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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for April 7, 2003

Edited by Anthony Tan and Jeff Jones

87th Ronde van Vlaanderen

A classic edition of one of the great classics was run between Brugge and Ninove today, with deserved victory going to Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo), who also won in 1999. Van Petegem and Frank Vandenbroucke (Quick.Step) attacked a 12 man group on the Muur van Geraardsbergen to ride away with 15 km to go, and there was nothing that the chasers could do to close it down. In the sprint, Van Petegem was far too strong for Vandenbroucke, who rode his best race in several years. Australian champion Stuart O'Grady won the sprint for third out of the next group.

Live report


Post race comments

Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo, 1st)

"It was a tough Ronde van Vlaanderen, for sure the headwind was hard. The race broke open on the Koppenberg. My team was great, Serge, Wim and the other guys brought everything back. From then on it was a matter of looking around and covering every move. On the Muur I saw that the rest were at the end of their strength, together with Frank I made the final jump. Only once I was nervous, when Museeuw attacked in Horebeke I had to go deep. On the Leberg they stopped riding and then I thought that it was possible to win."

Frank Vandenbroucke (Quick.Step-Davitamon, 2nd)

"I have been longing for this race the whole winter, I know I was very good but I was still lacking something in Harelbeke and Waregem. The last two weeks I have been looking after myself so well. I was just missing that something but I knew that it was coming. I had a bit of a problem with a light cold."

"I asked to be protected for the finale as I knew it wasn't going to be easy for me. It wasn't my idea to attack and when Peter went, he was so fast. I tried to ride away from him [on the Bosberg] but it didn't work. I didn't have Bettini or Johan to speculate a bit. I told Peter we'd sprint for the win. I knew my chances were very small in the sprint though."

"I should be able to win the four upcoming races, but I'll be very happy to take just one."

Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole, 3rd)

"I felt good the whole day," said O'Grady. "In the hard sections I was well placed and I had the legs to stay in front. This is my best result here, of course. The year is going well, I even think that it's my best start to the season since I turned pro. I've never had a podium finish in a World Cup."

When asked about Paris-Roubaix, O'Grady replied, "I prefer not to think of it now, I take the races as they come."

Nico Mattan (Cofidis, 5th)

"I'll dare to say that I was the best man in the race, I took the initiative so many times today. One minute on the Muur I had a bad moment, it's my black beast...I was the best today, but that doesn't mean anything. It's a pity they rode away like that on the Muur. In the chase I was feeling comfortable."

"I was constantly on Museeuw's wheel, but I saw he wasn't top today. I just think it's just a pity, it was my place to be with PVP and VDB, it's a pity. I wouldn't have won the RVV, but I surely should have been third."

Dave Bruylandts (Marlux, 10th)

"I was 'kaput' in the finale, it was 'choco'. On the Berendries I went deep and I had to go after VDB and PVP; it cost me too much effort. I had to let them go on the Muur. It was a hard race. It is the first time I've ridden the finale of the RVV. I think I still have a few good years ahead of me in this race."

Wim Vansevenant (Lotto-Domo)

"I am so very happy. I have been working with Peter for a few years and this is the cherry on the cake. We have been working very, very hard for this race, all winter. We had quite a few set-backs in the beginning of the season; but now we're here. Goddamn!

"We didn't pay attention to what the press said about Peter, the criticism was not getting to us, on the contrary, it was a motivation. I know Peter so well by now, I know when he is ready. I could have sat there crying on my bike when I heard he did win. I don't have to paint the picture here : it is going to be a long night!"

Marc Sergeant (Lotto-Domo)

"When Peter is ready, he tells us, it's that simple. And he did tell us but we knew for ourselves, we could see it. He has been growing towards this moment, he showed that he was in the right shape in Driedaagse van De Panne."

"The criticism was getting to us a bit; the team was racing differently because of it, not always the way they should have reacted. I don't have any feeling of revenge. Peter will be able to stay on this level for a while because he was later in this top form than otherwise. His sickness before Milan-San Remo made that he got delayed in his preparation. I do think Peter can also play a role of importance in Liege-Bastogne-Liege."

Brochard disagrees with UCI helmet ruling

Recent winner of the Critérium International, Laurent Brochard (AG2R), is the first to publicly show his skepticism about the announcement from the UCI to make helmet wear compulsory in professional racing.

"This is not the right step - I am against bans of all sorts," said the 1997 world road champion to AFP, currently in north western France preparing for today's GP de la Ville de Rennes. "The helmet often prevents me from breathing," added Brochard, referring to the inability of helmets to allow the free flow of air, especially when climbing.

The Frenchman also believes that riders should be allowed to choose the brand of helmet they wear, since he feels certain brands are not aesthetically pleasing or sufficiently protective.

Speaking openly about the death of Kazakh rider Andrei Kivilev (Cofidis), Brochard said: "This is destiny; there is nothing to prove that Kivilev would have survived had he worn a helmet."

