E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Live Coverage
Four ecapees up the road... the peloton isn't focused on the chase as 5 more
counter the move to bridge
Welcome to the 52th edition of the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen. Another preparation
race for the big clash next Sunday in the battle of Flanders, the Ronde van
Vlaanderen. The race is 208 km long in distance and among the starters we have
the winner of 2008 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Saxobank) and the winner of the four
editions before that Tom Boonen (Quick Step).
192 riders started in the early afternoon in Harelbeke. Daniele Righi
(Lampre) and Tim Meeusen (Revor) didn't start. The first attack came after seven
kilometers with Steve Chainel (Bbox), David Boucher (Landbouwkrediet), Lieuwe
Westra (Vacansoleil) and Jean Zen (Palmans).
After 20 km of racing the four leaders have a gap of 27 seconds on the first
chaser Vytautas Kaupas (Revor) and 57 seconds on the bunch. Absentees in the
race due to sickness, injuries etc. are World Champion Alessandro Ballan, Fabian
Cancellara, Oscar Freire and Stuart O'Grady to name a few.
With 180 km to go the break of four has increased their gap to two minutes.
Vytautas Kaupas is riding in no-mens land between the escapees and the bunch and
is waiting for the bunch. The weather conditions are changing at the start the
riders had sunny weather while at the moment they are threatened by hail and
rain. With 170 km to go the gap is up to four minutes already.
The peloton lets the break ride for without putting in much of a chase
at the moment. The gap is up to seven minutes as they have covered the first 50
km of the race. After the cobblestone section of the Holle Weg the gap of the
break is down to 6.47 coming from 7.20.The weather seems to become more badly
with lots of wind coming up and dark clouds gathering together above the field.
Due to the wind the bunch has split into three parts. A few kilometers later the
bunch was regrouped.
With 132 km five riders are going on the counter attack for the four in
front. The chasers are Matthew Goss (Team Saxo Bank), Angelo Furlan (Lampre -
N.G.C.), Paul Voss (Team Milram), Mathew Hayman (Rabobank) and Joost Posthuma
(Rabobank). With two riders from Rabobank in the chase group I'll think it's
time for Quick Step and Silence-Lotto to hunt them down. In the meantime the
bunch as split once again and the two bunches are seperated by twenty seconds.
124 km to go. The five chasers are reeled in by the bunch that once again has
regrouped. The four leaders Steve Chainel (Bbox), David Boucher
(Landbouwkrediet), Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) and Jean Zen (Palmans) are still
seven minutes ahead.
113 km to go. The gap is still 6.30 for
the four but the climbing zone is yet to come.
We joint the race live with 97 km to go, the gap of Steve Chainel,
David Boucher, Jean Zen and Lieuwe Westra is down to 4.17the first climbs still
to come 12 climbs in total. the gap is down to 4.00 with some counter
attacks in the bunch.
The weather is still miserable with Rabobank coming to the front of the
Silence-Lotto is eager to have a good result today, as there season account
is still not opened. The gap falls to 3.40 due to a counter attack of Aart
1448 CEST - 90 km to go. the favorites
for today are the same as in dwars door vlaanderen with Boonen, Devolder,
Chavanel, Haussler, Klier, Hoste, Van Avermaet, Flecha, Nuyens and that the
other classicsmen; we expect a battle of the giants between Boonen and Haussler.
1453 CEST - The gap is again up to 4.08.
The quartet in front to recap: Lieuwe Westra, Jean Zen, Steve Chainel and
David Boucher show no signs of weakening.
The break has started the first climb of the day the La Houppe. Lieuwe Westra,
the young Dutch rider and neo pro, is the big motor in the break. At the
front of the bunch which is not pushing it by the way, we have
Silence-Lotto, Columbia and Cervelo - Sebastian Lang of Lotto is leading the
pace with Belgian Champion Jurgen Roelandst and Columbia's Marcel Sieberg
1502 CEST - 80 km to go: the gap 4:30, In
front Chainel has problems on a cobblestone section. In the bunch a counter
attack of Robbie McEwen (Katusha) and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) Chainel
has dropped by his break mates. Katusha hopes for Ivanov and Pozzato. Gert
Steegmans isn't in good shape for the moment as he already dropped off the back
of the bunch
75 km to go. McEwen and Hoogerland are
3.54 behind en the bunch 4.23 behind. Tom
Boonen shares the record 4 wins with Cycling Legend Rik Van Looy one of the top
classics men and sprinters of his day. Boonen will want the win after missing it
last year, to take the record.
1517 CEST - The bunch is still easy
going, the lull before the for the storm I think... The riders are now on the
Berg Stene. at least the bunch, the break is already a climb further on...
