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Omloop Het Volk - Latest News!
By Podofdonny
Date: 2/28/2003
Omloop Het Volk - Latest News!

Omloop Het Volk - 2003

By Karen Lambrecht and Podofdonny

On the Eikenberg

March 1st - the opening race of the Belgian cycling season: the Omloop Het Volk. For a lot of Belgian racers it’s the first important race on their agenda. First, here’s some practical information for those who want to visit the race:


For the first time, the start of the Omloop het Volk is in front of the Smak museum in Gent. It’s near the Citadelpark, where till last year the start of Gent-Wevelgem took place. The start is at 11.30 CET.


The finish is in Lokeren, not so far from Gent and is expected at 16.30 CET.

Major Features

km 37: Kluisberg (1,1 km à 6%)

km 44: côte de Trieu (1,1 km à 8%)

km 51: Vieux Quarémont (2,2 km à 4%)

km 59: Muziekbos (0,4 km à 4%)

km 84: mur de Grammont (0,8 km à 9%)

km 102: Valkenberg (0,4 km à 8%)

km 113: Eikenberg (1,2 km à 5%)

km 124: Leberg (0,6 km à 4 %)

km 129: Berendries (0,9 km à 5 %)

km 139: Molenberg (0,3 km à 10 %)

The favourites and outsiders:

Peter Van Petegem (winner in 1997, 1998 and 2002) One of the top-favourites. He hasn’t shown very much, but that’s Van Petegem. His competitors saw that Peter is in good shape. An advantage for Peter: he doesn’t show himself till it’s the right moment. On Wednesday, he trained with his team Lotto-Domo and it went very well.

”For my part, if I know that, barring accident, I will be amongst the fifty riders who will be in the decisive final moments of the race, I remain reserved on my chances to go very far, or even win. Sometimes it is underestimated but this opening race is really very hard. It is very hard to get an opening.

Johan Museeuw (winner in 2000) - Quick Step-Davitamon - Latest news:

Always one of the favourites in the Belgian races. When the race will be very tough, he has a good chance. But when there’s a big group till the final, it’s difficult for him. Also Museeuw did a training session with his teammates (without Frank Vandenbroucke) on Wednesday.

Wilfried Peeters, the former faithful team-member of Museeuw, and now DS of the team, said:

"The team are not nervous prior to the start of the Belgian season. They know that they have prepared well. They will be in at the finish not only in Volk but in Kuurne-Brussels Kuurne too."

Regarding the recent injuries to VDB and Boonen:

"Tom’s fall on the last day of the Ruta del Sol caused an inflammation of the lymphatic ganglia. It appears to have settled now, on Tuesday Tom was treated by a chiropractor for two wedged dorsal vertebrae, which prevented him from having all his strength. That also seems to have responded to treatment. As for Frank, he is fine. However, our two strongest men at the minute are Bettini and Museeuw. Their form is by far the best in the team.”

Tom Steels (winner in 1996) Tom has got the flu, which made it very difficult for him in the Tour of Rhodes. Now he’s feeling well, but is that enough? On the other hand, there’s no pressure from his team Landbouwkrediet-Colnago.

Ludo Dierckxsens He has also suffering from the flu, but will start. We will see him, that’s for sure. He will attack, but win? The others won’t give him a chance to break away and in the sprint, there are riders like Steels who can do more.

Dario Pieri (Saeco) In his new team Saeco (Pieri rode for Saeco, changed to Alessio and is now back), the sport directors expect a lot of him in the classic races. Pieri declared he would be more serious in his work. Last year, Pieri won in the E3 Prijs Harelbeke. But has he yet the good condition???

Baden Cooke ( He started the season 2003 very well (Tour Down Under, Tour Mediterranéen). If there’s a sprint, he has a very good chance.

Frank Høj (Team Fakta) (second last year)

Under no illusions of the task ahead -

"That second place last year means that I know I can win the race and it is very important. There is no one who can win Het Volk without really believing that one can. Of course your need to be in good shape and be able to fight against the pain. But not less important is to know the race and be mentally balanced," said Frank Høj.

That means the veteran specialists who know the race best are having an advantage and Frank Høj tips Johan Museeuw and Peter Van Petegem as the biggest favourites.

"On the cobbled roads we can see that a shift of the success, to the younger generation, has not happened. Luckily we have riders like Magnus Bäckstedt, Scott Sunderland and myself, who know the race and are the right shape to race it, so I believe we can make a good result."

Michel Vanhaecke (Palmans-Collstrop) (third last year)

Hilaire Van Der Schueren, DS of the Palmans-Collstrop team is being very cautious about his teams chances of success despite showing good form in early races, especially Roger Hammond.

"The team is going well but does not yet have super form. Consequently, one should not be deluded: the preparation has been good but it is too early to talk of a victory. But who knows?” Michel Van Haecke, interviewed during the week, claims he is not yet 100%...

Oscar Friere (Rabobank)

Foolish to dismiss the speedy Spaniard riding for a Classics team. However, Marc Wauters will miss the race and DS Theo De Rooy has had to make some changes in his team for Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. "I have many patients. Thus, I must also do without Robert Bartko,” he said.


