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Gent Wevelgem - 2003
 
By Podofdonny
Date: 4/8/2003
Gent Wevelgem - 2003
 

By Karen Lambrecht and podofdonny

The parcours

204 kilometres

Official start time from Deinze 11h30 local time. Arrive in Wevelgem around 16h20 local time. 4 climbs starting from Km 141. Major difficulties: Monteberg (Km 141 and 164), The Kemmelberg (Km 143 and 166).

The Race and Favourites

Gent-Wevelgem is classified under UCI rankings as a semi-classic. But compared to races later on in the season which have World Cup status it is a race with a far superior history and importance to the riders and fans. The race is always contested mid-week following the Tour of Flanders and is the traditional preparation for the "Enfer du Nord" - Paris-Roubaix, the third round of the World Cup to be raced on Sunday.

The race is often decided in a sprint because of its shorter, flatter parcours and this year's favourite will be last year's winner and a lion looking for his fourth win in the event, Mario Cipollini. Aside from “Super Mario’s” huge talent, his Domina Vacanze-Elitron team seem one of the few to have escaped the ravages of illness and injury which might make the book makers stack the odds a little higher than usual.

Cipollini’s podium companions last year - Fast Freddy Rodriguez and George Hincapie - will not be competing this year, nor will Ronde winner Van Petegem; Robbie McEwen leads a strong, confident Lotto Domo team in his place. Hincapie's absence means that evergreen Ekimov will be the Postal boys' main contender, unless battling “Mad Max” van Heeswijk has recovered fully from his recent bout of illness.

Philippe Gaumont (Cofidis) won the race in 1997, and with the tragedy and ill luck the French team have suffered so far this season, a good performance here would certainly be a morale booster.

How strange that two Spanish riders are genuine contenders for this race. But certainly both Jose Antonio Flecha (iBanesto) and Oscar Freire have the talent to give the race a Spanish victor for the first ever time since Gustave Van Belle (Belgium) won the first edition in 1934.

1998 winner Fanck Vandenbroucke will not start, though Paolo Bettini and Tom Boonen might well avenge “Frankie Boy's” second place on Sunday to arch rivals Lotto.

Jaan Kirsipuu (AG2R) has ambitions to win Paris Roubaix and might well see a victory in Wevelgem being a good start to achieve that goal. Telekom are without injured Wesseman but the presence of Hondo and Zabel will encourage them to race hard for their “Ace”.

CSC will be looking to winner in 2000 Geert Van Bondt to kickstart their season, while double winner Tom Steels with support from Ludo Dierckxsens, Lorenzo Bernucci and Ludovic Capelle will be mounting a major challenge for the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team.

Marlux-Wincor-Nixdorf will be full of confidence after Raivis Belohvosscik's recent performances and if the race is won by hard man sprinters, Bankgiroloterij-Batavus have both Jeroen Blijlevens and Rudi Kemna. Palmans-Collstrop again have Fabien De Waele as team leader although Roger Hammond looks increasingly likely to make the big breakthrough as the season continues.

Fassa, as ever, field a super strong squad and Olaf Pollack as an outside bet for the Gerolsteiner boys. FDJeux.com have Guesdon in super form and Durand to make an early attack to save his legs in the chase that follows; keep an eye open for Bernhard Eisel too.

Navigators have made a deserved breakthrough on the European scene and might well want to do more than make up the numbers - Jeff Louder knows the roads well which is an important factor if the winds start to blow.

Vlaanderen-T-Interim will get a man in the break at the very least, while Flanders-iteamNova.com will keep battling.

It promises to be a race of Belgium resistance, Dutch courage, French zeal and Italian passion.

Then again, Flecha and Freire, might well be dreaming of writing Spanish history on the cobbles of Flanders fields.

Teams

20 teams (from 10 riders, but a lot of teams don’t have 10 riders): Domina Vacanze-Elitron, Fassa Bortolo, US Postal-Berry Floor, Lotto-Domo, Cofidis, iBanesto.com, Rabobank, CSC, Gerolsteiner, Quick Step-Davitamon, AG2R Prévoyance, Telekom, FDJeux.com, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Palmans-Collstrop, Bankgiroloterij, Navigators, Marlux-Wincor, Vlaanderen- T Interim, Flanders-IteamNova.

Provisional startlist

Domina Vacanze-Elitron
1.Mario Cipollini
2.Giovanni Lombardi
3.Mario Scirea
4.Martin Derganc???
5.Daniele Bennati
6.Massimo Giunti
7.Gabriele Colombo
8.Santos Gonzalez Capilla
9.Gianpaolo Mondini
10.Alberto Ongarato

Fassa Bortolo
11.xx
12.Fabian Cancellara
13.Sergei Ivanov
14.xx
15.xx
16.Roberto Petito
17.Filippo Pozzato
18.Matteo Tosatto
19.Guido Trenti
20.Marco Zanotti
-Gustav Larsson

US Postal-Berry Floor
21.Antonio Cruz
22.Viatcheslav Ekimov
23.xx
24.Benoit Joachim
25.Guennadi Mikhailov
26.Pavel Padrnos
27.Max van Heeswijk
28.Matthew White
29.xx
30.xx

Lotto-Domo
31.Robbie McEwen
32.Gorik Gardeyn
33.Nico Eeckhout
34.Kevin van Impe
35.Leif Hoste
36.Stefan Van Dijk
37.Leon van Bon
38.Glenn D’Hollander
39.Wim Vansevenant
40.Aart Vierhouten

