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24th GP Eddy Merckx - 1.2
Belgium, August 31, 2003
2002 Results Results Past winners
Peschel/Rich get it right in fire shortened race
By Jeff Jones
German TT specialists Uwe Peschel and Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner) erased memories of their split-second defeat in last year's race to win the 24th edition of the Grote Prijs Eddy Merckx, held in Brussels today. The pair clocked 30'38 over the shortened 25.9 km parcours to beat Michael Rogers/Laszlo Bodrogi (Quick.Step) and Belgian surprises Peter Van Petegem/Leif Hoste (Lotto) by 7 and 14 seconds respectively.
The race - which was originally scheduled to be 45 km - was almost cancelled at the halfway point, after a serious fire broke out in a HUBO store located just 50 metres away from the parcours, approximately 10 km into it. The fire department needed the roads to be clear of vehicles so it could do its job, and the organisers were forced to tell the 12 teams that were already out on the parcours to stop racing. Some quick rerouting followed, and the time trial was reduced to 25.9 km, with the teams that had already ridden allowed to start as the last teams.
While this obviously affected some teams more than others, it perhaps didn't have a great effect on the outcome of the race as all the top teams had not yet started when the race was neutralised. Nico Mattan and Philippe Gaumont (Cofidis) were the first riders to complete the new distance, and their time of 31'09 was enough to give them eighth place eventually. However their time was easily surpassed by Belgian tandem Peter Van Petegem and Leif Hoste (Lotto-Domo), who finished in 30'52 to set the new best time.
Out on the course, the three big favourites Rich/Peschel, Rogers/Bodrogi and Pena/Ekimov were battling it out, with the Germans looking the strongest and setting the fastest times at the intermediate checks. They finished in 30'38, and Rogers and Bodrogi came in after them in 30'45, seven seconds slower than the Germans. Pena and Ekimov were not a factor, recording the seventh best time in 31'08, thus giving Rich and Peschel the prize this year.
"This was my first race since my heavy fall in the last time trial of the Tour," said Peschel after the finish. "Now I can further work on my condition in the Hessen Rundfahrt. After that we'll see how meaningful it is to go to Canada [for the World's]."
His teammate Michael Rich was also reluctant about the World Championships in Canada. "I also ask myself whether it makes sense to take such a long trip. I have also worked hard, I have the condition but not at the desired level. I still have the Ster Elektrotoer in Holland and Paris-Corèze and the GP des Nations in France to come good, but if it doesn't get better then I'll stay home."
Images by AFP Photo
Results - 25.9 km
1 Michael Rich/Uwe Peschel (Ger) Gerolsteiner 30.38 (50.721 km/h) 2 Michael Rogers (Aus)/Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Quick.Step-Davitamon 0.07 3 Peter Van Petegem/Leif Hoste (Bel) Lotto-Domo 0.14 4 Jens Voigt (Ger)/Christophe Moreau (Fra) Credit Agricole 0.22 5 Brad McGee/Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com 0.28 6 Bart Voskamp/Jan van Velzen (Ned) BankGiroLoterij 0.29 7 Victor Hugo Pena (Col)/Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal-Berry Floor 0.30 8 Nico Mattan (Bel)/Philippe Gaumont (Fra) Cofidis 0.31 9 Evgeni Petrov/Vladimir Karpets (Rus) iBanesto.com 0.33 10 Bert Roesems/Andy De Smet (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 0.34 11 Marc Wauters (Bel)/Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.37 12 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz)/Bobby Julich (USA) Telekom 0.49 13 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi)/Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Lampre 14 Axel Merckx/Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Domo 0.51 15 Eddy Seigneur (Fra)/Yuriy Krivstov (Ukr) Jean Delatour 0.55 16 Dave Bruylandts (Bel)/Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Marlux 0.58 17 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr)/Andrea Rossi (Ita) De Nardi-Colpack 1.01 18 Johan Museeuw (Bel)/Servais Knaven (Ned) Quick.Step-Davitamon 1.02 19 Andrea Peron (Ita)/Michael Blaudzun (Den) CSC 1.05 20 Stuart O'Grady (Aus)/Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole 1.06 21 Ludo Dierckxsens/Marc Streel (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 1.33 22 Geoffrey Demeyere/Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 2.25
2002 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun)/Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Mapei-Quick Step 2001 Erik Dekker (Ned)/Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank 2000 Lance Armstrong (USA)/Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal 1999 Marc Wauters (Bel) and Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 1998 Abraham Olano (Spa) and Jose-Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa) Banesto 1997 Abraham Olano (Spa) 1996 Chris Boardman (GBr) 1995 Johan Museeuw (Bel) 1994 Tony Rominger (Swi) 1993 Chris Boardman (GBr) 1992 Jelle Nijdam (Ned) 1991 Erik Breukink (Ned) 1990 Frans Maassen (Ned) 1989 Sean Yates (GBr) 1988 Edwig Van Hooydonck (Bel) 1987 Eric Vanderaerden (Bel) 1986 Charly Mottet (Fra) 1985 Eric Vanderaerden (Bel) 1984 Claude Criquielion (Bel) 1983 Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke (Bel) 1982 Daniel Willems (Bel) 1981 Knut Knudsen (Nor) 1980 Knut Knudsen (Nor) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com