97th Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen - 1.HC
Belgium, April 15, 2009
Live commentary by Gregor Brown
Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen.
Bjorn Haake reports that a lot of people were out this morning at the Grote Markt in Antwerpen, Belgium, to see the start. The summer sun also stopped by for a visit, presumably having left its winter domicile in Spain, as Manuel Calvente (Andalucía-Cajasur) noticed. "The weather here is awesome, it's better than at home," the Spaniard said with a – warm – smile on his face.
14:33 CEST 80km/120km to go
We have an escape of four that worked its way off the front: Lorenzo Bernucci (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini), Matthé Pronk (Vacansoleil), Pavel Brutt (Katusha) and Jeff Louder (BMC Racing Team). They have 3:30 on the peloton.
Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes)
Photo ©: Settimana Ciclista Lombarda
Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) was quite busy posing for pictures, but took some time to talk to Cyclingnews' Bjorn Haake before the race.
"Will I get season victory number seven today? I don't know, we'll have to see. It does look like we will have a bunch sprint today, but there are also many other strong sprinters here."
Petacchi confirmed that his form is where he wants it to be. "I am feeling very good and I am on target for the Giro d'Italia."
Petacchi's teammate Danilo Di Luca is disappointed over Ardennes snub: He is upset that the organisers of the Ardennes Classics have not invited him or his team for a second year running. Di Luca and his LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini team will instead race the Giro del Trentino next week, in preparation for the Giro d'Italia, May 9 to 31.
"There does not seem to be a valid reason for it, we have a strong team and we are within all the rules. It is unjust," Di Luca told Cyclingnews.
Talk about this article on our forum.
Robbie McEwen (Katusha) wants a bunch sprint
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
Robbie McEwen (Katusha), 2002 winner, is quite motivated for today following his good form in recent races.
"We hope for a bunch sprint and our team will do everything we can to keep it together," McEwen told Haake. "It took a bit of time to figure everything out, but now the team is coming together quite nicely."
McEwen will also count on teammate Gert Steegmans, who is back after injury. "It looks like the doctors have figured out my problem. I was able to train OK this week. My longest ride was seven hours. I will just try to do my share for the team."
14:47 CEST 80km/120km to go
There is about 120km left to race. Did we mention the nice weather? Oh, it is nice out here!!
Baden Cooke (Vacansoleil) has recovered from sickness, but has more bad news.
"My ankle is taped up, as I fell over the other day." Despite the injury he is in good spirits. "I finished fourth in the race on Monday [Profronde van Drenthe]," he told Cyclingnews "That was a bit of a surprise, as I missed so much racing. I hope that things are looking up now."
Cooke will be a good pick for today, but he wasn't quite ready to put himself down as the favourite. "It's difficult to say where my level is right now."
Jeff Louder's BMC Racing teammate Danilo Wyss had to miss Scheldeprijs due to a finger injury sustained in Sunday's Paris-Roubaix. He expects to return for the Tour de Romandie, April 28 to May 3.
"The finger is very swollen, but fortunately nothing is broken and I can continue training," he said.
Wyss crashed on the first of 27 pavé sectors of the Paris-Roubaix: Troisvilles à Inchy. He hyper-extended a finger on his right hand. He continued racing until the pain forced him to abandon.
Brent Bookwalter, Antonio Cruz, Jackson Stewart, Martin Kohler, Louder, Ian McKissick and Marcus Zberg represent the BMC team today.
Brutt is a man of escapes. It seems that he always is up, off the front of the peloton. Maybe McEwen wanted his Russian mate off the front so that Katusha would not be responsible for the pace making. His moves are not all 'brutto' as he won a stage of the Giro d'Italia last year when the team was known as Tinkoff.
Gerald Ciolek (Milram) was not in a talkative mood, but did tell Cyclingnews that things are better after his sickness. "I am feeling quite good," he said before rolling on to the start.
15:11 CEST 96km/104km to go
You want it Louder? Jeff has been on the professional scene since 2001. His last win (and only win as far as our books say) came in 2004 when he rode for Navigators Insurance. He won Tour of Qinghai Lake stage two in China and became race leader for a day.
