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82nd Paris-Brussels - 1.1
Belgium, September 14, 2002
McEwen streets ahead in Brussels
By Jeff Jones
Australian champion Robbie McEwen has taken his 16th season victory, winning the 82nd edition of Paris-Brussels. After the peloton swallowed up a dangerous breakaway by Erik Dekker with 500m to go, McEwen waited until the last moment to launch his sprint, winning comfortably from Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner) and Jans Koerts (Domo-Farm Frites).
The win came after his surprise defeat in last Wednesday's GP Rik Van Steenbergen, when he cramped in the sprint and couldn't get past Team Coast's Stefan Radochla. That came after he was in the winning breakaway, but today was a conventional bunch sprint.
"A beautiful win," said a delighted McEwen after the 266 km race. "It was a very long race today. I came here for the kilometres to prepare for the World Championships. Lotto made the race today, with Van Petegem strong on the hills."
"Baden Cooke [FDJ.com] went early so I stayed on the wheel for a long time. I had to wait until I was home before I was sure of the victory."
Although a likely outcome in a fairly flat classic, a bunch sprint after 266 kilometres of racing is hard to ensure, especially when several other teams have it in their best interests to prevent it. Lotto did work when it counted, but they could not pull back every breakaway. Fortunately, other teams such as CSC-Tiscali (for Julian Dean) and Fassa Bortolo were also interested in keeping a lid on things, and there was just enough cohesion to keep the pack together.
After starting from Soissons at 10:55am, the peloton averaged a little over 30 km/h for the first five hours, due to the stiff northerly breeze that was blowing in their faces the whole day. The exception was Frenchman Jacky Durand, who decided to go it alone and rode the first 180 km by himself, gaining a maximum lead of 21 minutes before the inevitable happened and he was caught with 80 km to go.
After that the race started in earnest, with endless attacks and counter-attacks by the non-sprinters who were seeking to force a selection. A group with Michele Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo), Rubens Bertogliati (Lampre), David Kopp (Telekom), Matthé Pronk (Rabobank) and Erwin Thijs (Collstrop) succeeded in gaining 1'10 with 43 km to go, but a serious chase by Lotto brought them back at 36 km to go.
The Lotto pressure started to crack the peloton on the small climbs that marked the final 35 km, leading to more attacks and small breakaways. At 24 km to go, Gert Verheyen (Rabobank) forces the pace into a cross wind, breaking off a group of 12 riders from the peloton: Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo), David Debremaeker (Marlux), Ludo Dierckxsens (Lampre), Laszlo Bodrogi (Mapei), Peter Van Petegem (Lotto), Jans Koerts (Domo), Ludovic Capelle (Ag2r), Franck Reiner (Bonjour), Rolf Huser (Team Coast), Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner), Bo Hamburger (Index).
It was a strong group with many of the teams represented, but the cooperation was not good enough for them to stay clear. CSC-Tiscali eventually organised a chase and brought them back with 18 km to go. Thus, a large peloton entered Brussels for the final 13 km lap and everything was set for a bunch sprint.
Jo Planckaert (Cofidis), Erik Dekker (Rabobank), and Staf Scheirlinckx (RDM-Flanders) had other ideas though, as they opened up a gap with 8 km to go. Peter Van Petegem (Lotto), Daniele Nardello (Mapei) and Ludovic Capelle (Ag2r) bridged up and suddenly there was a group of six strong men with a 10 second lead. Fassa Bortolo had two riders on the front of the peloton, but the leaders were gaining ground. Lotto didn't have to chase, with Van Petegem up there, and it was a delicate situation.
With 5 km to go on the final climb of the Keperenberg, Van Petegem and Planckaert attacked, but were caught at the top by a strong Nardello. Michele Bartoli chose this point to bridge up to the leaders, and the Italian succeeded in catching them with 3 km to go. However he was not able to do much more than this, and the leading group watched Erik Dekker go away with just over 2 km to go. The Dutch time trial champion opened up a 100m gap, and it looked good enough to win as he flew around the final few corners towards the finish outside Constant Vanden Stock stadion.
It was not to be, as the peloton swept up the break and past Dekker with 500m to go. The first man to put his head into the wind was Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com), who went too early and was swamped with 100m to go as Robbie McEwen burst from the front of the peloton to win by over a bike length. It was one of the Australian's biggest wins of his career, and he reaffirmed his position as one of the top favourites for the World Championships next month. He is one of the few sprinters to beat Mario Cipollini in a head to head sprint this season, and if the World's do finish in a bunch sprint it will be a battle royale.
