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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

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84th Paris-Brussels - 1.1

Belgium, September 11, 2004

2003 Results    Results    Past winners

Nuyens wins thriller in Anderlecht

By Jeff Jones

24 year old Belgian talent Nick Nuyens (Quick.Step-Davitamon) took by far the biggest win in his two year professional career by crossing the line in Anderlecht to win the 84th edition of Paris-Brussels. The 225 km race that was run in wet and windy conditions, was looking like being a 20 man group sprint with a 5 km to go when Nuyens' teammate Paolo Bettini's solo bid for victory failed. But Nuyens used the opportunity to counter-attack not once, but twice, finally succeeding in getting clear on his own with 1.5 km to go. Philippe Gilbert (FDJ) and Allan Johansen (BankGiroLoterij) were in pursuit of the young Belgian, but couldn't quite make contact and finished second and third respectively. Jeremy Hunt (MrBookmaker) won the sprint for fourth place ahead of Bettini.

After winning the Ster Elektrotoer and finishing third overall in the Tour of Britain last week, Nuyens was delighted with his third victory this season. "I am happy," he said. "This is the most important victory of my life. For the whole race I felt good. In the last 30 kilometres I was always in the front of the group. At 3.5 kilometres from the finish, after a Bettini attack, I attacked with two other riders. At 2 kilometres from the line I attacked another time and I arrived alone. It was an appropriate choice. Now I'm dreaming to go to the World Championship in Verona."

How it unfolded

Although the riders were assisted by a stiff southerly wind the whole way from Soissons to Anderlecht, the accompanying rain made life difficult in the peloton and caused numerous crashes and flat tyres. The first hour was ridden at 50 km/h and the second at 48 km/h, during which time there were several attempts to get clear. An eight man group including Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo), Michele Bartoli (CSC), Dmitri Fofonov (Cofidis) and Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches) tried in vain, but when that was brought back at km 65, Benoît Poilvet (Credit Agricole) and Rudi Kemna (BankGiroLoterij) counter-attacked and were able to get away.

After 74 km, the pair had 1'20, and this grew to 6'00 at 100 km and 13'00 at 150 km, while Francesco Planckaert (Chocolade Jacques) tried in vain to get across to the pair, attacking at the 110 km mark. In the meantime, the weather had claimed several favourites, including last year's winner Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo) and Lotto-Domo's Peter van Petegem.

The peloton started to get active with 68 km to go when Lotto-Domo's Stefan van Dijk, Nico Eeckhout and Kevin Van Impe took it in turns to attack. The moves quickly impacted the lead of the breakaways, and it began to fall at a rate of over 2 minutes per 10 kilometres. At 49 km to go, it was down to 8'42 when a crash on a corner claimed Filippo Pozzato (Fassa) and Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), although the later was able to remount.

On the Mont St Roch climb with 46 km to go, Kemna dropped Poilvet and continued on his own, now holding only an eight minute lead. Quick.Step, CSC and Lotto-Domo were all riding in the peloton, and it seemed as though Quick.Step was setting things up for either Paolo Bettini or Tom Boonen. This was looking like being the plan when Bettini attacked on the Mont St Roch, followed by Boonen, Löwik (Jacques) and Mattan (Bodysol). The quartet managed to hammer out a 30 second lead but a determined chase from CSC and Saunier Duval kept them in check. A huge crash on the slick cobbles just before the climb claimed some 20 riders, including Zanini, Kuyckx, Roche, Casar, Dean, Castresana, Demeyere and Hushovd.

The Bettini/Boonen/Mattan/Löwik counter made big inroads into the lead of Kemna, who was struggling on his own towards the finish, going slower and slower on each of the climbs. At 26 km to go, he had just 3'42 when Bettini attacked the chase group in a bid to close the gap himself. But Bettini realised it was too early with a determined chase still going on behind him, and he sat up and waited for the group, as did the rest of the break.

Poilvet was caught with 22 km to go with Geert Verheyen (Chocolade Jacques) looking strong on the front. What was left of the peloton kept reforming as Bartoli, Bettini, Nuyens, Johansen, Gilbert, Høj's, Eeckhout, Hunt, Wauters and Farazijn all found themselves in small groups off the front at various intervals. Nuyens was working particularly hard, trying to give Bettini another launch pad to attack from, and Bettini did just that on the Keperenberg with 11 km to go - the last climb of the day.

Within a kilometre, the Olympic champion had caught Kemna who had cramped and had to finish the race virtually riding one-legged. The peloton had reduced to 20 riders and was chasing furiously, as Bettini is not a rider who can be let go. The gap hovered at 8 seconds for several kilometres before it finally came down on the finishing circuit in Anderlecht. Bettini realised that he wasn't going to make it and sat up with 5 km to go.

Then it was Nick Nuyens' turn, having had a break from working for a few kilometres while his teammate was up the road. Nuyens put in a handy counter-attack and took Christophe Mengin (FDJ) and Stefan van Dijk (Lotto) with him. The three opened up a little gap on the bunch but Nuyens realised that Van Dijk would be too fast in a sprint, and sat on the back. As a result, the move was neutralised by the peloton with just over 2 km to go, but that didn't worry Nuyens as he attacked again in a solo bid for victory.

This time it worked, and Philippe Gilbert (FDJ) countered with Johansen coming with him. The pair were within a few seconds of the flying Belgian with 1 km to go, but couldn't close the gap. Nuyens held everyone off for a brilliant victory while Gilbert easily came around Johansen to take second place.

