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64th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - 1.HC
Belgium, February 28, 2009
Hushovd delivers in messy finale
By Bjorn Haake in Gent, Belgium
Thor Hushovd gave the Cervélo TestTeam a strong start to the Classics season by taking a commanding victory in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The big Norwegian came out of a chasing group which caught two escapees, Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) and Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo), with only a few hundred metres to go. Kevyn Ista of Agritubel and Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) rounded out the podium.
The winner had the advantage of a teammate in the breakaway, and did not imagine he would be the one to win. "This is unexpected, I thought Haussler would have it," Hushovd said. "I thought he and Langeveld had all the chances to sprint for victory." When the duo was caught, things were simple for Hushovd. "In the end, all I had to do was sprint."
The messy finale was overshadowed by a crash when Langeveld was caught and wanted to get out of the way. He moved to the left side of the road, blocking Filippo Pozzato (Katusha). Pozzato was at full speed, contesting for victory. The Italian went down, impeding Tom Boonen in the process.
Boonen almost went down, so was lucky he didn't crash. "On the other hand, I felt really strong and I could have been on the podium. I was in Hushovd's wheel when the crash happened." Boonen had to swerve around Pozzato. "I lost 30 metres and I had to re-start my sprint."
Pozzato also felt he had good chances of winning. "I was alongside Hushovd when I crashed." Pozzato suffered a hematoma on his left thigh. "I injured my left elbow, too – it hurts pretty badly."
Fair weather for Belgian opener
The race, held in unusually nice weather, started out with a five-man escape group of David Boucher (Landbouwkrediet), Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis), Jean Zen (Palmans), Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Wim De Vocht (Vacansoleil).
Blot, a neo-pro, enjoyed the day on the front, even though things didn't go all to plan. "I had to change my bike three times," he said. In the end he also was too tired. "I still don't have the physique for those races and I simply hit the wall. I will be going to bed a bit disappointed tonight." Blot said the headwind was tough but that "the course is beautiful."
A four-man group with Steven Caethoven (Agritubel), Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas) and Björn Thurau (Elk Haus) went after the five front runners, but ended up getting disqualified. The four went through a closed railroad crossing.
A disappointed Thurau didn't agree with the decision. "The lights had just started blinking. There was a bit of a dip beforehand and we were going 60 km/h. If you want to crash, yeah, then maybe you could stop."
Rabobank sets Taaienberg on fire
Rabobank set the decisive move on the Taaienberg, with 55 kilometres left to race. After the tough climb four riders of the Dutch team emerged on the front – Nick Nuyens, Sebastian Langeveld, Juan Antonio Flecha and Joost Posthuma.
The gap never went past much more than a dozen seconds and about 15 km later the four were caught by a small group, with all the favourites assembled together. The move contained Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel, Leif Hoste, Gilbert, Greg Van Avermaet, Nuyens, Langeveld, Flecha, Posthuma, Bram Tankink, Haussler, Andreas Klier, Hushovd, Pozzato, Niki Terpstra, Martin Velits, Marcus Burghardt, Tomas Vaitkus, Kevyn Ista and Thomas Voeckler.
Gilbert made his his second move, but was unable to get away. After the Molenberg, the final climb of the day, the front group of five was finally brought back.
Gilbert explained later that one team really put the stamp on the race today. "Hushovd was impressive and Haussler was incredible. In fact the entire Cervélo was strong." But Gilbert said that his Silence-Lotto team was also up for the task. "The three protected riders were there and Hoste did a lot of work. Fourth place [for Greg van Avermaet] is not bad."
An attack by Langeveld and Haussler set up the finale, with Hoste and Chavanel doing most of the work to close the gap. Chavanel explained his reasons for dedicating himself to Tom Boonen. "It was likely it would come down to a sprint and I there I have no chance." Chavanel was joking about his 'team time trial' on the front. "Really, going strong? I didn't place!" On a more a serious note he confirmed that he was on form. "Tomorrow we will ride to win. Our objective was to win one of the two races [Omloop and Kuurne - ed.]"
Chavanel's efforts paid off as the leading duo of Haussler and Langeveld was caught in the final few hundred metres. Despite a strong representation by the Rabobank squad, the Cervélo TestTeam seized control of the sprint, giving Hushovd a perfect lead-out and placing three of its riders into the top ten.
