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Tour of Belgium - 2.2

Belgium, May 19-23, 2004

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Stage 3 - May 21: Knokke Heist-Buggenhout, 194 km

Van Heeswijk wins crash marred finale

By Jeff Jones

Max van Heeswijk (USPS-Berry Floor)
Photo ©: AFP

Dutchman Max van Heeswijk (US Postal-Berry Floor) has sprinted to victory in the third stage of the Tour of Belgium ahead of Estonian champion Janek Tombak (Cofidis) and Bert Hiemstra (Chocolade Jacques). Van Heeswijk was one of seven riders who survived a crash in the final kilometre that essentially stopped the peloton in its tracks, bringing down many riders including key protagonists Geert Omloop, Gianluca Bortolami and Tom Boonen. The peloton was on the verge of catching late breakaways Roger Hammond and Thomas Voeckler, but when the crash happened only five riders were able to close the gap to the two leaders.

Although Bortolami was one of the victims, he was able to eventually cross the line and claim the new leader's jersey, courtesy of 2 bonus seconds from an intermediate sprint. All riders who crashed were given the same time as the winner, hence there was no penalty for Bortolami.

Victor Hugo Pena (USPS-Berry Floor)
Photo ©: AFP

Afterwards, Van Heesiwjk commented that "I would have preferred to win in a real bunch sprint. I was next to my compatriot Stefan van Dijk when he suddenly disappeared. I didn't really see it well, but I heard behind me that there was something wrong."

Unfortunately for Van Heesiwjk and US Postal, their teammate Victor Hugo Peña was one of the worst off in the crash. He was taken away in an ambulance with fears of a broken arm, but x-rays determined that there were no broken bones, and he may be able to start tomorrow.

How it unfolded

Today's 194 km stage between Knokke Heist and Buggenhout presented the riders with multiple challenges, namely the stiff north wind that was blowing strongly today as well as some climbs, including the Berendries, Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg. After 30 km, Wim De Vocht (Relax - Bodysol) made the first attack but this wasn't successful. It took until the 60 km mark before a real gap was created, with Alain van Katwijk (BankGiroLoterij), Bart De Spiegelaere (Vlaanderen-T Interim), Francesco Planckaert (Jacques), Stefan Wijnands and Kurt Hovelynck (Jong Vlaanderen 2016) forming a group of five riders.

The peloton allowed the break a 9'00 lead before the foot of the Muur van Geraardsbergen with 95 km to go, where the situation changed markedly as Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis) and Preben Van Hecke (Bodysol) forced the pace in the bunch and split it into several groups. From then on the racing was full on, and a dangerous looking group formed - again under the impetus of Scheirlinckx - on the Bosberg containing Scheirlinckx and Tombak (Cofidis), Van Summeren, Van Hecke (Bodysol). Chavanel (Brioches), Leukemans (MrBookmaker), Bernucci (Landbouwkrediet), Baguet (Lotto), Piatek (Jacques), Peña, Devolder (USPS), De Weert, Hunter, Sentjens (Rabobank) and Carrara (Lampre).

Quick.Step had missed the move, as had race leader Omloop, and this counter-attacking group got over a minute's lead with 79 km to go. The five earlier leaders were being brought back incredibly quickly, and had just 1'43 of their 9'00 with 64 km to go. That's when the Quick.Step peloton made the junction with the first chase group, but it didn't take long for the attacks to begin anew.

The break was caught on the Putberg by a new group, and after the top it was Jurgen Van Den Broeck (USPS) together with Axel Merckx (Lotto), Maarten Den Bakker (Rabobank), Carrara (Lampre), Van Hyfte (Vlaanderen), Rosseler (Bodysol), Voeckler (Brioches), Tombak (Cofidis) and the original breakaways Planckaert, De Spiegelaere, Hovelynck, Wijnands and Van Katwijk.

The peloton was back at a minute again, and this time Quick.Step got help from the Chocolade Jacques team, who were protecting the chances of their GC men such as Voskamp. MrBookmaker-Palmans also put a couple of men in front and this combined chase brought everything back together with 33 km to go.

Sebastian Rosseler continued his effort alone, and the Bodysol rider was able to build a 50 second lead at one stage as his teammates - particularly Nico Mattan - controlled the bunch. At 21 km to go there was an intermediate sprint and while Rosseler took the three seconds, the battle was on between Bortolami and Omloop for the remaining seconds. But Omloop missed a corner just before the sprint, allowing Bortolami to take two seconds and thus the virtual leadership of the race.

Rosseler was caught with 16 km to go by another counter-attack, this time including Van Heeswijk (USPS), Van Bondt (Landbouwkrediet), Bos (BankGiroLoterij) and Sentjens (Rabobank), among others. A crash in the peloton took out Matt Hayman along with Pedro Horrillo, Servais Knaven, Michel Van Haecke and Bjorn Leukemans, but the real action was in front.

Gianluca Bortolami (Lampre)
Photo ©: AFP

Lampre took up the chase and caught the break with 12 km to go, and things were starting to wind up for a bunch sprint. Tom Boonen was looking good in sixth wheel, even though he ran off the road with 4 km to go and had to make up position. Nico Mattan (Bodysol) attacked solo with 7 km left, but the effort was too great and he was swallowed with 4 km to go. At 3 km to go, Roger Hammond went clear with Thomas Voeckler (Brioches), and this move looked more promising.

The pair stayed away until inside the 1 km to go banner, but just as the peloton was about to bridge the gap there was a huge domino-like crash at the front which blocked the road. Those able to make it through were Van Heeswijk, Tombak, Hiemstra, Quinziato and Engoulvent, joining together with Hammond and Voeckler to form a group of seven that contested the finishing sprint. Tombak led out but Van Heeswijk passed him easily to take the victory, but it was not one that he was delighted with after so many were involved in the crash.

Tomorrow there will be two stages of the Tour of Belgium: a 13 km time trial in the morning followed by a 115 km stage in the afternoon, both finishing in Mechelen.

Photography

Images by AFP Photo

Results

1 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor          4.46.26 (40.64 km/h)
2 Janek Tombak (Est) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                               
3 Bert Hiemstra (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                              
4 Roger Hammond (GBr) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                       
5 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Lampre                                                     
6 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                      
7 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                           
8 Bart Voskamp (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                               
9 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                     
10 Matthew White (Aus) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                             
11 Sjef De Wilde (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                         
12 Jan Kuyckx (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                            
13 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Lampre                                                       
14 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                     
15 Robert Hunter (RSA) Rabobank                                                     
16 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                  
17 Jo Planckaert (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                      
18 Zbigniew Piatek (Pol) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                           
19 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                          
20 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                        
21 Stéphane Berges (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance                                            
22 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor              
23 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor           
24 Wim De Vocht (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                                 
25 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                        
26 Samuele Marzoli (Ita) Lampre                                                     
27 Benny De Schrooder (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                    
28 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                    
29 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank                                                
30 Marco Bos (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                                  
31 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                               
32 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance                                         
33 Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                            
34 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                   
35 Geert Steurs (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                          
36 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                     
37 Kevin Van Der Slagmolen (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                               
38 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                             
39 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                           
40 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Lampre                                               
41 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                           
42 Sven Renders (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                          
43 Julien Smink (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                               
44 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                        
45 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                    
46 Tom Steels (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                         
47 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                            
48 Andy De Smet (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                       
49 Kristof Trouve (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                     
50 Geert Omloop (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                       
51 Gerben Löwik (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                              
52 Roy Sentjens (Ned) Rabobank                                                      
53 Rik Reinerink (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                             
54 Erki Pütsep (Est) AG2r Prévoyance                                                
55 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Lampre                                                  
56 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                   
57 Geoffrey Demeyere (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                     
58 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Rabobank                                                    
59 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                    
60 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank                                                   
61 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Lampre                                                   3.01
62 Axel Merckx (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                 3.10
63 Marc Streel (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                        
64 Allan Johansen (Den) BankGiroLoterij                                             
65 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                   
66 Stijn Devolder (Bel) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor                  
67 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Lampre                                                      
68 Rudi Kemna (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                             3.47
69 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                         
70 Niels Scheuneman (Ned) Relax-Bodysol                                             
71 Nico Mattan (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                                  
72 Eelke Van Der Wal (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                      3.50
73 Wouter Van Mechelen (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                   
74 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Lotto-Domo                                                 
75 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                        
76 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                             4.17
77 Aron Huysmans (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                         
78 Alain Van Katwijk (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                          
79 Francesco Planckaert (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                      
80 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                      
81 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Cofidis                                                     
82 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                     
83 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                           
84 Bert Roesems (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                                 
85 Julien Laidoun (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance                                             
86 Jans Koerts (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                               
87 Mikhail Timochine (Rus) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                  
88 Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) Lampre                                               4.26
89 David Zabriskie (USA) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor             4.38
90 Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor    4.43
91 Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor       
92 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                             
93 Bart De Spieghelaere (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                              7.57
94 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                    9.29
95 Servais Knaven (Ned) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                        
96 Pedro Horillo (Spa) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                         
97 Björn Leukemans (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                    
98 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank                                                     
99 Michel Van Haecke (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                  
100 Stefan Wijnands (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                      
101 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                            16.38
102 Allan Bo Andresen (Den) BankGiroLoterij                                    28.27
103 Frank Van Dulmen (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                          
104 Tommy Van De Gehuchte (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                
105 Rony Martias (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                       
DNF Leif Hoste (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                     
DNF Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                   
DNF Ronald Mutsaars (Ned) Rabobank                                                  
DNF Hans Dekkers (Ned) Rabobank                                                     
DNF Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) AG2r Prévoyance                                             
DNF Nicolas Inaudi (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance                                            
DNS Michael Barry (Can) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor                  
 
Note: riders involved in the crash were not penalised on GC, although their actual
finish times were recorded    

General classification after stage 3
 
1 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Lampre                                           13.12.37
2 Geert Omloop (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                    0.01
3 Mikhail Timochine (Rus) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                               0.03
4 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor             0.06
5 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                         0.07
6 Janek Tombak (Est) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                           0.08
7 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Lotto-Domo                                              0.11
8 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Lampre                                                     
9 Bert Hiemstra (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                          0.13
10 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                     
11 Roy Sentjens (Ned) Rabobank                                                      
12 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                    
13 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                         0.15
14 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                        
15 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Lampre                                                   0.16
16 Bart Voskamp (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                              
17 Benny De Schrooder (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                    
18 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                     
19 Robert Hunter (RSA) Rabobank                                                 0.17
20 Roger Hammond (GBr) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                      
21 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                          
22 Jo Planckaert (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                      
23 Tom Steels (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                         
24 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor              
25 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank                                                   
26 Sven Renders (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                          
27 Jans Koerts (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                               
28 Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                            
29 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Lampre                                                      
30 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                    
31 Marco Bos (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                                  
32 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                  
33 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                               
34 Zbigniew Piatek (Pol) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                           
35 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                    
36 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor           
37 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                   
38 Niels Scheuneman (Ned) Relax-Bodysol                                             
39 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank                                                
40 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                    
41 Stijn Devolder (Bel) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor                  
42 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Lampre                                               
43 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Rabobank                                                    
44 Geoffrey Demeyere (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                     
45 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                   
46 Kevin Van Der Slagmolen (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                               
47 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                             
48 Gerben Löwik (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                              
49 Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor       
50 Rik Reinerink (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                         2.18
51 Wim De Vocht (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                             2.19
52 Jan Kuyckx (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                            
53 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance                                         
54 Erki Pütsep (Est) AG2r Prévoyance                                                
55 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                           
56 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Lampre                                                   3.18
57 Axel Merckx (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                 3.27
58 Marc Streel (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                        
59 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Cofidis                                                 4.25
60 Allan Johansen (Den) BankGiroLoterij                                         4.27
61 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                  5.34
62 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                 6.36
63 Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor    7.02
64 Andy De Smet (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                   7.06
65 Kristof Trouve (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                     
66 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                                        
67 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                    9.46
68 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank                                                     
69 Servais Knaven (Ned) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                        
70 Julien Laidoun (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance                                        10.33
71 Francesco Planckaert (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                 11.23
72 David Zabriskie (USA) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor            11.46
73 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                   18.43
74 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                     18.46
75 Samuele Marzoli (Ita) Lampre                                                     
76 Sjef De Wilde (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                         
77 Julien Smink (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                               
78 Wouter Van Mechelen (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                   
79 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                         
80 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                     
81 Matthew White (Aus) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                             
82 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                   
83 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                           
84 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                        
85 Nico Mattan (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                                  
86 Stéphane Berges (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance                                       20.48
87 Geert Steurs (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                          
88 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                             22.54
89 Alain Van Katwijk (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                     23.03
90 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                 
91 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                      25.02
92 Bert Roesems (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                            25.05
93 Björn Leukemans (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                               28.15
94 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                  
95 Rony Martias (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                   28.44
96 Eelke Van Der Wal (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                     29.25
97 Aron Huysmans (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                    29.52
98 Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) Lampre                                              30.01
99 Rudi Kemna (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                            30.46
100 Frank Van Dulmen (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                          
101 Bart De Spieghelaere (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                            33.30
102 Stefan Wijnands (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                 35.03
103 Michel Van Haecke (Bel) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans                            35.04
104 Tommy Van De Gehuchte (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                           35.33
105 Allan Bo Andresen (Den) BankGiroLoterij                                    49.15