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Dauphiné Libéré
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93rd Grote Scheldeprijs - Vlaanderen - 1.HC

Schoten, Belgium, April 13, 2005

2004 Results   Results    Past winners

Veneberg beats Vaitkus after massive breakaway

By Jeff Jones

Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
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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

The start
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
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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.

Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
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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.

Tom Boonen (Quick.Step)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

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/

Images by Luc Claessen/

Results - 202 km

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) - 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) - SportsTech                         
74 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Flanders                                       
75 Ben Day (Aus) - SportsTech                             
76 Matthé Pronk (Ned) - SportsTech                        

Starters: 143
Classified: 76               

Past winners

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,