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Results & Reports
Brugge to Ninove
Results & Reports
Belgium, April 2, 2000
World Cup title defender Andrei Tchmil, age 37, won the 84th Ronde van Vlaanderen and thereby the fourth World Cup race of his career. He attacked on top of the last climb, the Bosberg, with 11 kilometers to go, and tore the field apart taking all the main favourites along in a group of about a dozen or so riders. The final attack came down on the flat some two kilometers later and no one wanted to follow and Tchmil managed a fair gap. With four kilometers to go it was sixteen seconds, which shouldn't have lasted but it did: There was not too much in the way of organized riding in the following peloton where even Erik Zabel had managed to tag along.
Vjacheslav Ekimov attacked from the peloton in the last kilometer and Dario Pieri followed up but no one could reach Tchmil who won a well deserved victory. This means that Erik Zabel kept his lead in the World Cup.
The day started with an early break from Collstrop's Eric de Clercq who, after 72 kilometres took Wesley Huvaere (Vlaanderen 2002) with him in his third attack for the day. The two locals had almost nine minutes to the peloton before the climbing started at Den Ast after 125 kilometers. Huvaere started to experience problems and at Achterberg after 140 kms de Clercq was left alone in front.
At around 170 kilometers, Lars Michaelsen (FDJ) attacked, forming a quartet with Vierhouten (Rabobank), Ortenzi (Mercatone) and eventually Skibby (Memorycard). They caught de Clercq approaching the Kluisberg who tagged along for a while. The peloton was approximately three minutes behind at this point.
Skibby was the most active in the front group and finally broke it up when Andrea Tafi bridged up with Wauters and Serpellini. They passed two of the breakaways but Ortenzi hung along for a while with Skibby, finally losing their lead approaching the Eikenberg with some 40 kms. Skibby managed to make it over the Leberg, 34 kms to go before he succumbed.
Tafi, Serpellini and a tiring Wauters were caught with 20 kilometres to go by a peloton of around 50 riders, among them World Cup leader Erik Zabel. Another good sprinter, Romans Vainsteins (Vini Caldirola) was not only in the peloton but was also one of the most active riders in the last phase of the race.
Up the awaited Muur in Gerardsbergen, Museeuw launched his long anticipated attack on the asphalt section, before the cobbles. He was joined by Telekom's Steffen Wesemann who rode strongly in the quite undramatic passage of Gerardsbergen. The two could not manage to establish a gap and Tchmil, Vainsteins, Hoffman, van Petegem and Zanini and others catch them with 15 kilometres to go.
On the last climb, the Bosberg, the peloton grew to 50 again but over the top, Andrei Tchmil from Lotto-Adecco attacked. A small group was formed on the flat but Tchmil attacked again, and this time for good.
My first race back in 5 weeks, with this atmosphere, it was great! Thousands of people at the start in Brugge, everybody excited and standing in awe of all those great cycling stars, cheering on Museeuw, Van Petegem, Zabel, etc. as they signed on for the biggest classic race in Flanders. People were yelling out to me, wishing me good luck for the day, telling me how they hope that I'll only find good luck on my road from now on, it was just fantastic to be there again. And, one thing I hoped for, contradicting all weather reports, cool but dry weather... no wonder I had the right feeling to begin with.
We started off in the typical way: the riders not expecting to get to the finish tried to get away in early breaks, to show themselves, forming small groups for as long as possible. Eric De Clercq (Collstrop) even went on a brave, but impossible mission.
The tempo quickly went up after the first feed (110 kms) as we headed for the first section of cobble stones (at 117 km). This strip of cobblestones, without doubt a remainder of the days of Roman rule, was made even more dangerous by one of the leading cars. The vehicle had dragged its oil sump over the middle, highest part of the road and had lost its motor oil. This caused serveral of the leading guys to crash seriously. This also gave the following cyclists another obstacle to negotiate in their rush to get past... people yelling out, riders jumping to the side of the road. I followed some guys through the muddy edge to avoid crashing into the ones lying crumpled up on the stones.
Van Dijck was kept neatly out off the wind. I brought him to the front when necessary, as there were a lot of sneaky turns onto small roads. As I was making the tempo on the Wolvenberg, leading into the 3km cobblestone section at Mater, I looked behind to find that there were only two Lotto guys and a Lampre rider left in my wheel...."Bloody hell, where did I lose Van Dijck" went through my head. Keeping your team leader in the wheel is a bit hard when you are riding 200 meters in front. As it turned out, as always, it was for the best. The leading riders caught us, I picked up Hendrick and brought him to the following cobblestone climb, the Molenberg, sitting comfortably in the front of the leading group.
