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64th Nokere Koerse - 1.1

Belgium, March 18, 2009

2008 Results    Results    Past winners

Brown sprints to win over cobbles

By Bjorn Haake

Australian Graeme Brown won
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Graeme Brown (Rabobank) won the sprint on the cobbled Nokereberg ahead of Ben Swift (Katusha) and Sébastien Chavanel (Française des Jeux) to make it a non-Belgian podium. In the final left hand turn, a crash decimated the number of contenders.

Brown was unaffected by the crash and sprinted to a clear victory on a sunny day in Belgium. Several attacks in the final kilometres, including one by Frank Vandenbroucke (Cinelli - Down Under) were reeled in by the sprinters's teams, notably Française des Jeux and Quick Step. Vacansoleil led the peloton in the final kilometre, which culminated on the cobbled climb of the Nokereberg.

The race consisted of 13 laps of 15km each.

A three-man break quickly built a lead, but Kenny van Braeckel (Revor - Jartazi Cycling Team), Andreas Schillinger (Nutrixxion-Sparkasse) and Ronan van Zandbeek (Van Vliet - EBH - Elshof) were caught with just over 100km to go.

A few counter attacks followed before Thomas de Gendt (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) was able to get away. With 90km to go, a group of 11 riders went in pursuit, including Silence-Lotto and Quick Step.

They quickly caught De Gendt, making it a dozen front runners: De Gendt, Dario Cataldo (Quick Step), Tom Stubbe (Silence-Lotto), David Boucher (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), Geert van der Sanden (Cycling Team Jo Piels), James Vanlandschoot (Verandas Willems), René Joergensen (Designa Køkken), Lars Wackernagel (Nutrixxion-Sparkasse), Paidi O'Brien (An Post - Sean Kelly Team), Niels Scheuneman (KrolstonE Continental Team) and Arjen de Baat and Joost van Leijen of the Van Vliet - EBH - Elshof squad.

The lead went to a minute in no time, but several teams missed the move, including Rabobank, Skil-Shimano, Katusha and Française des Jeux. The latter was no surprise, as the French team started with only five riders. But its captain, Sébastien Chavanel, saw himself as one of the favourites before the race. "I think so. I had some trouble with my back in Paris-Nice and I had to abandon, but it is all good now."

With 75km to go the gap was still at 42 seconds, but the work of Rabobank and Skil-Shimano ended the escape with 67km to go. Only Cataldo and Van Der Sanden didn't agree and immediately countered. The duo came to the Nokereberg the next time around with 38 seconds (four laps to go).

The duo was caught with 54km to go. A flurry of attacks followed, keeping the pace. It wasn't until 27km to go when 12 riders went away with a sizeable gap. This time most of the big teams were represented – except for Quick Step. That caused a furious chase by the team of defending champion Wouter Weylandt. They were helped by Vancansoleil and Elk Haus to extinguish the break with 22km to go.

With 21km to go it was Frank Vandenbroucke (Cinelli - Down Under) who attacked, pushing an enormous gear. Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil), Kenny Van Der Schueren (Palmans - Cras) and Paul Sneeboer (KrolstonE) chased after him, but the gap never went past much more than half a dozen seconds.

A more promising move came with a little more than a lap to go, including 2006 winner Bert Roesems. The move also contained also Tom Leezer (Rabobank), Koen Barbé (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil), Ben Hermans (Topsport Vlaanderen), Jan Valach (Elk Haus) and Dieter Capelle (Palmans - Cras)

Rabobank then controlled attacks from the back, giving the leaders a gap of 15 seconds with 12km to go. Française des Jeux and Quick Step did most of the work in the peloton to reel the break back in with 10km to go. FdJ and Quick Step kept the pressure on to discourage any other break attempts, setting up the bunch sprint.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Results - 192.9 km

