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43rd Brabantse Pijl - 1.2

Belgium, March 30, 2003

2002 Results    Results    Past winners

Boogerd and Freire top off Rabobank's great weekend

By Jeff Jones

Michael Boogerd
Photo: © Sabine Sunderland
Click for larger image

A powerful attack by Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) with 700m to go on the final climb has given him the victory in the 43rd Brabantse Pijl in Alsemberg today. It was Boogerd's second win in the race, after also claiming it two years ago, and the sinewy Dutchman confirmed his favourites' status for the upcoming classics. In second place, and with no less of a ride, was his teammate Oscar Freire, who performed exemplary work in softening up breakaway companions Luca Paolini (Quick.Step) and Dave Bruylandts (Marlux) in preparation of Boogerd's final, decisive move. Paolini finished third in front of a disappointed Bruylandts, who could do nothing against the two Rabobank men today.

Boogerd's win also capped off an excellent weekend for the team, which won the E3 Prijs yesterday with Steven de Jongh. Today the Rabobank teamwork was evident as they marked every break, with Boogerd, Freire and Bruylandts riding away with less than 35 km to go, joined a little later by Paolini. The quartet rode away from the chasing group to finish with a comfortable margin of over two minutes, and no-one could match Boogerd's final acceleration.

"On Saturday we won the E3-Prijs with De Jongh," said Boogerd at the finish. "Therefore we could ride today with comfort. A win like that is a burden lifted."

Although Boogerd praised Bruylandts and Paolini for riding well in the break, Bruylandts was deeply disappointed with his fourth place. "I came here to win, not to finish fourth," he told Belgian TV. "When Boogerd went, I thought that Paolini would bridge the gap. He was still the fastest? That was the wrong gamble, but if I had have gone myself, then I would have also lost. Anyway I am ready for the Ronde, but I knew that earlier."

How it unfolded

Johan Museeuw
Photo: © Sabine Sunderland
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The 197 km race was held in sunny and dry conditions, with many riders looking for a second bite of the cherry after yesterday's E3 Prijs. Johan Museeuw (Quick.Step) was on the start line again, his injured knee having survived yesterday's test, and used today to gain some more racing kilometres. After the start in Alsemberg (25 km south of Brussels), there was a good deal of attacking, with no break succeeding until Magnus Bäckstedt (Team fakta), Bram de Groot (Rabobank), Jan Kuyckx (Vlaanderen), Karl Pauwels (Palmans), Vincent van der Kooij and Rik Reinerink (BankGiroLoterij) succeeded in escaping after approximately 70 km.

Early break
Photo: © Sabine Sunderland
Click for larger image

The group gained an advantage of over five minutes, before the peloton began to close in on them on the tough finishing circuit (six laps of 17 km with three climbs per lap). De Groot was the strongest in the group, and eventually rode clear on his own with 45 km to go, but the chase was on in earnest from behind. Cedric Vasseur (Cofidis) was the first to close the gap to the breakaway group, together with Erwin Thijs (Palmans), and De Groot was quickly caught as the race changed shape in the final hour.

Dave Bruylandts (Marlux) made his way into the front group, and wasted no time in attacking them on the Lindenberg climb with 37 km to go. His acceleration provoked a reaction in the bunch, with Lotto's Wim Vansevenant doing a big turn on the next climb, with Boogerd, Freire, Paolini and Baguet on his wheel. Over the top and it was Boogerd and Freire who jumped across to Bruylandts, forming a dangerous three man break with 27 km to go.

They were chased by a larger group, with Paolini (Quick.Step), Baguet, Moerenhout (Lotto), Kirchen and Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo), Arvesen (fakta), Ongarato (Domina Vacanze), De Groote (Palmans), Sijmens (Vlaanderen), Cassani (Alessio) and Vainsteins (Sidermec). Arvesen was forced into a pothole by a motorbike rider and broke his wheel, and as the Norwegian champion signaled for his team car, Luca Paolini took off in pursuit of the three leaders. Paolini was chased by Rabobank's Marc Lotz, who did not have the legs to stay with the Italian, although it would have meant three Rabobanks in the front five.

Once Paolini bridged the gap the race was virtually decided, as with the strength of Boogerd, Freire, Bruylandts and Paolini in front, the chasers were not coming back. In the final 17 km lap, Freire played the perfect teammate's role, attacking four or five times with a strong acceleration, forcing Paolini and Bruylandts to use up valuable energy in pursuit. When they reached Alsemberg for the final time, it was a foregone conclusion: Boogerd sprinted up the climb with less than 1 km to go, Paolini tried but failed to follow him, and the Dutchman was on his way to victory.

As Boogerd crossed the line at the top in triumph, the three man sprint behind him was taken by an excellent Freire, who is another rider to watch in the upcoming classics. This weekend Rabobank proved to be more than a match for Quick.Step-Davitamon, who will no doubt shift up a gear for next week's Ronde van Vlaanderen.


Images by Luc Claessen/

Images by Sabine Sunderland/

Images by Bert Geerts

Results - 197 km

1 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                         4.31.00 (42.458 km/h)
2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank                         0.09
3 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon
4 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf
5 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval  2.09
6 Enrico Cassani (Ita) Alessio                              2.20
7 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team fakta
8 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo
9 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto-Domo
10 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron
11 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
12 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
13 Thierry De Groote (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
14 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank
15 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Lotto-Domo
16 Bart Voskamp (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team          2.29
17 Matteo Carrara (Ita) De Nardi-Colpack                    6.47
18 Addy Engels (Ned) Rabobank
19 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone
20 Lilian Jegou (Fra) Credit Agricole
21 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Credit Agricole
22 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Lotto-Domo
23 Kristof Trouve (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
24 Christoph Roodhooft (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
25 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf
26 Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel) Domina Vacanze-Elitron
27 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto-Domo
28 Fabian De Waele (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
29 Roy Sentjens (Ned) Rabobank
30 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Lotto-Domo
31 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank
32 Davide Bramati (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon
33 Ondrej Fadrny (Cze) De Nardi-Colpack
34 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
35 Matthé Pronk (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team
36 Jef Peeters (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
37 Kurt Van Landeghem (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
38 Frank Hoj (Den) Team fakta
39 Tom Stremersch (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
40 Bram De Groot (Ned) Rabobank
41 Stéphane Berges (Fra) Ag2r-Prevoyance
42 Frederik Penne (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
43 Hayden Roulston (NZl) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone
44 Jörg Ludewig (Ger) Team Saeco
45 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon
46 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Team Saeco
47 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Rabobank
48 Bert Hiemstra (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team
49 Mauro Gerosa (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval
50 Thorwald Veneberg (Ned) Rabobank
51 Scott Sunderland (Aus) Team fakta
52 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
53 Jaroslaw Zarebski (Pol) CCC-Polsat
54 Steven Kleynen (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
55 Steve De Wolf (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
56 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
57 Rudolf Wentzel (RSA) Vlaanderen-T Interim
58 Michael Skelde (Den) Team fakta
59 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval
60 Mauro Radaelli (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier Duval
61 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon
62 Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
63 Pieter Vries (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team
64 Erwin Thijs (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
65 Seweryn Kohut (Pol) CCC-Polsat
66 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole
67 Lauri Aus (Est) Ag2r-Prevoyance
68 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Team Saeco
69 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
70 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon                7.32
71 Michele Gobbi (Ita) De Nardi-Colpack
72 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Alessio
73 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron
74 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank
75 Werner Riebenbauer (Aut) Team fakta
76 Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Ag2r-Prevoyance
77 Jürgen Landrie (Bel)              7.55
78 Tony Bracke (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                9.04

Courtesy of Ronald Schipper

Past winners

2002 Fabian De Waele (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step 198 kms in 4.30.10 (43.97 km/h)
2001 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank         194 kms in 4.31.10 (42.93 km/h)
2000 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-Bricobi      195 kms in 4.33.43 (42.675 km/h)
1999 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 193 kms in 4.43.15 (40.882 km/h)
1998 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-Bricobi      193 kms in 4.15.50 (45.263 km/h)
1997 Gianluca Pianegonda (Ita)
1996 Johan Museeuw (Bel)
1995 Edwig Van Hooydonck (Bel)
1994 Michele Bartoli (Ita)
1993 Edwig Van Hooydonck (Bel)
1992 Johan Capiot (Bel)
1991 Edwig Van Hooydonck (Bel)
1990 Frans Maassen (Ned)
1989 Johan Capiot (Bel)
1988 Johan Capiot (Bel)
1987 Edwig Van Hooydonck (Bel)
1986 Johan Van de Velde (Ned)
1985 Adri Van der Poel (Ned)
1984 Ronny Van Holen (Bel)
1983 Eddy Planckaert (Bel)
1982 Claude Criquielion (Bel)
1981 Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel)
1980 Michel Pollentier (Bel)
1979 Daniel Willems (Bel)
1978 Marcel Laurens (Bel)
1977 Frans Verbeeck (Bel)
1976 Freddy Maertens (Bel)
1975 Willem Peters (Bel) 
1974 Herman Vanspringel (Bel)
1973 Johan De Muynck (Bel)
1972 Eddy Merckx (Bel)
1971 Joseph Spruyt (Bel)
1970 Herman Vanspringel (Bel) 
1969 Willy In'T'Ven (Bel)
1968 Victor Van Schil (Bel)
1967 Roger Rosiers (Bel)
1966 Jan Janssen (Ned)
1965 Willy Bocklant (Bel)
1964 Arnaldo Pambianco (Ita)
1963 Joseph Wouters (Bel)
1962 Marcel Janssens (Bel)
1961 Pino Cerami (Bel)

Past winners by Mario Stiehl,