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43rd Brabantse Pijl - 1.2
Belgium, March 30, 2003
Boogerd and Freire top off Rabobank's great weekend
By Jeff Jones
A powerful attack by Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) with 700m to go on the final climb has given him the victory in the 43rd Brabantse Pijl in Alsemberg today. It was Boogerd's second win in the race, after also claiming it two years ago, and the sinewy Dutchman confirmed his favourites' status for the upcoming classics. In second place, and with no less of a ride, was his teammate Oscar Freire, who performed exemplary work in softening up breakaway companions Luca Paolini (Quick.Step) and Dave Bruylandts (Marlux) in preparation of Boogerd's final, decisive move. Paolini finished third in front of a disappointed Bruylandts, who could do nothing against the two Rabobank men today.
Boogerd's win also capped off an excellent weekend for the team, which won the E3 Prijs yesterday with Steven de Jongh. Today the Rabobank teamwork was evident as they marked every break, with Boogerd, Freire and Bruylandts riding away with less than 35 km to go, joined a little later by Paolini. The quartet rode away from the chasing group to finish with a comfortable margin of over two minutes, and no-one could match Boogerd's final acceleration.
"On Saturday we won the E3-Prijs with De Jongh," said Boogerd at the finish. "Therefore we could ride today with comfort. A win like that is a burden lifted."
Although Boogerd praised Bruylandts and Paolini for riding well in the break, Bruylandts was deeply disappointed with his fourth place. "I came here to win, not to finish fourth," he told Belgian TV. "When Boogerd went, I thought that Paolini would bridge the gap. He was still the fastest? That was the wrong gamble, but if I had have gone myself, then I would have also lost. Anyway I am ready for the Ronde, but I knew that earlier."
How it unfolded
The 197 km race was held in sunny and dry conditions, with many riders looking for a second bite of the cherry after yesterday's E3 Prijs. Johan Museeuw (Quick.Step) was on the start line again, his injured knee having survived yesterday's test, and used today to gain some more racing kilometres. After the start in Alsemberg (25 km south of Brussels), there was a good deal of attacking, with no break succeeding until Magnus Bäckstedt (Team fakta), Bram de Groot (Rabobank), Jan Kuyckx (Vlaanderen), Karl Pauwels (Palmans), Vincent van der Kooij and Rik Reinerink (BankGiroLoterij) succeeded in escaping after approximately 70 km.
The group gained an advantage of over five minutes, before the peloton began to close in on them on the tough finishing circuit (six laps of 17 km with three climbs per lap). De Groot was the strongest in the group, and eventually rode clear on his own with 45 km to go, but the chase was on in earnest from behind. Cedric Vasseur (Cofidis) was the first to close the gap to the breakaway group, together with Erwin Thijs (Palmans), and De Groot was quickly caught as the race changed shape in the final hour.
Dave Bruylandts (Marlux) made his way into the front group, and wasted no time in attacking them on the Lindenberg climb with 37 km to go. His acceleration provoked a reaction in the bunch, with Lotto's Wim Vansevenant doing a big turn on the next climb, with Boogerd, Freire, Paolini and Baguet on his wheel. Over the top and it was Boogerd and Freire who jumped across to Bruylandts, forming a dangerous three man break with 27 km to go.
They were chased by a larger group, with Paolini (Quick.Step), Baguet, Moerenhout (Lotto), Kirchen and Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo), Arvesen (fakta), Ongarato (Domina Vacanze), De Groote (Palmans), Sijmens (Vlaanderen), Cassani (Alessio) and Vainsteins (Sidermec). Arvesen was forced into a pothole by a motorbike rider and broke his wheel, and as the Norwegian champion signaled for his team car, Luca Paolini took off in pursuit of the three leaders. Paolini was chased by Rabobank's Marc Lotz, who did not have the legs to stay with the Italian, although it would have meant three Rabobanks in the front five.
Once Paolini bridged the gap the race was virtually decided, as with the strength of Boogerd, Freire, Bruylandts and Paolini in front, the chasers were not coming back. In the final 17 km lap, Freire played the perfect teammate's role, attacking four or five times with a strong acceleration, forcing Paolini and Bruylandts to use up valuable energy in pursuit. When they reached Alsemberg for the final time, it was a foregone conclusion: Boogerd sprinted up the climb with less than 1 km to go, Paolini tried but failed to follow him, and the Dutchman was on his way to victory.
As Boogerd crossed the line at the top in triumph, the three man sprint behind him was taken by an excellent Freire, who is another rider to watch in the upcoming classics. This weekend Rabobank proved to be more than a match for Quick.Step-Davitamon, who will no doubt shift up a gear for next week's Ronde van Vlaanderen.