We have 70 km to go, in the back of the bunch more and more riders are dropping
off. Cervelo and Q-Step coming to the front; Worlds Bronze medal
Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) in front.
Our trio, Westra, Boucher and Zen the three escapees are now on the
Boigneberg. The rain has topped, but the riders are making their way into a
stiff wind over wet roads. Cervelo has taken the front and is setting the
Robbie McEwen and Johnny Hoogerland are still the two attackers trying to
bridge to the leaders up front; no gap updates at the moment. 25 year old
Hoogerland won the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen a few weeks ago and had a
strong U23 career.
The big teams are onfront now with Quick Step, Cervelo and Columbia-Highroad
mixing it up. For the latter team we have team captains Marcus Burghardt and
George Hincapie. The peloton is 5.15 down on
the break. Flat tyre for Kasper Klostergaard (Saxo Bank). Cervelo has a
very strong team up there with Haussler, Hammond, Klier, Hushovd, Hunt and
Roulston to name a few; in front of the bunch we see Klier and Roulston together
with two riders of Quick Step.
1529 CEST - The break is now on the
Eikenberg. Cervelo takes the lead with five riders now we see Jeremy Hunt,
Hayden Roulston, Daniel Lloyd, Andreas Klier and Gabriel Rasch; Thor Hushovd and
Heinrich Haussler are up there too. It's a sprint to the Eikenberg, Rabobank up
there too. the pace goes up on the Eikenberg with Klier and Roulston doing the
work Juan Antonio Flecha in third position now.
60 km to go, Devolder in the counter
attack now with Juan Antonio Flecha and a Cervelo in his wheel, t. he others are
back but Stijn is hammering his pedals. The Cervelo guy was new Papa Thor
Hushovd - the gap down to 4.44.
The break is on the Stationsberg now. 660m with an average of 4,5 %... No
news on McEwen and Hoogerland. In the peloton Maarten Tjallingii of Rabobank on
the front setting the pace now. Time for the teams to start closing this gap.
Again bad luck for Lotto. Flat tire for Roy Sentjens, this is no time for a flat
tire. Flat tire in front for
Liquigas comes the front of affairs now with Italian Manuel Quinziato;
Quinziato loves Belgium and looks to feel strong for the race today. The bunch
has split into two parts again on the Stationsberg. David Boucher, the
bunch is about 40-50 riders strong.
Last years winner Kurt Asle Arvesen isnt in good shape as he rides in the
second bunch the gap of the break is down to 4.00 on the bunch as the brave trio
climbs Taaienberg a cobblestone climb of 500 meter and very steep. In the past
the climb was always the point for Boonen to attack. In most of the the editions
Boonen won, it came after a break with another companion; once with Klier, once
with Cancellara and also once with Ballan... its a race that always pulls in the
1552 CEST - gap down to 3.40, Rabobank
setting the pace now: Langeveld, Nuyens and Flecha hammering away; bad moment
for Columbia with a flat for Burghardt just before the Taaienberg. Burghardt
gets a wheel of Marcel Sieberg.
Its Boonen time as predicted - Boonen attacks, Cervelo chasing Boonen is
alone and nobody following.. Boonen decides not to go solo and waits. He now
gets the company of Flecha and a Cervelo rider. It's Thor Hushovd, Boonen,
Flecha and Hushovd in the chase for the leaders; the bunch is not far behind. A
chase group of at least about 15 riders are coming. The
gap down to 3.10
In the meantime Boucher is back in front with Westra and Zen after his flat.
News on McEwen and Hoogerland they are now caught by the Boonen group; the
Boonen group is now about 15-20 riders strong. Correction, McEwen and Hoogerland
not caught yet but about to get caught. More and more riders are rejoining the
group Boonen, about 40 riders again. McEwen is caught. Hoogerland now gets
company of Niki Terpstra (Milram).
In the Settimana Ciclista Internazionele
Silence-Lotto opened its season account. Cadel Evans wins the final stage ahead
of Cunego and Visconti. Cunego is the final winner.
50 km to go - gap 3:00. Terpstra and
Hoogerland caught. so the situation Jean Zen, Lieuwe Westra and David Boucher in
front with 3.00 on a large bunch. Attack of Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) gap
down to 2.50
Manuel Quinziato in the counter too but he can't close down on Flecha They
are now on the Oude Kruiskens another cobble climb Lieuwe Westra is the
strongest in front as he gets rid of Boucher and Zen - Boucher and Zen are back
with Westra but it doesnt go smoothly. gap down to 2.18 on Flecha
coverage continues in Part 2
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