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69th Gent-Wevelgem - PT
Belgium, April 11, 2007
Burghardt takes stunning debut win
T-Mobile control Gent-Wevelgem finale
By Gregor Brown and Brecht Decaluwé in Wevelgem
23 year-old Marcus Burghardt nabbed his first professional win in Gent-Wevelgem thanks to perfect team work by T-Mobile. The young German took the Semi-Classic win in front his British team-mate, Roger Hammond. The duo formed part of the winning move of five when, at 26 kilometres to go, Burghardt bridged to an early escape which included Hammond. The two T-Mobile men had to contend with three-time World Champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank), who formed part of the move with Francisco José Ventoso (Saunier Duval-Prodir) and Christophe Mengin (Française Des Jeux).
"I wasn't intending to sprint with Freire," Burghardt said. With Gent-Wevelgem Burghardt grabs his first professional victory, "and immediately a ProTour race. This is the biggest moment of my career," he said.
Burghardt is a hot prospect for all the classics, he finished third in the E3-Prijs Harelbeke this year as well. "In Harelbeke I had too much respect for Boonen and Cancellara. This time I showed just enough respect," Burghardt said.
"For a moment I thought we wouldn't make it but suddenly we had 50 seconds. When the finish was coming closer I realized I had to attack as I wasn't intending to sprint with Freire," Burghardt explained. "These last weeks have been grandiose for me, certainly if you compare them with last year when I was injured. This year, I trained even harder than last year to perform to my best."
When Burghardt attacked with one kilometre to go, the rest of the break hesitated. It was up to Freire to try to bring the tall German back, but he could not close the gap down, discouraged by the shadow of Hammond. Hammond jumped Freire in the final metres to make for a T-Mobile one-two. "I think I made a mistake in the last kilometre, because I thought Ventoso was strong," said Freire. "I thought to wait for the first attack then go with the second attack but I made a mistake and, of course, T-Mobile rode strong."
Freire was hoping to become the first Spaniard to win in Wevelgem, and his disappointment was clear on the podium. "I was very good in the last kilometres. It was difficult, with five or six riders, it is a lottery. Also with T-mobile, it was difficult." As a consolation, Freire move into the overall ProTour lead. The winner of Milano-Sanremo in March was presented the white jersey by UCI President Pat McQuaid after the finish.
The chasing peloton, which was actively led by Quick-Step for Tom Boonen, was led home by Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto). The Aussie sprinted clear of Max Van Heeswijk (Rabobank), just a few seconds behind Ventoso and Mengin.
Regarding this Sunday's Paris-Roubaix, Burghardt said, "It has a different character and it is sixty kilometres longer. I am certainly motivated; I have loads of confidence. T-Mobile will be good in France, as we also have Bernhard Eisel, who did well last year."
How it unfolded
Wouter Van Mechelen (Landbouwkrediet) was the first to attack after just four kilometres of racing, but he wasn't allowed to get away. During the first 15 kilometres, there were more attacks from Jimmy Engoulvent, Markel Irizar and Wouter Van Mechelen, but nothing went clear. Philippe Gilbert won the first intermediate sprint in Pittem ahead of Eric Baumann and Grégory Rast.
Good weather meant that the speed in the peloton was consistently high, with riders trying to break away repeatedly. Birthday boy Kevin Hulsmans was sufferign dizziness, and abandoned the race after 27 kilometres. In the first hour, the peloton covered an astonishing 49 kilometres, and still riders were trying to break free. David Boucher's attempt lasted only one kilometre, and it wasn't until French champion Florent Brard (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Mengin (Française Des Jeux) and Roger Hammond (T-Mobile) attacked that the breakaway would have any success.
The three leaders quickly gained two minutes on the bunch, and by the time they reached the coast in Oostende, the lead had ballooned to more than seven minutes, reaching a maximum at 10'50" with 100 kilometres to go. However, as soon as the riders turned back towards Wevelgem, the peloton awoke and the gap started to come down quickly. As the race approached the main difficulties, the Vidaigneberg, the Rode Berg, Monteberg and finally the cobbled Kemmelberg climbs, the gap was brought down to five minutes.
More fast, nervous racing inflicted more crashes on a battle-heardened peloton, and leading into the hilly section, Servais Knaven (T-Mobile) and Danish champion Allan Johansen, crashed, the latter flying over his handle bars into the ditch; meanwhile Tomas Vaitkus abandoned the race. While the leaders passed the top of the Kemmelberg for the first time with Brard safely leading the group, the peloton behind was not so lucky. Francisco Ventoso (Saunier Duval) led the peloton on the cobbles with Burghardt, Boonen and Nuyens following closely behind the Spanish rider, but over the top of the Kemmelberg, all hell broke lose.
On the cobbled descent, a water bottle was jarred loose, and a Gerolsteiner rider swerved to avoid it, causing a crash that left Unibet's Jimmy Casper lying on the cobbles with blood pouring down his face. As riders braked to avoid Casper, several more nasty crashes occured, taking out Wim De Vocht (Predictor), Tyler Farrar (Cofidis), Luke Roberts (CSC), Wilfried Cretskens (Quickstep), Andy Cappelle (Landbouwkrediet) and Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner).
