Profronde van Pijnacker - Elite Men
Post-Tour Crit with Michael Rasmussen's first race since the tour de France. A
Bram de Groot and Stef Clement earned the top podium steps in a bold
break. Report and Photo Journal of the race.
By Bart Hazen
The Post-Tour criterium in Pijnacker in Holland was certainly a criterium to go to with the
former yellow jersey Michael Rasmussen at the start; drawing large crowds for
the event. Bram de Groot won the men's race and Mirjam Melchers continues to add
to her palmares with the win in the women's race. The men had 50 laps scheduled
on a mostly flat 2 km course featuring a few speed bumps to navigate.
Media circus surrounds Michael Rasmussen at the start line.
Last week the organizers of the Criterium in Pijnacker announced that they
had contracted Michael Rasmussen for their race. His participation created an
immediate controversy with the Dutch Cycling Union (KNWU) didn’t agree with his
participation as they see him as “suspect”. But Rasmussen is free to race as he
isn’t banned by the UCI and is allowed by the UCI to race again if he can find a
Rasmussen maintains his composure during an interview.
According to Rasmussen himself he seems to have several options open for the
really would like to race through the rest of this years season and has set his
sight on riding in the Giro
di Lombardia. As we all recall Rasmussen was pulled out of the Tour de France
while leading the race by his team Rabobank and fired as he lied about his place of
residence (“the so called whereabouts”).
Rasmussen leads an early break.
Anyway despite this matter Rasmussen is still very popular in the Netherlands,
which you could see at the criterium of Pijnacker. Lots of press and large crowds
of tifosi came to the small town near Rotterdam to see Rasmussen back in action. It
was very hectic when the former yellow jersey showed up on the course in a plain
yellow kit without sponsor logos. Crowds of fans and paparazzi surrounded the
Rooster to take the best shots and ask him some questions. Those people didn’t
look where they where walking as they almost run over and hit some other
riders who were lining up for the start of the criterium; some pushed back when
asked to get off the course.
The start of the criterium had to be delayed as the media didn’t listen to
the organizers and race speaker when they were asked to leave the course so the race
could start. After the course was finally cleared the race got underway with
Rasmussen. Rasmussen rode the criterium in a full yellow outfit referring to his
possible Tour de France win which was taken from him. The kit didn’t had
sponsors as he still is teamless.
One of the ill fated breaks attempted before the successful attack de Groot and
Other notable pro riders lined up to start with Rasmussen were: Dutch National Champion against the clock Stef
Clement (Bouygues Telecom), Bram de Groot (Rabobank), Stefan van Dijk (Wiesenhof),
Servais Knaven (T-Mobile), Max van Heeswijk (Rabobank), Mathieu Heijboer (Cofidis),
Bobbie Traksel (Palmans) and Marcel Beima (stagiaire with T-Mobile).
De Groot and Clement escaped and it was Bram de Groot taking the victory from
breakmate Stef Clement at the finish.
Stefan van Dijk won the sprint of the chasing group third. Michael Rasmussen was very active during the criterium
in attacks and chase, and
showed he is still in form and ready to race if signed by a pro team.
The next race for Rooster Rasmussen will be the criterium of Bavikhove (Belgium) on
September 2nd. In the meantime he will be considering his options and choice of
a team to finish this season and 2008. Links to photo galleries below the
Pinjnacker Crit Podium: Stef Clement, Bram de Groot and Stefan Van Dijk.
Profronde van Pijnacker
1 Bram de Groot
2 Stef Clement
3 Stefan van Dijk
4 Max van Heeswijk
5 Hans Dekkers
6 Bram Schmitz
7 Michael Rasmussen
8 Malaya van Ruitenbeek
9 Marcel Beima
10 Wouter Mol
11 Servais Knaven
12 Bobbie Traksel
13 Joost van Leijen
14 Thomas Berkhout
15 Robin van der Lijn
16 Dennis van Winden
17 Jeroen Boelen
18 Bjorn Cornelissen
19 Martin Vestby
20 Roy Curvers
Pijnacker Criterium Photo Galleries