From the Molenberg onto the Paddestraat (160 kms), a nasty 2500 meter long pavé road - Unfortunately I punctured. I was able to get a wheel but it was impossible to get back to the main group. I found myself in a small bunch of 20 riders, we chased hard for 20km... at this stage my two weeks training reserves started to wear thin rapidly. As Walter Planckaert stressed the fact that I should leave the race before I was digging too deep, I decided to call it a day at the second feed
I got into the van, knowing it was the right decision. I had done my job. As Walter said when we discussed the course of the day, I had surprised him, and even myself by the way I rode after 5 weeks without one preparation race. The showers still had hot water when I got to the finish., another good thing! The facilities were excellent, we could even continue to follow the race on tele while getting into some clean gear.
After the race, Hendrick told me he felt "empty" on the Muur of Geraardsbergen. Hendrick's main problem, according to me, had been the liquid food he had chosen for the last half of the race. (He finished 46th).
Tchmil was without doubt the strongest and smartest rider of the day. I think his victory was very much deserved, as riding away from the other favourites like he did, holding his lead with a determinned and unseen strength... it was just awesome to watch. Andrei proved today, that at the age of 37 you shouldn't be overlooked or underestimated. He has been winning his biggest races since he turned 30.
Next on my program : Gent-Wevelgem on Wednesday
World Cup leader Erik Zabel: "I'm satisfied with fourth place. Maybe there was a chance for third but I was too tired. Great work by Wesemann. The Driedaagse van De Panne is too much stress, so for my preparation I was at home the last week. It feels good to be the leader in the World Cup now."
Romans Vainsteins: "Tchmil was too strong today. When the group came to the finish even I had a chance to win in the sprint. I tried on the Bosberg, but nobody wanted to work."
Dario Pieri: "At 300 meters I still thought I could win, but Tchmil was too strong."
Edwig van Hooydonck (ex-winner): "Stupid teams. How can Farm Frites and Rabobank do such a lot of work in the first 120 kilometers? You need the support of the master knights in the last four or five climbs.'"
The talk of the day was otherwise of Danish Champion Nicolaj Bo Larsen who did not pass the mandatory blood test in the morning. He was not allowed to start and was subsequently fired by his team Memorycard Jack&Jones during the day.
1. Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto Adecco 6.48.17 2. Dario Pieri (Ita) Saeco 0.04 3. Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec 4. Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 5. Tristan Hoffman (Ned) Memorycard-Jack&Jones 6. Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Team Polti 7. Leon Van Bon (Ned) Rabobank 8. Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Farm Frites 9. Zbigniew Spruch (Pol) Lampre Daikin 10. Markus Zberg (Sui) Rabobank 11. Oskar Camenzind (Sui) Lampre Daikin 12. Fabio Baldato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 13. Dmitri Konyshev (Rus) Fassa Bortolo 14. Rolf Sorensen (Den) Rabobank 15. Vjatceslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal Service 16. Marco Milesi (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec 17. George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service 18. Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Saeco 19. Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Team Polti 20. Christophe Mengin (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 21. Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 22. Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 23. Chris Peers (Bel) Cofidis 24. Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Lampre Daikin 25. Andreas Klier (Ger) Farm Frites 0.11 26. Wilfried Peeters (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step 27. Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 28. Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank 29. Franco Ballerini (Ita) Lampre Daikin 30. Fréderic Guesdon (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 0.19 31. Marco Serpellini (Ita) Lampre Daikin 32. Frank Hoj (Den) La Francaise Des Jeux 33. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step 0.47 34. Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto Adecco 0.57 35. Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank 1.32 36. Enrico Cassani (Ita) Team Polti 37. Denis Zanette (Ita) Liquigas Pata 3.06 38. Karl Pauwels (Bel) Palmans-Ideal 3.28 39. Stefano Zanini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 5.03 40. Stuart O'grady (Aus) Credit Agricole 41. Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 42. Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Rabobank 43. Arvis Piziks (Lat) Memorycard-Jack&Jones 44. Hans De Clercq (Bel) Palmans-Ideal 45. Rolf Huser (Sui) Festina 46. Hendrik Van Dyck (Bel) Palmans-Ideal 47. Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Farm Frites 48. Ralf Grabsch (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 49. Rolf Aldag (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 50. Thierry Marichal (Bel) Lotto Adecco 51. Pedro Horrillo (Esp) Vitalicio Seguros 52. Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis 53. Wim Feys (Bel) Palmans-Ideal 54. Servais Knaven (Ned) Farm Frites 55. Gian Mario Ortenzi (Ita) Mercatone Uno 56. Erwin Thijs (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 7.26 57. Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Palmans-Ideal 7.32 58. Jurgen Van Roosbroeck (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 59. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 60. Fabian De Waele (Bel) Lotto Adecco 61. Kristof Trouve (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 62. Jan Schaffrath (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 63. Kai Hundertmarck (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 7.44 64. Lars Michaelsen (Den) La Francaise Des Jeux 12.18 65. Oleg Pankov (Ukr) Collstrop 66. Matthew White (Aus) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec 67. Cédric Vasseur (Fra) US Postal Service 68. Glenn Magnusson (Swe) Farm Frites 69. Francis Moreau (Fra) Cofidis 70. Peter Wuyts (Bel) Lotto Adecco 71. Marty Jemison (USA) US Postal Service 72. Jacky Durand (Fra) Lotto Adecco 73. Roger Hammond (Gbr) Collstrop 74. Koen Beeckman (Bel) Lotto Adecco 75. Danny Baeyens (Bel) Collstrop 76. Matthé Pronk (Ned) Rabobank 77. Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 78. Gert Vanderaerden (Bel) Palmans-Ideal 79. Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Credit Agricole 80. Jaime Hernandez (Esp) Festina 81. Jurgen Guns (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 82. Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank 83. Tom Steels (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step 84. Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis 85. Rossano Brasi (Ita) Team Polti 86. Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec 87. Frank Corvers (Bel) Memorycard-Jack&Jones 88. Massimo Apollonio (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec 89. Lauri Aus (Est) Ag2r Prevoyance 90. Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Saeco 91. David Clinger (USA) Festina 92. Geert Van Bondt (Bel) Farm Frites 93. Geert Omloop (Bel) Collstrop 94. Jesper Skibby (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones 95. Davide Tani (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 96. Michele Bartoli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
World cup standings after two races: 1. Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom 140 pts 2. Andrej Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 108 3. Fabio Baldato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 84 4. Dario Pieri (Ita) Saeco 70 5. Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Vini Caldirola 70 6. Zbigniew Spruch (Pol) Lampre-Daikin 60 7. Oscar Freire (Esp) Mapei-Quick Step 50 8. Tristan Hoffman (Ned) Memorycard-Jack&Jones 36 9. Rolf Soerensen (Dan) Rabobank 36 10. Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Farm Frites 36 11. Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Team Polti 32 12. Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis 32 13. Leon van Bon (Ned) Rabobank 28 14. Markus Zberg (Sui) Rabobank 28 15. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno 28 16. Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Farm Frites 24 17. Dimitri Konyshev (Rus) Fassa Bortolo 19 18. Bo Hamburger (Dan) Memorycard-Jack&Jones 16 19. Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Lampre-Daikin 15 20. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) ONCE-Deutsche Bank 15 21. Elio Aggiano (Ita) Vitalicio Seguros 14 22. Enrico Cassani (Ita) Team Polti 13 23. Vjatceslav Ekimov (Rus) Us Postal Service 11 24. Andreas Klier (Ger) Farm Frites 11 25. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step 11 26. Marco Milesi (Ita) Vini Caldirola 10 27. George Hincapie (Usa) Us Postal Service 9 28. Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 9 29. Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Saeco 8 30. Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Team Polti 7 31. Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank 7 32. Christophe Mengin (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 6 33. Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 5 34. Mirko Celestino (Ita) Team Polti 5 35. Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 4 36. Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Spa) Kelme 4 37. Chris Peers (Bel) Cofidis 3 38. Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto Adecco 3 39. Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Lampre Daikin 2 40. Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Festina 2 41. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1 Team standings after two races: 1. Rabobank 21 pts 2. Fassa Bortolo 19 3. Mapei-Quick Step 13 4. Lampre-Daikin 12 5. Farm Frites 12 6. Polti 8 7. Vitalicio Seguros 6 8. Telekom 5 9. Vini Caldirola 5 10. ONCE 5 11. La Française des Jeux 3 12. Lotto 3 13. Cofidis 2