1 Graeme Browne (Aus) Rabobank                           4.22.00 (44.176 km/h)         
2 Ben Swift (GBr) Katusha                                         
3 Sebastien Chavanel (Fra) Francaise des Jeux                     
4 Bjorn Coomans (Bel) Palmans - Cras                              
5 Denis Galimzyanov (Kaz) Katusha                                 
6 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Katusha                                   
7 Dennis Pohl (Ger) Team Kuota - Indeland                         
8 Michael Reihs (Den) Designa Křkken                              
9 Alexei Markov (Rus) Katusha                                     
10 Niko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team                  
11 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                     
12 Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Verandas Willems                      
13 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Silence-Lotto                          
14 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Verandas Willems                     
15 Sjef De Wilde (Bel) Palmans - Cras                             
16 Erki Pütsep (Est) Cycling Club Bourgas                         
17 Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep                               
18 Cyrille Heymans (Lux) Team Differdange                         
19 Roy Sentjens (Bel) Silence-Lotto                               
20 Joeri Calleeuw (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen - Bauknecht jvb           
21 Steve Schets (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen - Bauknecht jvb             
22 Stefan Ganser (Ger) Team Kuota - Indeland                      
23 Maint Berkenbosch (Ned) Cycling team Jo Piels                  
24 Stijn Hoornaert (Bel) Palmans - Cras                           
25 Normunds Lasis (Lat) Cycling Club Bourgas                      
26 Harald Starzengruber (Aut) Elk Haus                            
27 Rene Obst (Ger) Team Nutrixxion-Sparkasse                      
28 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quickstep                                
29 Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Silence-Lotto                           0.12    
30 Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano                            
31 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cyclingteam            
32 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                        
33 Arjen De Baat (Ned) Van Vliet - EBH - Elshof                   
34 Zakkali Dempster (Aus) Cycling Club Bourgas                   0.24 
35 Frank Dressler (Ger) Team Differdange                          
36 Matt Brammeier (GBr) An Post - Sean Kelly Team                 
37 Jaryd De Mooij (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen - Bauknecht jvb           
38 Gennady Mikhaylov (Rus) Katusha                                
39 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                         
40 Kenny Van Der Schueren (Bel) Palmans - Cras                    
41 Aurelien Duval (Fra) Francaise des Jeux                        
42 Matthias Brandle (Swi) Elk Haus                                
43 Bas Giling (Ned) Designa Křkken                                
44 René Joergensen (Den) Designa Křkken                           
45 Fulco Van Gulik (Ned) KrolstonE Continental Team               
46 Hubert Schwab (Swi) Quickstep                                  
47 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet                            
48 Kenny Lisabeth (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team                 
49 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Cinelli - Down Under                 
50 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet                           
51 Kenny Van Braeckel (Bel) Revor - Jartazi Cycling Team          
52 David Deroo (Fra) Skil - Shimano                               
53 Steve Houanard (Fra) Skil - Shimano                            
54 Marcel Fischer (Ger) Team Nutrixxion-Sparkasse                 
55 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Francaise des Jeux                    
56 Gerrit Soepenberg (Ned) KrolstonE Continental Team             
57 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Silence-Lotto                              
58 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Palmans - Cras                             
59 Dieter Cappelle (Bel) Palmans - Cras                           
60 Mart Ojavee (Est) Cycling Club Bourgas                         
61 Bart Dockx (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                 
62 Marc Hester (Den) Designa Křkken                               
63 Vytautas Kaupas (Ltu) Revor - Jartazi Cycling Team             
64 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet                        
65 Mathieu Criquielion (Bel) Verandas Willems                     
66 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cyclingteam              
67 Tommy Nankervis (Aus) Cinelli - Down Under                     
68 Gregory Joseph (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen - Bauknecht jvb           
69 Nicholas Walker (Aus) Cinelli - Down Under                     
70 Robin Chaigneau (Ned) Cycling team Jo Piels                    
71 Sep VanMarcke (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen - Bauknecht jvb            
72 Stefan Rucker (Aut) Elk Haus                                   
73 Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                         
74 Jerome Baugnies (Bel) Josan - Isorex - Mercedes-Benz Aalst     
75 Ken Vanmarcke (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen - Bauknecht jvb            
76 Mindaugas Striska (Ltu) Revor - Jartazi Cycling Team           
77 Paidi O'Brien (Irl) An Post - Sean Kelly Team                  
78 Michael Kurth (Ger) Team Kuota - Indeland                      
79 Alexander Gottfried (Ger) Team Kuota - Indeland                
80 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank                                 
81 Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Rabobank                               
82 Yohan Cauquil (Fra) Cycling Club Bourgas                       
83 Michiel Elijzen (Bel) Silence-Lotto                            
84 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep                                  
85 Nicolas Baldo (Fra) Team Differdange                           
86 Quincy Vens (Bel) Revor - Jartazi Cycling Team                 
87 Francis De Greef (Bel) Silence-Lotto                           
88 Bart De Roeck (Bel) Josan - Isorex - Mercedes-Benz Aalst       
89 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) Cycling Club Bourgas                   
90 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cyclingteam           
91 Martin Mortensen (Den) Vacansoleil Pro Cyclingteam             
92 Geert Omloop (Bel) Palmans - Cras                              
93 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Francaise des Jeux                         
94 Matthé Pronk (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cyclingteam                 
95 Gerben Lowik (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cyclingteam                 
96 Steven De Neef (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen - Bauknecht jvb           
97 Steffen Radochla (Ger) Elk Haus                                
98 Tom Relou (Ned) Cycling team Jo Piels                          
99 Emmanuel Van Ruitenbeek (Ned) Team Kuota - Indeland            
100 Jean Zen (Fra) Palmans - Cras                                 
101 Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Elk Haus                                   
102 Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                  
103 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank                                 
104 Jelle Posthuma (Ned) Cycling team Jo Piels                    
105 Reinier Honig (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cyclingteam               
106 Robert Retschke (Ger) Team Differdange                        
107 Mario Ickx (Bel) Josan - Isorex - Mercedes-Benz Aalst         
108 Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank                                     
109 Thomas Vedel Kvist (Den) Quickstep                            
110 Olivier Maes (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen - Bauknecht jvb            
111 Dirk Finders (Ger) Josan - Isorex - Mercedes-Benz Aalst       
112 Bert Roesems (Bel) Cinelli - Down Under                       
113 Michaël Blanchy (Bel) Revor - Jartazi Cycling Team            
114 Cornelius Van Ooijen (Ned) Cycling team Jo Piels              
115 Jochen Summer (Aut) Elk Haus                                  
116 Philip Meirhaeghe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet                       
117 Francis Mourey (Fra) Francaise des Jeux                       
118 Romain Zingle (Bel) Verandas Willems                          
119 Yukihiro Doi Jap Skil - Shimano                               
120 Florenz Knauer (Ger) Team Kuota - Indeland                    
121 Allan Johansen (Den) Designa Křkken                           
122 Peter Ronsse (Bel) Cinelli - Down Under                       
123 Lars Wackernagel (Ger) Team Nutrixxion-Sparkasse              
124 Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep                                   
125 Ronan Van Zandbeek (Ned) Van Vliet - EBH - Elshof             
126 Lars Jun (Ned) Van Vliet - EBH - Elshof                       
127 Jan Valach (Svk) Elk Haus                                     
128 Hakan Nilsson (Swe) Team Differdange                          
129 Ben Hermans (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                         
130 Ivan Rovny (Rus) Katusha                                      
131 Kenny De Haes (Bel) Katusha                                   
132 Rikke Dijkxhoorn (Ned) Van Vliet - EBH - Elshof               
133 Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team Nutrixxion-Sparkasse           
134 Janek Tombak (Est) Cycling Club Bourgas                       
135 Ronan Mc laughlin (Irl) An Post - Sean Kelly Team             
136 Jos Pronk (Ned) KrolstonE Continental Team                    
137 Niels Scheuneman (Ned) KrolstonE Continental Team             
138 Luc Hagenaars (Ned) KrolstonE Continental Team                
139 Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank                                  
140 Steven Van Vooren (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team             
141 Ivor Bruin (Ned) KrolstonE Continental Team                   
142 David Boucher (Fra) Landbouwkrediet                           
143 Denis Flahaut (Fra) Landbouwkrediet                           
144 Eric Baumann (Ger) Team Nutrixxion-Sparkasse                  
145 Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                
146 Mauro Facci (Ita) Quickstep                                   
147 Sven Wielandt (Bel) Josan - Isorex - Mercedes-Benz Aalst      
148 Rusen Rusev (Bul) Cycling Club Bourgas                        
149 Jef Peeters (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team                   
150 Kevin Neirynck (Bel) Landbouwkrediet                          
151 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Team Differdange                        
152 Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet                              