The first part of the peloton didn't wait for news about their colleagues and a group of ten riders including Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Kevin Van Impe (Quickstep) and Leukemans forged ahead in pursuit of the leaders, but Milram brought the chasing peloton back together for Alessandro Petacchi. Two riders then went clear on the Monteberg, Dmitriy Muravyev and last year's number two David Kopp, but Muravyev realized it was a mission impossible, and went back to the bunch.
On the second ascent of the Kemmelberg, the leading trio of Brard, Hammond and Mengin had just over two minutes on the peloton, which was closing in on Kopp. Near the top, the Gerolsteiner rider was caught by the bunch, led again by Ventoso, Burghardt, Boonen and all the favourites who were wisely staying up front for safety. Once again, disaster struck on the descent of the Kemmelberg. Another bottle hit the ground, and this time took down Fabio Sacchi (Milram). Aart Vierhouten (Skil) braked to avoid the Italian, lost control and slid down the cobbles, and was followed to the ground by Matthew Hayman (Rabobank).
Once again, the leaders took this opportunity to try to make a move, and Burghardt and Ventoso opened up a gap with 30km to go. They were joined by thirteen riders: Grégory Rast (Astana) and Igor Abakoumov (Astana), Robbie McEwen (Predictor), Joaquin Rojas Gil, Nick Nuyens (Cofidis), Stuart O'Grady (CSC), Boonen and Wouter Weylandt, Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Eric Baumann (T-Mobile) and Baden Cooke (Unibet), now just one minute shy of the leaders.
The Spanish riders must've been feeling particularly strong, because out of this group, Freire attacked again and was joined by Ventoso and Burghardt. With the lanky German sitting on in defense of Hammond up ahead, Freire and Ventoso did much of the work to close the gap, but when the trio closed in on the lead riders, Ventoso attacked, bridged up to the group and went straight to the front, leaving Freire alone with Burghardt. Sensing the danger of missing out on a chance to join his team-mate, Burghardt put in the last bit of gas needed for Freire and himself to make the break six.
The six men in front fought hard for every second on the peloton, and with 16km to go the lead was still about half a minute on a peloton led by Quickstep and CSC. With fresh energy in the break, the tough pace caused Brard's legs to give out, and he had to let go of the five other riders in front. A bit of disorganisation in peloton allowed the break's gap to grow up to 45".
Hammond and Burghardt put a lot of effort into the move, as did Freire, who was anxious to see a sprint. In the final five kilometres Freire could be seen judging up Ventoso, who started skipping pulls. The Spaniard of Saunier Duval helped form the winning move, and looked to be the one to present Freire with the most problems. Instead it was solid teamwork by Germany-based T-mobile.
As the group approached the one kilometre to go banner, Ventoso tried to ride Burghardt off the back of the break. But the powerful young German bided his time, and as Ventoso reconsidered his tactic and closed the gap, Burghardt launched his winning move. When Freire jumped it was too late; Burghardt already had a sizable gap, and Hammond was wisely on the wheel of the three-time World Champion. Burghardt got his first professional win, minus the Metas Volantes competition in the Ruta del Sol, ahead of Hammond, making for a T-mobile one-two.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com
Images by AFP
Images by Luc Claessen/www.ctm-images.com
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
1 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) T-Mobile Team 4.52.14 (42.50 km/h) 2 Roger Hammond (GBr) T-Mobile Team 0.04 3 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank 0.05 4 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.06 5 Christophe Mengin (Fra) Française des Jeux 6 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor-Lotto 0.15 7 Max van Heeswsijk (Ned) Rabobank 8 Baden Cooke (Aus) Unibet.com 9 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 10 Alexandre Usov (Blr) AG2r Prévoyance 11 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 12 Olaf Pollack (Ger) Team Wiesenhof Felt 13 David Kopp (Ger) Gerolsteiner 14 Koen De Kort (Ned) Astana 15 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Astana 16 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank 17 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2r Prévoyance 18 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 19 Luca Paolini (Ita) Liquigas 20 Franck Renier (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 21 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner 22 Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Unibet.com 23 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 24 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team CSC 25 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 26 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) T-Mobile Team 27 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic 28 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 29 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana 30 Eric Baumann (Ger) T-Mobile Team 31 Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 32 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 33 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram 34 Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 35 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Unibet.com 36 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Skil-Shimano 37 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team CSC 38 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Team Milram 39 Grégory Rast (Swi) Astana 40 William Bonnet (Fra) Crédit Agricole 41 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas 42 Michael Schär (Swi) Astana 43 Roberto Petito (Ita) Liquigas 44 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Rabobank 45 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux 46 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) AG2r Prévoyance 47 Andreas Klier (Ger) T-Mobile Team 48 Julian Dean (NZl) Crédit Agricole 49 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) T-Mobile Team 50 Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 51 Steffen Wesemann (Swi) Team Wiesenhof Felt 52 Sven Krauss (Ger) Gerolsteiner 53 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic 54 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Gerolsteiner 55 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Crédit Agricole 0.25 56 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team CSC 57 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Team CSC 58 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quickstep-Innergetic 59 Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 0.34 60 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic 61 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.55 62 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 1.46 63 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic 64 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Predictor-Lotto 3.16 65 Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 4.57 66 Matthew White (Aus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 67 Alan Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 68 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 5.02 69 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 70 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Team Milram 71 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux 72 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne 73 Iban Iriondo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 74 