The clearly out of date riders list on the official race website lists Rodriguez as riding. However some sources including the excellent and accurate Cycling4fans list this line up - Gianluca Bortolami - Gabriele Balducci - Romans Vainsteins - Massimo Apollonio - Mauro Gerosa - Marco Milesi - Mauro Radaello - Gianluca Sironi.

Apollonio replaces Rodriguez? Confirmed - Rodriguez has a fever and will miss the race.

Other favourites are: Jo Planckaert, Fabio Baldato, George Hincapie and Jaan Kirsipuu. And what to expect from Filippo Pozzato? (recently winner of the Trofeo Laigueglia and still very young). And Frank Vandenbroucke???

The Teams


Peter van Petegem - Robbie Mc Ewen - Serge Baguet -Hans De Clercq Leon van Bon - Glenn D’Hollander - Aart Vierhouten - Wim Van Sevenant


Andrey Kashechkin- Paolo Bettini - Davide Bramati - Tom Boonen - Wilfried Cretskens - Nick Nuyens - Johan Museeuw - Frank Vandenbroucke


Tom Steels - Ludo Dierckxsens - Lorenzo Bernucci - Johan Verstrepen Ludovic Capelle - Kurt Vanlandeghem - Claudio Luchinni - Tony Bracke


Andy De Smet - Fabien De Waele - Roger Hammond - Geert Omloop Kristof Trouvé - Peter Wuyts - Hendrik Van Dyck - Michel Van Haecke


Geoffrey Demeyere - Stijn Devolder - Jan Kuyckx - David Meys Jehudi Schoonacker - James Van Landschoot - Ruud Verbakel - Jan Verstraeten


Raivis Belonvosciks - Dave Bruylandts - Johan Dekkers - Johan Coenen - Sebastien Mattozza - Saulius Ruskys - Charles Guilbert - Geert Verheyen

Ronny Assez - Staf Scheirlinckx - Thierry Masschelein - David McKenzie Jurgen Landrie - Scott Guyton - Jamie Drew - Björn Cornelissen


Rolf Aldag - Kai Hundertmarck - Andreas Kleir - David Kopp Daniele Nardello - Dirk Reichl - Jan Schaffrath - Steffen Wesemann


Stefan Adamsson - Torsten Rund - Steffen Radochla - Christoph von Kleinsorgen - André Korff - Thorsten Wilhelms - Sven Teutenberg - Malte Urban


Robert Forster - René Haselbacher - Sebastian Lang - Volker Ordowski - Olaf Pollack - Torsten Schmidt - Steffen Weigold - Peter Wrolich


Peter Farazijn - Arnaud Coyot - Philippe Gaumont - Nico Mattan Chris Peers - Jo Planckaert - Robert Sassone - Janek Tombak


Baden Cooke - Jacky Durand - Bernhard Eisel - Frédéric Guesdon Christophe Mengin - Matthew Wilson - Bradley Wiggins - Carlos DaCruz


Eddy Seigneur - Yuriy Krivtsov - Jean-Patrick Nazon - Bruno Thibout Sébastien Joly - Christophe Edaleine - David Lefèvre - Samuel Dumoulin


Stéphane Auge - Sébastien Hinault - Thor Hushovd - Lilian Jegou Christopher Jenner - Marcus Ljunqvist - Stuart O’Grady - Corey Sweet


Jaan Kirsipuu - Christophe Agnolutto - Lauri Aus - Stéphane Berges Andy Flickinger - Julien Laidoun - Erki Putsep - Mark Scanlon


Oscar Freire Gomez – Roy Sentjens - Jan Boven - Mathew Hayman Robert Hunter - Bobbie Traksel - Maarten den Bakker - Kevin de Weert


Bert Hiemstra - Rik Reinerink - Gerben Löwik - Matthé Pronk Bram Schmitz - Jan van Velzen - Remco van der Ven - Pieter Vries


Antonio Cruz - Viatcheslav Ekimov - George Hincapie - Joachim Benoit - XXXX - Pavel Padrnos - Max van Heeswijk - Matthew White


Geert van Bondt - Julian Dean - Tristan Hoffman - Paul van Hyfte Nicolas Jalabert - XXXXX - Arvis Piziks - Adrea Tafi


Frank Hoj - Lars Ytting Bak - Allan Johansen - Magnus Backstedt Scott Sunderland - Werner Riebenbauer - Allan Bo Andresen - Michael Skelde


Fabian Cancellara - Francesco Chiochi - XXXX - Kim Kirchen Nicola Loda - Roberto Petito - Filippo Pozzato - Marco Zanotti


Fabio Baldato - Andrea Brognara - Stefano Casagranda - Davide Casarotto - Enrico Cassani - Ruggero Marzoli - Andrea Ferrigato - Alberto Vinale


Alessio Galletti - Antonio Bucciero - Paolo Fornaciari - Jörg Ludewig Cristian Pepoli - Dario Pieri - Fabio Sacchi - Stefano Zanini


Rubens Bertogliati - Alessandro Cortinovis - XXXXX- Manuel Quinziato - Zbigniew Spruch - Maximilian Sciandri - Marco Serpellini - Jan Svorada


Gianluca Bortolami - Gabriele Balducci - Romans Vainsteins - . Massimo Apollonio - Mauro Gerosa - Marco Milesi - Mauro Radaello - Gianluca Sironi

Sources - team websites /race website and Cycling4all. Photos thanks to

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