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Paris-Roubaix: More Race Reactions
By Celine Tytgadt
Date: 4/13/2003
Paris-Roubaix: More Race Reactions
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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 worked."

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."

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