62nd Gent-Wevelgem - Cat. 1.HC

Belgium, April 5, 2000

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Farm Frites one-two

Geert van Bondt
Winner: Geert van Bondt
Photo: © Mario Stiehl

The major teams that missed out in last weekend's Ronde van Vlaanderen: Farm Frites and Mapei-Quick Step made up for it today in Gent Wevelgem as they placed four riders in the top eight of today's Belgian semi-classic.

The victor was somewhat unexpected - 29 year-old Geert van Bondt (Farm Frites) was allowed by his teammate, Peter van Petegem to win the prestigious race, after recording a total of just five wins in his professional career so far. In third place was a resurgent Museeuw, who must be itching for the roads of Roubaix to show his stuff again.

"Van Bondt is to me what Peeters is to Musueeuw," said Van Petegem afterwards. For the record, Peeters won the race in 1994. The success of the team was due to their depth - 8 riders escaped on the Kemmelberg with 67 kilometres to go, and three of them were from Farm Frites (Van Bondt, Van Petegem, and Klier). The Dutch team certainly made use of the fact to wear down the other escapees - Museeuw, Farazijn (Cofidis), Van Haecke (Tönnisteiner), Hoffman (MC J&J), and Peers (Cofidis), and the octect finished with a lead of 1.03 on the main bunch, led home by Telekom's Steffen Wesemann.

Museeuw was isolated after the Kemmel, and he knew it. The break was formed after Cofidis Peter Farazjn attacked the second time up the 18 percent grade, causing Mapei's other man in front, Max van Heeswijk to be lost. The team will have to be careful on Sunday if they are to dominate Paris-Roubaix, but sports director Patrick Lefevre is still confident that Museeuw and Tafi are the goods.

Faarm Frites enjoyed a huge confidence boost with this win, especially as the Vanguard: Petegem and Bondt are both childhood buddies, and live just 30 kilometres apart in Belgium. The beers are on Teun tonight.

A Winddddyyyyy day in flanders

Zottegem, 9.30 pm.

Today, well, I wouldn't call it a 'haute category' road race, it was just like a tough elimination race.... if you weren't sitting in the front when the cross-winds started, you were out. If you weren't called Van Petegem or Museeuw, you simply didn't get to see the front. It was really clear who the strong oxes in the peloton were, look at the results; look at the first 10, well they definitely were the favourites for this race.

For myself, I was staring down the barrel, I stopped for a basic need while the peloton was still taking it easy. I got back to the tail of the peloton and talked to one of the Collstrop boys for a little while...but for too long as it turned out. At the front somebody attacked, a little group started chasing, the bunch split into four groups and my group, the last one, never saw the first guys again. We spent the next 50 kms in line, single file because of the cross-winds. At the feed, halfway, the first two groups got back together.

After 130 kms of cursing and chasing in anguish a little batch of 10, me included, left the parcours and headed for the showers. A few insisted on persuing their suicidal mission. The smart ones (read wasted ones) got a hot shower and by the time we left the dressing rooms, the riders who had tried to continue the chase came rolling in one by one, in silence, tired.

With Peter Van Petegem, Klier and Van Bondt still in the leading group it was clear that a Farm Frites rider was going to take 1st place. These three training partners easily came to an understanding, Van Bondt attacked and Van Petegem and Klier were able to shut down the race. Van Bondt won, well deserved and overly happy with the 6th victory of his pro career.

The wind was giving me a serious beating today and with the 5% body fat I have to keep me warm, I can tell you, it is only common sense not to go with, let alone go against those strong Flemish countrymen. Don't know why I got so cold today, it took me ages to warm up. Not even watching the race on TV in the team camping car and seeing a couple of ponies jumping the fences to join the peloton, could make me break out in sweats. Zabel surely would have had a horrible shock being knocked off by the agitated hoofed animal...Luckily nobody got hurt. Zabel unfortunately lost time and finished 41st.

I had lasagne and a glass of wine for dinner, and with the nice warmth of the potbelly stove I could have nodded off while the rest were having desert. Glad this working day was over and done with.

Glad to see the weather report forcasts sunnier, warmer weather for the coming days. There might be a dry Paris-Roubaix ridden on Sunday! For me, on Friday, Pino-Cerami, hope I'll have better legs then.




1. Geert Van Bondt (Bel) Farm Frites	     	     5.01.03 (42.65 km/h)
2. Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Farm Frites       		0.28
3. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step
4. Tristan Hoffman (Ned) Memorycard-Jack&Jones
5. Chris Peers (Bel) Cofidis
6. Michael Vanhaecke (Bel) Tönissteiner
7. Andreas Klier (Ger) Farm Frites
8. Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis
9. Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Deutsche Telekom-ARD         	1.03
10. Roger Hammond (GBr) Collstrop
11. Lars Michaelsen (Den) La Francaise des Jeux
12. Wilfried Peeters (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step
13. Niko Eeckhout (Bel) Palmans-Ideal
14. Remco van der Ven (Ned) Farm Frites
15. Christophe Mengin (Fra) La Française des Jeux
16. Marco Serpellini (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
17. Paul Van Schalen (Ned) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus
18. Leon Van Bon (Ned) Rabobank
19. Rossano Brasi (Ita) Polti
20. Geert Omloop (Bel) Collstrop-De Federale Verzekeringen
21. Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Crédit Agricole
22. Sven Teutenberg (Ger) Gerolsteiner 
23. Hans De Clercq (Bel) Palmans-Ideal
24. Wim Feys (Bel) Palmans-Ideal
25. Karel Vereecke (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002-Eddy Merckx
26. George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service		1.30
27. Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Rabobank
28. Nicola Loda (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
29. Max van Heeswijk (Ned) Mapei-Quick Step
30. Glenn Magnusson (Swe) Farm Frites
31. Frank Hoj (Den) La Française des Jeux
32. Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) La Française des Jeux
33. Gian Matteo Fagnini (Ita) Deutsche Telekom-ARD
34. Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank
35. Bart Voskamp (Ned) Polti
36. Franco Ballerini (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
37. Jan Schaffrath (Ger) Deutsche Telekom-ARD
38. Philippe Gaumont (Fra) Cofidis
39. Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step			3.35
40. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank
41. Erik Zabel (Ger) Deutsche Telekom-ARD 	       13.17
42. Lars Teutenberg (Ger) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus
43. Lauri Aus (Est) Ag2r Prévoyance-Décathlon
44. Frankie Andreu (USA) US Postal Service
45. Matthé Pronk (Ned) Rabobank
46. Raimundas Vilcinskas (Lit) Palmans-Ideal
47. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2r Prévoyance-Décathlon