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Photo ©: Bettini

 UCI codes explained

42nd E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - 1.1

Belgium, March 27, 2004

2003 Results    Photo Gallery     Results    Past winners

Big win for Boonen

By Jeff Jones

Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon) takes out the E3 Prijs
Photo ©: AFP

Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon) has shown that he is becoming a worthy successor to Johan Museeuw by winning the 42nd E3 Prijs Vlaanderen in a small bunch sprint. Boonen benefited from some excellent work from his teammates, who combined with Lotto-Domo to chase down Dave Bruylandts, Stijn Devolder and Michael Boogerd with 300 metres to go to set up the sprint. Boonen came off Zanini's wheel with 200 metres to go and easily held off Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2r) and Andris Nauduzs (Domina Vacanze) with a powerful burst to the finish.

"It wasn't a simple win," explained Boonen. "20 kilometres from the finish, in the last pavé sector, I punctured and I had other technical problems. Thanks to the help of Kevin Hulsmans I succeeded in catching in the group at 7 kilometres to go.

"The guys worked very hard for me. Stefano Zanini was very important in the last kilometre and piloted me up to the 200 meters. It is a win of mine but above all of the team’s. Now I want to concentrate on the Driedaagse van de Panne."

How it unfolded

Defending champion Steven de Jongh (Rabobank)
Photo ©: CN

The riders started from Harelbeke's Grote Markt at 12 noon accompanied by church bells and sunshine. There was little wind today which made for a fast race early on, with the peloton averaging 43 km/h for the first three hours on the flats. The most successful early attacker was Nico Eeckhout (Lotto-Domo), who rode with Marc Streel (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) for a while after attacking at 56 km. After the pair were caught, Eeckhout had another try solo, but this came to an end on the second climb of the day, Berg Stene at 126 km.

The peloton gradually started to pick up the tempo on the next climbs, with Quick.Step and Lotto-Domo very prominent at the front of the large block of riders. There were a surprisingly large number of punctures too, with Belgian champion Geert Omloop (MrBookmaker) one of the victims, forcing him to abandon before too long.

On the Stationsberg with 65 km to go, the attacks started to reduce the peloton. Paolo Bettini was very active in the front, as was Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis), who tried a solo move shortly before the Taaienberg (km 142) which was unsuccessful. Tom Boonen experienced the first of his mechanical problems just after the Taaienberg with 48 km to go, breaking his saddle and requiring a bike change. Despite the continual attacks at the front, Boonen was quickly able to regain the rear of the peloton, and it wasn't long before he was back at the front.

On the Kapelleberg with 45 km to go, a group started to form in front containing Stijn Devolder (USPS-Berry Floor), Marc Wauters (Rabobank), Robbie McEwen, Leif Hoste and Aart Vierhouten (Lotto-Domo) Michel Vanhaecke (MrBookmaker), Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Romans Vainsteins (Lampre) and Fabio Baldato (Alessio-Bianchi). With three Lotto riders in it, Quick.Step was forced to mount a chase in the peloton, and Johan Museeuw led a group up the Patersberg (km 161) containing Boonen, Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo), Bruylandts, Peers and Löwik (Jacques), Boogerd (Rabobank), Kirsipuu (Ag2r), Hammond (MrBookmaker), Klier and Wesemann (T-Mobile).

The peloton stretched out
Photo ©: Sabine Sunderland

The chase continued on the Kwaremont (km 164), and Museeuw's group was able to bridge the gap to the front riders just after the top. There were 16 leaders at this crucial stage with the remnants of the peloton trying to come back, led by CSC and Bodysol-Brustor. After the descent to Ronse, the peloton's chase succeeded in bringing the dangerous lead group back right at the foot of the Knokteberg (km 176), just in time for the race to begin anew.

Stijn Devolder (USPS) and Nico Mattan (Bodysol) didn't hang around for long and attacked on the Knokteberg, but a massive acceleration by Bruylandts with Michael Boogerd on his wheel caught them before the top, and this looked to be the decisive move. Bruylandts, Boogerd and Devolder got together on the descent to form a powerful trio, opening up a 20 second gap to the peloton by the flat cobbled section at Kaster.

The leaders were able to increase their advantage over the cobbles, as there was no organised chase behind them. Quick.Step, despite having Museeuw, Bettini, Zanini and Boonen in the peloton, was forced on the back foot again when Boonen punctured on the cobbles. But Boonen was fortunate to find a reinforcement in Roger Hammond (MrBookmaker), who had also punctured, and his team car. The pair were thus able to regain the peloton more quickly than if they'd been alone, with Boonen's teammate Kevin Hulsmans also dropping back to help.

Boogerd, Bruylandts and Devolder still had 27 seconds lead on the Tiegemberg (the day's last climb) with 16 km to go, but the peloton was starting to get anxious now. Nico Mattan launched his traditional attack on the climb, and was joined by Museeuw, Zanini, Van Petegem, Van Bon, Kirsipuu, Bartoli, Löwik, Peers, Klier and Vanhuffel. This had the effect of knocking 10 seconds of the lead, and Nico Mattan in particular was keen to keep it going.

Van Petegem and Museeuw looked to be the strongest in this chasing group, but Quick.Step was still keen to play the Boonen card, and Museeuw stopped working, allowing the peloton to come back. The gap was only 10 seconds with 11 km to go, but no-one was willing to put it on the line to catch the committed leaders, who had no intention of letting up. The gap once again rose to 21 seconds.

The podium placegetters let loose
Photo ©: AFP

Finally at 5 km to go, the Quick.Step and Lotto teams started cooperating, and Museeuw's big turns on the front helped bring the leaders back to within 7 seconds with 1 km left. A crash in the peloton took out O'Grady, Guidi and Bettini, but this didn't affect the momentum of the front riders. It was touch and go for the three leaders, and Stijn Devolder opted for a very early sprint, but when Bruylandts and Boogerd took his wheel, they all slowed...and the break was caught with 300 metres to go.

Boonen came storming around the final corner on Stefano Zanini's wheel, and blasted past his Italian teammate with a sprint that no-one could match. Kirsipuu had Boonen's wheel and kept it for second, while Nauduzs mopped up the final podium position.

Just as importantly today, both Museeuw (Quick.Step) and Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo) showed themselves to be ready for an almighty duel in next week's Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Photography

Images by DCP/Bert Geerts

Images by AFP Photo

  • With a powerful burst , Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon) comes off team-mate Stefano Zanini's wheel with 200 metres to go to win the E3 Prijs, easily holding off Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2r) and Andris Nauduzs (Domina Vacanze).
  • The podium placegetters find it hard to contain their excitement. Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2r) just finds it hard to open the champagne bottle.

Images by Jeff Jones/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Sabine Sunderland/Cyclingnews.com

