News for April 3, 2000

84th Ronde van Vlaanderen roundup

Tchmil's win

Andrei Tchmil's victory in the 84th edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday was the fourth World Cup race win of his career. The 37 year old proved that once again, age was no deterrent to racing at the highest level. He took advantage of some hesitancy in the bunch to attack with 11 kilometres to go and win in fine solo style.

"This victory means more than Paris-Roubaix in 1994. If Paris-Roubaix is the queen of the classics, the Ronde van Vlaanderen is the king. Winning this race means you belongs to the elite," he said.

About his age? "No problem, Gilbert Duclos-Lasalle won Paris-Roubaix when he was 38, so I have still some time. "I am still hungry to win races, but I will not race until I'm 45 though!"


It was the 40th victory for Tchmil
1989 [Alfa Lum]: 0 victories.
1990: 0 victories.
1991 [SEFB]: 4 victories (incl. champion of USSR)
1992 [GB]: 1 victory.
1993: 0 victories, 6th in World Championships in WK in Oslo.
1994 [Lotto]: 7 victories (incl. GP E3 and Paris-Roubaix). 3rd in Ronde vanVlaanderen.
1995: 6 victories. Second in Paris-Roubaix, 3rd in Ronde van Vlaanderen.
1996: 6 victories (incl. stage in Paris-Nice and Veenendaal-Veenendaal).
1997: 5 victories (incl. Dwars door België and Paris-Tours).
1998: 6 victories (incl. Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne). Third in Ronde van Vlaanderen.
1999: 3 victories (incl. Milan-SanRemo and stage in Paris-Nice).
2000: 2 victories: Kuurne-Burssel-Kuurne and Ronde van Vlaanderen

Van Petegem satisfied

Pre-race favourite, Peter van Petegem managed to finish 8th in the Ronde, not the expected result from the Farm Frites top man. The problem was that his team was doing a lot of work early on in the piece, and had no riders left when it came to the crunch. Van Petegem was unsupported over the final few climbs, with Andreas Klier and Serguei Ivanov the only ones there towards the finish. However, they were too exhausted to help the captain, and he paid for it.

Van Petegem said that the race was very good, and it gets better each year. He was not totally disappointed with his place, as he felt "dead" on the Tenbosse and the Bosberg. He could follow the attack on the Bosberg, but it didn't come together and he had to be content with the bunch sprint.

Van Petegem commented that his team rode well, but he didn't have it in the end. "It just goes to show that the super favourite does not always win," he said.

Museeuw not quite

He was not able to gain that fourth victory in the Ronde that he so desired, but Museeuw said that he still rode to his maximum. "I did everything I could to win, but Tchmil was definitely the strongest. If you give him a few seconds, you'll not see him again. He is a phenomenon, that man," said Museeuw in admiration.

After his much anticipated attack on the Muur, Museeuw had Telekom's Steffen Wesemann with him, but he knew that the two would not be strong enough to stay away. "I believe that you need a quartet, with some of the other favourites. But in the finish, a few groups came up and there were 30 at the end to contest the sprint," he commented. Museeuw eventually finished 33rd.

Koerts breaks his arm

Farm Frites rider, Jans Koerts (Ned) was involved in a heavy crash in the Ronde where he rammed into a truck parked on the parcours at 198 km. The result was that he broke his arm, and he went to hospital. First of all he went to one in Ronse, but they sent him to a hospital in Nieuwegein (Netherlands) on Sunday night for an operation.

Jack&Jones ready to abandon

By Tomas Nilsson, correspondent

The clothing company Bestseller, owner of the Jack&Jones brand, is prepared to abandon the team unless there is a good explanation as to why Danish Champion Nicolai Bo Larsen showed a haematocrit value of 51 percent on Sunday morning before the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

"They must really show some documentation. If there is the least bit of doubt it's simple. We will not be along anymore," said company spokesman Morten Mortensen who had a telephone conversation with team manager Torben Kølbaek Sunday:

"He said it must have been something wrong with the test. I answered that considering the last time (Marc Streel last fall) that our view is simple. We run a business, not a cycling team. And unless they can present a doctor, no three doctors, that can certify that he (Larsen) hasn't taken any shit, well then we are out," Mortensen said to Danish newsagency Ritzaus Bureau.

Mortensen also says that he feels sorry about Kølbaek and the others behind the team: "He was really down when he called, but we live on selling merchandise at the right price. Had it been a banner at a football stadium it might have been another matter, but not with our name on the chest of these cyclists." Mortensen expects to be informed Sunday evening by Torben Kølbaek and then the decision will be made.

Kølbaek shattered

Nicolai Bo Larsen had a haematocrit value of 45 percent on Saturday. His team manager Torben Kølbaek is shattered:

"We cannot understand this. He was tested yesterday and had 45 percent and today the UCI test says 51 per cent. All other riders were within one per cent of our own values.

Torben Kølbaek considers Larsen to be innocent until further facts come to light, in contradiction to his point of view regarding Marc Streel last year. He also has fears for the team's future.

"We don't know if we will have a job tomorrow, and that is what we are going to find out now. I am informing the sponsors, but I would also like to emphasize that if I find that Nicolaj or someone else has taken any banned substance, then I wont continue."

Larsen to quit anyway?

According to danish national TV staton, TV", Larsen has decided to quit cycling. He says that he has not taken any banned substances, but he doesn't expect to be believed. The team has started an investigation to find all the facts in this matter.

Ullrich non-starter

Jan Ullrich has postponed his re entry into the peloton again. He will not start in the Circuit of the Sarthe on Tuesday. Olaf Ludwig, Telekom's new PR man said that "He contracted a cold again during the training camp in Badenweiler. He's on antibiotics now. The risk is too high to race now, and Ullrich will not see his bike in the coming week. So, no early season-classics for Ullrich. We hope he can be fit on May 1 for the Henninger Turm."