacob Piil scored the biggest win of his career today, edging perennial escape artist Jacky Durand in a two-up sprint after a 252km breakaway from Paris to Tours that started at just 5km in. No one predicted, the cheeky (and usually pointless) move would work today, especially after Richard Virenque used the same tactic (along with Durand) to outwit the peloton last year.

In 2001, the race ended in similar fashion after Durand and eventual winner Richard Virenque stayed out on their own for most of the day, with Tricky Dicky beating all odds to not only win the day, but revive his career and credibility. But today it was five riders who joined Durand on his trademark escapade – Glenn d’Hollander (Lotto-Adecco), Francisco Mancebo (iBanesto.com), Samuel Dumoulin (Jean Delatour) and Jakob Piil (CSC-Tiscali). The group gained around 9 minutes on the bunch before the chasers woke up and got into the game.

As expected, it was the sprinters’ teams doing most of the work to bring back the lone 5, including Fassa Bortolos for Alessandro Petacchi, Acqua e Sapone for Mario Cipollini, and Telekom for Erik Zabel. The biggest obstacle Paris-Tours has to offer, apart from the boredom of riding 257 flat kilometers at the end of the season, is the strong winds that blow across this part of France. If you’ve ever ridden here you’ll know what I’m talking about – they’re enough to make you wait for the next train. But the 5 breakaways worked together well, battling the wind and keeping the world’s best chasers at bay.

With 22km to go, Mancebo lost contact with the breakway. But as the finish became nearer, the final four found new motivation and refused to give up. Piil attacked at 10km to go, and only Durand had the legs to go with him, but mostly sitting in for the final dash to the finish. At the line, Durand jumped first got lost it on the line to the Dane. And not a moment too soon, as Telekom’s Zabel brought the pack in just behind.

Jacky Durand was quoted by Eurosport: “at 7km, I knew he was stronger… I knew I had to try something to win [so] I just stayed in his wheel and with 200 meters left, I took off, but with 30 metres left, I could see the line, I wanted the line, but I didn’t have any more legs. Terrible!”

Bad day for Frank Vandenbrouke – he suffered a broken collarbone in a crash and will start the off-season early.

The overall chase for the World Cup did not change much today, with Saeco-Longoni Sport third place Igor Astarloa (Spain) gaining a few points on Bettini and Museeuw. It will all come down the the final race in Lombardy in 2 weeks. Which, by the way, Richard Virenque has stated he wants to win. We’ll see.

Results: World Cup Round 9

1. Jakob Piil Storm (Den-Cst) 5.37.14
2. Jacky Durand (Fra-FdJ)- st
3. Erik Zabel (Ger-Tel)
4. Renй Haselbacher (Aut-Gst)
5. Romans Vainsteins (Lat-Dff)
6. Josй E.Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa-Kel)
7. Igor Astarloa Askasibar (Spa-Sae)
8. Jo Planckaert (Bel-Cof)
9. Fabio Sacchi (Ita-Sae)
10. Julian Dean (NZl-Cst)

Results: World Cup Overall After 9 Races
1. Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 279 pts
2. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 270
3. Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport 180
4. Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 142
5. Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport 136
6. George Hincapie (Usa-Usp) 124
7. Peter van Petegem (Bel-Lot) 121
8. Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa-Map) 111
9. Davide Rebellin (Ita-Gst) 109

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