Results - 195 km

1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                 4.31.00 (43.173 km/h)
2 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) AG2r Prévoyance
3 Andris Nauduzs (Lat) Domina Vacanze
4 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank
5 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Alessio-Bianchi
6 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Saeco
7 Andreas Klier (Ger) T-Mobile Team
8 Roger Hammond (GBr) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans
9 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Lotto-Domo
10 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi
11 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf
12 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Lampre
13 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank
14 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
15 Roy Sentjens (Ned) Rabobank
16 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon
17 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Relax-Bodysol
18 Stijn Devolder (Bel) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor
19 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) T-Mobile Team
20 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) T-Mobile Team
21 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank
22 Jörg Ludewig (Ger) Saeco
23 Cédric Hervé (Fra) Crédit Agricole
24 Nico Mattan (Bel) Relax-Bodysol
25 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Lampre
26 Gerhard Trampusch (Aut) Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo
27 Stephan Schreck (Ger) T-Mobile Team
28 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf
29 Rolf Aldag (Ger) T-Mobile Team
30 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
31 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) Team CSC
32 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) De Nardi
33 Jan Schaffrath (Ger) T-Mobile Team
34 Chris Peers (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf
35 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo
36 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone
37 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Team CSC
38 Daniele Nardello (Ita) T-Mobile Team                     0.22
39 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon
40 Leif Hoste (Bel) Lotto-Domo
41 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor
42 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                0.36
43 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Team CSC
44 Gerben Löwik (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf
45 Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank
46 Hans De Clercq (Bel) Lotto-Domo
47 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Lotto-Domo                         1.42
48 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                 2.06
49 Stuart O’grady (Aus) Cofidis                             3.45
50 Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Team CSC
51 Matej Jurco (Svk) De Nardi                               6.25
52 Christophe Mengin (Fra) FDJeux.com                       6.46
53 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team CSC
54 Benoît Joachim (Lux) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor
55 Matthew Wilson (Aus) FDJeux.com
56 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère
57 Antonio Cruz (USA) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor
58 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon
59 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Lampre
60 Massamiliano Mori (Ita) Domina Vacanze
61 Sergio Marinangeli (Ita) Domina Vacanze
62 Robert Hunter (RSA) Rabobank
63 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Saeco
64 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Lampre
65 Dario Pieri (Ita) Saeco
66 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) FDJeux.com
67 Michael Skelde (Den) Alessio-Bianchi
68 Allan Johansen (Den) BankGiroLoterij
69 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre
70 Andy De Smet (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans
71 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
72 Mario Aerts (Bel) T-Mobile Team
73 Scott Sunderland (Aus) Alessio-Bianchi
74 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Alessio-Bianchi
75 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo
76 Julian Dean (NZl) Crédit Agricole
77 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto-Domo
78 Michel Van Haecke (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans

175 starters


Past winners

2003  Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank           209 km in 4.33.00 (45.934 km/h)
2002  Dario Pieri (Ita) Alessio                200 km in 4.45.00 (42.10 km/h)
2001  Andrej Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Adecco         209 km in 5.08.49 (40.41 km/h)
2000  Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Farm Frites         209 km in 5.13.00 (40.06 km/h)
1999  Peter Van Petegem (Bel) TVM-Farm Frites  206 km in 4.39.10 (44.30 km/h)
1998  Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-Bricobi        201 km in 4.48.00
1997  Hendrik Van Dyck (Bel)
1996  Carlo Bomans (Bel)
1995  Bart Leysen (Bel)
1994  Andrej Tchmil (Mda)
1993  Mario Cipollini (Ita)
1992  Johan Museeuw (Bel)
1991  Olaf Ludwig (Ger)
1990  Sören Lilholt (DÄN)
1989  Eddy Planckaert (Bel)
1988  Guido Bontempi (Ita)
1987  Eddy Planckaert (Bel)
1986  Eric Vanderaerden (Bel)
1985  Phil Anderson (AUS)
1984  Bert Oosterbosch (Ned)
1983  Willy Tackaert (Bel)
1982  Jean Bogaert (Bel)
1981  Jan Raas (Ned)
1980  Jan Raas (Ned)
1979  Jan Raas (Ned)
1978  Freddy Maertens (Bel)
1977  Dietrich Thurau (Ger)
1976  Walter Planckaert (Bel)
1975  Frans Verbeeck (Bel)
1974  Herman Vanspringel (Bel)
1973  Willy In'T'Ven (Bel)
1972  Hubert Hutsebaut (Bel)
1971  Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel)
1970  Daniel Van Ryckegem (Bel)
1969  Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1968  Jacques De Boever (Bel)
1967  Willy Bocklant (Bel)
1966  Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1965  Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1964  Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1963  Noél Fore (Bel)
1962  André Messelis (Bel)
1961  Arthur De Carbooter (Bel)
1960  Daniel Doom (Bel)
1959  Norbert Kerckhove (Bel)
1958  Armand Desmet (Bel)


Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com