Images by Yves Boucau, AFP
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco 7.18.53 (36.912 km/h) 2 Olaf Pollack (Ger) Gerolsteiner 3 Jans Koerts (Ned) Domo-Farm Frites 4 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Telekom 5 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com 6 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 7 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team Coast 8 Saulius Ruskys (Ltu) Gerolsteiner 9 Marius Sabaliauskas (Ltu) Saeco-Longoni Sport 10 Michel Vanhaecke (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 11 Niko Eeckhout (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 12 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Lotto-Adecco 13 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Lotto-Adecco 14 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2r-Prevoyance 15 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank 16 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Ag2r-Prevoyance 17 Arvis Piziks (Lat) CSC-Tiscali 18 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Fassa Bortolo 19 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 20 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo-Farm Frites 21 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) CSC-Tiscali 22 Marco Serpellini (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 23 Olivier Perraudeau (Fra) Bonjour 24 Julian Dean (NZl) CSC-Tiscali 25 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 26 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis 27 Marco Engels (Ned) RDM-Flanders 28 Bo Hamburger (Den) Index-Alexia 29 Mauro Radaelli (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 30 Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis 31 Markus Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 32 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) FDJeux.com 33 Christophe Stevens (Bel) Marlux-Ville de Charleroi 34 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) CSC-Tiscali 35 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 36 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank 37 Biagio Conte (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 38 Mark Scanlon (Irl) Ag2r-Prevoyance 39 Mauro Gianetti (Swi) Team Coast 40 Geert Vanderaerden (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 41 Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) Bonjour 42 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Mapei-Quick Step 43 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 44 René Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner 45 Andy De Smet (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 46 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Lampre-Daikin 47 Mauro Gerosa (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 48 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2r-Prevoyance 49 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Rabobank 50 Gianluca Sironi (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 51 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 52 Franck Renier (Fra) Bonjour 53 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 54 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Domo-Farm Frites 55 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) FDJeux.com 56 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 57 Franck Bouyer (Fra) Bonjour 58 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) RDM-Flanders 59 Rolf Huser (Swi) Team Coast 60 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 61 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner 62 Marco Gilli (Ita) Tacconi Sport 63 Sébastien Mattozza (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 64 David Plas (Bel) RDM-Flanders 65 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2r-Prevoyance 66 Servais Knaven (Ned) Domo-Farm Frites 67 Niki Aebersold (Swi) Team Coast 68 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre-Daikin 69 Cristian Pepoli (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 70 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 71 Damien Nazon (Fra) Bonjour 72 Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis 73 Chris Peers (Bel) Cofidis 74 Roberto Petito (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 75 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo 76 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 77 Frank Schleck (Lux) CSC-Tiscali 78 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner 79 Mauro Facci (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 80 Hans De Clercq (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 81 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 82 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step 83 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 84 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Lampre-Daikin 85 Frank Hřj (Den) Team Coast 86 Kurt Van Landeghem (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 87 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 88 Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank 89 Paolo Valoti (Ita) Index-Alexia 90 Stephan Schreck (Ger) Team Telekom 91 Marius Sabaliauskas (Ltu) Saeco-Longoni Sport 92 David Kopp (Ger) Team Telekom 93 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 94 Massimo Apollonio (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 95 Jacky Durand (Fra) FDJeux.com 96 Christophe Mengin (Fra) FDJeux.com 97 Walter Bénéteau (Fra) Bonjour 98 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank 99 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) CSC-Tiscali 100 Geoffrey Demeyere (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 101 Franck Pencole (Fra) FDJeux.com 102 Luca Scinto (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 103 Marc Streel (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 104 Jörg Lüdewig (Ger) Saeco-Longoni Sport 105 Erwin Thijs (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 106 Thorsten Rund (Ger) Team Coast 107 Bradley Mcgee (Aus) FDJeux.com 108 David Debremaecker (Bel) Marlux-Ville de Charleroi 109 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.03 110 Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Ag2r-Prevoyance 0.07 111 Steven De Neef (Bel) Marlux-Ville de Charleroi 0.45 112 Jan Kuyckx (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 113 Igor Pugaci (Mda) Saeco-Longoni Sport 1.03 114 Matthé Pronk (Ned) Rabobank 2.15 115 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Team Telekom 116 Roger Hammond (GBr) Palmans-Collstrop 4.03 117 Jan Richter (Ger) RDM-Flanders 12.01 118 Nicola Gavazzi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 119 Dirk Reichl (Ger) Team Telekom 120 Rudolf Wentzel (RSA) Vlaanderen-T Interim 121 Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 122 Jeff Louder (USA) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 123 Luciano André Pagliarini Mendonca (Bra) Lampre-Daikin 124 Tom Desmet (Bel) Marlux-Ville de Charleroi 125 Kris Matthijs (Bel) Marlux-Ville de Charleroi 126 Glen Chadwick (Aus) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 127 Nico Indekeu (Bel) RDM-Flanders 128 Roy Sentjens (Ned) Rabobank
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