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Dutch Championships - CN
Oudenbosch and Maastricht, June 20-25, 2006
Day 3 - June 25: Elite men road race, 203.4 km
Boogerd for a third time
By Jeff Jones
Michael Boogerd has won his third Dutch championship, beating an impressive Sebastian Langeveld (Skil-Shimano) with a late attack after the two had escaped on the final lap of the 203 km race. Third place went to CSC's Karsten Kroon, who rode a brave race to avoid being dropped, but was not strong enough to go for the victory.
"I definitely wanted to try to finish alone," said Boogerd at the finish after winning his first race since 2003. "Langeveld was riding really strongly and you never know. On the last climb of the St Pietersberg, I rode away from him, even though it wasn't an attack. I waited then, because I thought that I would need him in the last kilometres. Our break was then not certain."
How it unfolded
The race was held around 18 laps of a difficult 11.3 km circuit in Maastricht, with the St Pietersberg featuring as the main climb per lap. As such, it was an elimination race, with a hard tempo being ridden to break the peloton. Defending champion Leon van Bon (Davitamon-Lotto) capped off a bad week by crashing out of the race shortly after the start.
The early breakaway saw four riders in the lead: Bram Tankink (Quick.Step), Sebastian Langeveld (Skil-Shimano), Bram De Groot (Rabobank) and Matthieu Heijboer (Cofidis). With most of the big teams represented, the peloton behind chose to ride at a controlling tempo, with Rabobank in particular trying to get as many of their riders up front as possible. In that they succeeded, with Boogerd, Boven, the two Dekkers, Weening and De Maar all making the chase group of 20, along with Van Hummel, Rooijakkers, Tjallingii, Vierhouten (Skil-Shimano), Pronk, Traksel (Unibet.com), Van Heeswijk (Discovery), Moerenhout (Phonak), Kroon (CSC), Wielinga (Quick.Step), Hoeben, Beima and van Katwijk (ProComm), Honig (Fondas P3 Transfer), and Oegema (Amsterdam).
In the final hour, the gap to the leaders started to fall as Kroon pushed the pace on the Pietersberg, splintering the chasers. That cut the gap back to 30 seconds at the end of the lap, and on the next time up the climb, the break was finally caught. In addition to the four breakaways, the group contained Erik Dekker, Weening, Boogerd, Boven (all Rabobank), Van Heeswijk (Discovery), Oegema (Amsterdam), Rooijakkers, Tjallingii (Skil), Kroon (CSC), and Moerenhout (Phonak). De Groot seemingly hadn't spent all his energy, and attacked again, gaining a minute as the chasers were foiled by Rabobank.
With two laps (23 km) to go, De Groot still had 39 seconds as the chasers thinned down to just eight: Boogerd, Erik Dekker, Langeveld, Rooijakkers, Kroon, Tankink, Wielinga, Moerenhout. Kroon and Wielinga were in difficulties on every climb, but Kroon managed each time to get back on.
De Groot was finally caught on the last lap and Boogerd and Langeveld, who had crashed, countered. The pair powered away from the remnants of the group and quickly gained a winning margin, although Boogerd was nervous. Without attacking, he dropped Langeveld on the climb, but waited for his future Rabobank teammate. The pair rode together until a few kilometres from the finish, when there was a short discussion. "Breukink asks whether it's in order," Boogerd told Langeveld. What exactly that referred to was not made clear after the finish.
Langeveld did appear to be in trouble though, as a result of his crash and his long time spent in front. He was continually massaging his injured thigh, and when Boogerd attacked with 1 km to go, he had to let the Rabo rider go, finishing 12 seconds behind. In the race for third, Kroon came back from being dropped several times to win the small group sprint.
Elite Men - 203 km 1 Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) 4.58.54 (40.830 km/h) 2 Sebastian Langeveld (Skil-Shimano) 0.12 3 Karsten Kroon (Team CSC) 1.23 4 Bram Tankink (QuickStep-Innergetic) 5 Piet Rooijakkers (Skil-Shimano) 1.25 6 Erik Dekker (Rabobank) 7 Koos Moerenhout (Phonak) 1.32 8 Bram De Groot (Rabobank) 1.40 9 Remmert Wielinga (QuickStep-Innergetic) 3.22 10 Kenny van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) 4.10 11 Max Van Heeswijk (Discovery Channel) 12 Aart Vierhouten (Skil-Shimano) 13 Mathieu Heijboer (Cofidis) 4.12 14 Pieter Weening (Rabobank) 4.17 15 Jan Boven (Rabobank) 4.22 16 Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) 4.36 17 Matthé Pronk (Unibet-Davo) 5.36 18 Maint Berkenbosch (Regiostrom-Senges) 7.36 19 Maarten den Bakker (Team Milram) 20 Steven De Jongh (QuickStep-Innergetic) 21 Maarten Tjallingii (Skil-Shimano) 22 Gerben Löwik (Rabobank) 23 Marc De Maar (Rabobank) 24 Laurens ten Dam (Unibet-Davo) 25 Johnny Hoogerland (Jartazi-7Mobile) Elite without contract - 203 km 1 Bjorn Hoeben (ProComm-van Hemert) 5.03.02 (40.273 km/h) 2 Alain van Katwijk (ProComm-van Hemert) 0.02 3 Reinier Honig (CT Fondas P3 CT) 4 Bart Oegema (Amsterdam) 5 Marcel Beima (ProComm-van Hemert) 0.04 6 Jeroen Boelen (ProComm-van Hemert) 3.28 7 Folkert de Haan (CT Ubbink-Syntec) 8 Malaya van Ruitenbeek (CT van Vliet EBH) 9 Aldo Klomp (CT B&E Cycling Team) 10 Rick Flens (Rabobank Continental) 11 Hans Bloks (CT Löwik Meubelen)