|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
87th Paris-Bruxelles - 1.HC
Belgium, September 15, 2007
McEwen likes Paris and loves Brussels
By Bjorn Haake
Robbie McEwen has won Paris-Brussels for a record fourth time, ahead of Jeremy Hunt (Unibet.com) and Venezuelan Honorio Machado Perez of the Tenax team. The Australian supersprinter bested the three wins of Frenchman Octave Lapize (1911-1913) and Belgian Felix Sellier (1922-1924). McEwen had won in 2002 and then started a string of uninterrupted wins in 2005. The slightly uphill finish made for an exciting battle of the men with the big legs. It was Thor Hushovd who started the sprint early - too early, as it turned out.
McEwen had similar thoughts, stating that "The final was very nervous. It was very fast and it wasn't possible for one team to control the peloton. Hushovd took off strongly with 500 metres to go." But the Crédit Agricole rider made his move too soon.
The Aussie described the tough final metres, saying "The last metres were very difficult. I was dying ten times during the sprint. But good, I won, which was the important thing! To win four times on the same course, that's something improbable. It's fantastic."
Second-placed Jeremy Hunt also mentioned that "Robbie was dying in the last 50 metres but I wasn't right on his wheel. We wanted to win but now we got second and fourth [with Baden Cooke]." The Unibet.com rider added that the team was going great and that they get along well, despite the threat of unemployment coming up. "We are all in the same boat. Hopefully we can find a new sponsor." But he acknowledged that it wasn't looking good and that "at the moment I don't know what I am going to do."
How it unfolded
The riders started the day outside France's capital under somewhat threatening skies. In France the peloton decided to let a group of ten riders get a head start. Matthé Pronk (Unibet.com), Sébastien Rosseler and Gert Steegmans (Quick.Step - Innergetic), Denis Robin (Agritubel), Michael Albasini (Liquigas), Pieter Mertens and Geert Steurs (Predictor-Lotto), Hugo Sabido (Barloworld), Andrea Rossi (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) and Daniele Callegarin (Team LPR) were the ones to get into Belgium first, with a lead of 2'40".
A curiosity in the main field was team Unibet, as they were riding under the name of co-sponsor Canyon. Gone have the classic white and green jerseys that occasionally featured a question mark instead of the sponsor name. Instead they were riding in black, with red side striping. The question mark they had in other races also summed up their season, as riders were never quite sure which race they could actually could participate in.
Another welcome face back in the peloton was that of Frank Vandenbroucke. After making some negative headlines earlier in the year, culminating in a suicide attempt, he gained some race fitness in recent criteriums and was back at high-level racing. Occasionally there was some confusion with his red Acqua e Sapone outfit and at some point he went to the red Barloworld team car. They gave him water anyway.
72 kilometres before the finish the gap was only slightly reduced, to 2'19". At that point the Quick.Steppers, Steegmans and Rosseler, could be seen talking on the front. As Steegmans was done with his turn, Rosseler took over and after a right-hand turn attacked the following uphill pretty hard. This brought the break to life again, which so far had set a fast but steady pace.
Rosseler's goal was only to soften the break up, though. Then his team-mate Steegmans was the next to go. Initially nobody wanted to take up the chase, as the Belgian was riding a couple of hundred metres ahead over the rolling terrain. Denis Robin was finally the one who tried to bridge. The little Frenchman had a hard time closing those final metres as the powerful Belgian classics riders appeared to even try to wait for Robin.
The lead of the two was quickly up to 30 seconds with the main field was still 2'13" behind. The chase group started to splinter as Callegarin and Sabido were between Robin and the six others. The peloton in the mean time was driven by Credit Agricole. Robin never did reach Steegmans and was gobbled up by the other two, more than six kilometres after he tried to bridge up to the Quick.Step rider.
