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Brugge to Ninove

Results & Reports

Belgium, April 2, 2000

Report   Scott Sunderland's report    Comments    Results and World Cup standings

Tchmil outwits them all

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.

Scott Sunderland's report

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

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