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68th Edition of Gent Wevelgem 2006
 
By Staff
Date: 4/5/2006
68th Edition of Gent Wevelgem 2006
 

 68th Edition of Gent Wevelgem 2006
Live Ticker

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 there!

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, imagine that!
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 down.
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 fold.

It's clear why Petacchi's team is putting the hammer down: Boonen is in a second peloton!

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 pelotons is...
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 seconds.

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 sprinter!

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 knows?

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 chase.
9km: Counterattack from the peloton!! Flęcha and Arvesen
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 anything

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 yet.

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 this year...

Zabel already has to come to the front, and so a counter-attack from the peloton!!
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
HUSHOVD!!

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 Dag-Otto Lauritzen!

First Results:
1 Hushovd (Credit Agricole)
2 Kopp
3 Petacchi (Milram)

4 Pozzato (Quick Step/Innergetic)
5 Hincapîe (Discovery)
6 Cancellara (CSC)
7 Eisel (Gerolsteiner)

8 Davis
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' jersey

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 follow.
Thanks to Jan Janssens and Andy McDobbin ticker'ers for today's race.

 
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