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58th Dwars door Vlaanderen - 1.2
Belgium, March 26, 2003
McEwen wins one for Lotto
Cooke tries everything
By Jeff Jones
Robbie McEwen has given his Lotto-Domo team a morale boosting and pressure relieving win in the 58th Dwars Door Vlaanderen, run between Kortrijk and Waregem. Lotto-Domo has been heavily criticised in the Belgian media in recent weeks for being generally outclassed by Quick.Step-Davitamon. However the boys in red, white and blue rallied today to place four men in the final breakaway group that formed with 7 km to go, and were able to give McEwen a perfect leadout to win the sprint.
"Our team could not have given a nicer answer to the critics," said McEwen to VRT after his win. "Lotto-Domo has been riding well all the time, but we've had bad luck. We knew that it would come good, and I must say some of the criticism was justified, some not."
"Today the team did fantastic work for me," continued McEwen. "The boys rode super to prepare the sprint: Van Petegem, Van Bon, Van Dijk were perfect."
In second place, and the strongest rider in the race today, was last year's winner Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com). Cooke was in countless breakaway attempts, many instigated by himself, and was never far from the front in the final 50 km. He did not have the speed to beat McEwen in the sprint however, and had to settle for second place behind his compatriot. In third was US Postal's Max van Heeswijk, who showed that he is still in great shape for the upcoming classics.
Quick.Step-Davitamon did not have a great day however, with Johan Museeuw being involved in a big crash before the Eikenberg. He suffered cuts to his left knee and right arm, and abandoned the race. He will be taken to hospital for x-rays to see if there is any further damage.
How it unfolded
The race began in warm spring sunshine in Kortrijk, with a light breeze blowing. The 200km parcours included 11 hills, with the first (Katteberg) coming after 90 kilometres. The riders also had to tackle the Berendries, Valkenberg, Eikenberg, Knokteberg, Oude Kwaremont, Kalkhovenberg, Patersberg, Vossenhol, and the Holstraat, which was ridden up during each of the two 15 km finishing circuits.
The first serious breakaway was made after 60 km, when Kristof Trouvé (Palmans), Tony Bracke (Landbouwkrediet) and Andy Capelle (Marlux) attacked, gaining a lead of eight minutes by the 83 km point. The peloton started to react as the hills approached, and at the top of the Katteberg (km 90), the lead had already been reduced to seven minutes.
After 116 km there was a massive pileup in the peloton, taking out Johan Museeuw, among others. With Museeuw out of the race, Quick.Step had lost one of its key men, although Frank Vandenbroucke and Tom Boonen still remained. On the Eikenberg, Philippe Gaumont (Cofidis) and Frederic Guesdon (FDJeux.com) attacked in pursuit of the three leaders, who were rapidly losing ground. The attack did not last long, however by the 130 km mark the gap had diminished to 5 minutes.
On the Oude Kwaremont (km 146), Kristof Trouvé rode up in the lead, with Capelle and Bracke chasing. The peloton had split into two behind him with Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) being primarily responsible. Baden Cooke (FDJ), Leon Van Bon, Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo), Dave Bruylandts and Geert Verheyen (Marlux), Servais Knaven, Nick Nuyens and Frank Vandenbroucke (Quick.Step) were also part of the lead group, which caused panic in the peloton, especially in the Lotto-Domo camp. Lotto's concerns grew when McEwen punctured on the Vossenhol in Tiegem (km 158 ) and lost the group.
Trouvé and Capelle were caught at this point, and the leading group increased its advantage to 30 seconds over the peloton. However, Jaan Kirsipuu and his Ag2r squad were determined to catch them, and gradually brought the leaders back as they entered the two 15 km closing circuits.
Cooke was feeling strong and helped drive the break, however it was caught with 26 km to go. Almost immediately his teammate Matthew Wilson attacked, just before the cobbled Herlegemstraat. He gained 12 seconds before being joined by Jo Planckaert on the Holstraat climb with 21 km to go. A few kilometres later, Baden Cooke and Leon van Bon had bridged the gap to Wilson and Planckaert, and they in turn were caught by five more: Dave Bruylandts (Marlux), Mathew Hayman (Rabobank), Christophe Mengin (FDJeux.com), Bert De Waele (Landbouwkrediet) and Stijn Devolder (Vlaanderen-T Interim).
This wasn't to be the decisive break however, as Quick.Step had missed it and were chasing hard with Brioches la Boulangère. The peloton closed it down with 12 km to go, but the high speed and constant attacking were starting to tell. The second time along Herlegemstraat it was BankGiroLoterij's Pieter Vries who attacked, gaining a handful of seconds by the end of the 1.1 km stretch. When he was caught it was the turn of Jo Planckaert to go again on the Holstraat climb, almost laughing as he'd attacked in the same place on the previous lap.
Planckaert was joined by Cooke (FDJ), Kirsipuu (Ag2r), Van Bon, McEwen, Van Petegem, Van Dijk (all Lotto), Vandenbroucke (Quick.Step), Magnien and Damien Nazon (Brioches), Vinale (Alessio), Van Heeswijk (USPS), Verheyen and Bruylandts (Marlux). The peloton suddenly wasn't there any more, and the race was fought out amongst these riders.
The attacks continued in the final 4 km, but with so many Lotto sprinters there, nothing stuck. With 2 km to go, Van Petegem got to the front and started the lead out, followed by Van Bon, Van Dijk, and finally McEwen, who took a comfortable win in front of Cooke and Van Heeswijk. It was perfect teamwork from the Lotto-Domo boys, who certainly got it together today.
