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It was a wonderful race, very exciting and for the Belgian cycling fans we
could say this race was heaven on earth. Not just Peter van Petegem is the
winner, but Frank Vandenbroucke as well. No doubt that Peter is a pure
Flandrien and that Frank is ready for the high expectations the fans have for
the Walloon classics.
"This was a very difficult Ronde van Vlaanderen", Peter van
Petegem (Lotto Domo) reacted after the race. "There was a lot of
headwind and constantly all those escapees. It was very important to keep
a close eye on all of them, but my team mates kept everything under
control. In Brakel I noticed that everybody was at the end of their
strength. Together with Vandenbroucke I have made the forcing. Only
when Museeuw attacked in Horebeke I needed to race very seriously.
Fortunately, on the Leberg they were already too tired."
Frank Vandenbroucke (Davitamon-Quickstep) finished second and seems
very satisfied with his result. "I've been good for weeks now. I also
prove with this that I have taken good care in winter and that I am a good
cyclist. On the Muur in Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg, Peter and
me were just as strong, but I knew he was the fastest of the two of us. I
kept on riding, because otherwise O'Grady and Baldato would catch us and then
you don't even get second... I will be racing another four classics this year
and I want to win one of them. I re-live as a cyclist, although I haven't
reached my level of 1999."
Marc Sergeant (team manager Lotto-Domo) "That Peter won is no
coincidence. After the 3 Days of De Panne I knew people would have to keep
an eye on him. I was going very souple. When he was going strong on
the Berg ten Bosse I knew enough. Peter raced the perfect race. And
the whole team backed him up."
Stuart O'Grady (3rd): "On the little bergs I tried to get in a
good position. The season has started very well for me. Maybe it's
even the best beginning I've had. But...to get on a podium for a world cup
race is something I have never done. Paris-Roubaix? Oh no, please
don't remind of that yet."
Nico Mattan (5th - Cofidis): "I have created the decisive
moments. I was only bad for one minute and that was fatal. The Muur
in Geraardsbergen is my bad spot, I know I'm not explosive enough. For the
rest, I was very comfortable the entire race. I was one of the best in the
race, but that doesn't help much. A real shame about that one
Michael Boogerd (9th - Rabobank) was very disappointed after seeing
his chances taken away by a Museeuw-fan. "I had some trouble
breathing and during the race it kept on getting worse." ... "On the
Koppenberg I was in a pretty good position, but all of a sudden a fan gave
Museeuw a push. I fell and that's no good feeling on those cobbles."
... "Oh well, that craziness, it's all part of the game. This is a
wonderful race and I will definitely be back."
Marc Wauters (66th - Rabobank): "I wanted to attack a few times,
but Museeuw and the others didn't let me. All of a sudden two of
Quick-Step were attacked and we didn't have anyone to jump with them. You
can't win every race of course. If Boogerd hadn't fallen, we would have
seen another race."
Dave Bruylandts (10th - Marlux): "I am completely empty! On the
Berendries and the Tenbossestraat we went very strong and that cost a lot of
effort. When Van Petegem and Vandenbroucke attacked on the Muur, I had to
let them go. I still have a few years to win the Ronde."
Our reporters on the spot, Anita and Karen, will bring you more about the
race later on!