ReportThere were some eyebrows raised when Koen Dierckx was first over the line in the sprint. Who was that rider? A one-day wonder? Perhaps not. Dierckx is a qualified engineer who quit cycle racing five years ago because his studies and made a comeback to racing around a year and a half ago.
"I won the Ronde van Vlaanderen for Juniors seven years ago. It is perhaps rare. A qualified engineer who is a bike racer. If I hadn't had gone to the Univerisity of Leuven I would have tried a professional career. I decided I wanted to earn more than most of the Belgian professionals. But I would have regretted it later if I had not have tried to be a professional. That is my ambition. Perhaps I will fail. That is in the future."
During the race, Dierckx had to ride like an engineer. "Certainly, I had to overcome the winning moves of the Vlaanderen 2002 and ASLK riders. They had 12 riders leading." There were also some Italian colours prominent. For Ivan Basso, no relation to the former World Champion Marino, was really hammering. He was away for 60 km, but he could not hold on to the end. At the climb of Mont Theux he tried again, this time with fellow Italian Di Luca. The two of them gained almost a minute on the peloton before being brought back. Then Cretskens and Baeyens provoked a dangerous break with Verdonck, Van Asten, Vurens, Omloop, De Smet and Lauk. There were no Italians in this move. At the Hallembaye there was a small break again. With 4 at the front and a group of 12 close behing. They never got more than 30 seconds with 20 kms left and in the end were brought back so that there was a mass sprint of around 50 riders.
Hasselt-Spa-Hasselt, 190 kms:
1. Koen Dierickx (Bel) Elite 4.34.15 (avs 41.367 km) 2. Nico Vuurens (Ned) Elite 3. Erwin Bollen (Bel) Elite 4. Danilo di Luca (Ita) Riso Scotti 5. Geert Verdeyen (Bel) Elite 6. Wim Omloop (Bel) Spar 7. Tom Desmet (Bel) Collstrop 8. Peter Peys (Bel) Elite 9. Dimitri Bral (Bel) Elite 10. Bart Evraert (Bel) Elite 11. Karel Vereecke (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 12. Ronny Van Asten (Bel) Elite 13. Tom Eyckmans (Bel) Elite 14. Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 15. Koen Heremans (Bel) Elite 16. Pascal Lievens 17. Kristof Vancauteren 18. Leif Hoste (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 19. Kristof Trouvé (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 20. Filippo Perfetto (Ita) 21. Jurgen Van Roosbroeck 22. Frédéric Sirjacobs 23. Bert De Waele 24. Ward De Clerck 25. Goswin Laplasse 26. Wesley Van Speybroeck 27. Stive Vermaut (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 28. Dany Bayens (Bel) Collstrop 29. Dimitri Weeland (Ned) 30. Stijn De Schoenmaecker 31. Olivier Penney (Swi) 32. Oscar Pineda (USA) 33. Jens Van Laer 34. Rik Claeys (Bel) Spar 35. Kris De Coen 36. Kenneth Mercken 37. Joachim Poortmans 38. Erik Lievens 39. Danny Dierckx 40. Andy Cappelle 41. Jurgen Mestdagh 42. Bart Vanstockstraeten 43. Thierry De Groote 44. Esa Skytt&aauml (Fin) 45. Koen Das 46. Andres Lauk (Est) 47. Mario Appermans 48. Sven Dury 49. Glenn D'Hollander (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 50. Philip Vereecke (Bel) Collstrop Started 135Results from Kris Verreth, Belgium