U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege - 1.7.1
Belgium, May 1, 2001
By Brice Jones, USA Espoir National Team representative
The U23 version of Liege-Bastogne-Liege is a very important race on the World Cup calendar for all espoir riders. And you don't really realize how important some of these guys think it is until the race starts with a 5k neutral zone. "Neutral" in these races just means the front guys aren't going that fast and it's easier for everyone else to move up! I mean I saw some things today that just amazed me! Guys passing each other in the ditch just to try and get to the front! It was just plain nuts!
So that's how the race starts off, and I'm thinking that I just want to attack in some sort of a group so I don't have to bother with the war of being at the front in the pack. So I make a move at 10k into the race with about 12 other guys and I'm thinking, "Thank God I am off the front; now I can relax!" Well, that didn't last all that long. We were caught about 5k down the road.
I was still at the front at this point in about 40th place or so. I noticed that I was surrounded by a couple teammates and that made me feel a lot better. We are now heading down this hill at 70k (42 miles) an hour when I hear the worst sound that you can hear when you are in the middle of a group of racers - brakes squealing and bikes sliding across the road!
Danny Pate and Walker Ferguson were in front of me, and they said that they at least tried to shoot for a gap to make it through the crash. I, on the other hand, just had to decide which guy I wanted to hit because I was going down. There was no doubt about it! I chose the softer looking guy in front of me and little to my left. I nailed him and just remember going over the bars and then sliding for about 20 meters after that, looking back and covering my face! Once I was on the ground, there was a wave of riders to flow over those of us who were already on the ground. A total of 50 riders went down in that crash.
So I get up off of the ground and look at the parts of my body that are throbbing to make sure that I am OK. I only have a bit of road rash on my knee and arm. I can feel that my butt hurts as well, and I notice chain ring marks on my shorts. Nothing's broke! I am OK to keep going! But wait - my bike is tangled up in some other guys bike! All across the road there is just massive carnage! Guys are moaning in the road and some guys even ended up on the other side of a barbed wire fence at the edge of the road. I was beginning to think that I was one of the lucky ones. Granted, I could have made it through the crash, but I could also be laying on the edge of the road with a broken sternum and unconscious like one guy.
Now it's Danny Pate, Jonathan Retseck, Walker Ferguson, and myself all back at the car trying to figure out what just happened! I would consider it a bad day when a team loses 70 percent of its riders in one crash at 20k into a race. Our Team Coach, Noel Dejonckheere, seemed to think the same thing.
We all packed in the car and headed off to the hospital where we would spend the next three hours. We get to the emergency room where nothing seems to be an emergency. Most of the doctors are off of work because of a holiday and have to be called in. And, there are 20 other riders waiting to be looked at. Danny and I didn't really need any help and we just needed someone to clean our own wounds. Walker got all cleaned up and had some X-rays and Jonathan had 5 stitches in his knee and was told that he wouldn't be able to ride for 15 days. Now were on our way back home feeling pretty wasted, not from riding, but from everything else.
Josh Thorton, Brad Bucambuso, and Nathan all made it through the crash. Josh said that he was at the very back of the pack and still had to lock up his breaks not to run into the guys in front of him. He also said that he had to run around the crash in the field next to us. Josh thinks that he got top 25 today and the other guys really had no clue. They said they were a ways back though. A Russian guy, Ruslan Gryshchenko, on an Italian team won and Tom Boonen got 2nd. Tom is a really nice Belgian guy who I always chat with in the races. You will see him riding with the US Postal Service later on this year. I am happy that he did well.
Sorry that I had to write so much about the crash, but that was the excitement that took up pretty much my whole day. Today we all experienced the part of cycling that no one likes, but at some point we all have to go through it.
*Brice is the current Under-23 U.S. National Champion. He and the rest of the U.S. Espoir team are living in Izegem, Belgium with Team Coach Noel Dejonckheere.
