81st Ronde van Vlaanderen, World Cup Round 2

Belgium, April 6, 1997

1996 Results and Reports

Complete Route

As it happens

Results and Reports

Results and Analysis

 1. Rolf Sorensen (Denmark) Rabobank 	     5.57.01
 2. Frederic Moncassin (France) GAN    		0.07
 3. Franco Ballerini (Italy) GB-Mapei         	0.08
 4. Andrei Tchmil (Ukraine) Lotto             	s.t.
 5. Davide Casarotto (Italy) Scrigno         	0.20
 6. Claudio Chiappucci (Italy) Asics         	0.21
 7. Michele Bartoli (Italy) MG-Technogym     	0.27
 8. Jo Planckaert (Belgium) Lotto
 9. Peter Van Petergem (Belgium) TVM
10. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Russia) U.S. Postal
11. Max Sciandri (Britain) F.D.Jeux        	all s.t.
12. Steffen Wesemann (Germany) Telekom     	2:09
13. Johan Meseeuw (Belgium) Mapei-GB
14. Leon Van Bon (Netherlands) Rabobank
15. Henk Vogels (Austria) GAN             	all s.t.
16. Bruno Boscardin (Italy) Festina        	2:12
17. Dimitri Nelubin (Russia) Roslotto-ZG   	4:30
18. Jan Koerts (Netherlands) Rabobank 
19. Johan Capiot (Belgium) TVM 
20. Rolf Aldag (Germany) Telekom 
21. Fabrizio Guidi (Italy) Scigno 
22. Juergen Werner (Germany) Refin 
23. Cedric Vasseur (France) GAN 
24. Carlo Bomans (Belgium) Mapei-GB 
25. George Hincapie (U.S.) U.S. Postal    	all s.t.

26. Peeters W. (Bel)
27. Fornaciari (Ita) 
28. Tafi (Ita) 
29. Konyshev (Rus) 
30. Wauters (Bel) 
31. Jaermann (Swi)
32. O'Grady (Aus) 
33. Savoldelli (Ita) 
34. Den Bakker (Ned) 
35. Mengin (Fra) 
36. Hoffman (Ned)
37. Dekker (Ned) 
38. Zabel (Ger) 				5.44
39. Ouchakov (Ucr) 
40. Calcaterra (Ita) 
41. Piziks (Lit) 
42. Bianchi (Ita) 
43. Scirea (Ita) 
44. Andreu (USA) 
45. Farazijn (Bel) 
46. Vierhouten (Ned)
47. Nicoletti (Ita) 
48. Brasi (Ita) 
49. Hernandez (Spa) 
50. Mauri (Spa) 
51. Molinari (Ita)
52. Brognara (Ita) 
53. Simon F. (Fra) 
54. Aus (Est)
55. Knaven (Ned) 
56. Aerts (Bel) 
57. Lemarchand (Fra) 
58. McEwen (Aus) 
59. Capelle (Fra) 
60. De Clercq (Bel) 
61. Verheyen (Bel) 
62. Fondriest (Ita)
63. Meinert (Dan) 
64. Baldinger (Ger) 
65. Corvers (Bel) 
66. Sacchi (Ita) 
67. Loda (Ita) 
68. Thibout (Fra) 
69. Hoj (Dan) 
70. Merckx A. (Bel) 
71. Poli (Ita) 
72. Diaz Zabala (Spa) 
73. Cenghialta (Ita)
74. Guesdon (Fra) 
75. Willems L. (Bel) 
76. Apollonio (Ita) 
77. Chiesa (Ita) 
78. Lietti (Ita) 
79. Zulle (Swi) 
80. Dietz (Ger) 
81. Gontchenkov (Rus)
82. Jalabert L. (Fra) 
83. Padrnos (R. Ceca) 
84. Van Dijk (Bel) 
85. Holm (Dan) 
86. Hundertmark (Ger)
87. Desbiens (Fra) 
88. Desmet T. (Bel) 				11.43
89. Medan (Fra) 
90. Daelman (Bel) 
91. Leysen (Bel)
92. Peers (Bel) 
93. Colonna (Ita) 
94. Barthe (Fra)
95. Magnien (Fra) 				14.18 
96. Van Lancker (Bel)

