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67th GP Stad Zottegem-Dr. Tistaert Prijs - 1.3
Belgium, August 19, 2003
Kermesse King Geert Omloop wins GP Zottegem
By Jeff Jones in Zottegem
Belgian champion Geert Omloop (Palmans-Collstrop) has added his name to the winners list of the GP Stad Zottegem/Dr. Tistaert Prijs, which was held for the 67th time today. Omloop, who excels at these types of races, was the strongest at the end of the 173 kilometre race, beating breakaway companions Karsten Kroon (Rabobank) and Wim Vansevenant (Lotto-Domo) by a clear margin.
This classic kermesse race was upgraded in 1999 to carry UCI points, progressing from 1.4 to 1.3 in the past few years. The organisers are hoping to make the step up to 1.2, which will mean live coverage on Belgian TV and a significant boost for the race. They certainly did their chances no harm today, with a large crowd turning out in pleasant 25 degree sunshine to watch the action, including such dignitaries as Belgian 'first citizen' Herman De Croo, who like all good Belgian politicians is a fan of bike racing.
The crowd was treated to a good race too, with the riders averaging over 45 km/h in a very attacking, open affair. The course consisted of a large 51 km lap followed by eight 16.5 km laps around the town, including the tough little climb of the Grotenberge each lap.
On the opening 51 km lap, a largish group of 14 managed to get nearly a minute's lead over the peloton, which was strung out in pursuit with Marlux doing a lot of work on the front. As the gap came down, numerous small groups peeled off the front of the peloton, with a dangerous one containing Geert Omloop making it across in the third 16.5 km lap. Some of the teams back the bunch chose to risk having Omloop up the road, and that proved to be fatal for their chances.
After 93 km, a group of 12 had established itself with a minute's advantage over the next chasing group. Rabobank had the strength in numbers, with three riders in the break: Karsten Kroon, Kevin de Weert and Marc Lotz. However Lotto-Domo had two there in Wim Vansevenant and Gorik Gardeyn, as did Palmans with Omloop and Kristof Trouvé. The remainder consisted of Bjørnar Vestøl (fakta), Björn Glasner (Lamonta), Igor Abakoumov (Van Hemert Groep), Timo Scholz (Wiesenhof) and Erik Lievens (Landbouwkrediet). Plenty of riders tried to get across over the next 90 km, but none could.
The group cooperated well to hold the bunch at bay over the remaining laps, but the high pace and team tactics meant that a 12 man sprint was unlikely to decide the race. Towards the end of the second last lap, a split happened with Omloop, Trouvé, Vansevenant, Gardeyn, Vestøl and Kroon coming through with one lap to go with 15" on the rest.
On the last lap, Trouvé and Omloop worked well to 1-2 the rest of the break, with the result that Omloop, Vansevenant and Kroon escaped the other three. Then it became a matter of two Belgians (Omloop and Vansevenant) and one Dutchman (Kroon) in the break, and Kroon really didn't have a chance, although he tried. Vansevenant helped to chase down Kroon's attack near the finish, handing Geert Omloop the race on a silver platter. Omloop won the flowers, and the parochial crowd was treated to having their own national champion on the podium. Many of them are still celebrating as I finish this report.