Mark Cavendish first burst onto the scene when he won the Scheldeprijs two years ago. The then 21-year-old beat Robbie McEwen and Gert Steegmans that day.
"Last year's Gent-Wevelgem changed how I approached my sprinting. I could always afford to sit back in the pack and then do my sprint, but at that race I couldn't. In a stage race you have a designated sprinter and he has his chances over the different stages, but in a one-day everyone is out to get that trophy on that day. You can't afford to sit back, you have to keep fighting. I have been doing that since last year and I will do it next week."
Read our interview with Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad).
Cavendish won this race for the last two years, but this year he is on a well-earned vacation. His last race was Gent-Wevelgem.
Cavendish won this race for the last two years, but this year he is on a well-earned vacation. His last race was Gent-Wevelgem.
Dominic Klemme, first year with Saxo Bank, told Cyclingnews' Haake about riding in a ProTour team. "The races are quite a change from before." Klemme rode for the German Continental team 3C Gruppe Lamonta in the past. "But I have gotten used to it and I feel very well in the team.
"The training is quite hard, but it's OK, as I did tough training in the last few years as well."
He also said the interval training was more or less the same he did in the past, unlike the special Bjarne Riis training camp. "I'll say that was worth the experience," the young German said with a smile.
Klemme made no secret about the team's tactics for today. "I think today will be all for Haedo." He wasn't targeting to go in a break, but couldn't exclude it either. "It depends on the race situation."
Juan José Haedo (Saxo Bank) will be looking to bring his season on track today. "I have only won two times this season, once in Argentina and once in France."
15:19 CEST 100km/100km to go
The riders have 100km left to race. What is that in miles or quarts?
Keep an eye out for Aussies Davis and Brown today.
Steven De Jongh (Quick Step) is back to racing today. Remember he had a nasty fall at the Tour of Qatar.
15:24 CEST 129km/71km to go
Jin Long (Skil-Shimano) was the first Chinese rider ever in the Paris-Roubaix. "It's a special race, but also very difficult," he said of Sunday's race.
71km left to race, the gap is 5:49.
Simone Cadamuro (Amica Chips-Knauf) was quite happy to be at the start, which is no surprise. "I was on the podium here twice, once in 2004 behind Tom Boonen and Robbie McEwen and then the following year behind Thorwald Veneberg and Tomas Vaitkus."
15:26 CEST 131km/69km to go
Teams Milram and Silence are giving it full gas now. They don't like the gap of nearly six minutes.
15:29 CEST 131km/69km to go
We have a crash. A Cervélo rider has wrapped his bike around a bush. It looks like Martin Reimer.
It happened on a right hand corner. He is back on his bike after a hand by the team mechanic. Good news because he did not look good laying flat out on his back.
More road furniture: riders make their way around a traffic island, this one had a race official on it waving a yellow flag.
A lot of you have written from the roadside. Thanks for your words and keep one of those Jupliers fresh for us!
Columbia comes up to the front for the start of a cobbled sector.
15:33 CEST 135km/65km to go
These cobbles are not like the ones in Paris-Roubaix on Sunday. That race was a true two-wheeled fist fight.
15:34 CEST 136km/64km to go
Gap at 4:31.
At what kilometre do you think that Brutt is going to blow this race apart with one of his Russian missiles?
USA, Italy and Holland will need to form some sort of collation against the Russian threat. We could see a 'code red' situation if the Katusha missile gets going.
Dramatic scene at the finish line, where the spectators are waiting in the baking sun for the peloton to arrive for the first of three laps on a 16.5km circuit.
Two guys came down on roller blades, one was wearing a black and white striped prisoner's top and some tiny underwear... The security guard was relentless and tackled one of the roller bladers, who had quite some speed.
The crowd started booing – any entertainment to cut down on the wait time is appreciated.
Kim Kirchen (Columbia-Highroad) is back in the team cars getting some water bottles with one of his teammates.
15:42 CEST 143km/57km to go
Kiwi Gregory Henderson (Columbia-Highroad) has a wheel change. Remember him in the Paris-Roubaix? He was part of the 11-man move that went clear at kilometre 42. The favourites caught the move after some 150 kilometres.
We should draw you attention to Louder's Redlands Bicycle Classic win. That race is a big one in the USA. Maybe this American does have the power to stop the Russian rocket?