189 started 96 finished

World Cup standings

 1. Rolf Sorensen (Denmark)           124 points
 2. Erik Zabel (Germany)              100
 3  Frederic Moncassin (France)        70
 4. Alberto Elli (Italy)               70
 5. Michele Bartoli (Italy)            64
 6. Davide Casarotto (Italy)           51
 7. Franco Ballerini (Italy)           50
 8. Biagio Conte (Italy)               50
 9. Andrei Tchmil (Ukraine)            40
10. Francesco Casagrande (Italy)       40
11. Claudio Chiappucci (Italy)         32
12. Mirko Celestino (Italy)            32
13. Peter Van Petergem (Belgium)       32
14. Sergei Outschakow (Ukraine)        28
15. Maximilian Sciandri (Britain)      26
16. Jo Planckaert (Belgium)            24
17. Andrea Ferrigato (Italy)           20
18. Viatsjeslav Ekimov (Russia)        16
19. Andrea Noe (Italy)                 16
20  Steffen Wesemann (Germany)         14
21. Beat Zberg (Sweden)                14
22. Johan Meseeuw (Belgium)            13
23. Jesper Skibby (Denmark)            13
24. Leon Van Bon (Netherlands)         12
25. Henk Vogels (Austria)              11

Short Report from Hans

189 riders started.

116 km: Pascal Chanteur felt (with Biaggio Conte and Baldinger and left the course (probably collar bone)

120 km: climb Kattenberg - 18 leaders (with Cipollini, Rodriguez, Spruch, Casagrande, Piziks), peloton on 1'45"

193 km: climb Oude Kwaremont: Peter van Petegem, Boscardin and Tsjmil

198 km: climb Paterberg: 13 leaders: Boscardin, Museeuw, Jalabert, Hoffman, Moncassin, Bartoli, Tsjmil, Sorensen, Vogels, Van Petegem, Wesemann, Ekimov and Soigneur.

206 km: climb Kortekeer: Museeuw, Jalabert, Bartoli, Planckaert (12" before rest)

207 km: climb Taaienberg: Jalabert and Sorensen (9" before rest)

214 km: climb Steneberg: Jalabert and Sorensen (25" before rest)

225 km: before climb Berendries: - behind in peloton Museeuw and Boscardin. When Boscardin looks behind him he touches the wheel of Museeuw. They both fell and it took a long time because both handle-bars were entangledin each other. Both lost a lot of time before restart. No change anymore for Museeuw. - Jalabert can't follow the leaders anymore on top of Berendries: Ballerini, Sorensen, Casarotto; followed second group with Tsjmil, Bartoli, Petegem and Jalabert

229 km: climb Tenbosse: Sorensen, Ballerini, Casarotto and Van Petegem (on 18" followed by Tsjmil, Van Bon, Chiappucci, Planckaert, Ekimov, Wesemann, Moncassin and Vogels and 200 meters behind these group Museeuw and Boscardin.

240 km: climb Muur van Geraardsbergen: Peter van Petegem, Ballerini.

243 km: climb Bosberg: 10 leaders: Van Petegem, Ballerini, Sorensen, Bartoli, Casarotto, Chiappucci, Tsjmil, Planckaert, Moncassin and Sciandri. Then a attack by Moncassin and a jump by Sorensen and Ballerini. In the last km Ballerini try to attack; but Moncassin came back. Just then Sorensen makes a jump. Nobody is coming back and Sorensen can win with 5 seconds.

What Happened

A daring breakaway in the final kilometre saw Denmark's Rolf Sorensen win the 256-km Tour of Flanders on Sunday after a crash dashed the chances of Belgian favourite Johan Museeuw.

Sorensen, of Dutch team Rabobank, was the first Dane to win the Flemish classic, crossing the line in five hours 57 minute 01 seconds. Frederic Moncassin (GAN) of France was second and Italian Franco Ballerini (Mapei) third.

``I'm so happy...it is the biggest victory of my life,'' a breathlessly jubilant Sorensen said seconds after crossing the finish line.

Sorensen was in the leading pack for much of the World Cup event after breaking midway alongside Frenchman Laurent Jalabert, whose challenge faded on the course's famed cobblestoned hills.

Jalabert, riding the tour for the first time in three years, looked to be having a comfortable race. But after mounting a string of attacks he faded dramatically on the cobbled climb of the Berendries, some 30 kilometres from the finish.

Jalabert's collapse coincided with a major upset in the chasing group as Swiss Bruno Boscardin rode into the back wheel of World Cup defending champion Museeuw, ruining his prospects of a Flanders hat-trick.

Museeuw still managed to stage a recovery and finished in 13th place.

Sorensen and Ballerini grabbed their chance on the Berendries, breaking away only to be joined by Flemish Peter van Petegem who took the lead as the race passed through his home town of Brakel 27 kilometres from the finish.

The 10-strong chasing group regained the leaders during the final climb on the Bosberg.

With eight kilometres to go Moncassin attacked, but was chased down by Ballerini and Sorensen and the three stayed clear of the bunch into the final kilometre where Sorensen staged his decisive lunge for the finish line.

``In the last kilometre I had to do everything to go because Moncassin was there,'' Sorensen said.

The win took Sorensen, eighth in the opening World Cup race two weeks ago, to the top of the Cup standings.

Previous leader Erik Zabel of Germany finished 38th on Sunday after visibly strugglin

Sorenson's biggest victory

The Tour of Flanders is Dane Rolf Sorensen's biggest win in a 12-year professional cycling career.

Sorensen, who celebrates his 32nd birthday this month, secured his first classic victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 1993 and booked a memorable win in the 13th stage of the 1996 Tour de France.

The son of a professional cyclist, he started riding early, becoming junior champion of Denmark at 17. He subsequently left for Italy where he signed a professional contract at the age of 19.

Under the guidance of Moreno Argentin, star of Italy's Ariostea squad which he joined in 1987, Sorensen showed a steady improvement, winning first place in the 1990 Paris-Tours race.

In 1991 he finished second in Milan-San Remo, third in the Tour of Flanders and fourth in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Afer a promising start to the 1991 Tour de France in which he wore the yellow leader's jersey for four days, he broke his collar bone in a crash at the finish of the Valenciennes stage.

Married with a son and with another baby on the way, Sorensen lives in the Netherlands where he signed with the Dutch Rabobank team in 1996.

Bill: IN ACTUAL FACT HE LIVES IN ITALY (Thanks Peter for the correction).

Rolf Sorensen (31 years), prof since 1986, his first prof-victory was in the Tirreno Adriatico. In 1990 he won Paris Tours. His biggest success was in 1993: Luik-Bastenaken-Luik. In the same year he wons Tund um die Henniger Turm. In 1996 he won silver in Atlanta during the Olympics. Sorensen after his victory: "I'm preparing me now for Luik-Bastenaken-Luik and the worldchampion in San Sebastian".

Patrick Lefevre: "We had some bad luck. First we lost Pianegonda; and then Bomans and Peeters were not able to help in the front. And than the mistake by Boscardin was the end for the change of Johan Museeuw"

Peter van Petegem was riding very strong: "But i had to work for our leader Tchmil. Just before the final i had to give him my tube and it cost a lot of power to come back in front of the course. After the Bosberg it became a lottery."

Reports as it Happens

Photo of Rolf giving the big V

Good night!

16:10:07 Final Result

 1. Rolf Sorensen            6.00.41 (42.59 km/h)
 2. Moncassin 			0.05
 3. Ballerini
 4. Tchmil   			0.17
 5. Casarotto
 6. Chiappucci
 7. Bartoli
 8. Van Petegem
 9. Planckaert

16:07:13 - At 5 seonds follow Moncassin and Ballerini.

16:06:30 - Sorensen wins the Ronde Van Vlaanderen 1997!

16:05:31 - Sorensen attacks in Ninove.

16:03:15 - In Ninove, with 2 kms to the finish there is a 22 second gap between the top group and the chasers and it is too big to be made up.


It is going to come down to a battle between Ballerini, Moncassin and Sorensen

15:58:26 - The last 5 kilometers...

15:58:03 - On the last climb up the Bosberg, there were some very fast attacks. Ballerini, Moncassin and Sorensen each on going for a 100 metre attack.

15:56:41 - Ballerini, Van Petegem, Svrensen. Bartoli, Casarotto: on top. A group follows, Een groep volgt, reaching Planckaert.


15:44:51 - Ballerini and Van Petegem are the first over the Muur. Now to the finish...


5:39:59 - The chasers have the top group of Van Petegem, Svrensen, Cassani meanwhile "restrained" (Bill: I guess in sight!). Musseeuw is not there, being nearer to Geraardsbergen (Bill: down in the village from the Muur!)

15:40:19 - Ballerini attacks. No-one reacts. Then Casarotto follows.

15:38:14 - With the muur van Geraardsbergen in sight, we find the gap between the top riders and the followers to be around 12 seconds.