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo 4.59.00 (40.134 km/h) 2 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com 3 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) US Postal presented by Berry Floor 4 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 5 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf 6 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2r-Prevoyance 7 Damien Nazon (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère 8 Alberto Vinale (Ita) Alessio 9 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 10 Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère 11 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Lotto-Domo 12 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf 13 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Domo 14 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Lotto-Domo 15 Saulius Ruskys (Ltu) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf 0.47 16 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole 17 Roger Hammond (GBr) Palmans-Collstrop 18 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) MBK-Oktos-Saint-Quentin 19 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Team fakta 20 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2r-Prevoyance 21 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère 22 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) FDJeux.com 23 André Korff (Ger) Team Coast 24 Franck Renier (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère 25 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Flanders-IteamNova.com 26 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team fakta 27 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère 28 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Flanders-IteamNova.com 29 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Alessio 30 Ludovic Auger (Fra) Big.Mat-Auber 93 31 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 32 Arvis Piziks (Lat) Team CSC 33 Roy Sentjens (Ned) Rabobank 34 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 35 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf 36 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank 37 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 38 Antonio Cruz (USA) US Postal presented by Berry Floor 39 Andy De Smet (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 40 David Derepas (Fra) FDJeux.com 41 Pieter Vries (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team 42 Servais Knaven (Ned) Quick.Step-Davitamon 43 Davide Casarotto (Ita) Alessio 44 Michele Gobbi (Ita) De Nardi-Colpack 45 Ondrej Fadrny (Cze) De Nardi-Colpack 46 Philippe Gaumont (Fra) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 47 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) FDJeux.com 48 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère 49 Frank Hoj (Den) Team fakta 50 Christophe Mengin (Fra) FDJeux.com 51 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 52 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Credit Agricole 53 Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 54 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto-Domo 55 Franck Pencole (Fra) MBK-Oktos-Saint-Quentin 56 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) Team CSC 58 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 59 Stéphane Barthe (Fra) MBK-Oktos-Saint-Quentin 60 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Team CSC 61 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf 1.49 62 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Rabobank 63 Matthew Wilson (Aus) FDJeux.com 64 Erkki Pütsep (Est) Ag2r-Prevoyance 65 Lauri Aus (Est) Ag2r-Prevoyance 66 Tom Flammang (Lux) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 67 Bert Hiemstra (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team 68 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 69 Michel Van Haecke (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 70 Sven Nijs (Bel) Rabobank 71 Robert Bartko (Ger) Rabobank 72 Chris Peers (Bel) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 73 Rafael Nuritdinov (Uzb) De Nardi-Colpack 2.26 74 Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank 2.48 75 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank 76 Kristof Trouve (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 77 Bram Schmitz (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team 78 Gerben Löwik (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team 0.47
Dwars Door Vlaanderen/A Travers la Belgique 2002 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com 2001 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) 2000 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) 1999 (2) Johan Museeuw (Bel) 1998 Tom Steels (Bel) 1997 Andrej Tchmil (Mda) 1996 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) 1995 (2) Jelle Nijdam (Ned) 1994 Carlo Bomans (Bel) 1993 Johan Museeuw (Bel) 1992 Olaf Ludwig (Ger) 1991 (2) Eric Vanderaerden (Bel) 1990 Edwig Van Hooydonck (Bel) 1989 Dirk De Wolf (Bel) 1988 (2) Eddy Planckaert (Bel) 1987 Jelle Nijdam (Bel) 1986 Eric Vanderaerden (Bel) 1985 Eddy Planckaert (Bel) 1984 (2) Walter Planckaert (Bel) 1983 Etienne De Wilde (Bel) 1982 Jan Raas (Ned) 1981 Frank Hoste (Bel) 1980 Johan Van der Meer (Bel) 1979 Gustave Van Roosbroeck (Bel) 1978 Adri Schipper (Ned) 1977 Walter Planckaert (Bel) 1976 Willy Planckaert (Bel) 1975 Cees Priem (Ned) 1974 Louis Verreydt (Bel) 1973 Roger Loysch (Bel) 1972 Marc Demeyer (Bel) 1970 (2) Daniel Van Ryckegem (Bel) 1969 Eric Leman (Bel) 1968 (2) Walter Godefroot (Bel) 1967 Daniel Van Ryckegem (Bel) 1966 Walter Godefroot (Bel) Dwars door Belgie 1965 Albert Hermans (Bel) 1964 Piet Van Est (Ned) 1963 Clément Roman (Bel) 1962 Martin Van Geneugden (Bel) 1961 Maurice Meuleman (Bel) 1960 Arthur Decabooter (Bel) 1959 Roger Baens (Bel) 1958 André Vlayen (Bel) 1957 Noél Fore (Bel) 1956 Lucien Demunster (Bel) 1955 (2) Alberic Schotte (Bel) 1954 Germain Derijcke (Bel) 1953 Alberic Schotte (Bel) 1952 André Maelbrancke (Bel) 1951 (2) Raymond Impanis (Bel) 1950 (2) André Rosseel (Bel) 1949 Raymond Impanis (Bel) 1948 André Rosseel (Bel) 1947 Albert Sercu (Bel) 1946 Maurice Desimplaere (Bel) 1945 b) Rik Van Steenbergen (Bel) 1945 a) Joseph Somers (Bel) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com