As they passed through the town of Manage, Steegmans managed to hold a 15-second lead. Steurs and Albasini managed to bridge up to the chasing trio with 57 kilometres to go. The remnants of the breakaway had integrated back into the peloton just about the same time. In Seneffe, with 55 kilometres to go, the break finally had reached Steegmans. The peloton, where Vandenbroucke was very active and showing himself on the front, was still 2'03" back.
As the peloton entered the province of Waals-Brabant, with 47 kilometres to go, the gap was down to 1'20". The cobble stones in some of the towns were shaking up the riders as they were inching closer to the last three hellingen, the little climbs that are thrown in for good measure in an otherwise fairly flat landscape.
With 45 kilometres Niko Eeckhout hit his rear wheel in a pothole in a right hand turn and flatted. That was not a good moment, as the peloton was in full swing towards the break. But several team-mates had gone back and helped. Three kilometres later they were about to get back. Eeckhout almost crashed going through a roundabout and drafting off the Acqua e Sapone car. The car had to slow down exiting the traffic circle and Eeckhout came close to coming too close with a big mass of steel.
The gap had stayed consistently at around a minute for several kilometres but once it had come below 60 seconds it dropped quickly and with 38 kilometres to go it was only 30 seconds. The break was reeled in with 34 kilometres to go, in Braine-le Château, right at the Rue de Hal, the first of the three final hellingen. Eeckhout was back in the action at the front. Donati and De Jongh were the first attackers, but were caught by the peloton right at the top. Several attacks followed, but nothing stuck.
At the Bruineput, the second-to-last climb, with 26 kilometres to go, a group of about a dozen riders were 20 seconds ahead of the peloton but Rabobank and Predictor-Lotto kept the pace high and the gap small and the peloton regrouped at the top. Other attacks followed, but one break was caught at the beginning of the final climb, the Keperenberg, with 12 kilometres to go.
The next split, initiated by Maarten Wynants and containing Juan Antonio Flecha, looked impressive but was also doomed with the sprinters' teams chasing and everything was together as the skyline of Brussels became visible. With eight kilometres to go it was over for the front runners and even a final Barloworld solo attempt was quashed a few hundred metres from the line.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by AFP Photo
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 4.53.00 2 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Unibet.com 3 Honorio Machado Perez (Ven) Tenax Salmilano 4 Baden Cooke (Aus) Unibet.com 5 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Quickstep - Innergetic 6 Janek Tombak (Est) Jartazi Promo Fashion 7 Kenny De Haes (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 8 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 9 Claudio Cucinotta (Ita) Tenax Salmilano 10 Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 11 Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 12 Christopher Sutton (Aus) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 13 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Unibet.com 14 Borut Bozic (Slo) Team L.P.R. 15 Gregory Joseph (Bel) Davitamon - Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 16 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 17 Sven Renders (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 18 Timothy Gudsell (NZl) Française des Jeux 19 Luca Paolini (Ita) Liquigas 20 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 21 Jean-Eudes Demaret 22 Benoît Sinner (Fra) Agritubel 23 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Rabobank 24 Thierry Hupond 25 Detlef Moerman (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 26 Jan Kuyckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 27 Paul Martens (Ger) Skil - Shimano 28 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) Davitamon - Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 29 Steffen Weigold (Ger) Tinkoff Credit System 30 Kristof De Zutter (Bel) Davitamon - Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 31 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 32 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Crédit Agricole 33 Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Barloworld 34 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 35 José Enrique Gutierrez 36 Clément l'Hottelerie (Fra) Skil - Shimano 37 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Astana 38 Michael Schär (Swi) Astana 39 Bram Tankink (Ned) Quickstep - Innergetic 40 Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Jartazi Promo Fashion 41 