46th Four Days of Dunkirk - 2.1

France, May 2-7, 2000

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Stage 7 - May 7: Grand-Synthe - Dunkerque, 104.4 km

Rittsel makes it two in a row for MCJ&J

Kasputis, Rittsel & Hunter
Photo: © AFP

By Tomas Nilsson, cyclingnews.com correspondent

Swede Martin Rittsel won the Four days of Dunkerque due to a strong ITT in the morning of the last day. This was Memorycard Jack&Jones second straight win in this important French event, and Sweden's highest ranked win since the days of Tommy Prim some fifteen years ago.

Afterwards Rittsel expressed hopes that his team after this victory would be amongst the three invited teams to the Tour de France.

Martin Rittsel is a late bloomer, at the age of 29 he is doing his third season as a pro. He has been racing since childhood and was ranked top rider in all youth classes in Sweden with only one exception. This was to be his problem because when he was about to tackle the elite riders he was not used to hard training. But instead of giving up, which he pondered for a while, he was contracted by Patrick Serra's semi pro team Wirsbo and then the tide turned. Martin Rittsel learned to train hard and one again he was a winner.

He made his pro debut in 1998 in Italian Cantina Tollo with an eighth place in the Tour of Netherlands. The coming year he went to the second division Danish Team Chicky World as a substitute for Michael Sandstød, last year's winner of the Four Days. The year with Chicky World was successful, Martin won among other races the Tour of Argentina. The team's three top riders, Steffen Kjaergaard, Martin Rittsel and Torsten Schmidt, were "kings of lower categories", the only problem being that none of them were Danish, and so the team folded.

Last fall Martin signed a contract with an Italian team that later got financial problems so they let him go to Memorycard-Jack&Jones, a fitting team since Martin's mother is Danish.

Martin Rittsel is a good all rounder: he climbs well if the mountains aren't too high and the climbs too long. He is a good time triallist and he won the TT stage of Tour of Bavaria last year ahead of Rolf Aldag, and he has the ability to hang in there even when the going gets tough, which he showed by taking the seventh spot in Paris-Nice. He is currently ranked around 100th place on the UCI list and this victory will lift him further. Wiith Magnus Bäckstedt as fifth overall, Sweden might come even closer to the 15th place on the world ranking, qualifying them for an eight man squad at the World's. the 15th spot is held today by Australia.

The last stage after the morning's time trial when Rittsel secured the victory became as undramatic as the Danes wanted it to be. Their high tempo did not allow any attacks, the road was paved for Rittsel and for the sprinters. Jaan Kirsipuu was once again the fastest in the field, this time followed by Jeremy Hunt, Stuart O'Grady, Robbie McEwen and Jimmy Casper.


1 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2R Prevoyance              2.15.48   (46.12 km/h)
2 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Bigmat-Auber 93
3 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Farm Frites
5 Jimmy Casper (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux
6 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) US Postal Service
7 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Mapei-Quick Step
8 Kirk O'Bee (USA) US Postal Service
9 Ludovic Auger (Fra) Bigmat-Auber 93
10 Giancarlo Raimondi (Ita) Liquigas Pata
11 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Rabobank
12 Carlos Da Cruz (Fra) Bigmat-Auber 93
13 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank
14 Damien Nazon (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel
15 Tom Flammang (Lux) Cofidis
16 Arvis Piziks (Lat) Memorycard-Jack&Jones
17 Robert Hunter (RSA) Lampre-Daikin
18 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto Adecco
19 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Ville De Charleroi
20 Denis Zanette (Ita) Liquigas Pata
21 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Festina-Lotus
22 Christophe Capelle (Fra) Bigmat-Auber 93
23 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Cantina Tollo
24 Laurent Pillon (Fra) Ville De Charleroi
25 Frédéric Finot (Fra) Credit Agricole
26 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre-Daikin
27 Dario Andriotto (Ita) Alexia Allumino
28 Saulius Ruskys (Ltu) Saint-Quentin Oktos
29 Daniele Righi (Ita) Alexia Allumino
30 Martin Rittsel (Swe) Memorycard-Jack&Jones
31 Olivier Perraudeau (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel
32 Gian Paolo Mondini (Ita) Cantina Tollo
33 François Simon (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel
34 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Credit Agricole
35 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis
36 Michael Standstod (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones
37 Giacomo Battistel (Ita) Alexia Allumino
38 Lauri Aus (Est) Ag2R Prevoyance
39 Jorgen Bo Petersen (Den) Ville De Charleroi
40 Didier Rous (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel
41 Linas Balciunas (Ltu) Saint-Quentin Oktos
42 Christophe Bassons (Fra) Jean Delatour
43 Allan Johansen (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones
44 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto Adecco
45 Christophe Oriol (Fra) Jean Delatour
46 Benoît Joachim (Lux) US Postal Service
47 Matthé Pronk (Ned) Rabobank
48 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Jean Delatour
49 Levy Leipheimer (USA) US Postal Service
50 Ole-Sigurd Simensen  (Nor) Saint-Quentin Oktos
51 Grégory Barbier (Fra) Ville De Charleroi
52 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
53 Marty Jemison (USA) US Postal Service
54 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Farm Frites
55 Alexeï Sivakov (Rus) Bigmat-Auber 93
56 Bart Leysen (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step
57 Thierry Gouvenou (Fra) Bigmat-Auber 93
58 Christophe Detilloux (Bel) Lotto Adecco
59 Michel Lafis (Swe) Farm Frites
60 Jacky Durand (Fra) Lotto Adecco
61 Zbigniew Spruch (Pol) Lampre-Daikin
62 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank
63 Frédéric Gabriel (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel
64 Stéphane Barthe (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance
65 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux
66 Oleg Kozlitine (Kaz) Saint-Quentin Oktos
67 Kasputis Arturas (Ltu) Ag2R Prevoyance
68 Marcel Duijn (Ned) Rabobank
69 Chris Boardman (GBr) Credit Agricole
70 Marcel Gono (Aus) Credit Agricole
71 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Farm Frites
72 Christophe Faudot (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel
73 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Liquigas Pata
74 Laurent Madouas (Fra) Festina-Lotus
75 Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux
76 Franck Perque (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux
77 Dylan Casey (USA) US Postal Service
78 Michaël Blaudzun (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones
79 Davide Casarotto (Ita) Alessio
80 Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance
81 Glenn D'Hollander (Bel) Lotto Adecco
82 Kurt Van Lancker (Bel) Lotto Adecco
83 Cristian Salvato (Ita) Liquigas Pata
84 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Lotto Adecco
85 Wilfried Peeters (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step
86 Franck Corvers (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones
87 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Liquigas Pata
88 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Ag2R Prevoyance
89 Vincent Templier (Fra) Saint-Quentin Oktos
90 Jean-Cyril Robin  (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel
91 Gilles Bouvard (Fra) Jean Delatour
92 David Lefevre (Fra) Cofidis
93 Folrent Brard (Fra) Festina-Lotus
94 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance
95 Charles Guilbert (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel
96 René Jorgensen (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones
97 Martin Van Steen (Ned) Farm Frites
98 Jesper Skibby (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones
99 Laurent Desbiens (Fra) Cofidis
100 Fabio Marchesin (Ita) Liquigas Pata
101 Johan Verstrepen (Bel) Lampre-Daikin
102 Vincent Cali (Fra) Ville De Charleroi
103 Miquel Van Kessel (Ned) Farm Frites
104 Pieter Vries (Ned) Farm Frites
105 Coen Boerman (Ned) Rabobank
106 Andrea Brognara (Ita) Alexia Allumino
107 Flavio Zandarin (Ita) Alessio
108 Emmanuelle Negrini (Ita) Cantina Tollo
109 Renaud Boxus (Bel) Ville De Charleroi
110 Jérôme Bernard (Fra) Jean Delatour
111 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Cofidis
112 Steffen Kjaergaard (Nor) US Postal Service
113 Eddy Serri (Ita) Alexia Allumino                    1.47
114 Daniele Contrini (Ita) Liquigas Pata
115 Francis Moreau (Fra) Cofidis
116 Martin Hvastija (Slo) Alessio                       3.36

Final general classification:

