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43st Vlaamse Witloofveldrit Vossem - C1

Vossem, Belgium, November 9, 2003


Wellens beats Nijs in Vossem

De Clercq third in Belgian comeback

Bart Wellens (SpaarSelect) has added another cyclo-cross victory to his total, winning the 43rd edition of the Vlaamse Witloofveldrit in Vossem today. Wellens beat home Belgian champion Sven Nijs (Rabobank) by two seconds, with Mario De Clercq (Palmans) finishing in third in the same time. All told, six riders made it to the finish to contest the sprint.

The race was fast and hard, and by halfway there was still a leading "peloton" of 21 riders. At that point, Peter Van Santvliet (Spaar Select) attacked and took 20 seconds, but he lost it when he crashed disastrously after his stem broke. He was taken to hospital where he will undergo x-rays for what is feared to be a broken right thighbone.

That left Bart Wellens and Sven Nijs to take control of the race, and they immediately opened up a gap on the rest of the field together with De Clercq, Berden and Vannoppen, later joined by Maxime Lefebvre, John Gadret, Christian Heule, Richard Groenendaal and Erwin Vervecken. The 10 stuck together until the last lap, when Wellens attacked over the steps to open up a 20 metre gap. It was a small lead but it was just enough to hold off the hard charging Sven Nijs for the seventh time this season. De Clercq won the sprint for third place in front of Berden and Vannoppen, and is clearly back to his best after his short retirement.

After the World Cup race in Turin this was the most difficult race to ride away in," said Wellens. "I had to constantly ride against the Palmans block. That's why I supported Van Santvliet in front. Without bad luck he maybe could have won. After his fall I knew that I would be able to attack on the stairs. That's how it worked out and I won like I wanted to. Nijs said that he skipped Eernegem in order to beat me here. He didn't succeed in that."

Nijs was annoyed at missing Wellens' attack on the last lap. "It's disappointing, because I had a lot of power in the legs today. At the end I even felt I had something left, but Wellens surprised me on the stairs. Vannoppen went after him and got in my way and the bird had flown. Disappointing, but it's not the end of the world. On the Koppenberg Wellens was still two minutes stronger than me, today the difference was not more than two seconds. He is not so much stronger in the hard 'crosses any more."

Brand new European junior champion
Photo ©: Luc Claessen

The women's race was taken out by World Champion Daphny van den Brand (Netherlands) from her compatriot Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn. Hilde Quintens finished third, a minute behind. The Junior Men saw newly crowned European Champion Niels Albert (Belgium) solo away to win ahead of Czech pair Petr Novotny and Jan Skarnitzl.


Images by Luc Claessen/actiefotos.be


Elite/U23 (60 starters)
1 Bart Wellens (Bel) Spaar Select                1.00.07
2 Sven Nijs (Bel) Rabobank                          0.02
3 Mario De Clercq (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
4 Ben Berden (Bel) John Saey-Deschacht
5 Tom Vannoppen (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
6 John Gadret (Fra)
7 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) Rabobank                0.25
8 Christian Heule (Swi)
9 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
10 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Spaar Select
11 Maxime Lefebvre (Fra)
12 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank                   1.00
13 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
14 Jiri Pospisil (Cze)
15 Dominique Arnould (Fra)
16 Wim Jacobs (Bel) Spaar Select                    1.35
17 Dariusz Gil (Pol)
18 Vaclav Jezek (Cze)                               1.45
19 David Seco (Spa)
20 Sven Vanthourenhout
21 Jonathan Page (USA)
22 Martin Zlamalik (Cze)                            2.08
23 Bjorn Rondelez (Bel) Wincor-Nixdorf              2.55
24 Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze)
25 Vaclav Metlicka (Svk)                            3.03
26 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) John Saey-Deschacht
27 Nico Clarysse (Bel) John Saey-Deschacht
28 Matthew Ellis (GBr) John Saey-Deschacht          3.50
29 Roger Hammond (GBr) Palmans-Collstrop
30 Marek Cichoz (Pol)
31 Robert Glajza (Svk)
32 Isaac Suarez (Spa)
33 Jean-Pierre Leijten (Ned)
34 Ronny Polevoorde  (Bel)
35 Tim Pauwels (Bel)                                4.47
36 Pavel Cierpikowski (Pol)
37 Geert Vandaele  (Bel)
38 Dieter Vanthourenhout  (Bel)
39 Jorn Van Der Veken (Bel) Kapelle op den Bos
40 Gusty Bausch (Lux) VS Dommeldange
41 Tadeusz Korzeniewski (Pol)
42 Tom Pynaert (Bel)
43 Daan De Jonge (Ned)                            1 Lap
44 Fabien Bourly (Fra) AC Bazancourt-Reims
Juniors (30 starters)
1 Niels Albert (Bel)                               43.08
2 Petr Novotny (Cze)
3 Jan Skarnitzl (Cze)
4 Karol Wrobel (Pol)
5 Jan Aernouts (Bel)
6 Ales Broz (Cze)
7 Bart Verschueren  (Bel)
8 Kenny Geluykens  (Bel)
9 Ivar Hartogs (Ned)
10 David Bertram (Ger)
11 Robert Bachraty (Svk)
12 Karol Sroka (Pol)
13 Valentijn Ponseele (Bel)
14 Davy Depaepe (Bel)
15 Quentin Bertholet (Bel)
16 Michal Prachar (Svk)
17 Lukas Kloucek (Cze)
18 Koen Boelens (Bel)
19 Dries Dewit (Bel)                               1 Lap 
20 Jaryd De Mooij (Bel)
Beginners (13 starters)
1 Ben Aernouts (Bel)                               36.25
2 Tom Meeusen (Bel)
3 Jan Van Zeebroeck (Bel)
4 Kevin Cant (Bel)
5 Birger Leys (Bel)
6 Jelle Schepers (Bel)
7 Bart Wouters (Bel)
8 Vincent Baestaens (Bel)
9 Hans Naets (Bel)
10 Steven Christiaens (Bel)
11 Dennis Delannoit (Bel)
12 Julien Ertveldt (Bel)
13 Kristof Meulenyzer (Bel)
Women (36 starters)
1 Daphny Van Den Brand (Ned)                       41.21
2 Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned)
3 Hilde Quintens (Bel)                              1.00
4 Corine Dorland (Ned)                              1.40
5 Anja Nobus (Bel)
6 Kathleen Vermeiren (Bel)
7 Nancy Bolansee (Bel)                              1.53
8 Loes Sels (Bel)                                   2.00
9 Veronique Belleter (Bel)                          2.45
10 Debby Mansveld (Ned)                             2.55
11 Cory Page (USA)
12 Nicole de Bie-Leijten (Ned)                      3.50
13 Linda Van Rijen (Ned)                            4.10
14 Suzie Godart (Lux)                               5.10
15 Katrien Aerts (Bel)                              6.00
16 Aquirre Lasa (Spa)
17 Linda Dirckx (Ned)
18 Danielle Janssen (Ned)
19 Maaike Weytens (Bel)
20 Impke Hartogs (Ned)                            1 Lap