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58th Nokere Koerse - 1.3

Belgium, March 19, 2003

2002 Results    Results    Past winners

Pronk takes the honours in Nokere

Matthé Pronk
Photo: © Nicolas Leroy
Click for larger image

The 58th edition of the Nokere Koerse was won by a strong Matthé Pronk (Bankgiroloterij) in front of Magnus Bäckstedt (Team fakta) and Hendrik Van Dijck (Palmans). The 193 km race was decided by a late breakaway, with five men gaining a small lead in the last 3 kilometres.

The warm sun made it a great day for racing and the public was present in large numbers at the start in Oudenaarde. The market square is the ideal venue for the start of a bike race and the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement. The great spring weather put a smile on the faces of the 167 riders, with the exception of the Japanese participants who looked quite nervous. In front of them were a total of 193 kilometres: a big lap of 45.7 km and 10 laps of a local circuit in Nokere.

Early break
Photo: © Nicolas Leroy
Click for larger image

The race began in earnest once the peloton reached the final 10 laps. On the first lap, a seven man break went clear containing Nick Nuyens, Jurgen Van Goolen (Quick.Step), Matthew Hayman (Rabobank), Bram Schmitz (BankGiroLoterij), Ludovic Auger, Sébastien Talabardon (Big.Mat), and Serguei Krushevskiy (MBK). The riders gained 1'20 before Lotto-Domo upped the tempo in the peloton and brought them back. Once they were caught, a new lead group formed a lap later with Andy Cappelle, Jean-Michel Tessier (Marlux), Guillaume Auger (Big.Mat), Tom Stremersch (Landbouwkrediet), Matthew Hayman (Rabobank) and Igor Abakoumov (Van Hemert Groep). They were joined later by Robert Sassone (Cofidis), and Peter Van Agtmaal (Axa).

Pronk wins
Photo: © Nicolas Leroy
Click for larger image

The group's lead went out to a maximum of three minutes, but it was eventually captured on the final lap. With three kilometres to go, an attack by Dave Bruylandts (Marlux), Pieter Vries, Matthé Pronk (BankGiroLoterij), Hendrik Van Dijck (Palmans) and Magnus Bäckstedt (fakta) got a small gap to the peloton, which was preparing for a bunch sprint. The five stayed away with Pronk proving to be the strongest in the uphill, cobbled sprint, ahead of Bäckstedt and Van Dijck. Behind them, the peloton was disrupted by a massive crash in which over a dozen riders went down, completely blocking the road.

Race notes

Although the race was made very exciting by the riders, in particular by an impressive Matthew Hayman, it was clear that the organisation had not reckoned on such a huge turn up at the finish in Nokere. It was often very difficult to get around the parcours, and a very unusual entrance fee of €5 per person upset a few cycling fans.

At the top of the climb there was a huge mobile VIP bar which took up a lot of space, and the podium was crammed into a small passage past the finish line. A potentially dangerous situation developed as the riders didn't have anywhere to go after the finish line - the street was blocked by the public - and it looked for a second like the riders were going to crash into each other. Luckily they all hit the brakes in time.

Finally, the organisers hope for an upgrade next year from category 1.3 to 1.2, however there were no less than nine third division teams on the start line today.


Images by Sabine Sunderland

Images by Nicolas Leroy/

Results - 193 km

1 Matthé Pronk (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team        4.24.00 (43.8 km/h)
2 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Team fakta 
3 Hendrik Van Dijck (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 
4 Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf 
5 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 
6 Pieter Vries (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team 
7 Aurélien Clerc (Swi) Quick.Step-Davitamon 
8 Rudi Kemna (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team 
9 Tom Steels (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 
10 Danny Daelman (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 
11 Andy De Smet (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 
12 Roy Sentjens (Ned) Rabobank 
13 Sven Nijs (Bel) Rabobank 
14 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Lotto-Domo 
15 Franck Pencole (Fra) MBK-Oktos-Saint-Quentin  
16 Roger Hammond (GBr) Palmans-Collstrop 
17 Dennis Smit (Ned) Van Vliet EHB Gazelle
18 Arkadiusz Wojtas (Pol) CCC-Polsat
19 Philippe Gaumont (Fra) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone
20 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone
21 Julien Smink (Ned) Van Hemert Groep
22 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
23 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) 
24 Matthew Yates (NZl) Team Down Under
25 Saulius Ruskys (Ltu) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf
26 Allan Bo Andresen (Den) Team fakta
27 Folkert De Haan (Ned) Apac Cycling Team
28 Jürgen Landrie (Bel) 
29 Sébastien Talabardon (Fra) Big.Mat-Auber 93
30 Erwin Meijer (Ned) Van Vliet EHB Gazelle
31 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
32 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
33 Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone
34 Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team
35 Daniel Van Elven (Ned) Axa Cycling Team
36 Harm Bronkhorst (Ned) Apac Cycling Team
37 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf
38 Edward Dunning (Ned) Van Hemert Groep
39 Nico Indekeu (Bel) Team Down Under
40 Nicolas Liboreau (Fra) Big.Mat-Auber 93
41 Ronald Mutsaars (Ned) Rabobank
42 Mashahiro Shinagawa (Jpn) Nippon Hodo
43 Alexei Sivakov (Rus) Big.Mat-Auber 93
44 Eddy Lembo (Fra) MBK-Oktos-Saint-Quentin 
45 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon
46 Kazuya Okazaki (Jpn) Nippon Hodo
47 Wolfram Wiese (Ger) Team ComNet-Senges 
48 David Harrigan (Aus) Team Down Under
49 Bogdan Bondariew (Ukr) CCC-Polsat
50 Björnar Vestöl (Nor) Team fakta
51 Ronny Assez (Bel)
52 Martyn Maaskant (Ned) Van Vliet EHB Gazelle
53 Steve De Wolf (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
54 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Lotto-Domo
55 Rik Reinerink (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team
56 Guillaume Auger (Fra) Big.Mat-Auber 93
57 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon
58 Fabian De Waele (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
59 Frédéric Gabriel (Fra) MBK-Oktos-Saint-Quentin
60 Ludovic Auger (Fra) Big.Mat-Auber 93
61 Serge Herz (Ger) Team Lamonta
62 Bram De Waart (Ned) Van Vliet EHB Gazelle
63 Satoshi Hirose (Jpn) Nippon Hodo
64 Vincent Templier (Fra) MBK-Oktos-Saint-Quentin
65 Petr Pucelik (Cze) AC Sparta Praha
66 Martin Rittsel (Swe) Team fakta
67 Thorwald Veneberg (Ned) Rabobank
68 Tom Barras (GBr) Team Down Under
69 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon
70 Marcel Duijn (Ned) Van Hemert Groep
71 Tom Flammang (Lux) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone
72 Geert Omloop (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop
73 Gerben Löwik (Ned) BankGiroLoterij Cycling Team
74 Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone
75 Manu L'hoir (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf
76 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
77 Bart Bastiaens (Bel) Team Down Under
78 Domenico Passuello (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon
79 Nicolas Meunier (Fra) Big.Mat-Auber 93
80 Bart De Spieghelaere (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
81 Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Van Hemert Groep
82 Marcel Alma (Ned) Apac Cycling Team
83 Johan Dekkers (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf
84 Angelo Van Melis (Ned) Van Vliet EHB Gazelle
85 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon
86 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank
87 Jaroslaw Zarebski (Pol) CCC-Polsat
88 David McKenzie (Aus)
89 Tom Stremersch (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
90 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Lotto-Domo
91 Jos Lucassen (Ned) Axa Pro-Cycling Team
92 Armin Kröniger (Ger) Team Lamonta
93 Thierry Masschelein (Bel)
94 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Lotto-Domo
95 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf
96 Björn Glasner (Ger) Team Lamonta
97 Jean-Michel Tessier (Fra) Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf
98 Krzysztof Szafranski (Pol) CCC-Polsat
99 Marc Weishaupt (Ger) CCC-Polsat
100 Pedro Horillo Munoz (Spa) Quick.Step-Davitamon
101 Stefan Ganser (Ger) Team ComNet-Senges
102 David Meys (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
103 Peter Möhlmann (Ned) Axa Cycling Team
104 Wesley Van Speybroeck (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
105 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank
106 Peter Van Agtmaal (Ned) Axa Cycling Team
107 Jehudi Schoonacker (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim 

Starters: 173
Classified: 107

Past winners

           1st                     2nd                      3rd
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 Nydam (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          André Mierzejewski      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 (Ita       Gerard Vianen (Ned)
1972  Tony Houbrechts         Rony Van Marcke         Willy Planckaert
1971  Herman Van Springel     Eric Leman              Maurice Eyers
1970  Andre Dierick           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
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 Aucquier          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             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            O. VD Meerschaut
1946  Emanuel Thoma           André Pieters           Briek Schotte
1945  Briek Schotte           Michel Remue            Desiré Keteleer
1944  Marcel Kint             Theo Middelkamp         G. Van Overloop

Past winners by Mario Stiehl,