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Amstel Gold -- Finale!

  • A dozen riders closing on Wesemann, who has 13 seconds. Ballan, Bettini, Kroon, Schleck, Sanchez... Fabian Wegman attacks the break, with Ivanov and a Davitamon -- Bjorn Leukemans.
  • Up the Fromberg now, #29 of 31, with the Keutenberg next before hitting the Cauberg at the line. Bettini moves forward. Is he going to wear gold helmets and shoes for four years?
  • Ivanov and Schleck respond. It's been a while since I mentioned how little Rabo are doing. Bettini catches Wesemann!
  • Schleck, Wegmann and Ivanov are the only people making the chase right now, at least as far as Eurovision's coverage is concerned. Bettini and Wesemann are on the Keutenberg. 22% at the bottom!
  • Big group only 7 seconds back with 10K to go or so, nothing decided yet.
  • Bettini looks back. He can see Boogerd, Horner, Rebellin, Sanchez, etc. all breathing down his neck. Off the Keutenberg (incredible how quickly they do this), and they're pretty much together. Who's got the finishers now? This isn't necessarily playing out so badly for Rabo after all, since their goal has been to keep it together. Thomas Dekker patrolling the front now.
  • Schleck attacks on a flat section! Bettini isn't responding!
  • 8KM to go. Schleck alone, about 8 guys right behind. T-Mobile have Wesemann, Ivanov and Sinkewicz. Boogerd is the lone Rabo.
  • T-Mobile on the front, Kroon getting in the way. Wegmann, Bettini, a fw others... Wesemann attacks, Boogerd responds,the other six follow. No gap info on Schleck!?!? How the hell is anyone supposed to live-blog under these conditions? Have I mentioned that I don't have coffee?
  • Schleck has 14 seconds, 5KM to go! This is a real nailbiter.
  • Ivanov goes vollgas, an impressive sight! 12 seconds now to Schleck, entering Valkenberg.
  • Wesemann attacks! Great finish in store here!!
  • The Cauberg is 12%. 1km to go!
  • Schleck looking good!! He's gonna make it a great 8 days for CSC! 300 meters...
  • Frank Schleck wins!!!
  • Wesemann gets second for his enormous effort today. Boogerd jumps for third, and the next handful roll in...

Startling result today. CSC are really showing excellent road tactics these days. Two weeks in a row they've sent away one of their handful of favorites at the right time. Clearly they know how to time-trial, staying away from a pack of elites when it looked like there wasn't much chance. They're cagey, aggressive, unafraid, all the hallmarks of a good Classics team. Last year everyone talked about CSC's excellent start (Paris-Nice, etc.), but the results were sparse when the big races came up. Now it's the opposite: we were all wondering where they were in March, talking about all the bad luck, but they've bagged two monuments in April. Maybe Bjarne reorganized their priorities a bit this spring. Bravo!