1 Martin Rittsel (Swe) Memorycard-Jack&Jones        22.52.07
2 Kasputis Arturas (Ltu) Ag2R Prevoyance                0.24
3 Robert Hunter (RSA) Lampre-Daikin                     1.06
4 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Festina-Lotus                 1.10
5 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Credit Agricole                1.13
6 Michael Standstod (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones         1.23
7 Stéphane Barthe (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance                 1.25
8 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto Adecco                      1.26
9 Dylan Casey (USA) US Postal Service                   1.27
10 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Mapei-Quick Step                1.27
11 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Liquigas Pata                  1.32
12 Marty Jemison (USA) US Postal Service                1.32
13 Didier Rous (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel                 1.39
14 Arvis Piziks (Lat) Memorycard-Jack&Jones             1.39
15 Levy Leipheimer (USA) US Postal Service              1.46
16 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole                 1.59
17 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis                          2.03
18 Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux         2.04
19 Jorgen Bo Petersen (Den) Ville De Charleroi          2.09
20 Christophe Bassons (Fra) Jean Delatour               2.11
21 Michel Lafis (Swe) Farm Frites                       2.12
22 Saulius Ruskys (Ltu) Saint-Quentin Oktos             2.15
23 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux         2.16
24 Ole-Sigurd Simensen (Nor) Saint-Quentin Oktos        2.16
25 Jean-Cyril Robin  (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel           2.21
26 Michaël Blaudzun (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones         2.23
27 Benoît Joachim (Lux) US Postal Service               2.26
28 Zbigniew Spruch (Pol) Lampre-Daikin                  2.26
29 Alexeï Sivakov (Rus) Bigmat-Auber 93                 2.27
30 Allan Johansen (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones           2.27
31 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Cantina Tollo                    2.27
32 Marcel Duijn (Ned) Rabobank                          2.28
33 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Jean Delatour                   2.29
34 François Simon (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel              2.31
35 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Farm Frites                    2.31
36 Matthé Pronk (Ned) Rabobank                          2.36
37 Christophe Oriol (Fra) Jean Delatour                 2.36
38 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Ag2R Prevoyance            2.37
39 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Ville De Charleroi             2.38
40 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre-Daikin                      2.49
41 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto Adecco                      2.49
42 Wilfried Peeters (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step              2.57
43 Christophe Detilloux (Bel) Lotto Adecco              2.58
44 Giacomo Battistel (Ita) Alexia Allumino              3.05
45 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Rabobank                       3.06
46 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step             3.07
47 Giancarlo Raimondi (Ita) Liquigas Pata               3.10
48 Carlos Da Cruz (Fra) Bigmat-Auber 93                 3.28
49 Davide Casarotto (Ita) Alessio                       3.36
50 Ludovic Auger (Fra) Bigmat-Auber 93                  3.55
51 Christophe Capelle (Fra) Bigmat-Auber 93             4.00
52 Flavio Zandarin (Ita) Alessio                        4.45
53 Johan Verstrepen (Bel) Lampre-Daikin                 6.58
54 Oleg Kozlitine (Kaz) Saint-Quentin Oktos             7.15
55 Glenn D'Hollander (Bel) Lotto Adecco                10.14
56 Pieter Vries (Ned) Farm Frites                      10.31
57 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Lotto Adecco               10.37
58 Christophe Faudot (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel          10.45
59 Laurent Pillon (Fra) Ville De Charleroi             11.18
60 Daniele Righi (Ita) Alexia Allumino                 11.33
61 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Farm Frites                   11.37
62 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Liquigas Pata                 11.58
63 Francis Moreau (Fra) Cofidis                        12.18
64 Steffen Kjaergaard (Nor) US Postal Service          12.30
65 Vincent Cali (Fra) Ville De Charleroi               12.34
66 René Jorgensen (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones          12.47
67 Jesper Skibby (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones           13.09
68 Linas Balciunas (Ltu) Saint-Quentin Oktos           13.11
69 Martin Van Steen (Ned) Farm Frites                  13.24
70 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) US Postal Service              13.24
71 Vincent Templier (Fra) Saint-Quentin Oktos          13.28
72 Chris Boardman (GBr) Credit Agricole                13.35
73 Miquel Van Kessel (Ned) Farm Frites                 13.38
74 Daniele Contrini (Ita) Liquigas Pata                14.14
75 Folrent Brard (Fra) Festina-Lotus                   14.19
76 Gilles Bouvard (Fra) Jean Delatour                  14.26
77 Coen Boerman (Ned) Rabobank                         14.27
78 Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance          14.34
79 Denis Zanette (Ita) Liquigas Pata                   14.35
80 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank                        14.38
81 Lauri Aus (Est) Ag2R Prevoyance                     14.45
82 Frédéric Gabriel (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel           14.56
83 Olivier Perraudeau (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel         14.58
84 Gian Paolo Mondini (Ita) Cantina Tollo              15.00
85 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance                15.00
86 David Lefevre (Fra) Cofidis                         15.01
87 Cristian Salvato (Ita) Liquigas Pata                15.10
88 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2R Prevoyance                 15.17
89 Jérôme Bernard (Fra) Jean Delatour                  15.19
90 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Farm Frites                     16.06
91 Jacky Durand (Fra) Lotto Adecco                     17.17
92 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank                      19.43
93 Emmanuelle Negrini (Ita) Cantina Tollo              19.48
94 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Cofidis                       20.24
95 Kurt Van Lancker (Bel) Lotto Adecco                 20.59
96 Kirk O'Bee (USA) US Postal Service                  21.19
97 Dario Andriotto (Ita) Alexia Allumino               21.24
98 Laurent Desbiens (Fra) Cofidis                      21.26
99 Jimmy Casper (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux            22.03
100 Bart Leysen (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step                 23.10
101 Marcel Gono (Aus) Credit Agricole                  24.10
102 Franck Corvers (Den) Memorycard-Jack&Jones         25.06
103 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Bigmat-Auber 93                  25.47
104 Franck Perque (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux          25.51
105 Fabio Marchesin (Ita) Liquigas Pata                25.54
106 Frédéric Finot (Fra) Credit Agricole               26.08
107 Martin Hvastija (Slo) Alessio                      26.27
108 Andrea Brognara (Ita) Alexia Allumino              26.57
109 Tom Flammang (Lux) Cofidis                         29.55
110 Laurent Madouas (Fra) Festina-Lotus                31.03
111 Grégory Barbier (Fra) Ville De Charleroi           31.16
112 Charles Guilbert (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel          32.45
113 Eddy Serri (Ita) Alexia Allumino                   33.33
114 Renaud Boxus (Bel) Ville De Charleroi              36.38
115 Thierry Gouvenou (Fra) Bigmat-Auber 93             37.10
116 Damien Nazon (Fra) Bonjour-Tourpargel              38.59