8,'min'=>00, 'refresh'=>500); // IN GMT $refresh[2]=array('hr'=>11,'min'=>30, 'refresh'=>300); // IN GMT $refresh[3]=array('hr'=>16,'min'=>20, 'refresh'=>0); // IN GMT //add new $refresh rows as you like in chronological order. Set refresh => 0 for no refresh line // foreach (array_keys($refresh) as $r) { // foreach not available in PHP3! Have to do it like this reset ($refresh); while (list(, $r) = each ($refresh)) { if (time() > gmmktime($r[hr], $r[min], 0, $m, $d, $y)) $delay=$r[refresh]; }; if ($delay) { return ("\n"); } else { return(''); }; }; ?>
Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  


Past Winners


Start list
Live coverage




2002 Gent-

Sinclair Imports
Competitive Cyclist

65th Gent-Wevelgem - 1.HC

Belgium, April 9, 2003

Main Page    Start List    Route detail     Results

Complete Live Report

Start time: 14:00 CEST
Estimated finish time: 16:27 CEST

The start in Deinze
Photo: © CN
Click for larger image

Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 65th Gent-Wevelgem, the traditional mid-week classic between the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix. This year's race is a little different to previous years, in that instead of starting in Gent's Citadelpark, it's been moved to Deinze's Grote Markt, about 15 km west of Gent. Despite the move, a very large crowd was on hand to watch the start, enjoying the cool but sunny conditions.

The other main difference is that the number of teams has been reduced from 25 to 20, while the riders per team has been increased from eight to ten. This hasn't made all the division I teams happy however, as Saeco, Lampre, Caldirola Sidermec, Team fakta, Team Coast (and more) have been overlooked.

Mario Cipollini
Photo: © Jeff Tse
Click for larger image

Gent-Wevelgem is also traditionally known as a sprinter's classic, and despite the fact that defending champion Mario Cipollini has won it three times in the last 12 years, the last time the race finished in a proper bunch sprint was in 1996, when Tom Steels won. The reason for this is the notorious Kemmelberg, a tough 800m cobbled climb averaging 9% with a maximum of 21.5%, that the riders have to tackle twice: at km 142 and km 164. This climb is particularly hard in wet weather, although that won't be a problem today.

Before reaching the Kemmel, the riders travel east to Gistel (Museeuw's home town) and Oostende, with a tailwind all the way. Then they head south west along the coast to De Panne, before turning inland to Poperinge, Westouter and then the two Kemmel laps, which also include the Vidaigneberg, Rode Berg and Monteberg. From the top of the Kemmelberg on the second lap, it will be 40 km of headwinds to the finish in Wevelgem.

14:13 CEST

Paolo Bettini
Photo: © Jeff Tse
Click for larger image

One rider who won't be contesting the finish today is Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon). The winner of Milan-San Remo fell after 50 kilometres and hurt his shoulder. He abandoned the race and was taken to hospital, where doctors are examining him for a possible collarbone break.

Ludo Deirckxsens and Kurt van Landeghem (Landbouwkrediet) also fell, with Ludo having to abandon too.

14:23 CEST - 74 km to go

Danilo Hondo
Photo: © CN
Click for larger image

On the road we have an interesting situation: A leading group of 26 riders is hammering along towards the Kemmel for the first time, with a minute's lead on a bunch led by Rabobank, who have missed the break. Names in the lead: Cipollini, Lombardi, Ongarato (Domina Vacanze), Cancellara, Zanotti (Fassa), Van Heeswijk (USPS-Berry Floor), Eeckhout, Van Bon, Vierhouten (Lotto-Domo), Hayman (Rabobank), Boonen, Cretskens, Knaven, Kasheckhin, Museeuw (Quick.Step), Kirsipuu, Flickinger (Ag2r), Klier, Hondo, Kopp (Telekom), Steels (Landbouwkrediet), Hammond (Palmans), Grishkine, Power, Vogels (Navigators), and Raivis Belohvosciks (Marlux).

Notable riders who missed the move: Freire, Zabel, McEwen and Cofidis in general.

The leaders are on the Zwarteberg now, with Kasheckhin doing a lot of work. The gap is 43 seconds to the Cofidis-Rabobank led chase group.

14:33 CEST - 68 km to go

Max van Heeswijk
Photo: © CN
Click for larger image

Kasheckhin decides they're not going fast enough, and pushes the tempo on the Rodeberg. Only Henk Vogels stays with him, and Kasheckhin has to sit up at the top to wait for the rest of the leading 26 to catch up. Vogels continues on his own for a bit - he has two more teammates in the break, including the winner of GP Rennes, Oleg Grishkine.