Results - 225 km

1 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                 4.59.00 (45.15 km/h)
2 Philippe Gilbert (Bel)                         0.01
3 Allan Johansen (Den) BankGiroLoterij                      0.02
4 Jeremy Hunt (GBr)                 0.04
5 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon                  0.10
6 Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank                               
7 Rik Reinerink (Ned) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf      
8 Matthé Pronk (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                        
9 Manuele Mori (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                   
10 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Lotto-Domo                           
11 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Lotto-Domo                         
12 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Lotto-Domo                         
13 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Team CSC                           
14 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) Team CSC                           
15 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Fassa Bortolo         
16 Peter Farazijn (Bel) Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone    
17 Hans De Clercq (Bel) Lotto-Domo                          
18 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf    
19 Unai Yus Querejeta (Spa) Brioches la Boulangère          
20 Christophe Mengin (Fra) 
21 Roger Hammond (GBr)              0.17
22 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Brioches la Boulangère               1.24
23 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) AG2r Prévoyance                      1.36
24 Rudi Kemna (Ned) BankGiroLoterij                         2.14
25 Sascha Urweider (Swi) Saeco-Romer's-Wetzikon             2.37
26 Mads Kaggestad (Nor) Crédit Agricole                         
27 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf     3.07
28 Peter Wuyts (Bel)                    
29 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto-Domo                               
30 Carlos Dacruz (Fra)                               
31 Michael Blanchy (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf       
32 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team CSC                               
33 Johan Verstrepen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago               
34 Nico Mattan (Bel) Relax-Bodysol                              
35 Andy De Smet (Bel)                   
36 Jurgen Van Loocke (Bel)                                      
37 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                           
38 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                
39 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Lotto-Domo                              
40 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir    
41 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                        
42 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank                               
43 Michel Van Haecke (Bel)              

Courtesy of Koos 't Hart

Past winners

2003 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo
2002 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco
2001 Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux
2000 Max van Heeswijk (Ned) Mapei-Quick Step
1999 Romans Vainsteins (Lat)
1998 Stefano Zanini (Ita)
1997 Alessandro Bertolini (Ita)
1996 Andrea Tafi (Ita)
1995 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel)
1994 Rolf Sörensen (Den)
1993 Francis Moreau (Fra)
1992 Rolf Sörensen (Den)
1991 Brian Holm (Den)
1990 Franco Ballerini (Ita)
1989 Jelle Nijdam (Ned)
1988 Rolf Gölz (Ger)
1987 Wim Arras (Bel)
1986 Guido Bontempi (Ita)
1985 Adri Van der Poel (Ned)
1984 Eric Vanderaerden (Bel)
1983 Tommy Prim (Swe)
1982 Jacques Hanegraaf (Ned)
1981 Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel)
1980 Pierino Gavazzi (Ita)
1979 Ludo Peeters (Bel)
1978 Jan Raas (Ned)
1977 Ludo Peeters (Bel)
1976 Felice Gimondi (Ita)
1975 Freddy Maertens (Bel)
1974 Marc Demeyer (Bel)
1973 Eddy Merckx (Bel)
1966 Felice Gimondi (Ita)
1965 Edward Sels (Bel)
1964 Georges Van Coningsloo (Bel)
1963 Jean Stablinski (Fra)
1962 Joseph Wouters (Bel)
1961 Pino Cerami (Bel)
1960 Pierre Everaert (Bel)
1959 Frans Schoubben (Bel)
1958 Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1957 Leon Van Daele (Bel)
1956 Rik Van Looy (Bel)
1955 Marcel Hendrickx (Bel)
1954 Marcel Hendrickx (Bel)
1953 Loretto Petrucci (Ita)
1952 Alberic Schotte (Bel)
1951 Jean Gueguen (Fra)
1950 Rik Van Steenbergen (Bel)
1949 Maurice Diot (Fra)
1948 Lode Poels (Bel)
1947 Ernest Sterckx (Bel)
1946 Alberic Schotte (Bel)
1939 Frans Bonduel (Bel)
1938 Marcel Kint (Bel)
1937 Albert Beckaert (Bel)
1936 Eloi Meulenberg (Bel)
1935 Edgard De Caluwe (Bel)
1934 Frans Bonduel (Bel)
1933 Albert Barthelemy (Fra)
1932 Julien Vervaecke (Bel)
1931 Jean Aerts (Bel)
1930 Ernest Mottard (Bel)
1929 Pe Verhaegen (Bel)
1928 Georges Ronsse (Bel)
1927 Nicolas Frantz (Lux)
1926 Denis Verschueren (Bel)
1925 Gerard Debaets (Bel)
1924 Felix Sellier (Bel)
1923 Felix Sellier (Bel)
1922 Felix Sellier (Bel)
1921 Robert Raboul (Fra)
1920 Henri Pelissier (Fra)
1919 Alexis Michiels (Bel)
1914 Louis Mottiat (Bel)
1913 Octave Lapize (Fra)
1912 Octave Lapize (Fra)
1911 Octave Lapize (Fra)
1910 Maurice Brocco (Fra)
1909 Francois Faber (Lux)
1908 Lucien Petit-Breton (Fra) 
1907 Gusrave Garrigou (Fra)
1906 A. Dunlop (Fra)

Past winners by Mario Stiehl,