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 42 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Unibet.com 43 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 44 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank 45 Kevin Neirynck (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 46 Gil Suray (Bel) Unibet.com 47 Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas 48 Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 49 Ilya Chernetsky (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 50 Roberto Petito (Ita) Liquigas 51 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Tenax Salmilano 52 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Tinkoff Credit Systems 53 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Unibet.com 54 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 55 Johan Coenen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 56 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 57 Christoph Meschenmoser (Ger) Skil - Shimano 58 Matej Mugerli (Slo) Liquigas 59 Thorwald Veneberg (Ned) Rabobank 60 Aivaras Baranauskas (Ltu) Agritubel 61 James Lewis Perry (RSA) Barloworld 62 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Barloworld 63 Mikel Gaztanaga Echeverria (Spa) Agritubel 64 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 65 Ramiro Rincon (Spa) Barloworld 0.20 66 Erwin Thijs (Bel) Unibet.com 67 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 68 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Skil - Shimano 69 Dario Andriotto (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 70 Koen Barbé (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 71 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 0.33 72 Anton Mindlin (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 73 Frédéric Gabriel (Fra) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 74 Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (Spa) Agritubel 75 Alexander Gottfried (Ger) Team Sparkasse 76 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 77 Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Astana 78 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 79 Maarten Neyens (Bel) Davitamon - Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 80 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Davitamon - Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 81 Maxime Bouet 82 Steven De Neef (Bel) Davitamon - Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 83 Mindaugas Striska (Ltu) Jartazi Promo Fashion 84 Sven Nevens (Bel) Jartazi Promo Fashion 85 Francesco Failli (Ita) Liquigas 86 Bart Vanheule (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 87 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas 88 Alexander Efimkin (Rus) Barloworld 89 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 90 Benoît Salmon (Fra) Agritubel 91 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Agritubel 92 Luca Sabatino (Ita) Tenax Salmilano 93 Leonardo Scarselli (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 94 Sergey Kolesnikov (Rus) Unibet.com 95 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 96 Evgeniy Sladkov (Kaz) Astana 97 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Team L.P.R. 98 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 99 Geert Omloop (Bel) Jartazi Promo Fashion 100 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) Astana 101 Simone Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 102 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 103 Giairo Ermetti (Ita) Tenax Salmilano 104 Andrei Kunitski (Blr) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 105 Alexandr Arekeev (Rus) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 106 Arnaud Gérard (Fra) Française des Jeux 0.46 107 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux 108 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux 109 Leif Hoste (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 110 Nick Ingels (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 111 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 112 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 113 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 114 Ignacio Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Team L.P.R. 115 Pieter Mertens (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 116 Matthew Wilson (Aus) Unibet.com 117 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Crédit Agricole 118 Fabrice Piemontesi (Ita) Tenax Salmilano 119 Giampaolo Cheula (Ita) Barloworld 120 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Predictor - Lotto 121 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana 122 Maarten Wijnants (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 123 Christophe Edaleine (Fra) Crédit Agricole 124 Fabrice Jeandesboz 125 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 