Past winners

1st                           2nd                          3rd
2008  Wouter Weylandt (Bel)   Jürgen Roelandts (Bel)       André Greipel (Ger)
2007  Leon Van Bon (Ned)      Aart Vierhouten (Ned)        Geert Steurs (Bel)
2006  Bert Roesems (Bel)      Wouter Weylandt (Bel)        Jeremy Hunt (GBr)
2005  Steven De Jongh (Ned)   Igor Abakoumov (Bel)         Geert Omloop (Bel)
2004  Max Van Heeswijk (Ned)  Rudi Kemna (Ned)             Jo Planckaert (Bel)
2003  Matthé Pronk (Ned)      Magnus Backstedt (Swe)       Hendrik Van Dijck (Bel)
2002  Aurélien Clerc (Swi)    Jans Koerts (Ned)            Steven De Jongh (Ned)
2001  Michel Van Haecke       Bart Voskamp (Ned)           Nico Eeckhout (Bel)
2000  Hendrik Van Dyck        Nico Mattan                  Jan Koerts (Ned)
1999  Jeroen Blijlevens       Michel Van Haecke            Wielfried Cretskens
1998  Scott Sunderland (Aus)  Leon Van Bon (Ned)           Chris Peers
1997  Hendrik Van Dyck        Wim Feys                     Bart Voskamp (Ned)
1996  Hendrik Van Dyck        Jelle Nijdam (Ned)           Michel Cornelisse (Ned)
1995  Jo Planckaert           Michel Vermote               Geert Van Bondt
1994  Peter De Clercq         Michel Cornelisse            Chris Peers
1993  Michel Cornelisse (Ned) Jan Bogaert                  Mario De Clercq
1992  Johan Capiot            Peter De Clercq              Benjamin Van Itterbeeck
1991  Koen Van Rooy           Johan Capiot                 Martin Koekelhoren (Ned)
1990  Herman Frison           Roger Vandenbossche          Filip Van Vooren
1989  Rik Van Slycke          Andrzej Mierzejewski (Pol)   Peter Spanhoven
1988  Patrick Versluys        Yves Godimus                 Danny Janssens
1987  Etienne De Wilde        Francky Van Oyen             Ludo Giesberts
1986  Luc Colyn               Jan Van Camp                 Rony Van Holen
1985  Didier Foubert          Patrick Versluys             Jan Bogaert
1984  Jan Bogaert             Patrick Versluys             Eric Stevens
1983  Walter Schoonjans       Patrick Cocquyt              Gerald Veldschoten (Ned)
1982  William Tackaert        Ludo De Keulenaer            Rudi Matthys
1981  Gerrit Knetemann (Ned)  Herman Van Springel          Claude Criquelion
1980  Jos Van De Poel         Johan Vandevelde (Ned)       Paul Jesson (NZl)
1979  Hendrik De Vos          William Tackaert             Tony Houbrechts
1978  Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck  Jan Aling (Ned)              Jos Jacobs
1977  Frans Van Looy          Gerrit Knetemann (Ned)       Roberto Cerieto (Ita)
1976  Luc Leman               Lucien De Brauwere           Geert Malfait
1975  Marc De Meyer           Willy Teirlinck              Jan Raas (Ned)
1974  Freddy Maertens         Pierrino Gavazzi (Ita)       Ronald De Witte
1973  Noël Van Tieghem        Claude Magni (Fra)           Gerard Vianen (Ned)
1972  Tony Houbrechts         Rony Van Marcke              Willy Planckaert
1971  Herman Van Springel     Eric Leman                   Maurice Eyers
1970  Andre Dierickx          Patrick Sercu                Bernard Van De Kerkhove
1969  Roger Rosiers           Frans Mintjes                Michel Jacquemin
1968  Frans Brands            Roger Cooreman               Michel Jacquemin
1967  Walter Godefroot        Jacques De Boever            Roger Blockx
1966  Jacques De Boever       Oswald De Clercq             Reindert De Jongh (Ned)
1965  Arthuur De Cabooter     Jos Mathy                    Gustaaf De Smet
1964  Robert De Middeleir     Leon Van Daele               André Noyelle
1963  Frans De Mulder         Daniël Doom                  Norbert Kerckbove
1962  No race
1961  Leon Van Daele          Jozef Vloeberghs             Gilbert Maes
1960  Gilbert De Smet         Louis Troonbeeckx            Pol Rosseel
1959  No race
1958  Arthuur De Cabooter     Gilbert Desmet               Julien Schepens
1957  André Auquier           Pino Cerami                  Francis Kemplaire
1956  Marcel Ryckaert         Roger Declerck               Lucien Mathijs
1955  Jozef Schils            Briek Schotte                Henri Denijs
1954  Jan Zagers              Roger Decock                 Roger Desmet
1953  Baziel Wambeke          Rik Jochums                  Julien Pascal
1952  Wim Van Est (Ned)       André Pieters                Rafaël Jonckheere
1951  Gerard Buyl             Maurice Blomme               Valeer Ollivier
1950  Jules De Poortere       Roger Decock                 Flander Janssens
1949  Nest Sterckx            Maurice De Simpelaere        Michel Remue
1948  Roger Cnockaert         André Declerck               Jeroom Renier
1947  Berten Sercu            Michel Remue                 Odiel van der Meerschaut
1946  Emanuel Thoma           André Pieters                Briek Schotte
1945  Briek Schotte           Michel Remue                 Desiré Keteleer
1944  Marcel Kint             Theo Middelkamp (Ned)        Gustaaf Van Overloop