Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on

Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

 UCI codes explained

Hel van het Mergelland - 1.5

Netherlands, April 6, 2002

2000 Results   Results    Past winners

Sweet victory for Corey

By Bert Saarloos*

Corey Sweet (Bankgiroloterij-Batavus) has reached a new highlight in his career as he sprinted to victory in the Hel van het Mergelland Saturday. After a breakaway of 182 kilometres the Aussie outsprinted Thierry De Groote (Palmans), Germ van der Burg (Bert Story-Piels) and Christian Poos (Marlux) to win the tough 1.5 race, containing thirty hills in Belgium and Holland.

The Hel van het Mergelland always starts with twenty kilometres on a broad, slightly climbing road into Belgium, always with the wind in the face. And there was a lot of wind this time. Ideal for a breakaway. At least, Corey Sweet (Bankgiroloterij), Thierry De Groote (Palmans), New-Zelander Bryce Shapley (DTS Zaandam, a Dutch elite team), German Michael Giebelmann (Wiesenhof) and Dutch amateur Edwin Wielink (Apac Eemland) thought like that.

"I thought that there might be a break of ten, fifteen riders. But we were only five. So I figured, well, the break won't last not more than thirty, forty kilometres."

Sweet was wrong. It became a hundred and eighty.

On the steep climb of La Clouse (35 km) the gap was 1'10". The pack had already split into two groups. Three riders managed to bridge the gap: local rider Tjarco Cuppens (Team Comnet), Luxembourg's champion Christian Poos (Marlux) and Germ van der Burg (Bert Story-Piels). In Neufchateau (75 km) the eight leaders had 2 minutes on solo chaser Peter Wuyts (Palmans), 2.5 minutes on the first peloton, 3.5 minutes on the second. The second peloton lost ground very rapidly and quit at the first passage of the finish in Eijsden.

Corey Sweet set the pace on most of the climbs (he also won the KOM prize). The first victim of his efforts was Bryce Shapley. He lost contact on the Camerigerberg (123 km). Shortly after, Giebelmann, Wielink and Cuppens followed and were swallowed by the pack. A group of fifteen riders split from the bunch, but there was no cohesion. The four leaders (Sweet, De Groote, Poos and Van der Burg) hardly lost ground.

With twenty kilometres to go, just before two local laps of 6 km's, the gap was still two minutes. It was clear now that the winner would be one of the four. Sweet was clearly the best sprinter of them on the slightly uphill cobbled finish in Eijsden.

"I had super legs today", Sweet said. "I thought of attacking on one the last hills, but it was too risky. The last twenty kilometres are flat, windy roads, I figured that's too far to do on your own. So I relied on my sprint."

*Bert Saarloos is a correspondent for Dagblad de Limburger

Results - 190.6 km

1 Corey Sweet (Aus) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus             4.59.35 (38.173 km/h)
2 Thierry De Groote (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
3 Germ Van De Burg (Ned) Bert-Story-Piels Cycling Team
4 Christian Poos (Lux) Marlux Ville de Charleroi           0.04
5 Remco Van Der Ven (Ned) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus          1.08
6 Tom Desmet (Bel) Marlux Ville de Charleroi               1.14
7 Bram Schmitz (Ned) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus               1.50
8 Peter Wuyts (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
9 Jos Lucassen (Ned) AXA-VVZ-Professional Cycling Team
10 Michael Skelde (Den) Team Fakta
11 Mateusz Mroz (Pol) Mroz
12 Timo Scholz (Ger) Team Wiesenhof
13 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Vlaanderen-Tinterim
14 Kees Jeurissen (Ned) Van Hemert Groep Cycling Team      1.54
15 Petr Bencik (Cze) Wüsterrot-ZVVZ                        1.55
16 Andy Capelle (Bel) Marlux Ville de Charleroi            1.57
17 Michael Giebelmann (Ger) Team Wiesenhof                 2.07
18 Remmert Wielinga (Ned) Navigators Cycling Team          2.13
19 Gerben Löwik (Ned) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus              2.58
20 Björnar Vestöl (Nor) Team Fakta
21 Bart Voskamp (Ned) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus
22 Wolfram Wiese (Ger) Team Comnet-Senges
23 Jan Van Velzen (Ned) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus            3.45
24 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Vlaanderen-Tinterim                  3.59
25 Tjarco Cuppens (Ned) Team Comnet-Senges                 4.01
26 Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabo-Bank                          4.04
27 Michiel Elijzen (Ned) Rabo-Bank                         4.06
28 Edwin Wielink (Ned) Apac Eemland                        4.10
29 Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Van Hemert Groep Cycling Team       4.23
30 Richard Slabbekoorn (Ned) v Vliet-Gazelle
31 Christian Lademann (Ger) Wüsterrot-ZVVZ
32 Marco Bos (Ned) Cycling Team Tegeltoko
33 Robin Van Der Pluijm (Ned) Bert-Story-Piels Cycling Team
34 Jacob Nielsen (Den) Glud & Marstrand Horsens
35 Jacob Moe Rasmussen (Den) Team Fakta
36 Theo Eltink (Ned) Rabo-Bank
37 Thijs Zonneveld (Ned) Cycling Team Tegeltoko
38 Folkert De Haan (Ned) Energiewacht NWVG
39 Bas Vandooren (Ned) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus
40 Kristoffer Ingeby (Swe) Marlux Ville de Charleroi
41 Burke Swindlehurst (USA) Navigators Cycling Team        4.27
42 Stefan Ganser (Ger) Team Comnet-Senges                  4.28
43 Stefan Parinussa (Ger) Team Lamonta
44 Oliver Penney (GBr) Van Hemert Groep Cycling Team
45 Nils Heinis (Ned) RC Zugvogel 09 eV Aachen              4.31
46 Vincent Van Rijn (Ned) Wilton Cycling Team
47 Rudolf Wentzel (RSA) Vlaanderen-Tinterim                4.33
48 Nick Gates (Aus) Team Wiesenhof                         4.35
49 Martin Van Steen (Ned) Van Hemert Groep Cycling Team
50 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabo-Bank                         5.28
51 Michal Precechtel (Cze) Wüsterrot-ZVVZ                  6.14

Starters: 176 
Finishers: 51

Courtesy of Dick Soepenberg

Past winners

2001 Not held
2000 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Cologne
1999 (4) Raymond Meijs (Ned) Team Cologne
1998 (3) Raymond Meijs (Ned) Team Gerolsteiner
1997 (2) Raymond Meijs (Ned) Foreldorado Golff
1996 Lucien De Louw (Ned) Foreldorado Golff
1995 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Motorola
1994 John Van den Akker (Ned) Collstrop
1993 Erwin Thijs (BEL) Collstrop
1992 Martin Van Steen (Ned) Amateur
1991 Rob Compas (Ned) Amateur
1990 Raymond Meijs (Ned) Amateur

Past winners by Mario Stiehl,