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Belgian Road Championships 2008 - Elite Men
 
By Bart Hazen
Date: 7/3/2008
Belgian Road Championships 2008 - Elite Men
 

Belgian Road Championships 2008  - Elite Men
Surprise ending as Slilence/Lotto's young gun Jurgen Roelandts wins the sprint and champions jersey.  Photos

The Belgian Road Championships were held near the coast in Knokke-Heist. In the end the six hour road race for the championship would be decided in a bunch sprint with Silence-Lotto besting Quick Step as 23 year old Jurgen Roelandts won the bunch sprint over Sven Vanthourenhout and Niko Eeckhout. A disappointed Tom Boonen the top favorite to win finished fifth after his team mate Weylandt crashed after hitting Tom's wheel.


Silence/Lotto's Jurgen Roelandts celebrates as Tom Boonen shows his frustration in the outcome. Photo © Yoni Peeters

Elite-Men
98 Belgian elite riders took the start in Knokke-Heist for the 2008 Belgian National Road Championships. After seven kilometers of racing we had an early break with Bert Scheirlinckx (Landbouwkrediet), Kristof Goddaert (Topsport Vlaanderen), Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen), Sven Nevens (Mitsubishi) and Tom Stubbe (Française des jeux).


The break of the day gained six minutes, before being chased back by Lotto.
Photo © Yoni Peeters

The maximum gap of the six leaders was 6.30 after three laps; the break eventually pulled back and caught by the bunch led by mainly the Silence-Lotto team. The next attack came from defending champion Stijn Devolder but he didn’t get a pass from the peloton and was quickly brought back.


Defending Champion Stijn Devolder was aggressive all day in his attempt for a second championship. Photo © Yoni Peeters

85 km into the race we had a new break with again Stijn Devolder (Quick Step). The others in this break were Jurgen Van de Walle (Quick Step), Sébastien Delfosse (Landbouwkrediet), Jan Kuyckx (Landbouwkrediet), Rob Peeters (Landbouwkrediet), Wouter Van Mechelen (Landbouwkrediet), Johan Coenen (Topsport Vlaanderen), Frederik Veuchelen (Topsport Vlaanderen), Igor Abakoumov (Mitsubishi), Gregory Habeaux (Mitsubishi), Geert Verheyen (Mitsubishi), Tom Stubbe (La Francaise des Jeux), Benny De Schrooder (Sean Kelly) and Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb).


Quick Step takes a turn on the front, Hulsmans and Weylandt lead Boonen. Photo © Yoni Peeters

The group got a maximum lead of one minute, but because Lotto had again no rider in the break they chased these guys down again with 65 km to go. The next attack came immediately as the group was swept up and included Benny de Schrooder (Sean Kelly), Jan Kuyckx (Landbouwkrediet), Serge Pauwels (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Nick Nuyens (Cofidis). The four worked well together, got a maximum lead of around the 1.00 and were chased down by Lotto and Quick Step with about 15 km to go.

In the final 15 km, despite lots of attacks, nobody was allowed to go and the race ended up in a bunch sprint. The victory went surprisingly to young gun Jurgen Roelandts. In the sprint he was faster than cyclocross star Sven Vanthourenhout and good-old Niko Eeckhout. Greg van Avermaet and Tom Boonen rounded off the top 5. Boonen didn’t have his best sprint as his team mate Wouter Weylandt crashed in the sprint after hitting Tom his wheel.


2008 Belgian Championships Podium: Sven Vanthourenhout, Jurgen Roelandts ans Niko Eeckhout. Photo © Yoni Peeters

Belgian National Championships Results
1 Roelandts Jurgen SIL 5u56'50"
2 Vanthourenhout Sven SUN
3 Eeckhout Niko TSV
4 Van Avermaet Greg SIL
5 Boonen Tom QST


Veteran Niko Eeckhout - Third Place
Photo © Yoni Peeters

6 Hovelynck Kurt TSV
7 Vanlandschoot James MIT
8 Pauwels Kevin FID
9 Keisse Iljo TSV
10 Van Mechelen Wouter LAN


Philippe Gilbert of Francaise des Jeux does a pre race interview.
Photo © Yoni Peeters

11 De Schrooder Benny SKT
12 Scheirlinckx Staf COF
13 Steegmans Gert QST
14 Nolf Frederiek TSV
15 Abakoumov Igor MIT


A confident Tom Boonen at the pre race introductions.
Photo © Yoni Peeters

16 Suray Gil COS
17 Neirynck Kevin LAN
18 Nys Sven LAN
19 Coenen Johan TSV
20 Barbe Koen TSV
21 Van Hecke Preben TSV
22 Kaisen Olivier SIL
23 Rosseler Sébastien QST
24 Gilbert Philippe FDJ
25 Renders Sven TSV
26 Vandewalle Kristof TSV
27 Devolder Stijn QST
28 Neyens Maarten TSV
29 Willems Frederik LIQ
30 Steels Tom LAN
31 Omloop Geert MIT
32 Delfosse Sébastien LAN
33 Monfort Maxime COF
34 Hoste Leif SIL
35 De Weert Kevin COF
36 Verbrugghe Rik COF
37 Sijmens Nico LAN
38 Meirhaeghe Filip LAN
39 Vandenbergh Stijn ALM
40 Van der Schueren Kenny COS
41 Dockx Bart SIL
42 De Vocht Wim SIL
43 Cretskens Wilfried QST
44 Verheyen Geert MIT
45 Kuyckx Jan LAN
46 Veuchelen Frederik TSV
47 Vanspeybrouck Pieter TSV
48 Vanthourenhout Dieter PCO
49 De Neef Steven DLV
50 Sentjens Roy SIL
51 Van Mingeroet Jarno MIT
52 Criel Tom COS
53 Verbist Evert TSV
54 Habeaux Gregory MIT
55 Meersman Gianni FDJ
56 Ingels Nic TSV
57 Pauwels Serge TSV
58 De Waele Bert LAN
59 Van Goolen Jurgen CSC
60 Criquielion Mathieu MIT
61 Weylandt Wouter QST
62 Vantomme Maxime MIT
63 Hulsmans Kevin QST 3'39"
64 De Ketele Kenny TSV
65 Van Impe Kevin QST 4'49"
66 Gourgue Benjamin LAN
67 Nuyens Nick COF
68 Stubbe Tom FDJ

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