126 Yann Huguet (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 127 Rein Taaramae 128 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française des Jeux 129 Maurizio Bellin (Ita) Team L.P.R. 130 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 131 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 132 Luca Celli (Ita) Team L.P.R. 0.56 133 Gerben Löwik (Ned) Rabobank 4.05 134 Hugo Sabido (Por) Barloworld 135 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 4.50 136 Aurélien Passeron (Fra) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 137 Jarno Van Mingeroet (Bel) Jartazi Promo Fashion 9.45 138 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Astana 139 Benoît Joachim (Lux) Astana 140 Marco Corsini (Ita) Tenax-Salmilano 141 Fang Xu (Chn) Skil - Shimano 142 Roberto Traficante (Ita) Team L.P.R. 143 Mathieu Drouilly (Fra) Jartazi Promo Fashion 144 Christophe Laurent (Fra) Crédit Agricole 145 Dimitri De Fauw (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 146 Linas Balciunas (Ltu) Agritubel 147 Vytautas Kaupas (Ltu) Jartazi Promo Fashion 148 Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 149 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 150 Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Skil - Shimano 151 Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil - Shimano 152 Michael Albasini (Swi) Liquigas 153 Daniele Callegarin (Ita) Team L.P.R. 154 Romain Villa 155 Denis Flahaut (Fra) Jartazi Promo Fashion 156 Ji Cheng (Chn) Skil - Shimano 157 Jonathan Thiré 158 Kenny Lisabeth (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 159 Jin Long (Chn) Skil - Shimano 160 Alessandro Donati (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 161 Matthé Pronk (Ned) Unibet.com 162 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 163 Tom Steels (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 164 Sven Van Den Houte (Bel) Davitamon - Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 165 Mathieu Criquielion (Bel) Jartazi Promo Fashion 166 Denis Robin (Fra) Agritubel 167 Lars Croket (Bel) Davitamon - Win for Life - Jong Vlaanderen 168 Andrea Rossi (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
2006 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 2005 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 2004 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 2003 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo 2002 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco 2001 Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 2000 Max van Heeswijk (Ned) Mapei-Quick Step 1999 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) 1998 Stefano Zanini (Ita) 1997 Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) 1996 Andrea Tafi (Ita) 1995 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) 1994 Rolf Sörensen (Den) 1993 Francis Moreau (Fra) 1992 Rolf Sörensen (Den) 1991 Brian Holm (Den) 1990 Franco Ballerini (Ita) 1989 Jelle Nijdam (Ned) 1988 Rolf Gölz (Ger) 1987 Wim Arras (Bel) 1986 Guido Bontempi (Ita) 1985 Adri Van der Poel (Ned) 1984 Eric Vanderaerden (Bel) 1983 Tommy Prim (Swe) 1982 Jacques Hanegraaf (Ned) 1981 Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel) 1980 Pierino Gavazzi (Ita) 1979 Ludo Peeters (Bel) 1978 Jan Raas (Ned) 1977 Ludo Peeters (Bel) 1976 Felice Gimondi (Ita) 1975 Freddy Maertens (Bel) 1974 Marc Demeyer (Bel) 1973 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1966 Felice Gimondi (Ita) 1965 Edward Sels (Bel) 1964 Georges Van Coningsloo (Bel) 1963 Jean Stablinski (Fra) 1962 Joseph Wouters (Bel) 1961 Pino Cerami (Bel) 1960 Pierre Everaert (Bel) 1959 Frans Schoubben (Bel) 1958 Rik Van Looy (Bel) 1957 Leon Van Daele (Bel) 1956 Rik Van Looy (Bel) 1955 Marcel Hendrickx (Bel) 1954 Marcel Hendrickx (Bel) 1953 Loretto Petrucci (Ita) 1952 Alberic Schotte (Bel) 1951 Jean Gueguen (Fra) 1950 Rik Van Steenbergen (Bel) 1949 Maurice Diot (Fra) 1948 Lode Poels (Bel) 1947 Ernest Sterckx (Bel) 1946 Alberic Schotte (Bel) 1939 Frans Bonduel (Bel) 1938 Marcel Kint (Bel) 1937 Albert Beckaert (Bel) 1936 Eloi Meulenberg (Bel) 1935 Edgard De Caluwe (Bel) 1934 Frans Bonduel (Bel) 1933 Albert Barthelemy (Fra) 1932 Julien Vervaecke (Bel) 1931 Jean Aerts (Bel) 1930 Ernest Mottard (Bel) 1929 Pe Verhaegen (Bel) 1928 Georges Ronsse (Bel) 1927 Nicolas Frantz (Lux) 1926 Denis Verschueren (Bel) 1925 Gerard Debaets (Bel) 1924 Felix Sellier (Bel) 1923 Felix Sellier (Bel) 1922 Felix Sellier (Bel) 1921 Robert Raboul (Fra) 1920 Henri Pelissier (Fra) 1919 Alexis Michiels (Bel) 1914 Louis Mottiat (Bel) 1913 Octave Lapize (Fra) 1912 Octave Lapize (Fra) 1911 Octave Lapize (Fra) 1910 Maurice Brocco (Fra) 1909 Francois Faber (Lux) 1908 Lucien Petit-Breton (Fra) 1907 Gusrave Garrigou (Fra) 1906 A. Dunlop (Fra) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com