Images by Jeff Jones/Cyclingnews.com
1 Geert Omloop (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 3.50.00 (45.13 km/h) 2 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank 3 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Lotto-Domo 0.04 4 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto-Domo 0.31 5 Björnar Vestöl (Nor) Team fakta 6 Kristof Trouve (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 7 Björn Glasner (Ger) Team Lamonta 8 Igor Abakoumov (Bel) Van Hemert Groep 9 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Rabobank 10 Timo Scholz (Ger) Team Wiesenhof 11 Erik Lievens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 12 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank 13 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto-Domo 1.49 14 Steven De Neef (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf 15 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 1.51 16 Eric Baumann (Ger) Team Wiesenhof 17 Kevin Van Der Slagmolen (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 18 Christoph Roodhooft (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 19 Ronald Mutsaars (Ned) Rabobank 20 Chris Peers (Bel) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 21 Christophe Detilloux (Bel) Lotto-Domo 22 Matthé Pronk (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team 23 Christophe Stevens (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf 24 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Lotto-Domo 25 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank 26 Martin Rittsel (Swe) Team fakta 2.17 27 Paul Van Schalen (Ned) Axa Cycling Team 28 Jan Kuyckx (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 2.25 29 Tom Stremersch (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 30 Thierry De Groote (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 31 Stefan Cohnen (Ned) Team ComNet-Senges 32 Janek Tombak (Est) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 33 Pascal Hermes (Ned) Axa Cycling Team 34 Saulius Ruskys (Ltu) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf 35 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Lotto-Domo 36 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) FDJeux.com 37 Remco Van Der Ven (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team 38 Kees Jeurissen (Ned) Van Hemert Groep 39 Scott Sunderland (Aus) Team fakta 40 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Ringerike 41 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf 42 Mathias Jelitto (Ger) Vermarc Sportswear 43 Ruud Aerts (Ned) Van Hemert Groep 44 Alain Van Katwijk (Ned) Axa Cycling Team 45 Cameron Jennings (Aus) Team Down Under 46 Edward Dunning (Ned) Van Hemert Groep 47 Youri Deliens (Bel) Flanders-Iteamnova 48 Jérôme Lepron (Fra) Flanders-IteamNova.com 49 Rene Weissinger (Ger) Vermarc Sportswear 50 Jehudi Schoonacker (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 51 Björn Papstein (Ger) Team Lamonta 52 Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Van Hemert Groep 53 Robert Sassone (Fra) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 54 Hayden Roulston (NZl) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 55 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 56 Addy Engels (Ned) Rabobank 57 Marc Streel (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 58 Vincent Van Rijn (Ned) Van Hemert Groep 59 Jelle Van Groezen (Ned) Van Hemert Groep 60 Fredrik Modin (Swe) Team fakta 61 Robert Van Der Stelt (Ned) Van Hemert Groep 62 Julien Smink (Ned) Van Hemert Groep 63 René Obst (Ger) Team Wiesenhof
2002 Matthe Pronk (Ned) Rabobank 2001 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis 2000 Michel van Haecke (Bel) 1999 Etienne De Wilde (Bel) 1998 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) 1997 Frank Hoj (Den) 1996 Chris Peers (Bel) 1995 Hendrik Redant (Bel) 1994 Marc Wauters (Bel) 1993 Pierre Herinne (Bel) 1992 Marc Dierickx (Bel) 1991 Peter De Clercq (Bel) 1990 Marco Van der Hulst (Ned) 1989 Gino Van Hooydonck (Bel) 1988 Chris Scharmin (Bel) 1987 Nico Verhoeven (Ned) 1986 Patrick Cocquyt (Bel) 1985 Raoul Bruyndonckx (Bel) 1984 Luc Colijn (Bel) 1983 Mario Mariotti (Bel) 1982 Rudy Colman (Bel) 1981 Gery Verlinden (Bel) 1980 Etienne Van der Helst (Bel) 1979 Pol Verschuere (Bel) 1978 Daniël Willems (Bel) 1977 Herman Vrijders (Bel) 1976 Willem Peeters (Bel) 1975 Jan Raas (Ned) 1974 André Dierickx (Bel) 1973 Maurice Dury (Bel) 1972 Herman Van Springel (Bel) 1971 Albert Van Vlierberghe (Bel) 1970 Fernand Hermie (Bel) 1969 Willy Vanden Eynde (Bel) 1968 Frans Melckenbeeck (Bel) 1967 Roland Vande Rijse (Bel) 1966 Jo De Roo (Ned) 1965 Frans Aerenhouts (Bel) 1964 Clément Roman (Bel) 1963 Jean-Baptist Claes (Bel) 1962 Jef Schils (Bel) 1961 Frans Schoubben (Bel) 1960 Jef Schils (Bel) 1959 Arthur De Cabooter (Bel) 1958 Roger Baens (Bel) 1957 Willy Schroeders (Bel) 1956 Lucien Matthijs (Bel) 1955 André Auquier (Bel) 1954 Gilbert Desmet I (Bel) 1953 Leon Delathouwer (Bel) 1952 Leopold Schaeken (Bel) 1951 Maurits Blomme (Bel) 1950 Maurits Blomme (Bel) 1949 Maurits Blomme (Bel) 1948 Emile Vanderveken (Bel) 1947 Michel Remue (Bel) 1946 Michel Van Elsué (Bel) 1945 K. De Baere (Bel) 1944 No race 1943 P. Depredomme (Bel) 1942 Albert Ritserveldt (Bel) 1941 Georges Claes (Bel) 1940 No race 1939 Marcel Kint (Bel) 1938 Louis Janssens (Bel) 1937 Sylvain Grysolle (Bel) 1936 P. Van Teemsche (Bel) 1935 Michel Buyck (Bel) 1934 André Verlinden (Bel) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com