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank 75 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil-Shimano 76 Bert Roesems (Bel) Predictor-Lotto 77 Bastiaan Giling (Ned) Team Wiesenhof Felt 78 Nico Mattan (Bel) DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed 79 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française des Jeux 80 Antonio Cruz (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 81 René Mandri (Est) AG2r Prévoyance 82 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 83 Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas 84 Daniel Lloyd (GBr) DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed 85 Matti Breschel (Den) Team CSC 86 Markel Irizar (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 87 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen 88 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 89 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 90 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas 91 Florent Brard (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne 92 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Unibet.com 93 Eric Berthou (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne 94 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic 95 Carlo Westphal (Ger) Gerolsteiner 96 Steven Kleynen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 97 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Française des Jeux 98 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen 99 Roy Sentjens (Ned) Predictor-Lotto 100 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 101 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 102 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank 103 Raul Alarcon (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 11.41 104 Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 105 Christophe Laurent (Fra) Crédit Agricole 106 Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Fra) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 107 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Crédit Agricole 108 Frédéric Gabriel (Fra) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 109 Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed 110 Michiel Elijzen (Ned) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 111 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen 112 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Crédit Agricole 113 Laurent Mangel (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 114 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen 115 Steffen Radochla (Ger) Team Wiesenhof Felt 116 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 117 Sven Renders (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen 118 Luciano André Pagliarini Mendonca (Bra) Saunier Duval-Prodir 119 René Haselbacher (Aut) Astana 120 Bram De Groot (Ned) Rabobank 121 Bart Dockx (Bel) Predictor-Lotto 122 Unai Uribarri (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 123 Pavel Padrnos (Cze) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 124 Steven Caethoven (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen 125 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Predictor-Lotto 126 Robert Wagner (Ger) Team Wiesenhof Felt 127 Cameron Jennings (Aus) DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed 128 Nicolas Rousseau (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance
1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank 77 pts 2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 56 3 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 53 4 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 50 5 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Predictor-Lotto 44 6 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 42 7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 41 8 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) T-Mobile Team 40 9 Leif Hoste (Bel) Predictor-Lotto 40 10 Allan Davis (Aus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 40 11 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 38 12 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caisse D'epargne 38 13 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic 37 14 Luca Paolini (Ita) Liquigas 36 15 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner 35 16 Roger Hammond (GBr) T-Mobile Team 30 17 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC 30 18 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Lampre-Fondital 30 19 Stuart O'grady (Aus) Team Csc 29 20 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 28 21 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 25 22 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 25 23 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Caisse D'epargne 23 24 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 22 25 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 20 26 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 20 27 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 20 28 Christophe Mengin (Fra) Française Des Jeux 15 29 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 15 30 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto 15 31 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana 10 32 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 10 33 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 10 34 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Rabobank 7 35 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 7 36 Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir 6 37 Baden Cooke (Aus) Unibet.Com 5 38 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Caisse D'epargne 5 39 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 5 40 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D'epargne 3 41 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Caisse D'epargne 3 42 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 3 43 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 3 44 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3 45 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval - Prodir 3 46 Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 3 47 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team CSC 3 48 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance 3 49 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Liquigas 2 50 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 2 51 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Team Milram 2 52 Sebastian Siedler (Ger) Team Milram 2 53 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Ag2R Prevoyance 1 54 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole 1 55 Sven Krauss (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1 56 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank 1 57 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 1 58 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quick Step - Innergetic 1 59 Sébastien Joly (Fra) Française Des Jeux 1 60 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance 1 Teams 1 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 79 pts 2 Team Csc 76 3 Liquigas 73 4 Caisse D'epargne 71 5 Astana 62 6 T-Mobile Team 61 7 Rabobank 57 8 Ag2R Prevoyance 57 9 Predictor-Lotto 49 10 Team Milram 47 11 Lampre-Fondital 47 12 Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 42 13 Quick Step - Innergetic 42 14 Saunier Duval - Prodir 40 15 Unibet.Com 35 16 Credit Agricole 33 17 Gerolsteiner 30 18 Bouygues Telecom 27 19 Française Des Jeux 25 20 Euskaltel - Euskadi 16 Nations 1 Spain 216 pts 2 Germany 168 3 Italy 166 4 Australia 133 5 Belgium 92 6 Slovenia 55 7 Luxembourg 51 8 Kazakhstan 48 9 Netherlands 44 10 Great Britain 33 11 Russian Federation 28 12 France 21 13 Lithuania 20 14 Ukraine 3 15 Czech Republic 2 16 Belarus 1 17 Norway 1