1 Ruslan Gryshchenko (Ukr) Vellutex 4.27.00 2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Kortrijk Groeninge Spurters 0.09 3 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Domo-Farm Frites 4 Jerôme Pineau (Fra) Vendee-U-Pays De La 5 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Vellutex 6 Jens Renders (Bel) Dcm Cycling Team 7 Kristoffer Ingeby (Swe) Etupes Le Doubs 8 Davy Coenen (Bel) Kortrijk Groeninge Spurters 9 Wim Vanhuffel (Bel) Wieler Team Eycken 10 John Gadret (Fra) VC Roubaix 11 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Eddy Merckx Boys 12 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Rabobank 13 Erik Lievens (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 0.41 14 Van Der Weiden (Ned) Wieler Team Eycken 15 Vincent Socquin (Fra) Super Sport 23 La Creuse 1.02 16 Alexandre Koslov (Blr) VC Roubaix 17 Benny De Schrooder (Bel) Go Pass-ABX 18 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Vendee-U-Pays De La 19 Sven Renders (Bel) Dcm Cycling Team 20 Steven Caethoven (Bel) Beveren 2000 21 Johan Coenen (Bel) Go Pass-ABX 22 Joshua Thornton (Usa) USA National Taem 23 Piet Rooijakkers (Ned) MGI Fietsen 24 Patrick Wirth (Sui) Seat Kona Hadimek 25 Yanto Barker (Gbr) VC Roubaix 26 Peter Schokkaert (Bel) Think Media Cycling 27 Raphaël Bastin (Bel) RC Pesant Club Liege 28 Cory Lange (Can) Equipe National 29 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 30 Yoni Beauquis (Fra) Lyon Vaux En Velin 31 Eric Trokimo (Fra) Nogent Sur Oise 32 Jean Claude Lebeau (Bel) RC Pesant Club Liege 33 Tristan Valentin (Fra) Aubervilliers 93 Big Mat 34 Bart Dockx (Bel) Dcm Cycling Team 35 Coen De Jong (Ned) MGI Fietsen 36 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 37 Klaas De Gruyter (Bel) Eddy Merckx Boys 38 Maxime Armataffet (Fra) Etupes Le Doubs 39 Denis Lamberti (Fra) Lyon Vaux En Velin 2.47 40 Pim Goos (Ned) Wieler Team Eycken 41 Lucas Bodnar (Pol) Kortrijk Groeninge Spurters 42 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Vendee-U-Pays De La 3.02 43 Florian Germain (Fra) Lyon Vaux En Velin 44 Robbie Mores (Bel) Beveren 2000 45 Frederick Pieters (Bel) Go Pass-ABX 3.06 46 Nicolas Receveur (Fra) Etupes Le Doubs 47 Stefan Wijnands (Bel) Go Pass-ABX 3.44 48 Jimmy Herman (Bel) RC Pesant Club Liege 3.49 49 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Think Media Cycling 50 Iwan Schrijver (Bel) MGI Fietsen 51 Jerôme Bouchet (Fra) UC Chateauroux 52 Guillaume Girout (Fra) Nogent Sur Oise 53 Laurent Mangel (Fra) Etupes Le Doubs 54 Sébastien Minard (Fra) Nogent Sur Oise 55 Cedric Deruyter (Fra) Ple Wasquehal 56 Brad Buccambuso (Usa) USA National Taem 57 Rodolphe Pradel (Fra) Super Sport 23 La Creuse 58 Stefan Sulser (Sui) Seat Kona Hadimek 59 Matthieu Geniez (Fra) Haute Garonne 60 Ronald Mutsaars (Ned) Rabobank 61 Cedric Riche (Fra) Efeg Douai 62 Nicolas Vayr (Fra) Lyon Vaux En Velin 63 Ben Thaens (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 64 Rene Van Oord (Ned) MGI Fietsen 3.52 65 Christophe Riblon (Fra) Nogent Sur Oise 66 Dominique Rollin (Can) Equipe National 5.10 67 Mickaël Kirsch (Fra) Etupes Le Doubs 68 Gunther Coenen (Bel) Kortrijk Groeninge Spurters 6.54 69 David Romischer (Bel) Eddy Merckx Boys 70 Sebastien Rosseler (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 71 Pieter Uyterhoeven (Bel) Dcm Cycling Team 72 Julien Guiborel (Fra) Aubervilliers 93 Big Mat 73 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 7.01 74 Peter Van Agtmaal (Bel) Wieler Team Eycken 10.17 75 Leon Offringa (Ned) Lowik Meubelen-Tegeltoto 76 Stephane Cys (Fra) Ple Wasquehal 77 Joachim Karlik (Bel) RC Pesant Club Liege 78 Vincent Bonora (Fra) Lyon Vaux En Velin 79 Braulio Juanes (Esp) Seat Kona Hadimek 80 Gregory Sienowicz (Can) Equipe National 81 Johan Nordlund (Swe) Team Velodrom 82 Mathieu Paris (Fra) Nogent Sur Oise 83 Julien Laidoun (Fra) Etupes Le Doubs 10.34 84 Raphaël Devienne (Fra) Ple Wasquehal 85 David Loosli (Sui) Seat Kona Hadimek 86 Sylvain Le Marchand (Fra) Super Sport 23 La Creuse Interclub 1 Domo - Farm Frites Retie 45 pts 2 Kortrijk Groeninge Spurters 51 3 VC Roubaix 51 4 DCM Cycling Team 59 5 Wieler Team Eycken 63 6 Vendee-U-Pays De La Loire 64 7 Go Pass-Abx Cycling Team 83 8 Etupes Le Doubs 91 9 RC Pesant Club Liegeois 107 10 MGI Fietsen 108 11 Lyon Vaux En Velin 112 12 Eddy Merckx Boys 117 13 Nogent Sur Oise 137 14 Super Sport 23 La Creuse 158 15 Seat Kona Hadimek 161 16 Equipe National Canada 174 17 Pole Wasquehal 215
2000 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Mapei-Latexco