The break of the day began two hours into the wind and rain of this West
Belgium race, with a large group that included Kirsipuu, Farazijn, Cretskens,
Knaven, Boonen, Hincapie, Casper, Nuyens, Museeuw, Bodrogi, Bernucci, Cancellara,
Hammond, Frank Hoj, Förster, Klier and Casper - five Quicksteps in all. And
despite a mechanical for the Lion of Flanders and two for Boonen, Quickstep took
all its advantages to set its man up for the inevitable sprint of all these hard
men. The sun even came out to shine upon them...
The winning break today. Courtesy Quickstep-Davitamon.
Click for larger image.
An in form Hincapie before the race. Courtesy
Said Boonen: "We were the strongest team today. With myself had we had 5 of
our team in the lead group. During the last kilometres they kept
me in perfect position. Johan Museeuw brought me to the last
800 meters of the finish then I followed Backstedt. I knew that he would be a
dangerous antagonist in the end sprint and I made the correct decision.
We are already thinking about the Roubaix, which takes place
on Sunday. If it were up to me, I’d like it to rain”.
Quickstep Manager Lefevre: I think that we have given a demonstration how you
must ride a race. The decision to put everything on Boonen came after the first
Kemmelberg ascent. By then we knew that Boonen had it and that he could finish
it too. With Tom we have a new head man in the house."
Quickstep hurried their way to the finishline of Gent-Wevelgem, to deliver their best youngster nicely to the final chalcline. One day of raining cats and dogs and other livestock though took its toll. The bunch diminished fast at the backside of the pack. Wind ahead the peloton worked its way to the coast to grab some food at the feedzone in De Panne (famous for its Three Days...). Just before they reach their teams Julien Smink of the Bankgiroloterij-team takes off on his own but was captured again after half an hour of trying. When he is back in the bunch, three riders, amongst them Luxemburg champion Benoit Joachim of the United States Postal Services presented by Berry Floor team try their luck. In between a lot of men seek the warmth of their teambusses while
Gardeyn, Knaven, Hayman, Van Hecken, Nuyens, White, Gusev, Elmiger and Cancellara become the new names in the lead.
During the Kemmelbergclimbs the bunch retrieve them.
Mattan takes of but Museeuw smooths his way to his rearwheel. The Quicksteptrain thins out but still ain’t allowing ones to take off. Entering the last ten k. it are Klier, Förster, Hasselbacher, Bodrogi, Boonen, Cretskens, Knaven, Museeuw, Nuyens, Hammond, Bernucci, Vaitkus, Cancellara, Flecha, Backstedt, Gusev, Hoj, Hofmann, Hincapie, Farazijn, Kirsipuu, Mattan, Rosseler and Casper who stay ahead. Just before Kirsipuu punctured, but slaloms his way back to his companions. Tom Boonen also has puntured and has to hunt down the gap. In the end though he shows to be the strongest in the masssprint.
"Domestique" Museeuw. Courtesy
The Gent-Wevelgem podium today. Courtesy Gent-Wevelgem.
1. Tom Boonen Quickstep-Davitamon 4:58:47
2. Magnus Backstedt Alessio-Bianchi m.t.
3. Jan Kirsipuu AG2R m.t.
4. George Hincapie US Postal-Berry Floor m.t.
5. Jimmy Casper Cofidis m.t.
6. Roger Hammond Mr.Bookmaker m.t.
7. Juan Antonio Flecha Fassa Bortolo m.t.
8. Vladimir Gusov CSC m.t.
9. Sebastian Rosseler Relax-Bodysol m.t.
10. Andreas Klier T-Mobile m.t.
11. Gert Steegmans Lotto-Domo m.t.
12. Tomas Vaitkus Landbouwkrediet-Colnago m.t.
13. Nico Mattan Relax-Bodysol m.t.
14. Fabian Cancellara Fassa Bortolo m.t.
15. Frank Hoj CSC m.t.
16. Tristan Hoffman CSC m.t.
17. Peter Farazijn Cofidis m.t.
18. Rene Haselbacher Gerolsteiner m.t.
19. Lorenzo Bernucci Landbouwkrediet-Colnago m.t.
20. Johan Museeuw Quickstep-Davitamon at 9
21. Servais Knaven Quickstep-Davitamon m.t.
22. Nick Nuyens Quickstep-Davitamon m.t.
23. Robert Forster Gerolsteiner at 14
24. Wilfred Cretskens Quickstep-Davitamon at 21
25. Lazlo Bodrogi Quickstep-Davitamon at 26
Tom Boonen. Courtesy
Accent on Boonen
The baby faced 23 year old blonde is well known to roadside fans, and many
said today's race was tailor made for him. This is the 8th win in his career,
the fourth this season. Here are his 2004 results so far:
2nd overall Doha International
3rd overall Tour of Qatar
1st Tour of Qatar Stage 2
1st Stage 2, Ruta del Sol
3rd Stage 5, Ruta del Sol
3rd Stage 3, Paris-Nice
1st E3-prijs Harelbeke
3rd Stage 3, KBC Driedaagse van De Panne-Koksijde