Brief:It was cold and wet at Pijnacker (near Delft, north of Rotterdam) for race day. It didn't stop a large crowd coming out to watch the racing. Marco Pantani was the featured rider and it was surely intended that he would finish on the podium at least. His plane into Brussels was 2 hours late and the main race due at 18.30 was a little late starting. He was interviewed before the race started by the popular announcer Cees Maas. It went along the lines of - Do you like Pijnacker? Yes. And so the race starting in pouring rain.
From the outset a group of 9 formed and worked very well together. It looked more and more like they would lap the field but how could that happen when Pantani, religously sitting the wheel of his teammate Fabiano Fontinelli, was not in the break. Knaven and Holm were particularly aggressive in the break.
By about half way, the group had tacked back onto the back of the main bunch - but a lap ahead. The officials were talking about the problems of determining who was winning the premie sprints. For those who couldn't believe that Pantani would be on the podium there was a respite. He had attacked with Fontinelli and John Talens and a couple of others. So it seemed like that group now off the front and less than a lap down on the breakaway group would work there way back into the race. Then the lapped riders would be taken off the circuit for the showdown.
It didn't happen. Knaven, Holm and Jorgensen (all three in the original breakaway) attacked out of the bunch and passed the small group with Pantani. They then went further away. So the upset was complete. Pantani rode the rest of the laps looking like he would rather be somewhere else. Knaven broke away from the other three to win easily with Holm second. Jeroen Blijlevens won the bunch sprint for 4th.
So Marco Pantani was paid 50 thousand guilders to ride and did not figure in the race at. He was not seen around the finish to greet the multitude of fans who had come out to see him. His silver helmet was nice though. Special thanks to Peet and Maarten who organised the race and made me feel welcome.
For some photos.
Pijnacker, 61 laps for 100 kms:
1. Servais Knaven (Ned) TVM 2. Brian Holm (Den) Team Acceptcard 3. Rene Jorgensen (Den) Team Home Jack and Jones 4. Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) TVM 5. Franky Van Haesebroucke (Bel) Ipso 6. Kim Marcussen (Den) Team Acceptcard 7. Martin Van Steen (Ned) Nurnberger 8. Wim De Vos (Ned) VKS 9. John Talen (Ned) Piels 10. Robert McEwen (Aus) Rabobank 11. Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno 12. Sergei Uschakov (Ukr) TVM 13. Steven De Jongh (Ned) TVM 14. Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 15. Glenn D'Hollander (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 16. Fabiano Fontanelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno 17. Christian Van Dartel (Ned) Nurnberger 18. Kees Hopmans (Ned) Tonnisteiner 19. Tristan Hoffman (Ned) TVM 20. Marc Strange Jacobsen (Den) Team Home Jack and Jones 21. Mikael Holst Kyneb (Den) Team Home Jack and Jones 22. Bjønar Vestøl (Nor) Team Acceptcard 23. Ralf Grabsch (Ger) Gerolsteiner 24. Danny Daelman (Bel) Collstrop 25. Karel Vereecke (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 26. Remco Van der Ven (Ned) TVM 27. Stig Guldbaek (Den) Team Acceptcard 28. Morten Sonne (Den) Team Acceptcard 29. Jan Hordijk (Ned) Tonnisteiner 30. Raymond Meijs (Ned) Gerolsteiner
Amateurs, 61 laps for 100 kms:
1. Paul van Schalen (Ned) 2. Jan van Velzen (Ned) 3. Bart Boom (Ned) 4. Dennis Heij (Ned) 5. Edwin Hofstee (Ned)
Mercatone Uno: 1. Marco Pantani (Ita) 2. Fabiano Fontanelli (Ita) Rabobank: 3. Leon van Bon (Ned) 4. Jan Boven (Ned) 5. Max van Heeswijk (Ned) 6. Bert Hiemstra (Ned) 7. Jans Koerts (Ned) 8. Marc Lotz (Ned) 9. Robbie McEwen (Aus) 10. Marc Wauters (Bel) TVM: 11. Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) 12. Geert van Bondt (Bel) 13. 14. Tristan Hoffman (Ned) 15. Steven de Jongh (Ned) 16. Servais Knaven (Ned) 17. Remco van der Ven (Ned) 18. Bart Voskamp (Ned) Acceptcard: 19. Stig Guldbæk (Den) 20. Brian Holm (Den) 21. Jan Karlsson (Swe) 22. Martin Kryger (Den) 23. Kim Marcussen (Den) 24. Søren Pedersen (Den) 25. Morton Sonne (Den) 26. Bjønar Vestøl (Nor) Team Home Jack and Jones: 27. Christiaan Andersen (Den) 28. Marc Jacobsen (Den) 29. Rene Jørgensen (Den) 30. Mikael Kyneb (Den) 31. Danny Nelissen (Ned) 32. Arvis Piziks (Lit) 33. Michael Rosborg (Den) 34. Juris Silovs (Lit) Spar: 35. Michel Cornelisse (Ned) 36. Matthew Gilmore (Aus) 37. Etienne de Wilde (Bel) VKS-Empella (Amateur): 38. Gretienus Gommers (Ned) 39. Wim de Vos (Ned) Tonnissteiner: 40. Kees Hopmans (Ned) 41. Jan Hordijk (Ned) Team Nurnberger: 42. Martin van Steen (Ned) 43. Christian van Dartel (Ned) Collstrop: 44. Danny Baeyens (Bel) 45. Erik de Clercq (Bel) 46. Danny Daelman (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002: 47. Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) 48. Glenn D'Hollander (Bel) 49. Karel Vereecke (Bel) Gerolsteiner: 50. Raymond Meijs (Ned) 51. Ralf Grabsch (Ger) Ipso: 52. Jan Poppe (Bel) 53. Hans Rydant (Bel) 54. Vadin Volar (Ukr)
1974 Leo Duyndam (Ned) Janus van Tol (Ned) 1975 Cees Bal (Ned) Gerard Vianen (Ned) 1976 Gerben Karstens (Ned) Joop Zootemelk (Ned) 1977 Piet van Katwijk (Ned) Bert Pronk (Ned) 1978 Martin Havik (Ned) Jos Schipper (Ned) 1979 Henk Lubberding (Ned) Roelof Groen (Ned) 1980 Leo van Vliet (Ned) Fritz Pirard (Ned) 1981 Joop Zootemelk (Ned) Theo Smit (Ned) 1982 Jan Raas (Ned) Joop Zootemelk (Ned) 1983 1984 1985 Nico Verhoeven (Ned) Johan van der Velde (Ned) 1986 Gerrit Solleveld (Ned) Peter Stevenhaage (Ned) 1987 Henk Lubberding (Ned) Peter Pieters (Ned) 1988 Henk Lubberding (Ned) Jean-Paul van Poppel (Ned) 1989 Mathieu Hermans (Ned) Frans Maassen (Ned) 1990 Uwe Raab (Ger) Gerrit de Vries (Ned) 1991 Jean-Paul van Poppel Olaf Ludwig (Ger) 1992 Jelle Nijdam (Ned) Olaf Ludwig (Ger) 1993 Wilfried Nelissen (Bel) Wiebren Vienstra (Ned) 1994 Jean-Paul van Poppel Djamolidin Abdujaparov (Uzb) 1995 Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) Erik Zabel (Ger) 1996 Jelle Nijdam (Ned) Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) 1997 Marco Pantani (Ita) Maarten den Bakker (Ned) 1998 Servais Knaven (Ned) Brian Holm (Den)