Nikolai Trusov (Katusha) stops for a rear wheel change.
Ah, another mechanical problem for a rider. A Saxo Bank rider stops and, get this, a Highroad car stops to help him. Maybe we can achieve world peace with these sort of friendly actions. Remember, "pay it forward".
15:48 CEST 146km/54km to go
The gap is 3:25. Riders are on the 1700-metre Broekstraat cobble sector. Quick Step leads the chase.
Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) was at the start this morning, but told Cyclingnews that "I am quite tired. I will take a break now from racing."
15:51 CEST 150km/50km to go
The gap falls below three minutes.
15:53 CEST 151km/49km to go
3h18 of racing, the escape of four comes to the finish line to start another circuit. We will get a time on their advantage.
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
Lorenzo Bernucci (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) won a stage of the Tour de France for Fassa Bortolo back in the day. While riding for T-Mobile he tested positive for the use of Sibutramine in the 2007 Deutschland Tour. He served a one-year suspension and returned to racing last year with Cinelli.
15:57 CEST 153km/47km to go
The peloton passes the finish line. The gap is 2:56 with 47km left to race.
There are three local laps of 16.5 kilometres each.
16:00 CEST 156km/44km to go
Milram is pouring gas on this chase. The team has the gap down near 2:50.
16:05 CEST 160km/40km to go
Lorenzo Bernucci (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini), Matthé Pronk (Vacansoleil), Pavel Brutt (Katusha) and Jeff Louder (BMC Racing Team) confront the 1700-metre Broekstraat cobble sector.
16:06 CEST 160km/40km to go
Louder is on the back of the escape. Silence and Milram lead the peloton some 2:30 behind the four men.
Barloworld's Daryl Impey won in the Tour of Turkey today.
Quick Step comes to the front over the cobbled sector.
Crash, a big one, in the peloton.
A Cervélo rider is on the pavé.
Ian Stannard (ISD) is down on the ground and not looking good.
Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank) climbing out of the ditch on the road's left side.
16:13 CEST 164km/36km to go
A lot of riders are making their way back to the main peloton after that crash. We see Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank) chasing back on with a LPR rider. Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto) is riding behind the group, we don't know if he went down in the crash, though.
Riders are next to the Schelde. The river/canal is used for shipping and dates back to Roman days.
16:15 CEST 167km/33km to go
The escape of four comes through the finish line, they have two more circuits to race.
Some other names in that crash were Mathew Hayman (Rabobank), Gerald Ciolek (Milram) and Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator).
Quick Step leads to the finish line... the clock is at 2:08 and counting...
We counted 2:28. Will the escape make it?
Here comes another group of about 10 guys. They must have been involved in the crash earlier.
16:22 CEST 172km/28km to go
Silence still continues to drive the pace for Greg Van Avermaet.
Tomas Buchacek (PSK Whirlpool-Author) visits the team car for water and a Coca-cola.
Quick Step has four men on the front for its sprinter Allan Davis.
16:25 CEST 174km/26km to go
We keep seeing flashes of yellow as Columbia makes its presence near the front.
Palmans pushes the pace at the front of the peloton now.
16:27 CEST 175km/25km to go
Lorenzo Bernucci (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini), Matthé Pronk (Vacansoleil), Pavel Brutt (Katusha) and Jeff Louder (BMC Racing Team) hit the cobbles for the penultimate time.
The riders in the peloton are edging to the front to stay out of danger in the lead up to the cobbled sector.
We the Skil boys near the front.
Here we go... The peloton is on the 1700-metre Broekstraat cobble sector. Quick Step leads.
Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo) might have been involved in that crash. We know that he was chasing back on with a group of others. We will keep you updated.
The peloton is through the cobbled sector and now along shipping canal.
Skil pushes the pace.
16:31 CEST 178km/22km to go
The peloton is one LONG line.
The Belgian teams take over: Quick Step and Silence lead.
Martin Müller (Milram) stops due to a puncture (or flat tyre).
16:34 CEST 181km/19km to go
We see Saxo working for Goss or Haedo.
Martin Müller (Milram) gets a completely new bike. Must not have been a "flat".
