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Tour of Belgium - Stage 1 & Photos
By Staff
Date: 5/28/2008
Tour of Belgium - Stage 1 & Photos

Tour of Belgium - Stage 1 & Photos
The race started with a field sprint, and Allan Davis coming second to a young talent from the Flanders.

The Tour of Belgium 2008 kicked off with a "home victory": Belgium's own Kenny De Haes claimed victory in the 142-kilometre opener that started and finished at Eeklo town Wednesday.

Dehaes triumphed in the bunch sprint ahead of the Australian Allan Davis (Mitsubishi-Jartazi) and Holland's Gert Steegmans (Quick Step). Italy's Mattia Gavazzi - son of the former professional rider Pierino Gavazzi, but not linked to Francesco Giavazzi, the guy in the spotlight at Giro d'Italia today - snatched a solid fourth place finish.

David Boucher in the break. Photo © Yoni Peeters

France's David Boucher (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner) made the headlines first as he broke away early in the stage. He stayed clear all by himself until km. 100 then was joined by the Italian Sergio Laganŕ (Team LPR Brakes) and the Belgian Steven De Neef (Davitamon Lotto-J.Vlaanderen).

A Jartazi rider leads the chase as the peloton comes through the start/finish.
Photo © Yoni Peeters

The three guys opened up a maximum advantage of 07'20" but the peloton reacted, with Quickstep doing most of the chasing job, and brought them back about 7 kilometres from the finish. As fully predictable, things came down to a massive sprint, with Tom Boonen leading out Gert Steegmans. But the Dutch fastman couldn't finish off the job: De Haes had faster legs than him, and so had Davis the Aussie.

Topsport's Kenny Dehaes denies Allan Davis and Gert Steegmans.
Photo © Yoni Peeters

The 23-years-old Flemish, a professional bike racer since the 2006 season - captured also the overall leader's black jersey as he claimed his second win of the year - he had opened his 2008 account in stage three of the Four Days of Dunkirk.

Needless to say, De Haes sits atop the points classification too, while David Boucher's long breakaway won him the first place in the current Hot Spot Sprints ranking.

Trophy and flowers for Kenny on the podium. Photo © Yoni Peeters

Stage 1 (Eeklo to Eeklo, 142 km): Top 10 Places
1. DE HAES, Kenny (Bel - Topsport Vlaanderen) - 04h09'39"
2. DAVIS, Allan (Aus - Mitsubishi-Jartazi) - s.t.
3. STEEGMANS, Gert (Hol - Quick Step) - s.t.

4. GAVAZZI, Mattia (Ita - Preti Mangimi) - s.t.
5. FERRARI, Roberto (Ita - LPR Brakes) - s.t.
6. VAN AVERMAET, Greg (Bel - Silence-Lotto) - s.t.
7. HASELBACHER, René (Aut - Astana) - s.t.
8. ROELANDTS, Jurgen (Bel - Silence-Lotto) - s.t.
9. MARINANGELI, Sergio (Ita - LPR Brakes) - s.t.
10. LEEZER, Tom (Bel - Rabobank) - s.t.

The man in black... race leader Kenny Dehaes. Photo © Yoni Peeters

Click on Photos for larger images. Photo © Yoni Peeters

Pre-race introductions: Quick Step duo, Gert Steegmans and Tom Boonen.

Tour of Belgium - GC after Stage 1: Top 10 Places
1. DE HAES, Kenny (Bel - Topsport Vlaanderen) - 04h09'09"
2. DAVIS, Allan (Aus - Mitsubishi-Jartazi) - at 04"
3. BOUCHER, David (Fra - Landbouwkrediet) - at 04"

4. LAGANA' Sergio (Ita - LPR Brakes) - at 05"
5. STEEGMANS, Gert (Hol - Quick Step) - at 06"
6. DE NEEF, Steven (Bel - Davitamon Lotto-Vlaanderen) - at 06"

Tomas Vaitkus of Astana, a portrait. Photo © Yoni Peeters

7. VAITKUS, Tomas (Lit - Astana) - at 08"
8. VAN HUMMEL, Kenny (Hol - Skil-Shimano) - at 09"
9. GAVAZZI, Mattia (Ita - Preti Mangimi) - at 10"
10. FERRARI, Roberto (Ita - LPR) - at 10"

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