68th Edition of Gent Wevelgem 2006
Welcome readers of the DP to Gent-Wevelgem, also know as "the race in between
those other two races"!
We join the race in progress with 71 kms to the finish...
We're racing in a nice and easy spring sun today, with a very strong wind
that's largely blowing on the riders' back, which explains the lack of racing
events so far.
Because the race can be easily summarized for now: we have two men up front,
FDJ.com's Bernhard Eisel and Discovery's Gusev. They have a 20-second lead on a
peloton that's getting nervous as it's cruising towards the hills. All the
favorites have positioned themselves up front in the peloton.
We had a few skirmishes on the Vidaigneberg with quite big names such as
Mattan, Gilbert and Flęcha showing themselves, but the peloton -led by Lampre-
made sure they couldn't get away before the Kemmelberg.
There we will see who of the big names of Sunday will have recuperated best, the
Kemmel never lies
Still a closed peloton then, and now we see Boonen moving to the front in his
special jersey it's a mix of the rainbow jersey and the PT jersey; and now Hoste
is also there.
Henk Vogels returns to the race this year with Davitamon/Lotto, one tough guy
Henk finished second in the 2003 edition while riding for Navigators, which may
be one of the reasons he has was signed by the team after his strong
performances in the USA Circuit.
The peloton on the Monteberg now, the last climb before the Kemmel...Vogels
leading the peloton, with Cooke, Boonen, Steegmans, Paolini, Zabel, Pettachi...all
Crash in the tail of the peloton, Discovery's Mikhailov...but it looks like
it's not too bad
Over the Monteberg now, with all the big names still at the head of the
peloton, Nuyens leading with Boonen in his wheel.
Looks like Boonen will try to ride the peloton to pieces on the kemmel; very
nervous riding now
60km to go and on the Kemmel!! Hushovd is first on it and leading, Klier is a
meter behind him, now 3 meters. Hushovd is looking véry good, but Hoste, Klier,
Boonen and Hincapie are coming closer.
Cancellera accelerates in the last part
of the kemmelberg, he looks like the strongest of all the favorites that are
leading the peloton. But it looks like they didn't make a gap, the peloton is a
bit splintered on the descent but only slightly.
So, after the first descent of the Kemmelberg the peloton is still together.
Saunier Duval's Francisco Ventoso is riding some way in front of the others but
he doesn't look very serious about his attack.
As the peloton is taking it easy again, a few riders escape...it's an
interesting group because of the teams they represent: De Jongh for QST,
Vansevenant for Lotto, Cortinovis for Milram, Haselbacher for Gerolsteiner and
Geslin for Bouyges
55km to go and they have a 30 second lead; this escape could go very
far with these teams represented.
Now the teams that don't have a man up front are reacting, with Franzoi (Lampre/Fondital),
a Unibet and FDJ.com rider in the counterattack.
The Rabo-led peloton doesn't let them go, however, so they're more setting the
peloton's pace than attacking.
The gap 43 seconds now with 51km to go.
Apparently Boonen's special shirt was requested by QST from the UCI even before
the start of the season...that's anticipating! Matthew White is doing some
A-class work for Discovery, wow! he's bringing down the gap to 32 seconds very
impressive after his nasty crash in Flanders.
Three Discovery guys setting the peloton pace now, with White, Devolder and
Beppu; they seem to have high hopes for Hoste and Hincapie.
Counter-attack by Iker Flores on the Vidaigneberg! Euskaltel in Flanders,
The Disco-led peloton has taken Iker 'Leno' Flores and his chin
again...meanwhile, Alessandor Ballan flats!
Not a good moment with this wind.
42 kms to go and 20 seconds left for the leaders, as their gap comes
Milram is attentively up front with both Zabel and Petacchi...Boonen is rather
far back in the peloton but is moving up. the leaders already on the Kemmelberg
now, but most of them are dying! Vogels and De Kort in the peloton
leading hard!! De Kort was Allan Davis; he Flęcha and Hincapie are
leading the peloton over the Kemmel! Boonen and company are far behind; but it
doesn't look like the peloton is breaking up at this point...we might be going
towards a group sprint with a lot of top sprinters
Petacchi and 3 of his pawns are showing up at the front of the peloton
now...looks like Ale-Jet is hopeful for the sprint! 36km to the finish
and 13 seconds for the 5 leaders as the peloton starts to bring them back to the
It's clear why Petacchi's team is putting the hammer down: Boonen is in a
Hincapie and Dekker in the first group are making heavy gestures, like "come
on, we finally are rid of him, keep riding" Meanwhile, the first peloton has
caught the 5 leaders...let's see what the gap between the two parts of the
29 seconds the gap between the two pelotons! A strange sight now; as it's
Lotto that's putting the hammer down in Boonen's group.
At the Tour of the Basque Country at the moment, it is Egoi Martinez is
in the breakaway, and is virtual overall leader on the road Egoi is a fighter,
good pick by Bruyneel and the team.
Milram is riding in the first group, but question is how much the other teams
will help them...that would be suicide too. It's Mattan with some titanic work
in the back, bringing down the gap between the Petacchi and Boonen group to 16
26km to go, and the Milram train is slowly winning the feats of
strength between the two groups...the gap is back up to 26 seconds.