16:35 CEST 182km/18km to go
Saxo is leading the charge and it has the gap down to 1:23. Watch out for a Russian missile!
16:37 CEST 184km/16km to go
Here comes our four men, led by Brutt. They are going to start the last circuit. The bell rings...
Oh... the peloton is driving into the city centre to start its final lap. Milram leads.
Servais Knaven (Milram) fires off the front chase by a Cervélo rider.
This duo will have a hard time staying clear. Let's see what happens.
Servais Knaven (Milram) is with Brit Roger Hammond (Cervélo TestTeam).
16:40 CEST 186km/14km to go
The Knaven/Hammond duo is working hard, but it will be a long 16km with the sprinters' teams all fired up for a sprint showdown.
16:41 CEST 187km/13km to go
The gap of our four escapees is now below one minute.
16:42 CEST 188km/12km to go
When will Brutt fire? He has to try soon, the gap is now 42".
Skil and Saxo lead the chase.
16:44 CEST 189km/11km to go
Roger Hammond (Cervélo TestTeam) and Servais Knaven (Milram) are caught on the Broekstraat cobbled sector.
Quick Step and Skil have the gap down to 27 seconds. Louder moves off the front of the escape after a pull.
16:47 CEST 190km/10km to go
Ten kilometres to race in this Belgian Classic. Who will win? Brace yourself. This escape is about over and the sprinters are going to roar into town.
The gap is 15 seconds – nothing.
16:47 CEST 191km/9km to go
Lorenzo Bernucci (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) fires! (Not Brutt).
Louder is caught by the peloton.
Bernucci leads, Quick Step chases.
The riders are on the Broekstraat.
16:49 CEST 192km/8km to go
This must seem like smooth asphalt compared to last Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.
Brutt and Bernucci remain off the front.
The peloton caught Matthé Pronk (Vacansoleil).
16:50 CEST 193km/7km to go
Napolitano flats. His chance of a win is over. Too bad for the Italian from Sicily.
16:50 CEST 194km/6km to go
Six kilometres to go. Brutt leads the escape.
He looks over to Bernucci to come through for a pull.
16:51 CEST 195km/5km to go
Quick Step has all of its men left on the front to pull back the duo.
This "Italian" duo might work.
McEwen moves to the front just in case Brutt is caught.
Bernucci's face shows volumes of pain.
16:52 CEST 195km/5km to go
They have six seconds. Brutt comes to the front.
16:53 CEST 196km/4km to go
The peloton shows no mercy. The duo will be caught.
16:53 CEST 196km/4km to go
Brutt and Bernucci shake hands and are engulfed by the peloton.
Quick Step still is in the driver's seat of this speeding train.
16:54 CEST 197km/3km to go
3000 metres to race. Who is going to win this race? Remember, Cavendish is not racing.
One of the Quick Step riders pulls off, but there are still three on the front!
We enter the final two kilometres. De Jongh and Barredo are near the front.
LPR moves to the front for Petacchi.
Ongarato will lead the way for Ale-Jet.
We see red: Lotto has the lead with LPR in the passenger's seat.
Lotto really needs a win. Will it get it?
They pass a left corner.
Riders move up on the right.
There are only about 40 riders left.
We are near -1km
There is no one clear team leading.
There is a crash, massive, in the finale.
Petacchi gets the win, but there are riders everywhere behind him.
Van Avermaet and McEwen are on the ground
The crash was on the left with 200 metres to go.
A Silence and Katusha (McEwen) rider went down first.
There were about 10 riders involved in that crash.
A Skil rider finished second.
A BMC rider go third, we think.
Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) was second over Dominique Rollin (Cervélo TestTeam) and Antonio Cruz (BMC Racing Team).
Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto) was the first rider down, then Robbie McEwen (Katusha). A very bad finish to a great race.
Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto) is up and walking. Robbie McEwen (Katusha) is riding away.
Greg Van Avermaet's front wheel touched McEwen's rear wheel.
Henderson survived the finale. His had to unclip, but he did not go down.
We will have more information in our report and in First Edition news. Thanks for joining Cyclingnews today in our live coverage.
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini
2 Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano
3 Dominique Rollin (Can) Cervélo TestTeam
4 Antonio Cruz (USA) BMC Racing Team