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85th Paris-Brussels - 1.HC
Belgium, September 10, 2005
McEwen takes second Paris-Brussels win
Belgian teams debate world's selection
Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen (Davitamon Lotto ) demonstrated that he will be a force to be reckoned with at the world championships when he won the 85th edition of Paris-Brussels. Perfectly delivered to the line by his well-drilled team, McEwen out-sprinted Stefan van Dijk (Mr Bookmaker.com) and Jean-Patrick Nazon (Ag2r Prévoyance) to take his second win in this race.
McEwen has credited his team with several of his victories this year, and this was another group win. "Today's win was a collective effort by the team," said McEwen. "Of course the weight of the race was completely on our shoulders."
"We had to close the gap to the four leaders, but we got the support of QuickStep who also wanted a mass sprint. There was a really good cooperation. My form is getting better and that is a good sign for the World Championships."
McEwen made it clear he he is counting on his Davitamon-Lotto team mates to make sure it comes to a mass sprint in Madrid, with some slightly cheeky advice for Belgian team management.
"If the Belgian National coach watched the race today; he'll know he has to take more of our team to Madrid, said McEwen. "They know better than anyone else how to guide a sprinter to the finish line. And the Belgians do want Tom to become World Champion, don't they?"
Runner-up Stefan van Dijk (Mr Bookmaker.com) saw no shame in being beaten by McEwen in a finale that suited the technically-gifted Australian. "I can be happy finishing second here; as it was a sprint with headwind and slightly uphill; so it was really something for Robbie," he said. "I was good all day, our team was at the front the whole race. Our riders were very motivated today."
Last year's winner Nick Nuyens (Quick Step) was unable to repeat that victory. "We tried everything we could," he said. "I got away for a short time on the Keperenberg with three riders; from the moment we got caught back I knew it was over for me so I worked for Pozzato and Paolini for the last kilometres."
"We took control of the race early on and then we tried to get away in a break. It didn't work but you always have to try. Tom (Boonen) did not start here today; so we had to try something else, we did and don't have to feel bad it didn't work. We hoped to finish it off in the sprint but McEwen is just so strong at the moment. On top of that the finish here in Brussels is really his cup of tea."
"It didn't work out today but I'm convinced that I can keep this form for another two weeks."
Riders and staff from Davitamon-Lotto had more to say about the world's selection after Paris-Brussels.
Nico Mattan (Davitamon-Lotto) expressed his disappointment on not gaining selection for the worlds, telling Sporza, "We had the best cards with Robbie McEwen today and we completely went for it. Peter and I proved today that we can deliver Robbie at the right moment for the sprint. I was very good today; I proved today that I can still ride hard those last ten kms. I didn't know this finish. I saw Robbie was very strong today. We were sure he was going to win. We had 10 riders at the start today and we rode together with QuickStep for a sprint. We knew how far we could let the break go, not more than 5 min. We controlled the race. We put everything on a mass sprint; the whole team rode well. The whole team was tip-top today.
"It's easy working for a rider like McEwen; six times out of ten he finishes it off. It's a real luxury to have him in the team. Robbie surely has a chance to win in Madrid. Robbie saw it today and Tom Boonen knows that I can pull the sprint; but it's up to De Cauwer to make the selection. I've already given up hoping to get a spot - which I am convinced I deserve though."
Directeur sportif Marc Sergeant had a bit more sympathy for the team selector, given the depth of belgian cycling's ability to lead out sprinters.
"Robbie had an armchair ride to the finish today," said Sergeant. "The riders of the team get all the honour; excellent work and Robbie finished it off . QuickStep was our ally in this race; it was in everyone's benefit to work together. All the riders were eager to prove they were good enough to be selected for the world's. I think it's going to be a tough job for José De Cauwer [Belgian national coach] to make the call. A whole bunch have showed today that they are ready. There's a few names José can't pass: Van Petegem is one of them; Peter has been preparing for a long time for that race. He's been quiet but that's his style; to prepare in peace. But when Peter's presence is asked for, he's there, he was there in Flanders and he was here again today. Peter brought McEwen "in a couch" to the line. At the world's Peter will indeed ride in a Belgian jersey, but let's face it, if it is a mass sprint, Peter can work for both."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by AFP Photo
Results - 219 km
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto 4.52.00 2 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) MrBookmaker.com - SportsTech 3 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 4 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - T Interim 5 Igor Astarloa Ascasibar (Spa) Barloworld - Valsir 6 Jon Bru Pascal (Spa) Kaiku 7 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Adria Mobil 8 Igor Abakoumov (Bel) Jartazi Granville Team 9 Alain Van Katwijk (Ned) Shimano - Memory Corp 10 Sjef De Wilde (Bel) Bodysol- Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 11 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Quickstep 12 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank 13 Andreas Dietziker (Swi) eD'system - ZVVZ 14 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) MrBookmaker.com - SportsTech 15 Rene Mandri (Est) AG2r Prévoyance 16 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quickstep 17 David McPartland (Aus) Tenax 18 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - T Interim 19 Kevin Van Der Slagmolen (Bel) Bodysol- Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 20 Rik Reinerink (Ned) Shimano - Memory Corp 21 Roy Sentjens (Bel) Rabobank 22 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 23 Dennis Kraft (Ger) Intel-Action 24 Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Adria Mobil 25 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quickstep 26 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quickstep 27 Marco Bos (Ned) Shimano - Memory Corp 28 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto 29 Sean Sullivan (Aus) Barloworld - Valsir 30 Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Agritubel 0.23 31 Ralf Grabsch (Ger) Wiesenhof 32 Eddy Serri (Ita) Barloworld - Valsir 33 Marcin Osinski (Pol) Action 0.34 34 Krzysztof Krzywy (Pol) Action 35 Florian Stalder (Swi) eD'system - ZVVZ 36 Marcel Klaus (Swi) eD'system - ZVVZ 37 Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Kaiku 38 Ben Day (Aus) MrBookmaker.com - SportsTech 39 Kristof De Zutter (Bel) Bodysol- Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 40 Ricardo Serrano Gonzalez (Spa) Kaiku 41 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 42 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 43 Chris Sutton (Aus) Cofidis 44 Tony Bracke (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 45 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quickstep 46 Theo Eltink (Ned) Rabobank 47 Stefan Adamsson (Swe) Barloworld - Valsir 48 Erwin Thijs (Bel) MrBookmaker.com - SportsTech 49 René Joergensen (Den) Barloworld - Valsir 50 Benoît Salmon (Fra) Agritubel
2004 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon