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93rd Ronde van Vlaanderen - ProT
Belgium, April 5, 2009
Devolder repeats win in Flanders
By Brecht Decaluwé in Meerbeke
"This is unbelievable. I've lived up to this race for so long and I encountered a lot of bad luck," said Devolder. I worked hard with all the people that kept believing in me. I said I would win and I did it."
"It was very weird race. I was able to join [Tom] Boonen (Quick Step) and [Filippo] Pozzato (Team Katusha) after the Berendries, and then I pulled through toward the leaders. I recovered, and on the Muur, I played my last card," said Devolder.
"I'm planning to stay focused on this race during the next few years as the Ronde van Vlaanderen remains the most important race of the year for me," said Devolder.
An aggressive Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) anticipated the final sprint and escaped from the large chase group on the finishing straight to finish second. The bunch sprint was won by Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto). Pozzato and Martijn Maaskant (Garmin - Slipstream) followed to finish fourth and fifth.
After the race, favorite Boonen explained that racing for the victory wasn't possible for the day since the other top favorite, Pozzato, wasn't chasing any other wheel than his.
"The shadow," Boonen described Pozzato. "Everybody saw that we were killing each other. I couldn't drop him, and he couldn't drop me. When we attacked, we distanced everybody, but he didn't want to continue. So for me, the door was closed, but it opened the door for Stijn and Sylvain (Chavenel)."
"Boonen was the strongest, compliments to the Quick Step team," said Pozzato.
Fast start out of Brugge
When approaching the first of the sixteen hellingen, the Molenberg, the peloton was riding ten minutes ahead of the fastest schedule. As a result, it took 125 kilometres before the first breakaway group was established, and it included just four riders: Wim De Vocht (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Sebastien Turgot (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Filip Meirhaeghe (Landbouwkrediet - Colnago).
Finale starts on Paterberg
Cervélo TestTeam showed its global strength as they lined up with five guys in front of the peloton approaching the Oude Kwaremont. The long, cobbled climb didn't appear to provide the expected spectacle at the front, but in fact, the action happened further back, where a tough selection separated the peloton into two groups.
Cervélo led the first part of the peloton toward the short, but extremely steep and cobbled Paterberg, and that's where the race exploded. About twenty riders distanced the rest, but clearly the favorites were still hesitating whether to go on or not.
Six men anticipated the Koppenberg and jumped away toward the two riders who were still left off the front. Right after the Kwaremont, Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto), Frederic Guesdon (Française Des Jeux), Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Daniel Lloyd (Cervelo Test Team) and Marco Bandiera (Lampre - N.G.C.) drove the chase.
Boonen vs. Pozzato, part one: Koppenberg
Eight kilometres later, the two jumped away from the peloton thanks to an acceleration from Boonen.
Only seventeen riders were able to bridge up with them before the eighth helling, the Eikenberg. That's also where early attacker De Vocht got dropped from the front, reducing the leader's group to seven riders. A group of about twenty riders joined the Boonen group, and on the Varent, a new climb, the peloton took it easy.
Going into the Leberg, the tenth climb of the day, the gap from the seven leaders grew to more than one minute.
Boonen vs. Pozzato, part two: Berendries
Upon reaching the Berendries, Chavanel, Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas) and Hoste dropped their four breakaway companions, but one minute later Pozzato copied the attack he had launched during the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde earlier this week. Boonen was glued to his wheel, and defending Flanders champion Devolder bridged up a little later.
The three chasers steamed towards the leaders, picked up Bandiera, and with 36 kilometers to go, right after the Valkenberg (climb number 12), they joined the front trio. This seven-man lead group didn't stay together for long as Quinziato sneaked away together with Chavanel.
Quick Step left the chasing initiative to the other riders and as a result, a small peloton gathered half a minute behind the two leaders on the steep Tenbosse street. Just past this climb, Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) anticipated the next climb and jumped away from the peloton.
Quinziato and Chavanel arrived at the fourteenth climb, the Eikenmolen, with forty seconds on the reduced peloton.
The Muur: Devolder again
Van Hecke bridged back up with Quinziato and Chavanel, but this trio soon trailed by half a minute the unleashed Devolder. The front group, including Boonen, followed at one minute behind Devolder.
The relative positions of the lead racers remained the same over the Bosberg despite efforts from Flecha and Gilbert in the peloton. Devolder was unstoppable and gathered up to one minute over the three chasers as he approached the Meerbeke.