15:35:03 - Four new leaders: Ballerini, Svrensen, Casorotto, Van Petegem. They have an 18 second gap on the following group with Tchmil.


Museeuw follows on his own with strong encouragement from the crowd. Same with Boscardin en Jalabert.

15:33:25 - Fallen: Musseuw and Boscardin. Museeuw gets back on his bike. He is furious with his sportdirecteur (he wil not accept a drink); Perhaps he thinks he has replaced the wrong bike.


15:14:23 - Meanwhile, the sportdirecteurs are trying to give their riders a number of instructions.


The gap for Jalabert and Svrensen meanwhile stands at 20 seconds.

15:06:38 - Jalabert and Svrensen now have attacked together and have a gap of about 25 seconds on the chasers, which include, Johan Museeuw, Bartoli, and Planckaert. The gap is not large enough to constitute a real gap between the attackers and the followers. On the contrary even!




15:00:23 - Over the Taaienberg Jalabert has attacked and following a little way back is Sorensen.


14:58:54 - Over the Taaienberg there are 4 riders with a gap of 50 metres, but the chasers are catching up with Tchmil.

14:51:30 - There is a short attack from Jalabert, with Museeuw, Bartoli and Jo Planckaert on his wheel. They have a 12 second gap on the following riders.

14:49:08 - The top group is an amalgamation of 20 men, with among others Jalabert, Boscardin, Van Petegem,Bartoli, Tchmil, Hoffman, Museeuw, Moncassin, Ballerini, ..

Photo at this point

14:42:43 - Jalabert attacks but there is a fast reaction from Museeuw frustrates the attempt.

14:41:26 - Bad news for Museeuw, as Peeters and Bomans have fallen way out of the following peleton. Only Franco Ballerini has any real chance of staying in the reckoning.

14:38:28 - The chasers: Museeuw is on top with Jalabert on his wheel up the Paterberg

14:36:10 - Museeuw attacks to try out with Tchmil. Van Petegem holds on.

14:34:53 - Van Petegem leads over the Kwaremont climb. He has a lead of about 50 metres which is good for his own fans. Museeuw is following at about 70 metres.

At 14:30 - The report is that Spruch is having difficulties. The team-mate of Museeuq has ridden well and done a lot of good work for the team. Hopefully, Museeuw will translate this good work into success.

At 14:22:07 - The top teams have worked to close down the gap. All the favourites are now back in the race. Here and there are attempts to attack. Noticable at the front are Bart Leysen, Tchmil and Moncassin.

The Kluisberg has just passed and the peleton is for the most part together.

At 14.00.00 - The sun remains shiny and the tempo remains high. For the final kms there is an angry side wind predicted which will reduce the swift speed to date. The weather is more Mediterranean than a typical Belgian day. Which is good for the fanatic fans (at least those who are standing outside to watch) and for the riders. Most agreeable condition.

Photo at about 150 kms

13.30 - Andrei Tchmil, one of the favourites punctured but was soon back in the race after some "nimble" assistance.

They have now gone 140 kms. The peleton with Museeuw and Sorensen are keenly pursuing the top group. The gap between the top group of 17 and the peleton has fallen now to around 1 minute.

13.00 - They have gone over the first berg at De Ast, with 14 left to climb. This is the first points in the "Abanderado" berg prize. The rider with the best points in the berg climbs will win 100,000 BFs.

There is a break of 17 riders including Nico Eeckhout and Wim Omloop. There are 6 Italians including Mario Cipollini, 5 Spanish riders, 2 French and a Pole.

They are 2 minutes up on the Peleton.

The avs speed is around 47 kms per hour and they have passed some very poor road surfaces.

12.00 - 190 riders started. Lars Michaelsen (collar bone injury), Djamolidine Abdousjaparov (GP Rennes) and Jim van de Laer did not start.

The Belgian TV coverage starts at 13.40 (Eurotime), with 10 minutes about the start in St Niklaas; then 30 minutes with a recorded part from Katteberg (2nd hill) to Molenberg (4th hill). And then at 14h20 the live-coverage from Kluisbergen (181 km) till the finish (256 km). Saturday it was bad weather; but at the moment the sun is shining in Holland.

Eric de Clerq (Collstrop) attacked at the 60 km mark and got a gap of about 25 seconds. But by the first cobbles at Kanegem, the peleton has caught him. The avs so far 40 kms per hour.