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57th Omloop Het Volk - 1.1

Belgium, March 2, 2002

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Van Petegem wins his third Het Volk

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Nice trophy, PVP
Photo ©: AFP
 

Peter Van Petegem has started his season in the best possible way, winning the opening Belgian classic Omloop Het Volk for the third time in his career. Van Petegem benefited from the strength of his Lotto-Adecco team, which had the numbers in the final group to sway the chances of victory. In second place after a late solo attack was Dane Frank Høj, while Michel Van Haecke (Landbouwkredit-Colnago) finished third, just in front of a group of 16 riders.

Van Petegem is regarded as one of Belgium's top one day specialists, and won this race in 1997 and 1998. His victory in 2002 puts him up with three time winners Ernie Sterckx (1952-'53-'56) and Jos Bruyere (1974-'75-'80), the only riders to have won this race more than twice. This was certainly Van Petegem's best win ever in Omloop Het Volk, as the experienced 32 year old from Opbrakel made his winning move with perfect timing after his power-packed Lotto-Addeco squad dominated the day's proceedings.

It was also an important morale booster for Belgian cycling in the wake of the Frank Vandenbroucke disaster, which has dominated the press this week.

"I had super legs today," commented Van Petegem afterwards. "The team was very strong today, we could not lose. With three leaders (Andrei Tchmil, Robbie McEwen and myself) we had all the cards in our hand."

"I decided to attack in the final paved section which I know like the back of my hand. I was successful and I was sure of my sprint against Frank Høj. I will now prepare for the Tour of Flanders, and why not for Paris-Roubaix? I could show my condition there provided it doesn't rain."

The race was animated early on by Hans De Meester (Palmans-Collstrop) and Pascal Deramé, who attacked after 7 kilometres and were eventually caught on the Muur Van Geraardsbergen (84 km). The peloton had already started to splinter at this stage, and with 100km to go to the finish, Lotto-Adecco sent Glenn d'Hollander away to force the pace. He was joined by Mapei's hungry Hungarian Laszlo Bodrogi.

The two riders were caught by Max Sciandri (Lampre), Demeyere and De Jongh and the front runners were joined after the steep Molenberg climb by the top men who had accelerated after the break. Lotto ruled the roost with 4 riders (Tchmil, Van Petegem, D’Hollander et McEwen), there were other pretenders for the victory bouquet like Paolino Bettini and youngster Kevin Hulsmans (Mapei), old fox Sorensen & Michael Van Haecke (Colnago-Landbouwkredit), Van Dijck, cruncher Chris Peers & Jo Planckaert (Cofidis), Frank Hoy, Cédric Vasseur, Karsten Kroon (Rabobank) and Norwegian god Thor Hushovd.

 
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Dynamic Duo
Photo ©: AFP

As the cold (6 degrees) winds blew and the scrabbly clouds scudded across Flanders fields, behind the crucial move of the day Domo, Fassa Bortolo and Telekom made the chase behind but it was just too late. The Lotto boys had flown the coop and were simply setting up Van Petegem for the key move of the day while the competition struggled behind. After a massive pull by the brilliant d'Hollander got rid of the hangers-on, only Bettini, Van Dijck, Van Haecke, Høj, Planckaert, Hulsmans and Peers were left along with his Lotto teammates.

On the cobbles of Berringstraat with 19km to go, blond bomber Frank Høj got tired of being beat up on by Lotto and the Dane made his move. On the next cobblestone section in Vogelzangstraat, Van Petegem made a massive move, riding clear of the chasers and bridging the 20" gap up to Høj with ease. While Tchmil controlled the chasers, the two front riders worked together and with 5km to the finish in Lokeren, their gap was 30".

From then on it was just a matter of holding off the peloton to ensure victory for the Belgian, who had no problems beating Høj in the sprint. Michel Van Haecke (Landbouwkrediet) escaped for third place, while McEwen led the bunch home for fourth.

