Wesemann Wins Tour of Flanders
Steffen Wesemann (T Mobile) has won the Tour of Flanders. The German outsprinted Leif Hoste (Lotto) and Dave Bruylandts (Chocolade Jacques) to win the 257-km race, Round 2 of the World Cup, in 6:39:00. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) leads the World Cup.
A large break dominated much of the race. Four escapees drew others until 26 riders, including Hoste, led the peloton by more than four minutes. Lotto and U.S. Postal Service pursued, and a chase group led by Ludo Dierckxsens (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) drew away from the bunch.
As the fugitives breasted the Oude Kwaremont, the Paterberg, and the Koppenberg, attrition took its toll. The break split into three groups, and the bunch closed within 2:30 of the break. On the Taaienberg, a lead group of 10 formed. Behind, Bruylandts, Johan Museeuw, and Paolo Bettini (both from Quick Step) drew away from the peloton, which reacted and reeled the three in.
On the Leberg, George Hincapie (U.S. Postal Service) attacked, but no one worked with him. Bruylandts attacked with Sergei Ivanov (T Mobile) and Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), but a group of favorites caught them. Peter Van Petegem had a go on the Tenbosse, but Bettini took his wheel. The heads of state caught the remnants of the break as the race reached Gerardsbergen.
At this point, the favorites might have been expected to take over, but they did not do so. Wesemann and Bruylandts attacked and took Hoste with them. Hoste, who had been in the front all day, sat on and let Bruylandts and Wesemann work. At the one-km banner, Bruylandt attacked, and Hoste took his wheel. With 250 m left, Hoste made his move. Wesemann passed him on the left to win.
In the World Cup, Freire received three points for 23rd place and leads the competition with 103 points. Wesemann is in second with 100 points, and Hoste and Erik Zabel (T Mobile) share third with 70 points. Many of today's riders will contest Gent-Wevelgem on Wednesday and Paris Roubaix, Round 3 of the World Cup, next Sunday. Who will shine? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!