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The World Cup 2002 was no successful campaign for the Belgians with only 2
wins (Paris-Roubaix & HEW Classic both by Johan Museeuw), but we're already
at the same score after only 3 races this year (and all 3 races have been won by
Belgian teams). We can only hope to continue with these results.
Peter van Petegem, Belgiums hero, has won two very important races, not to say
THE most important races for the Belgian cycling fans. The Ronde van
Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, two monuments in cycling history. Van
Petegem's results are also important for the history books as he performed the
double of RVV and PR, which has only been done 8 times so far, the last time in
1977 by Roger de Vlaeminck.
Lotto-Domo were the winners, but if there are winners, there are also
losers. In this case it would be Quickstep-Davitamon. The team for
the classics has had to deal with a lot of bad luck. Bettini fell in the
Ronde, Vandenbroucke crashed, Museeuw punctured. Knaven was the man left
but he also bonked. Tom Boonen never made it close to victory, also
because of a crash. Here follow some reactions after the race (source: Radio
1 - Belgium):
Peter van Petegem (winner - Lotto Domo): "Fantastic, incredible!
Everybody in the team was motivated, because people said the team wasn't good
enough. But I knew my teammates could do it. And they did it
eh!....I can read the race very well. Even though I had heavy legs
in the first kms because of different tyres, even though I crashed before the
first cobble section, but the teammates were ready....In the sprint, I knew it
would be between Pieri and me, but I have a lot of track experience. I had
to come next to him in the turn and then close the door. It
Marc Sergeant (team manager Lotto Domo): "Van Petegem raced very
smart. I was speculating for the sprint, because I know that Peter was the
fastest on paper. Before hand, we said that the Tour of Flanders and
Paris-Roubaix were our goals. If you win those two races, then I can only
say that our season has succeeded."
Marc Wauters (4th - Rabobank): "I was disappointed that I wasn't
on the podium. I had good legs, was always good in front but at the end, I
had to pass. I was team leader for the team and the previous years, I
collapsed under the pressure. Now I proved I can do it.
Tom Boonen (24th - Quickstep Davitamon): "We had a lot of bad
luch. I crashed before even the first cobble section. I sprained a
mussle and I had the tears in my eyes. It was a real chaos in our team: a
very fast race and very hard to control."
Patrick Lefevere (team manager Quickstep Davitamon): "This had to
happen some day. It's easier to lose than to win. Details decide who
wins. Museeuw's flat tyre unbalanced the team. Bad luck was also
part of our loss. For Amstel Gold and Liege-Bastogne-Liege I'm hoping for
Vandenbroucke and Bettini, but the latest news about Bettini is not good."
Sven Nys (DNF - Rabobank): "I fell in a ditch and smacked on my
face. I thought my nose was broken, but it's not too bad in the end even
though I can't stand on my legs anymore. My thigh and knee are
swollen. I will have to be very carefull the next few days. Shame,
because I feel strong. I could have helped Marc Wauters.
Ludovic Capelle (180 km in the lead, 41st - Landbouwkrediet Colnago):
"If they had given us five more minutes ahead we would have had a better
chance. The escape might have lasted up to the finale and with a bit of
luck I end within the teop 5-10. The most important thing is that I'm back
on a good level. I feel better now."
The most important message though, came from the Quickstep Davitamon
camp. Johan Museeuw wonders why he still does it. He ended
33rd. "I have lived everything here. Joy, sadness, hapiness and
unhapiness. Today I was racing at 95 percent of my capacity and I had bad
luck. But in my last Paris-Roubaix I absolutely wanted to finish....It's
starting to weigh a lot. I don't have a problem with the training or the
races, but the uncertainty and bad luck make me ask myself why I am still doing
all of this."