Images by Luc Claessen/www.actiefotos.be
Images by Sabine Sunderland/Cyclingnews.com
Images by Bert Geerts
1 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 4.31.00 (42.458 km/h) 2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank 0.09 3 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 4 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf 5 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval 2.09 6 Enrico Cassani (Ita) Alessio 2.20 7 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team fakta 8 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo 9 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto-Domo 10 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron 11 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 12 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 13 Thierry De Groote (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 14 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank 15 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Lotto-Domo 16 Bart Voskamp (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team 2.29 17 Matteo Carrara (Ita) De Nardi-Colpack 6.47 18 Addy Engels (Ned) Rabobank 19 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 20 Lilian Jegou (Fra) Credit Agricole 21 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Credit Agricole 22 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Lotto-Domo 23 Kristof Trouve (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 24 Christoph Roodhooft (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 25 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf 26 Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel) Domina Vacanze-Elitron 27 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto-Domo 28 Fabian De Waele (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 29 Roy Sentjens (Ned) Rabobank 30 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Lotto-Domo 31 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank 32 Davide Bramati (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 33 Ondrej Fadrny (Cze) De Nardi-Colpack 34 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 35 Matthé Pronk (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team 36 Jef Peeters (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 37 Kurt Van Landeghem (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 38 Frank Hoj (Den) Team fakta 39 Tom Stremersch (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 40 Bram De Groot (Ned) Rabobank 41 Stéphane Berges (Fra) Ag2r-Prevoyance 42 Frederik Penne (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 43 Hayden Roulston (NZl) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 44 Jörg Ludewig (Ger) Team Saeco 45 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 46 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Team Saeco 47 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Rabobank 48 Bert Hiemstra (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team 49 Mauro Gerosa (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval 50 Thorwald Veneberg (Ned) Rabobank 51 Scott Sunderland (Aus) Team fakta 52 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 53 Jaroslaw Zarebski (Pol) CCC-Polsat 54 Steven Kleynen (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 55 Steve De Wolf (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 56 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 57 Rudolf Wentzel (RSA) Vlaanderen-T Interim 58 Michael Skelde (Den) Team fakta 59 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval 60 Mauro Radaelli (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval 61 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 62 Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 63 Pieter Vries (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team 64 Erwin Thijs (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 65 Seweryn Kohut (Pol) CCC-Polsat 66 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole 67 Lauri Aus (Est) Ag2r-Prevoyance 68 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Team Saeco 69 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 70 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 7.32 71 Michele Gobbi (Ita) De Nardi-Colpack 72 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Alessio 73 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron 74 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank 75 Werner Riebenbauer (Aut) Team fakta 76 Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Ag2r-Prevoyance 77 Jürgen Landrie (Bel) Flanders-IteamNova.com 7.55 78 Tony Bracke (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 9.04 Courtesy of Ronald Schipper
2002 Fabian De Waele (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step 198 kms in 4.30.10 (43.97 km/h) 2001 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 194 kms in 4.31.10 (42.93 km/h) 2000 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-Bricobi 195 kms in 4.33.43 (42.675 km/h) 1999 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 193 kms in 4.43.15 (40.882 km/h) 1998 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-Bricobi 193 kms in 4.15.50 (45.263 km/h) 1997 Gianluca Pianegonda (Ita) 1996 Johan Museeuw (Bel) 1995 Edwig Van Hooydonck (Bel) 1994 Michele Bartoli (Ita) 1993 Edwig Van Hooydonck (Bel) 1992 Johan Capiot (Bel) 1991 Edwig Van Hooydonck (Bel) 1990 Frans Maassen (Ned) 1989 Johan Capiot (Bel) 1988 Johan Capiot (Bel) 1987 Edwig Van Hooydonck (Bel) 1986 Johan Van de Velde (Ned) 1985 Adri Van der Poel (Ned) 1984 Ronny Van Holen (Bel) 1983 Eddy Planckaert (Bel) 1982 Claude Criquielion (Bel) 1981 Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel) 1980 Michel Pollentier (Bel) 1979 Daniel Willems (Bel) 1978 Marcel Laurens (Bel) 1977 Frans Verbeeck (Bel) 1976 Freddy Maertens (Bel) 1975 Willem Peters (Bel) 1974 Herman Vanspringel (Bel) 1973 Johan De Muynck (Bel) 1972 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1971 Joseph Spruyt (Bel) 1970 Herman Vanspringel (Bel) 1969 Willy In'T'Ven (Bel) 1968 Victor Van Schil (Bel) 1967 Roger Rosiers (Bel) 1966 Jan Janssen (Ned) 1965 Willy Bocklant (Bel) 1964 Arnaldo Pambianco (Ita) 1963 Joseph Wouters (Bel) 1962 Marcel Janssens (Bel) 1961 Pino Cerami (Bel) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com