However, Cofidis team doctor, Dr Jean-Jacques Menuet, is supportive of the UCI's decision regarding mandatory helmet use, adding: "I believe my medical colleagues from other teams will agree with me on the obligatory use of the helmet", said Dr Menuet.

Ullrich prepares for parenthood

Former Tour de France winner and Team Coast leader, Jan Ullrich, will become a dad at the end of the summer, according to a report from AFP.

"I'm going to be a father; our baby will be born at the end of the summer," said Ullrich to German newspaper Bild yesterday. "We're delighted at the news," added his girlfriend Gabi Weis.

The 29 year old German is expected to challenge Lance Armstrong in his bid for a fifth straight win in July, however it remains to be seen whether Ullrich's incessant knee problems are behind him, allowing him to train and race again at the highest level. Ullrich will return to competition next Tuesday, for the first time in six months at the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe et Pays de la Loire, after a six month ban for testing positive for amphetamines in July last year.

Short sentence proves case for reform

National cyclists' organisation for cyclists in the UK and Ireland, CTC, says the recent decision handed down by the Crown Prosecution Service involving an attack of road rage proves the need for sentence reform so that punishments more closely reflect the crime.

In June last year, Emily Kirwin and her father, Stephen, were enjoying a Sunday morning cycle in the Yorkshire Wolds when Carl Baxter drove within two feet of them, prompting Mr Kirwin to raise his fist as he feared for his and Emily's safety.

In response, Baxter stopped his car and reversed 200 yards into the Kirwins, crushing Emily's trailer before driving off. Emily suffered a fractured skull, lost five teeth and has been left with a squint following the attack. Stephen Kirwin, 52, still requires a metal brace after Baxter's actions broke his leg and pelvis. Baxter was given a two year jail terms for grievous bodily harm and a 15 month sentence for dangerous driving, all to run concurrently.

Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns and Policy Manager said: "This man will be out within 12 months despite the horrendous injuries he caused. There is no more evidence needed to show that those who injure and endanger other road users should be more severely punished."

"The maximum term for dangerous driving is two years, which is far too low for someone with the power to cause severe injury", said Zoe Stow, Chair of Roadpeace, the national charity for road traffic victims, "although in this case, the police and Crown Prosecution Service should be praised for bringing the charges of GBH and treating the case as a serious criminal offence."

The government is currently reviewing penalties for dangerous driving and cyclists and other safety campaigners hope the maximum term will be increased from two years.

2004 World's web site live

The official web site of the 2004 World Road Championships, to be held from September 28-October 3, 2004, is now live.

Although the event is more than 18 months away, the web site already features plenty of interesting content, including the history of the World's, beginning in 1927, the history of the bicycle, tourism information about Verona and Lake Garda, and an account of the 1999 World Championships, the last time the championships were held in Italy.

A nice touch is the "Personage of the month" that introduces one of the key personalities of the 2004 World's, and "The tales of Alfredo Martini", a great rider himself and a past director of the squadra azzurro. The web site will later enable fans to buy official merchandise as well as book trips to Verona and its surrounding regions.

Click here to visit the 2004 World's web site.

Charity ride to support Starlight Foundation

The Riders Club will be embarking on its 4th Annual Charity ride over the May long weekend, from Saturday May 3-5, 2003, in support of the Starlight Children's Foundation.

The Starlight Foundation strives to brighten the lives of all seriously ill and hospitalised children and their families throughout Australia. The ride will be a social, non-racing road ride, with 100 per cent of proceeds donated to the Starlight Children's Foundation.

The Journey (distances are approximate)

Saturday May 3 - Brisbane - Crows Nest, 155 km
Sunday, May 4 - Crows Nest - Toowoomba, 150 km Monday Toowoomba - Brisbane, 150 km

For further information please contact Paul Cook on: 0407 760 885, email:

CTC's off-road season starting soon

The first of CTC's off-road weekends, at Watership Down in Hampshire, is now two weeks away.

Two days' cycling on April 19 and 20 are planned again and will be suitable for visitors with minimal off-roading experience, riding over the rolling hills of Watership Down made famous by Richard Adams' novel of the same name. The rides will be of around five hours at a steady pace on fairly easy terrain with a stop for lunch midway through the day, with the start and finish at Watership Down Inn, Freefolk.

Other CTC off-road dates:

June 7-8 - Otterburn, Northumberland
September 13-14 - Dartmoor
October 4-5 - Cheddar
October 25-26 - Llanwrtyd Wells

Rides cost £8 for CTC members and £10 for non-members. For more details call Andy Hawes on 0870 873 0063, email:

Cactus Forest trail needs support

The Cactus Forest Trail, located in Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona was closed to cyclists in April 2002 after more than 10 years of successful shared use. After months of meetings, legal action and environmental review, the park authorities have initiated a public comment period on its plan to reopen the trail to mountain bike riders.

IMBA is asking mountain bikers to send comment letters to Saguaro National Park supporting the plan to reopen the Cactus Forest Trail to cyclists. The deadline for comments is Tuesday, May 6, 2003.

Please mail comments to:

Superintendent Sarah Craighead
Saguaro National Park
3693 South Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730


(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)