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90th Tour of Flanders - Report and Photos
By Staff
Date: 4/2/2006
90th Tour of Flanders - Report and Photos

90th Tour of Flanders
Super Tom Boonen in a show of sheer dominance in will wins the Tour of Flanders for the second time. Discovery Channel's Hoste and Hincapie Bookends to the World Champion on the Podium.

Boonen wins two in a row as he takes the sprint from Discovery's Leif Hoste.
Boonen and Hoste separated themselves from the lead group of 14 in the final 32 kms of the race on the descent of the Valkenberg and then pushed their advantage with a fast attack on the Tenbosse with Kapelmuur and Bosberg left to climb. With Bettini and Hincapie slowing the chase the Quickstep and Discovery duo gathered a lead of 1:44 as they hit the last 4kms.

Super Tom Boonen!                                            Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

At 1km the duo slowed down seeking an advantage, Hoste attacked to the line but Boonen was too strong once again to pull off his second win of the Tour of Flanders.

1. Tom Boonen - Quickstep/Innergetic
2. Leif Hoste - Discovery Channel
============ 1: 15 ========
3. George Hincapie - Discovery Channel

4. Peter Van Petegem - Davitamon/Lotto
5. Alessandro Ballan - Lampre/Fondital
6. Fabian Cancellara - Team CSC
7. Paolo Bettini - Quickstep/Innergetic
8. Karsten Kroon - Team CSC
9. Andreas Klier - T-Mobile Team
10 Roberto Petito - Team Tenax Salmilano
Full official results to follow when available.

The final selection before the attack comprised: Tom Boonen, Paolo Bettini, Filippo Pozzato, Peter Van Petegem, Fabian Cancellara, Karsten Kroon, Thor Hushovd, Andreas Klier, Alessandro Ballan, Erik Zabel, Juan Antonio Flecha, George Hincapie, Leif Hoste and Roberto Petito.

A few attacks in the early part of the race, but nothing could stick as the riders left the feed zone after 100 kms and another 150 remaining, six left the peloton Albasini (Liquigas), Thierry Marichal (Cofidis), Boucher (Unibet), Skil's Reinerink, Ludovic (FDJeux) and Schmitz of T-Mobile gave it a go to stretch their legs. Already the field was losing riders as the abandoned and Gerolsteiners' Haussler and Disco's Michael Barry  crashed out with a trip to the hospital; the typical attrition of the northern classics repeated the script as the race moved on toward the waiting cobbled bergs in the distance. By the ten km of the break the sextet had two minutes in hand as the peloton let the early somewhat suicide break up the road to garner some well deserved Television time as they flew the flag of their sponsors.

A crash of more than a dozen riders in the peloton with punctures as the riders approach the 120 km mark and the next cobble section had the sextet increasing their lead to 3 minutes. Van Petegem punctures twice and chases back, bad luck and a tough way to use your energy at this point in the race. As the riders approach the first bergs with 100 km to go the break starts to fracture at the front as Boucher and Reinerink are dropped.

Boonen attacks the Molenberg and leads Van Petegem and Gilbert; the pack strings out as the road narrows on the cobbles. Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile at the front of the peloton regroups. Boonen has made his statement and mark on his territory with the Quickstep team riding by his side. Discovery with Hincapie, Hoste and veteran Ekimov near the front never far or in danger of missing the selection.

The Kwaremont loomed as the road narrows the favorites took to the front positions with the road lined by cycling fans the selection was made with 40 riders in the lead group as the riders topped the Kwaremont and head ed to the next series of cobbled bergs. The quartet breakaway has been reduced by the Paterberg, to a duo of Marichal and Schmitz with only 2 minutes as the chase or rather attacks behind had upped the speed of the lead group.

Boonen Attacks                                   Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

Boonen attacked on the Koppenberg once again sending the message to all that his intention was to win.
Bettini, Klier, Cancellara are the first to chase and join him; Hincapie, Filippo Pozzato, Peter Van Petegem, Fabian Cancellara, Karsten Kroon, Thor Hushovd, Andreas Klier, Alessandro Ballan, Erik Zabel, Juan Antonio Flecha, Leif Hoste and Roberto Petito are the survivors as they join the all Boonen show at this point with 60kms to go.
It looked to be the final selection of challengers for Super Tom as advantage goes to Quikstep/Innergetic team with 4 riders in the lead the group: Boonen, Pozzato, Bettini and Baguet driving the front. Discovery's Hincapie and Hoste and CSC's Kroon and Cancellara the only teams to have more than one rider in the gruppo.

On the Valkenberg with 32kms remaining, it was Pozzato on the front driving the climb as Tenax's Roberto Petito the surprise addition to the leaders is stretched and then dropped, as Allesandro Ballan faltered. Leif Hoste attacks and Boonen follows and they gapped the group.

The game is on, as Hoste and Boonen press their attack on the descent with only three cobbled bergs remaining Tenbosse, Kapelmuur and Bosberg.
Back at the chase group Bettini is at the front slowing down the front, blocking the efforts of Ballan and Cancellara as the Lampre and CSC riders attempt to bridge the now expanding gap.

Klier and Bettini                                   Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

The gap is small, but the chase and 230 kms of racing it was now a test of what was left in your legs as the break shatters on the Tenbosse with only Bettini, Klier, Cancellara, Ballan Fletcha, Van Petegem, Hincapie and Kroon pressing toward the Hoste and Boonen who seemed to have made the pact to make the finish together. Fletcha, Ballan, Klier, van Petegem, Kroon get no help from Hincapie or Bettini in the chase of their team mates.

By the Kapelmuur Boonen and Hoste have 1:25 in hand on the chase with 16kms to the finish as Zabel and Thor lead the chase of the eight survivors of the Hoste and Boonen attack.

 As the duo approached the final berg, Hincapie attacked the chase as the race for the final podium slot was on, Klier and Bettini hold on.
 Boonen and Hoste meanwhile crest the Bosberg as they enter the final 7 kms to the finish, at the bottom of the descent their lead had grown to 1:40.  The chase with Bettini, Hincapie leading Klier and Ballan follows over the Bosberg with Cancelara, Kroon and Petito struggling to stay on their wheels.

With 4km to go in Ninove, Hoste attacks but Boonen resists his attack, and both settle down to work together to the finish. With one km to got the duo begins to play poker for the leadout; Hoste tries to draw to an inside straight but Boonen plays his aces.
Leif Hoste started his sprint at 200 meters, but Tom Boonen powers by in another demonstration of his strength today for the win, and his second consecutive in as many weeks dominating in "Flanders the Beautiful."

Discovery's Hoste and Hincapie Bookends for Quickstep's Tom Boonen on
the Podium.         Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

Meanwhile the chase for third had been reduced to Hincapie, Van Petegem, Ballan and Cancellara who finish in that order in Ninove when Ballan leads out the sprint with Hincapie who showed strong all day, beating his chase mates to the remaining podium step.

Roberto Petito
The surprise of the day was Roberto Petito of Tenax the 35 year old Italian rider a pro since 1993 with his neo year as a pro with Mercatone Uno,  is best known for his stage victories in Tirreno Adratico, winning stage 5 twice once in 2001 and again in 2004.  Petito also won stages in Trofeo Pantalica and Giro d'Abruzzo in 2001 during his five year tenure with Fassa Bortolo from 2000 to 2005. He also rode with the Saeco squad 1996 through 1999.

Official Results:
258 km - 6.24.26 (40.267 km/h)

2. HOSTE Leif
3. HINCAPIE George 1.17

5. BALLAN Alessandro
======= 1: 50 =======
7. BETTINI Paolo 1.50
8. KROON Karsten
9. KLIER Andreas
10. PETITO Roberto
======= 3:00 ========

11. ZABEL Erik 3.29
12. FLECHA Juan Antonio
13. POZZATO Filippo 4.21
14. HUSHOVD Thor
======= 8:00 ========
15. EISEL Bernhard 8.03
16. KOPP David
17. NUYENS Nick
18. GESLIN Anthony
20. ARVESEN Kurt-Asle

21. COOKE Baden
22. DEKKER Erik
23. ROESEMS Bert
24. GUSEV Vladimir
25. IVANOV Serguei
27. HORRILLO Pedro 8.45
28. GUESDON Frédéric
29. ZBERG Marcus
30. WILSON Matthew

31. CRETSKENS Wilfried
32. PAOLINI Luca
33. ELMIGER Martin
34. JOHANSEN Allan
35. KNEES Christian
37. RAST Grégory
38. ZABALLA Constantino
39. REYNES Vicente
40. MARICHAL Thierry

====== 12:00 ========
41. BALDATO Fabio 12.27
42. CARRARA Matteo
43. BURGHARDT Marcus
44. HINAULT Sébastien
47. VELO Marco
49. BOSSONI Paolo

51. HESJEDAL Ryder
52. GARCIA ACOSTA José Vicente
54. BODROGI Laszlo
56. FRANZOI Enrico
57. WROLICH Peter
58. WILLEMS Frederik
59. WAUTERS Marc
60. BAGUET Serge

61. HOJ Frank
62. RENDERS Sven 15.54
63. DE KORT Koen
64. CASTRESANA Angel 16.21
65. RENSHAW Mark
66. ROBERTS Luke
67. VOGELS Henk
68. TJALLINGII Maarten
69. AUGER Ludovic
70. GRABSCH Ralf

71. CASPER Jimmy
72. PINEAU Jérôme
73. EKIMOV Viatcheslav
74. POSTHUMA Joost
76. MINARD Sébastien
77. MOOS Alexandre
78. BOVEN Jan
79. TALABARDON Yannick
80. BARBE Koen 18.58

81. MILESI Marco
82. PÜTSEP Erki 19.16
84. IRIZAR Markel
85. ROJAS Jose Joaquin
86. PIDGORNYY Ruslan
87. POITSCHKE Enrico
88. CORTINOVIS Alessandro
89. RENIER Franck
90. HAYMAN Mathew

91. LARSSON Gustav Erik
92. DEN BAKKER Maarten
93. DION Renaud
95. ZUBELDIA Joseba
96. WIJNANTS Maarten
97. COENEN Johan
98. GADRET John
99. MENGIN Christophe

101. VEUCHELEN Frederik
102. ZANINI Stefano


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