Flat tire for Pagliarini in the front peloton, bad luck for the Brazilian
Rabobank is trying a coup up front, they
don't want to ride to the finish line with Petacchi of course! This in-fighting
could be good for the Lotto/Boonen chase alliance
23km to go, 28 seconds between the two groups the gap grows to 40
seconds. The long anticipated Boonen vs. Ale-jet Petacchi showdown at the finish
doesn't look like it will happen today.
18km to the finish: I think we can say goodbye to the two Toms in the
back, Boonen and Steels...the difference is already 1'06".
Attack by veteran warrior Vansevenant and former Paris Roubaix winner Guesdon
from the peloton now, but the Milram train keeps everything in check.
Petacchi might want to look out for Hushovd though, he looked really good on
the Kemmel and hasn't done anything too much today; included in the front group
hard guys like Nuyens, Pozzato, Dekker and Gilbert are present.
16 km to go, and an attack from Lars
Michaelsen! Michaelsen, a former winner here, the old but Great Dane.
He's doing his turn tiring out the Milram train
Boonen's group is almost 2 minutes back now, looking like they are resigned to
missing the break of the day, and they've given up
14 Km: Petacchi's team shouldn't underestimate the work here, they
still have to hold out for 14km and unlike the Giro, there won't be any other
teams helping out
Michaelsen caught now.
Man, Petacchi has a LOT of guys left
An attack by Lotto's Bert Roesems now...Roesems is a TT specialist, so who
Roesems with 8 seconds now, 10km to go...he
might not win, but he's gonna take out two of Petacchi's guys for sure in the
9km: Counterattack from the peloton!! Flęcha and
Cortinovis has already been in the break too, I bet he's tying up. Milram keeps
them in check...9 km to go, Roesems still 11 seconds Keep an eye on; Flecha is
one of those men who has an eye for picking the right moment to go.
You just have to feel for Roesems, a bit of an antihero...not much of a
winner or a looker, but he can ride HARD
Now Milram has to put Cadamuro to work He's already won the Nokere-Koerse this
year with a similarly powerful solo effort. This win would top that, as well as
Vogels on Petacchi's wheel...he's
probably getting ready to attack himself should they take back his battling
teammate. Vogels has been up there before, second here in 2003 with Navigators.
Of course, Roesems has a tidy palmares - Belgian national TT champion, Tour
of Belgium stage winner, the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt. But he'll be 34 in April.
This would be great for him, having really only joined the top ranks of pro
cycling with Davitamon in the rest of the first group is letting all the work to
Milram; which is the only way to beat Petacchi. In 2005 after years with the
likes of Vlaanderen 2002, Tonissteiner and Palmans-Collstrop.
No dramatic response from Milram, but their chasers aren't that fresh anymore
2.5 kms to go: 9 seconds for Roesems, the Milram train is dying; Petacchi
only has Velo and Zabel at this point as they race to the finish.
5 seconds for Roesems. How fresh is Roesems; how fresh are the Milram
chasers? It's hanging in the balance now.
It's not going to work for Big Bert, too bad! But they haven't caught him just
2km to go!! attacks from the peloton, but Milram on their wheel
1.5 km to go, they almost caught Roesems. Hopefully no more naughty motorbikes
Zabel already has to come to the front, and so a counter-attack from the
it's Pipo Pozzato! can he do it to
Petacchi again?! 900m to go ...
he's got a SERIOUS gap, and Milram is gone!!
Flęcha and Dekker are pulling most of the peloton closer to Pozzato
Pozzato keeps going, he's going to make it...or waot, no the sprinters are there
Petacchi and Hushvod
Roesems, Pozzato and co destroyed Petacchi's team before it could pilot him
to victory...so Hushovd wins, before Kopp and Ale-Je
Petacchi is thwarted again in a Classic, though he's certainly proven to some
nay-sayers that he can do well in these races.
This is by a longshot Hushovd's most beautiful victory yet! And this goes to
show again, the Northern classics aren't stages in Italy or Spain; this is
fighting against the wind the entire day, surviving dangerous climbs and then
still being strong enough to win and big Thor is definitely strong
Yes, Hushovd's first big Classic win, after third in Milan-San Remo last year.
that MUST be Norway's first Classics win too, though I'll check the palmares of
1 Hushovd (Credit Agricole)
3 Petacchi (Milram)
4 Pozzato (Quick Step/Innergetic)
5 Hincapîe (Discovery)
6 Cancellara (CSC)
7 Eisel (Gerolsteiner)
9 Patxi Vila
10 Arveson (CSC)
Thor Put the hammer down for sure lightning and Yes, it is Norway's first
Classics win, though Lauritzen was third in the Tour of Flanders and won the Henninger Term.
Petacchi not winning also means Boonen remains leader in the Pro Tour
This year's edition of Gent-Wevelgem has lived up to its nickname of the
"sprinter's classic", with two of professional cycling's best duking it out.
Meanwhile Boonen is slowly strolling in in the second group in his 'special'
A great result by Kopp who rode for
Wiesenhof last year. Not to mention an excellent performance by
Patxi Vila who finished second to Floyd
Landis on the G.C. of Paris Nice this year.
Just in: Paride
Grillo won the morning stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe. Samuel Sanchez
has won the stage at the Tour of the Basque Country.
Thanks for joining us for the ticker, full results and team comments to
Thanks to Jan Janssens and Andy McDobbin ticker'ers for today's race.