Cofidis
41.Chris Peers
42.Tom Flammang
43.Philippe Gaumont
44.Robert Hayles
45.Nico Mattan
46.Janek Tombak
47.Jo Planckaert
48.Robert Sassone
49.xx
50.xx

iBanesto.com
51.José A. Flecha
52.José V. Garcia Acosta
53.Pablo Lastras
54.José Lopez Gil
55.Rafael Mateos Perez
56.José I. Gutierrez
57.Ruben Plaza Molina
58.xx
59.xx
60.xx

Rabobank
61.Oscar Freire
62.??
63.Marc Wauters
64.Steven De Jongh
65.Jan Boven
66.Mathew Hayman
67.Robert Bartko
68.Sven Nijs
69.??
70.??
-Karsten Kroon
-Roy Sentjens

CSC
71.Geert Van Bondt
72.Julian Dean
73.Tristan Hoffman
74.Paul Van Hyfte
75.Nicolas Jalabert
76.Lars Michaelsen
77.Arvis Piziks
78.Andrea Tafi
79.xx
80.xx

Gerolsteiner
81.Daniele Contrini
82.René Haselbacher
83.Sebastian Lang
84.??
85.Olaf Pollack
86.Torsten Schmidt
87.Steffen Weigold
88.Peter Wrolich
89.xx
90.xx

Quick Step-Davitamon
91.Paolo Bettini
92.Tom Boonen
93.Davide Bramati
94.Wilfried Cretskens
95.Andrey Kashechkin
96.Kevin Hulsmans
97.Nick Nuyens
98.Servais Knaven
99.Johan Museeuw
100.Bram Tankink

AG2R Prévoyance
101.Jaan Kirsipuu
102.Christophe Agnolutto
103.Lauri Aus
104.Stéphane Berges
105.Nicolas Inaudi
106.Julien Laidoun
107.Erki Putsep
108.Mark Scanlon
109.xx
110.xx

Telekom
111.Rolf Aldag
112.Gian Matteo Fagnini
113.Danilo Hondo
114.Kai Hundertmark
115.Andreas Klier
116.David Kopp
117.Daniele Nardello
118.Jan Schaffrath
119.xx
120.Erik Zabel

FDJeux.com
121.Baden Cooke
122.Carloz Da Cruz
123.David Derepas
124.Bernhard Eisel
125.Frédéric Guesdon
126.Régis Lhuillier
127.Christophe Mengin
128.Benoit Vaugrenard
129.Bradley Wiggins
130.Matthew Wilson

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
131.Ludo Dierckxsens
132.Johan Verstrepen
133.Tom Steels
134.Tony Bracke
135.Erik Lievens
136.Wesley Van Speybroek
137.Yuri Mitlushenko
138.Kurt Van Landegem
139.Bert De Waele
140.Tom Stremersch

Palmans-Collstrop
141.Fabien De Waele
142.Roger Hammond
143.Hendrik Van Dijck
144.Danny Daelman
145.Bert Roesems
146.Andy De Smet
147.Frederik Penne
148.Kristof Trouvé
149.Gert Vanderaerden
150.Christoph Roodhooft

Bankgiroloterij
151.Jeroen Blijlevens
152.Bert Hiemstra
153.Rudi Kemna
154.Jans Koerts
155.Rik Reinerink
156.Matthé Pronk
157.Vincent van der Kooij
158.Remco van der Ven
159.Jan van Velzen
160.Bart Voskamp

Navigators
161.Chris Baldwin
162.Siro Camponogara
163.Vassili Davidenko
164.Oleg Grichkine
165.Jeff Louder
166.Ciaran Power
167.Henk Vogels
168.Mark Walters
169.Chris Wherry
170.xx

Marlux-Wincor
171.xx
172.Steven De Neef
173.Patrick D’Hont
174.Johan Dekkers
175.Geoffrey Coupé
176.Charles Guilbert
177.Cristian Poos
178.Manu L’Hoir
179.Saulius Ruskys
180.Jean-Michel Tessier

Vlaanderen-T Interim
181.Matthew Gilmore
182.Jan Kuyckx
183.James Vanlandschoot
184.Wouter Van Mechelen
185.Ruud Verbakel
186.Kevin Van Der Slagmolen
187.David Meys
188.Steven Kleynen
189.Geoffrey Demeyere
190.Stijn Devolder

Flanders-IteamNova
191.Ronny Assez
192.Björn Cornelissen
193.Jurgen Landrie
194.David McKenzie
195.Scott Guyton
196.Bert Scheirlinckx
197.Staf Scheirlinckx
198.Heiko Szonn
199.Laurent Roux
200.Trent Wilson

(Thanks to www.cycling4all.com)

Recent winners

1992: Mario Cipollini (Ita)

1993: Mario Cipollini (Ita)

1994: Wilfried Peeters (Bel)

1995: Lars Michaelsen (Den)

1996: Tom Steels (Bel)

1997: Philippe Gaumont (Fra)

1998: Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel)

1999: Tom Steels (Bel)

2000: Geert Van Bondt (Bel)

2001: George Hincapie (USA)

2002: Mario Cipollini (Ita)

Visit also the website: www.gent-wevelgem.be


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