Gent-Wevelgem - Belgium

Past Winners
Early Results
Full Results

Cipollini absent from Gent - Wevelgem

Mario Cipollini, winner of Gent - Wevelgem in 1992 and 1993, will miss the race this year. He has gone home to Italy with a slight cold and an injury to his left knee. He has an appointment at the hospital in Pisa today, Wednesday, and hopes to be back in action in the Tour of Aragon 17-21 April.

The route of the 208 km semi-classic' from Gent to Wevelgem won't go into France this year. Kemmelberg, the last climb, is situated 33 km from the finish and there's a big possibility of a mass sprint. Among the favourites are Belgians Wilfried Nelissen, Johan Museeuw and Tom Steels with foreign opposition from the winner 1995 Lars Michaelsen (Den), Djamolidine Abdujaparov (Uzb), Fabio Baldato (Ita), Jan Svorada (Cze), Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) and Andrej Tchmil (Ukr).

Maurizio Fondriest, second in 1995, will also be absent, he's at the moment riding in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco.

Another rider on the sick list is Rolf Sorensen who had a bad fall in Ronde van Vlaanderen and injured his left hand. The first x-rays showed no fracture but he was in terrible pain and unable to start in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco. He has now gone to Italy for a new examination.

Previous Winners - 1934-1995

1995    Lars Michaelsen (Den)
1994    Wilfried Peeters (Bel)
1993    Mario Cipollini (Ita)
1992*   Mario Cipollini (Ita)
1991    Djamolidine Abdujaparov (Uzb)
1990    Herman Frison (Bel)
1989    Gerrit Solleveld (Ned)
1988    Sean Kelly (Irl)
1987    Teun Van Vliet (Ned)
1984    Guido Bontempi (Ita)
1983    Leo Van Vliet (Ned)
1982    Frank Hoste (Bel)
1981    Jan Raas (Ned)
1980    Henk Lubberding (Ned)
1979    Francesco Moser (Ita)
1978    Ferdi Van Den Haute (Bel)
1977    Bernard Hinault (F)
1976    Freddy Maertens (Bel)
1975    Freddy Maertens (Bel)
1974    Barry Hoban (Eng)
1973    Eddy Merckx (Bel)
1972*   Roger Swerts (Bel)
1971    Georges Pintens (Bel)
1970    Eddy Merckx (Bel)
1969    Willy Vekemans (Bel)
1968    Walter Godefroot (Bel)
1967    Eddy Merckx (Bel)
1966    Herman Van Springel (Bel)
1965    Noel De Pauw (Bel)
1964    Benoni Beheyt (Bel)
1962    Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1961    Frans Aerenhouts (Bel)
1960    Frans Aerenhouts (Bel)
1959    Leon Van Daele (Bel)
1958    Noel Fore (Bel)
1957    Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1956    Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1955    Briek Schotte (Bel)
1954    Rolf Graf (Sch)
1953    Raymond Impanis (Bel)
1952    Raymond Impanis (Bel)
1951    Andre Rosseel (Bel)
1950    Briek Schotte (Bel)
1949    Marcel Kint (Bel)
1948    Valere Ollivier (Bel)
1947    Maurice Desimpelaere (Bel)
1946    Ernest Sterckx (Bel)
1945    Robert Van Eenaeme (Bel)
1939    Andre Declerck (Bel)
1938    Hubert Godart (Bel)
1937    Robert Van Eenaeme (Bel)
1936    Robert Van Eenaeme (Bel)
1935    Albert Depreitre (Bel)
1934    Gustave Van Belle (Bel)

1992* Djamolidine Abdujaparov disqualified
1972* Frans Verbeeck disqualified

The teams and principal riders taking part:

MG-TECHNOGYM: Baldato, Fontanelli, Jaermann
MAPEI-GB: Museeuw, Steels, Ballerini, Bortolami, Peeters
SAECO: Martinello, Fagnini, Scirea***
POLTI: Pianegonda, Lombardi, Guesdon
PANARIA: Serpellini, Bramati, Baronti
FESTINA: Michaelsen, Brochard, Magnien
LOTTO: Nelissen, Tchmil, Farazijn
RABOBANK: Ekimov, Van Hooydonck, Van Bon
TVM: Blijlevens, Van Petegem, Hoffman
REFIN: Abdujaparov, Planckaert, Roscioli
MOTOROLA: Sciandri, Yates, Fraser
GAN: Moncassin, O'Grady, Moreau, Seigneur, Vasseur
TELEKOM: Zabel, Ludwig, Aldag
CARRERA: Zberg, Fidanza, Traversoni
SAN MARCO: Missaglia, Vanderaerden, Arazzi
AKI: Tomi, Zanette, Delphis
ROSLOTTO: Lino, Davidenko, Manzoni
BRESCIALAT: Strazzer, Jaskula, Milesi
FORELDORADO: Bouwmans, Veenstra, Talen
COLLSTRIOP: Capiot, Mulders, Heyndrickx
VLAANDEREN 2002: Aerts, Verstrepen
PALMANS: Koerts, Vandaele
IPSO-ASFRA: De Smet, K. Van Lancker
TONNISTEINER-SAXON: Dierckxens, Willems
***Cipollini is out of action with tendinitis and will have to miss
Paris--Roubaix as well.

Early Result

Mapei-rider Tom Steels, Belgium. won the mass sprint in Gent-Wevelgem ahead of Giovanni Lombardi, Italy-Polti and Fabio Baldato, Italy-MG. Last year's winner Lars Michaelsen, Denmark-Festina finished in fourth place.

According to preliminary, and unconfirmed, reports Wilfried Nelissen crashed badly and is in hospital in Gent with a broken pelvis and a broken nose.

Also preliminary and unconfirmed: Maximilian Sciandri also fell badly and may have broken his foot.

Full Results - 208 km

  1. Tom Steels (Bel) Mapei-GB            4.53.00. (41,74 km/h)
  2. Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) Team Polti
  3. Fabio Baldato (Ita) MG-Technogym
  4. Lars Michaelsen (Den) Festina
  5. Leon van Bon (Ned) Rabobank
  6. Bruno Boscardin (Ita) Festina
  7. Massimo Strazzer (Ita) Brescialat
  8. Johan Capiot (Bel) Collstrop
  9. Andrej Tchmil (Ukr) Lotto
 10. Silvio Martinello (Ita) Saeco
 11. Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom
 12. Mario Traversoni (Ita) Carrera
 13. Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) TVM
 14. Peter van Petegem (Bel) TVM
 15. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) Festina
 16. George Hincapie (USA) Motorola
 17. Wiebren Veenstra (Ned) Foreldorado
 18. Tom Desmet (Bel) Collstrop
 19. Michelangelo Cauz (Ita) Aki
 20. Frederic Moncassin (Fra) Gan         
 21. Kaspars Ozers (Let) Motorola
 22. Marco Milesi (Ita) Brescialat
 23. Fabio Roscioli (Ita) Refin
 24. Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002
 25. Hendrik Redant (Bel) TVM
 26. Claudio Camin (Ita) Brescialat
 27. Arvis Piziks (Let) Rabobank
 28. Tristan Hoffman (Ned) TVM
 29. Andrea Peron (Ita) Motorola
 30. Peter Farazijn (Bel) Lotto                 all s.t.
 47. Pascal Lino (Fr, Roslotto-ZG Mobili)
 52. Eddy Seigneur (Fr, GAN)
 53. Laurent Brochard (Fr, Festina)
 73. Cedric Vasseur (Fr, GAN) and the rest of the peloton, all s.t.

181 starters, 109 finishers

Tom Steels wins Gent-Wevelgem - Nelissen badly injured

Gent-Wevelgem was again decided in a mass sprint and Belgian Tom Steels (Mapei-GB) beat Italian Giovanni Lombardi with half a wheel at the finish.

The real action of the day started at the first of two climbs of the Kemmelberg (km 152) when Johan Museeuw, Franco Ballerini and Olaf Ludwig went away. The trio had at most a lead of 31 seconds until Djamolidine Abdujaparov counter-attacked on the penultimate climb, the Molenberg (km 173).

On the second climb of the Kemmelberg, 33 km from the finish, the peloton regrouped.

At 25 km from the finish a group of eleven riders went away but was never more than 16 seconds ahead and were caught just before the finish.

Wilfried Nelissens (Belgium, Lotto) race ended after only eight kilometres when he crashed badly and suffered multiple fractures. He broke his shinbone and thighbone and fractured a kneecap. He is out for the rest of the season, possibly much longer.

More Detailed Reporting

First the sad, bad news. Nine kilometres into the race, in a freak crash, Wilfried Nelissen certainly put himself out of the Tour de France, and probably ended his season. Moving up to the peloton on the right-hand side of the road, Nelissen clipped a wooden post separating the road from the cycle path and fell heavily. He was taken to the university hospital in Gent. "The surgeon tells me that he has a complex fracture of the right tibia," said Lotto directeur-sportif

Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke. "That means there are several open fractures. He also has a fractured femur. He lost a litre of blood but hasn't had any major problems with his blood pressure."

The race caught fire on the first climb of the Kemmelberg, 56km from the finish when Mapei-GB's Johan Museeuw and Franco Ballerini put in a vicious attack which left everybody except Olaf Ludwig (Telekom) floundering. On the second ascent of the 18% cobbled climb, a few more riders gathered their forces. Andrei Tchmil (Lotto) put in an effort and Frederic Moncassin (GAN) -- despite his reputation for never having been first over even a railway bridge in the whole of his career -- went with him. In the short but tricky descent, Tchmil and Moncassin, together with Bruno Boscardin (Festina) joined up with the leading trio.

At 28km to Wevelgem, the break had swollen to 11, but both Museeuw and Ludwig had dropped back, possibly intentionally. The 11: Ballerini, Gianluca Bortolami (Mapei-GB), Emmanuel Magnien (Festina), Fabiano Fontanelli and Rolf Jaermann (MG-Technogym), Moncassin, Mario Scirea (Saeco), Tristan Hoffman (TVM), Gianluca Pianegonda and Gianluca Gorini (Aki).

The gap to the peloton, which was being put to work by Ceramiche Refin (Djamolidin Abdujaparov could be heard urging on team-mate Asiat Saitov) varied between 15 and 20 seconds. Telekom then took on the chasing role, with Ludwig now working for Erik Zabel. Further on, Edwig Van Hooydonck put in a long effort. seemingly trying himself out for Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.

The break was picked up less than 3km from the line. But before the junction was made, Mapei-GB, with Ballerini and Bortolami in the break and Museeuw in reserve had worked out how to lay down its fourth ace. "Go tell Steels that we're backing everything on him," directeur-sportif Patrick Lefevere told 1994 winner Wilfried Peeters through his radio earpiece. Ludwig Willems and Bart Leysen were then seen going to fetch Tom Steels and lauch him to the head of the peloton at 60kph. Steels says he was telling himself: "Don't panic, you've won sprints like this before."

With more than 100 riders bearing down on Wevelgem's long Vanackerestraat there were a number of sprinters' stories. One was Boscardin's. Capable of doing the job himself he rather looked about for team-mate Lars Michaelsen, last year's winner. It didn't work out. "I went off down the left," said Boscardin, "Michaelsen was over on the far right.". Steels was modest in victory. "If I didn't have such a good team around me," he said, "I'd only be a middling-good sprinter." Sunday he starts his first Paris-Roubaix....

Paris-Roubaix.... In the 1970s, when Gent-Wevelgem ran to 260km (it was cut down to its present size when it became subordinate to the World Cup races) Roger De Vlaeminck had a scary habit with the Hell of the North in view. At the finish of Gent-Wevelgem, he'd skip the showers, just have his face wiped and set off to add another 100km to the day's work. This was, the four-time winner of Paris- Roubaix said, the price you had to pay if you really wanted to be flying on the cobbles four days later.

Old habits die hard. While Steels was telling the press how he'd won, Frederic Moncassin and the rest of the GAN team were pedalling off on the 75km route to their Paris-Roubaix base at Valenciennes. Watching them from Roger Legeay's following car, the experienced eye of Hell of the North "Professeur" Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle.