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93rd Grote Scheldeprijs - Vlaanderen - 1.HC
Schoten, Belgium, April 13, 2005
Veneberg beats Vaitkus after massive breakaway
By Jeff Jones
27 year-old Dutchman Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank) has recorded his first victory as a pro after beating Lithuanian Tomas Vaitkus (Ag2r) in a two man sprint to win the 93rd Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen. On a wet, drizzly day, the pair broke away in the first half of the race to ride out to a massive 15 minute lead, which proved to be too much for the peloton to close. A small group of six riders contested third place, with Simone Cadamuro (Domina Vacanze) again getting the last podium spot, this time at the expense of last year's winner Tom Boonen (Quick.Step).
"I saw the sprint coming from 100 kilometres to go," said Veneberg to VRT at the finish. Veneberg was nervous against Vaitkus, "But the nerves gave me extra energy. I wouldn't have been satisfied with second place today...It's a dream come true to win. This race is really huge."
Veneberg will now ride the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt in preparation for the Giro d'Italia, which he hopes that because of the ProTour teams, it will be less controlled by the Italians than it was when he last rode it in 2002.
Second place getter Tomas Vaitkus looked disappointed at the finish, as he reflected on his sprint. Maybe I had too big a gear, and when I started I could not turn this gear. Maybe that's why I lost. But today I did a lot of work. Maybe that's why I was not so strong in the sprint."
The Ag2r rider was still satisfied with finishing on the podium. "Yes it's the first race which I did this year like this and I'm happy."
How it unfolded
149 riders lined up in Antwerp's Grote Markt under grey skies and cool 12 degree conditions for the 93rd edition of Flanders' oldest race. Ahead of them lay 200 km and seven cobbled sections, all between 1300m and 3000m long. The first hour was raced at a very high tempo, with around 50 km covered as attack after attack tried to get away, the most important one being a break of 15 riders that included Quick.Step's Kevin Hulsmans, Servais Knaven and Sébastien Rosseler. But, as so often happens in racing, the pace slowed after the first hour and two riders jumped clear at the 57 km mark: Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank) and Thomas Vaitkus (Ag2r).
Neither of the pair was considered a threat to the powerful Davitamon-Lotto and Quick.Step teams, and the peloton allowed them 15'10 grace at the km 127 mark. A crash at km 107 took out Marc Wauters (Rabobank), Servais Knaven and Sebastien Rosseler (Quick.Step), with Wauters having to abandon.
The drizzle that was accompanying the riders made it harder for the bunch to organise a high speed chase, and it gradually became clear that the two leaders were not coming back. Veneberg and Vaitkus just kept a steady tempo, both churning big gears across the cobbles, around corners, and over speed humps that were met at regular intervals.
With 65 km to go, Quick.Step started to help Davitamon-Lotto in the chase, but Veneberg and Vaitkus still had 13'30, meaning that the bunch would have to pull back more than 2 minutes in every 10 km. The leading duo did not relax once, and reached the first of three 17 km finishing circuits with 11 minutes on the field, which had split over the cobbles at Olegem with most of the fast men making it into the front group of 30: Boonen, McEwen, Steels, Van Heeswijk, Hunt, Caethoven and Cadamuro were all there.
On the first finishing lap, the chasers could only pull back 1'50, and it was over for the sprinters as far as the victory was concerned. The second lap saw the two leaders come back to 8'00, meaning that they had plenty of time on the last lap to play cat and mouse, if they wanted. But it seemed as though what they wanted most was to get the race over and done with and into the showers.
In the final kilometre, as the pair slowed to 30 km/h along the Churchill Laan finishing straight, it was Vaitkus who took the lead. Veneberg waited and with 250m to go, he jumped past the Lithuanian champion, who could grab his wheel but not come past. Veneberg was the delighted victor.
In the race for third, a group with Tom Boonen (Quick.Step), Nico Eeckhout (Jacques), Simone Cadamuro (Domina Vacanze), Henk Vogels (Davitamon-Lotto), Steffen Radochla (Wiesenhof) and Jurgen Van Loocke (Landbouwkrediet) split off the remnants of the peloton with eight kilometres to go, and finally it was Cadamuro who attacked just before the 1 km to go banner to power home for third ahead of Tom Boonen and Nico Eeckhout.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us
Images by Luc Claessen/www.actiefotos.be
1 Thorwald Veneberg (Ned) Rabobank 4.30.00 (44.888 km/h) 2 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) AG2r Prévoyance 3 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) Domina Vacanze 4.39 4 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep 4.41 5 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - T Interim 4.57 6 Steffen Radochla (Ger) Wiesenhof 7 Henk Vogels (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto 8 Jurgen Van Loocke (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 9 Jukka Vastaranta (Fin) Rabobank 4.54 10 Jaroslav Zarebski (Pol) Intel-Action 11 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quickstep 12 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Adria Mobil 13 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quickstep 14 Steven Caethoven (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - T Interim 15 Stefan Adamsson (Swe) Barloworld - Valsir 16 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quickstep 17 Igor Abakoumov (Bel) Jartazi Granville Team 18 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - T Interim 19 Dimitri De Fauw (Bel) Quickstep 20 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto 21 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Discovery Channel 22 Koen Barbé (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - T Interim 23 Nick Ingels (Bel) Bodysol- Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 24 Erik Lievens (Bel) Bodysol- Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 25 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 26 René Obst (Ger) Wiesenhof 27 Tom Steels (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto 28 Johan Verstrepen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 29 Gerben Löwik (Ned) Rabobank 30 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) MrBookmaker.com - SportsTech 31 Benoît Joachim (Lux) Discovery Channel 32 Guido Trenti (USA) Quickstep 33 Nick Gates (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto 5.03 34 Leonardo Duque (Col) Jartazi Granville Team 6.27 35 Francis De Greef (Bel) Bodysol- Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 10.24 36 Sam Van Rooy (Bel) Bodysol- Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 10.47 37 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Barloworld - Valsir 11.23 38 Matej Jurco (Svk) Domina Vacanze 39 Stephen Gallagher (Irl) Flanders 40 Bart Dockx (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto 41 Zoran Klemencic (Slo) Tenax 42 Gregg Germer (USA) Flanders 43 Masamichi Yamamoto (Jpn) Shimano - Memory Corp 44 Jan Svorada (Cze) eD'system - ZVVZ 45 Stefan Wijnands (Bel) Jartazi Granville Team 46 Piotr Chmielewski (Pol) Intel-Action 47 Hilton Clarke (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 48 Sebastian Siedler (Ger) Wiesenhof 49 Radoslav Rogina (Cro) Tenax 50 Maarten Neyens (Bel) Bodysol- Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 51 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 52 Siro Camponagara (Ita) Navigators 53 Rodney Green (RSA) Barloworld - Valsir 54 Robby Meul (Bel) Jartazi Granville Team 55 Roman Bronis (Svk) eD'system - ZVVZ 56 René Joergensen (Den) Barloworld - Valsir 57 Daniel Musiol (Ger) Wiesenhof 58 Andrea Rossi (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Adria Mobil 59 Laurent Mangel (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 60 Bogdan Bondariev (Ukr) Intel-Action 61 Simon Gerrans (Aus) AG2r Prévoyance 62 Marco Bos (Ned) Shimano - Memory Corp 63 Marcin Lewandowski (Pol) Intel-Action 64 Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) Tenax 65 Raimondas Vilcinskas (Ltu) Jartazi Granville Team 66 Michal Precechtel (Cze) eD'system - ZVVZ 67 Martin Mares (Cze) eD'system - ZVVZ 68 Corrado Serina (Ita) Tenax 69 Jan Kuyckx (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto 70 Ronald Mutsaars (Ned) Rabobank 71 David Harrigan (Aus) Flanders 72 Rafael Nuritdinov (Uzb) Domina Vacanze 73 Erwin Thijs (Bel) MrBookmaker.com - SportsTech 74 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Flanders 75 Ben Day (Aus) MrBookmaker.com - SportsTech 76 Matthé Pronk (Ned) MrBookmaker.com - SportsTech Starters: 143 Classified: 76
2004 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 200 km in 4.19.00 2003 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 206 km in 4.40.00 2002 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco 205 km in 4.54.00 2001 Endrio Leoni (Ita) Alessio 208 km in 4.49.00 2000 Endrio Leoni (Ita) Alessio 200 km in 4.24.00 1999 Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) TVM-Farm Frites 201 km in 4.35.00 1998 Servais Knaven (Ned) TVM-Farm Frites 203 km in 4.19.19 1997 Erik Zabel (Ger) 1996 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) 1995 Rossano Brassi (Ita) 1994 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) 1993 Mario Cipollini (Ita) 1992 Wilfried Nelissen (Bel) 1991 Mario Cipollini (Ita) 1990 John Talen (Ned) 1989 Jean-Marie Wampers (Bel) 1988 Jean-Paul Van Poppel (Ned) 1987 Etienne De Wilde (Bel) 1986 Jean-Paul Van Poppel (Ned) 1985 Adri Van der Poel (Ned) 1984 Ludo Peeters (Bel) 1983 Jan Bogaert (Bel) 1982 Ludo Schurgers (Bel) 1981 Ad Wijnands (Ned) 1980 Ludo Peeters (Bel) 1979 Daniel Willems (Bel) 1978 Dietrich Thurau (Ger) 1977 Marc Demeyer (Bel) 1976 Frans Verbeeck (Bel) 1975 Ronald Dewitte (Bel) 1974 Marc Demeyer (Bel) 1973 Freddy Maertens (Bel) 1972 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1971 Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck (Bel) 1970 Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel) 1969 Walter Godefroot (Bel) 1968 Edward Sels (Bel) 1967 Paul In 'T'Ven (Bel) 1966 Joseph Spruyt (Bel) 1965 Willy Vannitsen (Bel) 1964 Joseph Hoevenaers (Bel) 1963 Piet Oellibrandt (Bel) 1962 Piet Oellibrandt (Bel) 1961 Raymond Vrancken (Bel) 1960 Piet Oellibrandt (Bel) 1959 Willy Butzen (Bel) 1958 Raymond Vrancken (Bel) 1957 Rik Van Looy (Bel) 1956 Rik Van Looy (Bel) 1955 Alberic Schotte (Bel) 1954 Roger Decock (Bel) 1953 Hans Dekkers (Ned) 1952 Roger Decorte (Bel) 1951 Ernest Sterckx (Bel) 1950 André Pieters (Bel) 1949 Roger Decorte (Bel) 1948 Achiel Buysse (Bel) 1947 René Mertens (Bel) 1946 Stan Ockers (Bel) 1943 Eloi Meulenberg (Bel) 1942 Lode Busschops (Bel) 1941 Stan Ockers (Bel) 1939 Achiel Buysse (Bel) 1938 Antoine Dignef (Bel) 1937 Sylvain Grysolle (Bel) 1936 Marcel Van Schil (Bel) 1935 Gerard Loncke (Bel) 1934 Léon Tommies (Bel) 1933 Horemans (Bel) 1932 Godefried De Vocht (Bel) 1931 Godefried De Vocht (Bel) 1930 Denis Verschueren (Bel) 1929 Joseph Wauters (Bel) 1928 Joseph Dervaes (Bel) 1927 Georges Ronsse (Bel) 1926 Joseph Dervaes (Bel) 1924 René Vermandel (Bel) 1923 Emile Thollembbek (Bel) 1922 Florence Van den Bergh (Bel) 1921 René Vermandel (Bel) 1919 Isidoor Mechant (Bel) 1908 A. Kranskans (Bel) 1907 Maurice Leturgie (Fra) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com