Photography

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Results

1 Peter van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco              4.52.30 (41.436 km/h)
2 Frank Höj (Den) Team Coast                           0.04
3 Michel Vanhaecke (Bel) Landbouwkredit-Colnago        0.16
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco
5 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
6 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step 
7 Andreij Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
8 Hendrik Van Dijck (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
9 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis
10 Chris Peers (Bel) Cofidis
11 Glenn D'Hollander (Bel) Lotto-Adecco                2.15
12 Rolf Sörensen (Den) Landbouwkredit-Colnago          2.22 
13 Lazslo Bodrogi (Hun) Mapei-Quick Step
14 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank
15 Geoffrey Demeyere (Bel) Vlaanderen - T Interim 
16 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank
17 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) Credit Agricole
18 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole    
19 Raphael Schweda (Ger) Team Coast
20 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre-Daikin             2.37
21 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola
22 Matthew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank
23 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
24 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) AG2R-Prevoyance               9.22
25 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team Coast
26 Torsten Schmidt (Ger) Gerolsteiner
27 Malte Urban (Ger) Team Coast
28 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Vlaanderen - T Interim
29 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean Delatour                9.34
30 Rene Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner
31 Servais Knaven (Ned) Domo-Farm Frites
32 Benoit Joachim (Lux) US Postal 
33 Tom Desmet (Bel) Marlux - Ville de Charleroi
34 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Lotto-Adecco
35 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Telekom
36 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola  
37 Matthe Pronk (Ned) Rabobank
38 Yoeri Beyens (Bel) Vlaanderen - T Interim
39 Ralf Grabsch (Ger) Telekom
40 Frederic Guesdon (Fra) Francaise des Jeux 
41 Nicola Loda (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
42 Coen Boerman (Ned) Rabobank
43 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) Francaise des Jeux
44 Gerben Lowik (Ned) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus
45 Christopher Jenner (Fra) Credit Agricole 
46 Sven Nijs (Bel) Rabobank
47 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole
48 Saulius Ruskys (Ltu) Gerolsteiner
49 Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) Bonjour 
50 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) RDM-Flanders 
51 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Tacconi Sport
52 Dario Pieri (Ita) Alessio
53 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
54 Franck Renier (Fra) Bonjour
55 Fabien De Waele (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
56 Roberto Petito (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
57 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo
58 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) CSC-Tiscali
59 Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis
60 Pavel Padrnos (Cze) US Postal Service
61 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites
62 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
63 Tom Boonen (Bel) US Postal Service
64 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) CSC-Tiscali
65 Piotr Wadecki (Pol) Domo-Farm Frites
66 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) CSC-Tiscali
67 Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank
68 Andreas Klier (Ger) Telekom
69 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) CSC-Tiscali
70 Kristof Trouve (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop  
71 Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
72 Martin Hvastija (Slo) Alessio
73 Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Tacconi Sport
74 David Cioni (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
75 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Fassa Bortolo
76 Denis Zanette (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
77 Enrico Cassani (Ita) Domo-Farm Frites
78 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
79 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2r-Prevoyance
80 Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis
81 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio
82 Steven Van Malderghem (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
83 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank
84 Bart Voskamp (Ned) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus
85 Robert Sassone (Fra) Cofidis
86 Stephan Schreck (Ger) Team Telekom               13.00
87 Bruno Thibout (Fra) Jean Delatour                13.42
88 Sebastien Hinault (Fra) Credit Agricole
89 Matthew Wilson (Aus) La Francaise des Jeux
90 Jurgen Landrie (Bel) RDM - Flanders
91 Jerome Neuville (Fra) Cofidis
92 Nicolay Bo Larsen (Den) Gerolsteiner
93 Pascal Derame (Fra) Bonjour
94 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance
95 Stijn Verstraelen (Bel) RDM - Flanders

Results courtesy of Ronald Schipper and Reinier Meijer