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Tour of Belgium - 2.2

Belgium, May 19-23, 2004

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Stage 4b - May 22: Mechelen-Mechelen, 115 km

Stage cancelled as riders protest

By Jeff Jones

Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches la Boulangere)
Photo ©: Karen Lambrecht

The fourth half stage of the Tour of Belgium was meant to be another one for the sprinters after this morning's time trial, but instead the organisers were forced to cancel it after the riders refused to race on the finishing circuits. After the peloton had captured early breakaway David Zabriskie (US Postal-Berry Floor) with 34 km to go, and subsequently Frank van Dulmen (BankGiroLoterij) on the second of four 10 km finishing circuits, it came to a sudden halt on the finish line with two laps (20 km) to go.

With the finishing crash of yesterday still fresh in their minds, the majority of the riders felt that the cobbles and corners on the finishing circuits were too dangerous to race over and there commenced a big argument between the organisers and various representatives of the peloton. Most riders were in agreement with each other to stop, even if their team directors weren't of the same mind. Most thought it was unfortunate for the public and for the Tour of Belgium, but decided to take a stand for safety reasons.

Peter Van Petegem told Belgian TV 1 that, "There aren't many stage races that finish with such dangerous local laps. It's always in Belgium. They want to make a kermis out of it."

Organiser Rob Discart was quoted on Radio 1 as saying, "They have overreacted. It was especially hurtful for the tour itself. The riders are playing with their fortune and that of the tour. That the riders didn't want to ride on the cobbles is their decision. This parcours had everything for a good finale.

"The expectations of the riders have evolved. I want to talk with ex-riders, who have recently retired, in order to better understand their wishes."

Eventually, the riders were convinced to re-start, but simply rode the last 20 km at a moderate speed with no-one attacking. With 200m to go, a few riders sprinted and it was Samuele Marzoli (Lampre) who crossed the line first in front of Francesco Planckaert (Chocolade Jacques), but the result didn't stand as the jury determined there hadn't been any real racing.

The Tour of Belgium will (hopefully) finish tomorrow with the toughest stage between Ans and Eupen, featuring many of the climbs used in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches la Boulangere) remains the overall leader, with Bart Voskamp (Chocolade Jacques) and Max Van Heeswijk (USPS-Berry Floor) in second and third.


Images by Karen Lambrecht


Stage anulled

General classification after stage 4a
1 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                             13.28.43
2 Bart Voskamp (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                           0.03
3 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor             0.18
4 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Lampre                                               0.21
5 Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor    0.27
6 Geert Omloop (Bel)                                        
7 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor        0.28
8 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                   
9 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Lampre                                                 0.29
10 Robert Hunter (RSA) Rabobank                                                 0.33
11 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                 0.39
12 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                 0.41
13 Bert Hiemstra (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                         0.42
14 Roy Sentjens (Ned) Rabobank                                                      
15 Stijn Devolder (Bel) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor              0.43
16 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Lampre                                               
17 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Lampre                                                   0.44
18 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                         0.45
19 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                           0.49
20 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                          
21 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                0.51
22 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                        0.56
23 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Rabobank                                                0.58
24 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank                                            0.59
25 Gerben Löwik (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                          1.03
26 Geoffrey Demeyere (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                 1.08
27 Mikhail Timochine (Rus) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                              1.09
28 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                               1.10
29 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                             
30 Janek Tombak (Est) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                              
31 Zbigniew Piatek (Pol) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                       1.11
32 Tom Steels (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                     1.12
33 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                1.13
34 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                    1.15
35 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                1.16
36 Roger Hammond (GBr)                                  1.20
37 Jans Koerts (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                           1.25
38 Benny De Schrooder (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                    
39 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor              
40 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank                                               1.27
41 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Lampre                                                  1.28
42 Sven Renders (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                      1.32
43 Marco Bos (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                                  
44 Jo Planckaert (Bel)                                  1.33
45 Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                        1.36
46 Kevin Van Der Slagmolen (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                           1.57
47 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                               2.31
48 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                       2.55
49 Jan Kuyckx (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                                        2.57
50 Wim De Vocht (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                             3.18
51 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Lampre                                                   3.23
52 Erki Pütsep (Est) AG2r Prévoyance                                            3.31
53 Marc Streel (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                    3.42
54 Axel Merckx (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                                 4.41
55 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance                                     4.59
56 Rik Reinerink (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                         5.04
57 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Cofidis                                                 5.26
58 Allan Johansen (Den) BankGiroLoterij                                         6.28
59 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                  6.40
60 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                 8.00
61 Andy De Smet (Bel)                                   8.11
62 Kristof Trouve (Bel)                                 8.29
63 Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor    8.42
64 Servais Knaven (Ned) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                   10.32
65 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                   10.41
66 Jeremy Hunt (GBr)                                   11.09
67 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank                                                11.32
68 David Zabriskie (USA) US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor            11.54
69 Julien Laidoun (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance                                        12.07
70 Francesco Planckaert (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf                 13.00
71 Nico Mattan (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                             19.14
72 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                19.19
73 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                      19.26
74 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                   19.53
75 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                              19.54
76 Sjef De Wilde (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                    19.55
77 Wouter Van Mechelen (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                              19.59
78 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                                   20.01
79 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                    20.15
80 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                     20.17
81 Matthew White (Aus) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone                        20.18
82 Samuele Marzoli (Ita) Lampre                                                20.41
83 Julien Smink (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                          21.13
84 Geert Steurs (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                     21.52
85 Stéphane Berges (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance                                       21.58
86 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                             23.39
87 Alain Van Katwijk (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                     24.31
88 Bert Roesems (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                            24.50
89 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                                      25.05
90 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                            25.06
91 Björn Leukemans (Bel)                               29.17
92 Rony Martias (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère                                   29.45
93 Eelke Van Der Wal (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                     29.56
94 Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) Lampre                                              30.34
95 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Quick.Step-Davitamon                             30.51
96 Aron Huysmans (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                    31.24
97 Frank Van Dulmen (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                      31.28
98 Rudi Kemna (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                                            32.26
99 Bart De Spieghelaere (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim                             35.35
100 Stefan Wijnands (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen 2016                                 36.06
101 Michel Van Haecke (Bel)                            36.51
102 Allan Bo Andresen (Den) BankGiroLoterij                                    50.49