No Belgian Classic would be complete without crashes, and once again there were many. Tomas Vaitkus and Gerald Ciolek went down, neither in a talkative mood after their mishaps. Vaitkus's small finger on his left hand was pretty bloody. Alexandre Blain (Cofidis) also went down. "I crashed on the Paddestraat. I was comfortably riding in the middle of the road when another rider was trying to get back into the middle and cut in front of me."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by AFP Photo
Images by ISPA/www.ctm-images.com
Images by Bjorn Haake/Cyclingnews.com
Images by Tim Van Wichelen
Images by Florian and Susanne Schaaf/www.cyclingpictures.de
Images by Erik Van Breugel/www.cyclingmoments.com
Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team 4.47.45 (42.641 km/h) 2 Kevyn Ista (Bel) Agritubel 3 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Rabobank 4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence-Lotto 5 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Team Columbia - Highroad 6 Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 7 Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team 8 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team 9 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram 10 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 11 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 12 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank 13 David Boucher (Fra) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 14 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Rabobank 15 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Silence-Lotto 16 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank 17 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 18 Wim De Vocht (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 19 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel 0.45 20 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française Des Jeux 21 Roy Sentjens (Bel) Silence-Lotto 22 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha 23 Baden Cooke (Aus) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 24 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 25 Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 26 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 27 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank 28 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervelo Test Team 29 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano 30 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 31 Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 32 Cédric Pineau (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 33 Gerben Löwik (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 34 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram 35 Michael Schär (Swi) Astana 36 Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank 37 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha 38 Yoann Offredo (Fra) Française Des Jeux 39 Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil-Shimano 40 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 41 Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel 42 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Verandas Willems 43 Rony Martias (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 44 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Silence-Lotto 45 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Agritubel 46 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha 47 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 48 Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream 49 Marc De Maar (Ned) Rabobank 50 Hayden Roulston (NZl) Cervelo Test Team 51 Ben Hermans (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 52 Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence-Lotto 53 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Française Des Jeux 54 Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 55 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 56 Christophe Laurent (Fra) Agritubel 57 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas 58 Kevin Neirynck (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 59 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 60 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 61 Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervelo Test Team 62 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervelo Test Team 63 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 64 Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano 65 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 66 Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano 67 Kurt Hovelijnck (Bel) Quick Step 68 Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo Bank 69 Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 70 William Frischkorn (USA) Garmin - Slipstream 71 Kilian Patour (Fra) Garmin - Slipstream 72 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Française Des Jeux 73 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step 74 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas 75 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas 76 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team Saxo Bank 77 Murilo Fischer (Bra) Liquigas 78 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas 79 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step 80 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Quick Step 81 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quick Step 82 Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil-Shimano 83 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick Step 84 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas 85 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française Des Jeux 86 Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas 87 Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil-Shimano 88 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil-Shimano 89 Leif Hoste (Bel) Silence-Lotto 1.15 90 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 91 Jean Zen (Fra) Palmans Cras 92 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha 1.24 93 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française Des Jeux 1.30 94 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank 1.35 95 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana 1.41 96 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Astana 1.52 97 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano 1.57 98 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank 2.36 99 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream 2.59 100 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Team Saxo Bank 3.34 101 Renaud Dion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 7.00 102 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française Des Jeux 103 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team Columbia - Highroad 104 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad 105 Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 106 Thomas Fothen (Ger) Team Milram 107 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Team Katusha 108 Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Team Katusha 109 Bart Vanheule (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 110 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 111 Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Team Saxo Bank 112 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 113 Guillaume Blot (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 114 Biel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 12.32 115 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Verandas Willems 116 Stefan Rucker (Aut) ELK Haus 117 Matthias Brandle (Aut) ELK Haus 118 Dieter Cappelle (Bel) Palmans Cras 119 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Silence-Lotto 120 Vicente Reynes (Spa) Team Columbia - Highroad 121 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia - Highroad 122 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Team Columbia - Highroad 123 Matthias Friedemann (Ger) PSK Whirlpool - Author 124 Martin Müller (Ger) Team Milram 125 Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 126 Aurélien Clerc (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 127 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram 128 Artur Gajek (Ger) Team Milram 129 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 130 Huub Duyn (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream 131 Timothy Vangheel (Bel) Palmans Cras 132 Sven Van Den Houte (Bel) Verandas Willems 133 Sven Renders (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 134 Mathieu Criquielion (Bel) Verandas Willems 135 Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) ISD 136 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française Des Jeux 137 Dominique Rollin (Can) Cervelo Test Team 138 Tom Vanbecelaere (Bel) Palmans Cras 139 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 140 Michael Friedman (USA) Garmin - Slipstream 141 Romain Villa (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 142 Ian Stannard (GBr) ISD 143 Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team Columbia - Highroad 144 Bolat Raimbekov (Kaz) Astana DNF Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence-Lotto DNF Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale DNF Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale DNF Gatis Smukulis (Lat) AG2R La Mondiale DNF Valeriy Dmitriyev (Kaz) Astana DNF Berik Kupeshov (Kaz) Astana DNF Sergey Renev (Kaz) Astana DNF Mathieu Claude (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom DNF Franck Bouyer (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom DNF Saïd Haddou (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom DNF Alexandre Blain (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne DNF Jean-Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne DNF Alexandre Usov (Blr) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne DNF Hans Dekkers (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream DNF Christopher Sutton (Aus) Garmin - Slipstream DNF Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas DNF Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank DNF Gert Dockx (Bel) Team Columbia - Highroad DNF Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Team Katusha DNF Gert Steegmans (Bel) Team Katusha