We spoke to US Postal-Berry Floor's Max van Heeswijk at the start today. Van Heeswijk finished second in Het Volk, but was sick in the week leading up to the Ronde van Vlaanderen. But the effervescent Dutchman was looking his usual self today. "I'm feeling better yeah," he told Cyclingnews. "Sunday I had sore lungs and I couldn't get air. I had pain in my ribs because I had bronchitis or something. I was a little bit too short Sunday. I was sick all week but I think I'm recovered now."

Are you using this race for preparation for Sunday? "No, I'm going for this race. Sunday also."

14:42 CEST - 62 km to go
The leading 26 are now at the foot of the Kemmelberg, having covered 134 km in the first three hours of racing. That's over 44 km/h, with the tailwind obviously helping.

Klier, Vogels and Museeuw lead the front bunch on the Kemmel, with Museeuw looking quite comfortable. Tom Steels is in trouble at the back, along with Ciaran Power. Museeuw, Klier, Boonen, and Vogels have a small gap to the rest as they near the top, but it's negligible.

Boonen and Klier lead the way on the steep cobbled descent. Steels, Power and David Kopp (Telekom) rider are a good 15 seconds off the back. Juan Antonio Flecha (ibanesto) is first over in the rest of the peloton, which has broken into several bits on the tough climb. The Kemmel has proved too much for one of the following cars, which has blowing smoke and is being pushed off the course.

The following group, with Rabobank and Cofidis still chasing, is at 38 seconds.

14:47 CEST - 58 km to go
Kopp, Steels and Power have been caught by the front group of the peloton, which includes McEwen, Tafi, Freire, De Jongh, Bernucci, Pollack, Tankink Staf Scheirlinckx , Ivanov. They are at 38 seconds still.

In front, we have: Cipollini, Lombardi, Ongarato (Domina Vacanze), Cancellara, Zanotti (Fassa), Van Heeswijk (USPS-Berry Floor), Eeckhout, Van Bon, Vierhouten (Lotto-Domo), Hayman (Rabobank), Boonen, Cretskens, Knaven, Kasheckhin, Museeuw (Quick.Step), Kirsipuu, Flickinger (Ag2r), Klier, Hondo (Telekom), Hammond (Palmans), Grishkine, Vogels (Navigators), and Raivis Belohvosciks (Marlux).

Robbie McEwen
Photo: © CN
Click for larger image

When asked about his training recently, Robbie McEwen said, "I've trained behind the motorbike but 5-6 training days in the last two weeks could be too little; we'll see. I think a race like Gent-Wevelgem, where there's a lot of wind, is hard to control. I'll try to hang on in the echelons and look after myself."

When asked about what he thought about Cipollini suffering from a stomach bug, McEwen replied "Well, he said that before Milan-San Remo too, and look how he rode."

Finally, about the riders' decision not to go over the Kemmelberg in De Panne. "I think it was right to not ride the Kemmelberg in De Panne, but it definitely has got its place in this race."

14:55 CEST -53 km to go
In the chase group, Mattan tries to chase the 23 leaders with two others, which only succeeds in breaking up the rhythm of the chase. The leaders, with five Quick.Steps (including Museeuw and Boonen), Mario Cipollini, Danilo Hondo, and Jaan Kirsipuu, are driving along towards the Kemmelberg for the second time, having increased their lead to 51 seconds. The fight has momentarily gone out of the chase, with the wind making it very tough to keep a rhythm going.

The chasing group has split into two, with the second group (third group on the road) at 1'06. It contains eight riders, including Scheirlinckx, Peers Wauters, and Kroon, among others.

Niels Sorensen from Denmark asks "Where the hell is CSC?". Well, Andrea Tafi and Julian Dean are the only riders who have been spotted so far, and they are in the second group.

Johan Museeuw
Photo: © Jeff Tse
Click for larger image

Johan Museeuw, who is in the front group, was looking relaxed at the start. "Most of the time I'm not sufficiently recuperated after Flanders to ride a strong race here, but we'll see. For sure I'd like to win here, no doubt about that. I feel better than what I did on the weekend. But this race is really difficult to control. My favourite for sure is Cipollini. Of course I believe him when he says that he was sick; you just don't doubt your colleagues' words."

15:05 CEST - 46 km to go
On the Rodeberg, Kasheckhin (QuickStep) and Van Bon (Lotto) push the pace, and the gap is now 1'07. The second ascent of the Kemmel is approaching fast. The chase group, with Freire and Mattan giving it everything, has come back together again. Scheirlinckx is back in front of the group.

Nico Eeckhout (Lotto-Domo) is also in the front group. "Hmmm; I don't really believe in Cipollini's chances, " he said. "You normally don't easily win the same race twice in a row. It's hard to be that lucky."

" My condition is good. I think I can do well. I don't think this race is very controllable; maybe only Rabobank can do that . McEwen will have to fend for himself today. I don't think it's possible to pilot him to the finish in this race. If he ends up having someone with him for the final straight that is great but I doubt it today."

His words are proving true at the moment, as Eeckhout is in front and McEwen is behind.

15:08 CEST - 44 km to go
Andy Flickinger (Ag2r) has attacked the front group, but he's going nowhere against this steam train. The gap is 1'04 to the Freire-Mattan chasers.

Kasheckhin now leads Hayman on the Monteberg, the final hill before the Kemmel. The gap has grown to 1'14, and the chasers will surely not get that back unless the front riders stop working. With five Quick.Steps, three Lotto's and three Domina Vacanze's, that's unlikely. Cipollini is in the boxed seat at the moment, but Quick.Step may have a cunning plan for the Kemmel.

15:14 CEST - 40 km to go
The leaders hammer at the bottom of the Kemmel, but there is no split. Kirsipuu is sitting last wheel, not the best position. Van Bon is dropped on the cobbled climb. Museeuw, Klier and Boonen lead over the top, with Cipollini in difficulty at the back, just in front of Kirsipuu.

Museeuw, Boonen, Klier, Van Heeswijk, Ongarato, Lombardi lead a group of 10 over the top, with Cipo and Hondo (both in white) trying to close the gap. The next peloton is at 1'50, and is basically out of the race. Steels has been dropped from the second group.

Cipollini has crashed on a corner (after the cobbles). He has to stop, and is now chasing back on. He catches Van Bon, who has been dropped. He's going to need both Lombardi and Ongarato to get back to the front.

15:19 CEST - 37 km to go
Cipollini is in difficulty, battling the headwind with Van Bon and Kirsipuu in pursuit of the leaders. The gap is 22 seconds. Cipo's white shorts are ruined. There are about 12 leaders now, including three Quick.Steps: Lombardi, Ongarato (Domina Vacanze), Cancellara (Fassa), Van Heeswijk (USPS-Berry Floor), Hayman (Rabobank), Boonen, Knaven, Museeuw (Quick.Step), Klier (Telekom) , Vogels (Navigators), Belohvosciks (Marlux) and Roger Hammond (Palmans) are all there.

Cipo is now discussing things with his director. He is 52 seconds behind the leaders and will not catch them. He throws a drink bottle at a passing motorbike, as he chases back to Van Bon and Kirsipuu. Ouch.

The drama isn't over - he catches Kirsipuu and Van Bon and immediately has to avoid a motorcycle that has crashed in the middle of the road. The three are now together, and still upright. The motorcycle riders seem to be OK too.

15:27 CEST - 31 km to go
Cipollini's trio is 57 seconds behind the front group of 12, with 31 km to go. They are working though, and making some impression on the gap. Now 55 seconds. Only 10 of the front 12 are working, as Cipo's teammates Ongarato and Lombardi are sitting on the back.

Behind them, the two sprinters, Jaan Kirsipuu and Mario Cipollini are chasing hard at 48 seconds. Leon van Bon (Lotto) is not contributing. Behind them, the rest of the first group that was dropped on the Kemmel is chasing at 55 seconds. They catch Cipollini, Van Bon and Kirsipuu. Eeckhout, Grishkine, Cretskens, Kasheckhin, Vierhouten, Flickinger, and Hondo are all there.

15:34 CEST - 26 km to go
According to Belgian TV, Cipollini threw the bottle at the motorbike, because he thought it was the one that caused him to crash at the foot of the Kemmelberg.

The gap between the 12 leaders and the chasers (with Cipo) is now 53 seconds. Three Lotto riders are working hard in the chase, but not making an impression into the headwind.

15:37 CEST - 24 km to go
The leading group: Lombardi, Ongarato (Domina Vacanze), Cancellara (Fassa), Van Heeswijk (USPS-Berry Floor), Hayman (Rabobank), Boonen, Knaven, Museeuw (Quick.Step), Klier (Telekom) Vogels (Navigators), Belohvosciks (Marlux) and Roger Hammond (Palmans) has 50 seconds on a chase group with Cipollini, Kirsipuu, Hondo, Van Bon, Vierhouten and Eeckhout with 24 km to go. In front, Lombardi, Van Heeswijk, Boonen, Vogels and Hammond are probably the best sprinters, while Belohvosciks, Cancellara and Museeuw will be handy for a solo break.

The motorbike rider that Cipo hit with his bidon was UCI commissaire Van Rentergem (not a popular guy with the riders). Also it's reported that Paolo Bettini has serious injuries but no fractures: badly damaged ligaments in his shoulder.