Behind a celebrating Devolder, the chasing trio was reeled in by the peloton that would sprint for second place. Haussler anticipated the group's sprint and launched off the front to capture second place.
A serious crash ruined the chances of riders like Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto) and Gregory Rast (Astana). Gilbert captured third place ahead of Pozzato and Maaskant.
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Images by AFP Photo
Images by Bjorn Haake/Cyclingnews.com
Images by Brecht Decaluwé / Cyclingnews
Images by Gregor Brown / Cyclingnews.com
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Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews
Images by Tim Van Wichelen /www.cyclingview.be
1 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step 6.01.04 (43,455 km/h) 2 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team 0.59 3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Silence-Lotto 4 Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream 5 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha 6 Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank 7 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Team Columbia - Highroad 8 Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 9 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 10 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 11 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 12 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 13 Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervelo Test Team 14 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank 15 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Rabobank 16 Roy Sentjens (Bel) Silence-Lotto 17 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quick Step 18 Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas 19 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 20 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 21 Gerben Löwik (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 22 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Silence-Lotto 23 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha 24 Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team 25 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 26 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana 27 Leif Hoste (Bel) Silence-Lotto 28 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Barloworld 29 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française Des Jeux 30 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Rabobank 31 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 1.08 32 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas 1.11 33 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank 1.14 34 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - Highroad 1.44 35 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence-Lotto 3.02 36 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française Des Jeux 3.06 37 Murilo Fischer (Bra) Liquigas 3.17 38 Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas 39 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank 40 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step 4.37 41 Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C. 42 Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - N.G.C. 43 Grégory Rast (Swi) Astana 4.57 44 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervelo Test Team 5.38 45 Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervelo Test Team 46 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 6.45 47 Saïd Haddou (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 48 Steve Chainel (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 49 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Team Columbia - Highroad 50 Yoann Offredo (Fra) Française Des Jeux 51 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 52 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano 53 Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Vorarlberg - Corratec 54 Michael Schär (Swi) Astana 55 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 56 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 57 Ermanno Capelli (Ita) Fuji-Servetto 58 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 59 Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana 60 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank 61 Josep Jufre (Spa) Fuji-Servetto 62 Patrick Calcagni (Swi) Barloworld 63 Martin Velits (Svk) Team Milram 64 Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 65 Markel Irizar (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 66 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad 67 Matthew Goss (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 68 Wim De Vocht (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 69 Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Team Katusha 70 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 71 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Vorarlberg - Corratec 72 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia - Highroad 73 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Quick Step 74 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick Step 75 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervelo Test Team 76 Steven Cummings (GBr) Barloworld 77 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana 78 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 79 Martin Müller (Ger) Team Milram 10.48 80 Huub Duyn (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream 12.32 81 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 82 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Française Des Jeux 83 Marlon Perez (Col) Caisse d'Epargne 13.53 84 Pedro Horrillo (Spa) Rabobank 85 Servais Knaven (Ned) Team Milram 86 Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne 87 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas 88 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 89 Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil-Shimano 90 Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 91 Steven Cozza (USA) Garmin - Slipstream 92 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team Saxo Bank 93 Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 94 Kevin Neirynck (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 95 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank 96 Florent Brard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 97 Angel Gomez (Spa) Fuji-Servetto 98 Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 99 Daryl Impey (RSA) Barloworld 100 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas 101 Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 102 Mathieu Claude (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 103 Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil-Shimano 104 Jens Mouris (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 105 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil-Shimano 106 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française Des Jeux 107 Christopher Sutton (Aus) Garmin - Slipstream 108 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française Des Jeux 109 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team Saxo Bank 110 Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Team Saxo Bank 111 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram 112 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank 113 Rui Da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne 114 Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C. 115 Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne 116 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Fuji-Servetto HD Gatis Smukulis (Lat) AG2R La Mondiale 18.50 HD Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram HD Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator HD Svein Tuft (Can) Garmin - Slipstream 22.29 HD Philipp Ludescher (Aut) Vorarlberg - Corratec HD Diego Caccia (Ita) Barloworld HD Silvère Ackermann (Swi) Vorarlberg - Corratec HD Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - N.G.C. HD Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C. HD Aitor Galdos (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi HD Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 26.32