15:43 CEST - 21 km to go
Mario Cipollini is not out of this race yet: his chasing group is now 38 seconds behind the leading 12, which has two of his teammates in it who are not working much. The leaders have realised this, and have upped the tempo. Museeuw does a strong turn, and the gap stabilises at 34 seconds.

Now, if Cipo catches this group and wins, will he get DQ'd for throwing a bottle at the commissaire? It's usually not a good idea...

15:48 CEST - 18 km to go
Museeuw, Belohvosciks, Klier and Van Heeswijk have lifted the tempo and increased the gap to 41 seconds. They realise that if Cipo catches them, it's all over.

Fabian Cancellara punctures in the lead group, and gets a neutral change from the Shimano car. It's slow as a wet week, and he will have a great deal of trouble getting back on.

The leaders: Lombardi, Ongarato (Domina Vacanze), Van Heeswijk (USPS-Berry Floor), Hayman (Rabobank), Boonen, Knaven, Museeuw (Quick.Step), Klier (Telekom) Vogels (Navigators), Belohvosciks (Marlux) and Roger Hammond (Palmans).

15:52 CEST - 15 km to go
The leaders have passed through Menen now, with just 15 km to go. They have 58 seconds to the next main group, with Fabian Cancellara chasing in between at 19 seconds after his puncture.

Giovanni Lombardi (Domina Vacanze) had better win this, otherwise Cipo is going to be annoyed that he and Ongarato didn't drop back to help him on after his crash.

15:55 CEST - 13 km to go
Andreas Klier has attacked, with Alberto Ongarato and Servais Knaven on his wheel. Van Heeswijk is also there. The rest are strung out in the gutter. Knaven counter attacks, and Hayman is now in difficulty at the back of the group.

Knaven and Klier are now leading, but not by much. Henk Vogels bridges up to them - interesting move. Vogels can sprint.

Hammond, Museeuw and Lombardi have now set off in pursuit of the leading three. They are joined by Boonen. It comes together, and Knaven counter attacks again. He leads on his own.

15:59 CEST - 10 km to go
Klier and Vogels go after Knaven, then Hammond. There's a lot of attacking now. It looks like Cancellara has got back on. Knaven is still leading by 10 seconds.

Cancellara decides to counter attack, and he is followed by Vogels. Then Klier and Boonen go. Knaven is still in front. We now have Boonen, Ongarato, Vogels and Klier chasing Servais Knaven with 8 km to go. Knaven is riding really well.

16:03 CEST - 7 km to go
Servais Knaven (Quickstep) is trying on his own to win Gent-Wevelgem, driving along with four riders in pursuit at 8 seconds: Tom Boonen (Quick.Step), Alberto Ongarato (Domina), Henk Vogels (Navigators) and Andreas Klier (Telekom). The next seven riders with Museeuw are at 22 seconds.

16:05 CEST - 6 km to go
Servais Knaven is keeping them at bay, just. It's 5 seconds. He should get caught but Boonen, Vogels, Ongarato and Klier. Boonen is obviously not working.

Knaven is looking great, taking excellent lines through the corners to increase his gap to 9 seconds. It's going to be tight.

16:08 CEST - 4 km to go
The chasing four, with Vogels, Ongarato, Klier and Boonen are not making much of an impression on the flying Dutchman, Servais Knaven, winner of Paris-Roubaix two years ago.

Vogels drops back, and looks. Boonen won't work.

16:09 CEST - 2 km to go
Knaven is hanging on to his lead, just. Vogels does a big turn, and another. He closes the gap to three seconds. Boonen, having a free ride at the back, tightens his shoes. He's a good sprinter, as is Vogels.

16:11 CEST - 1 km to go
As Knaven is finally caught, Klier attacks. Then Boonen, with Ongarato on his wheel. Knaven is totally cooked. There are four leaders... no wait, Knaven comes back when they slow down under the 1 km banner. He lifts the pace, leading it out for Boonen. But does he have the strength?

16:12 CEST - 0 km to go
Knaven leads all the way down the straight, with Ongarato and Boonen on his wheel. Then Vogels and Klier.

Ongarato leads out, then Boonen goes around him, but can't get it. Klier wins! Then Vogels. Tom Boonen is third, and hits a photographer on his way through. Ouch, that had to hurt.

Raivis Belohvosciks takes sixth on his own. Then Museeuw wins the sprint for 7th from Hammond, Van Heeswijk and Hayman.


1 Andreas Klier (Ger) Telekom
2 Henk Vogels (Aus) Navigators
3 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon
4 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Domina Vacanze
5 Servais Knaven (Ned) Quick.Step-Davitamon
6 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Marlux            0.43
7 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon
8 Roger Hammond (GBr) Palmans-Collstrop
9 Max van Heeswijk (Ned) US Postal-Berry Floor
10 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank


Mail the commentary team    Results