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Hushovd wins Het Nieuwsblad

Norwegian Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) lived up to his promise to focus more on the classics this season by taking an important victory in Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad that officially opened the Belgian racing calendar. Formerly known as Het Volk, the semi-classic delivered a nail-biter to kick start the classics season as Hushovd steered clear of two late crashes to steer to victory ahead of Kevin Ista (Agritubel) with Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) coming through third.

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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad '09: Hushovd wins it.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad ’09: Hushovd wins it.

Photo: Graham Watson

Norwegian Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) lived up to his promise to focus more on the classics this season by taking an important victory in Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad that officially opened the Belgian racing calendar.

Formerly known as Het Volk, the semi-classic delivered a nail-biter to kick start the classics season as Hushovd steered clear of two late crashes to steer to victory ahead of Kevin Ista (Agritubel) with Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) coming through third.

“This victory was a collective effort because the team was so strong today,” said a happy Hushovd. ““I was able to make my sprint without any problem from the crashes. My teammate Andreas Klier rolled out the red carpet for me with 200 meters to go and I executed.”

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad '09: Klier on the Kruisberg

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad ’09: Klier on the Kruisberg

Photo:

The attacking Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo) and Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) lit up the final hour of racing and their gamble nearly paid off. The pair was only neutralized within sight of the finish line.

“We had Haussler up front and we could control the race from the pursuit group. Cheers to all my teammates,” Hushovd said. “It’s too bad about Haussler. It looked like the victory was his.”

Hushovd avoided two late crashes as the reduced peloton ramped up for the slightly rising sprint into Ghent and he easily distanced pre-race favorites Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto) in fourth and Tom Boonen (Quick Step) in 10th. Last year’s winner, Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) was 15th.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad '09: Haussler.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad ’09: Haussler.

Photo:

Others were disappointed, especially Boonen, who said he had the win in his legs.

“If it wasn’t for the crash, I probably could have won,” Boonen said. “I was on Hushovd’s wheel when suddenly I was almost knocked into the barriers.”

It was an impressive victory for Hushovd, who becomes the first Norwegian to win the Belgian semi-classic. The win was also his 50th of career and the fifth for Cervélo of the season.

Early action

Mild spring-like weather welcomed the 198 starting rides in Ghent for first race on the Belgian calendar.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad '09: The first cobbles of '09.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad ’09: The first cobbles of ’09.

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The 204km out and back loop tackled 11 “helligen” and several cobblestoned sections, a good warm-up for what lies ahead in the coming weeks of the northern classics.

A group of five extracted themselves early, with Belgian Wim de Vocht (Vacansoleil) joined by four Frenchman: David Boucher (Landbouwkrediet), Hervé Duclos-Lasalle and Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Jean Zen (Palmans).

A four-man chase group formed, but they were disqualified for passing through a railroad crossing. The early break came back as the top teams were positioning their riders for the decisive late moves.

Rabobank was leading the action, putting no less than four of its riders into the powerful moves on the Taaienberg climb with 56.1km to go. That sent a lightning bolt through the pack and created the first major cracks in the pack.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad '09: Duclos Lasalle leads the break.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad ’09: Duclos Lasalle leads the break.

Photo:

Haussler ? Hushovd’s Cervélo teammate who won two stages at last week’s Volta ao Algarve ? counterattacked in a dangerous ploy. Joining him with about 50km to go was Langeveld and they held out until the closing kilometers.

With Haussler up front, Hushovd could sit in and force teams such as Quick Step and Silence-Lotto to chase.

The pair worked together well, but the peloton kept them on a relatively short leash. Things were dicey in the closing kilometers as the pair’s persistence nearly paid off as the much-reduced peloton seemed to lose its cohesion.

Late crashes

A pair of late crashes disrupted the mass sprint.

The first occurred as riders swung across the crowd and it appears that some wheels were clipped as riders jockeyed for position ahead of the slightly rising finish. Then more hit the ground trying to avoid the mayhem.

Among those hitting the deck was pre-race favorite Filippo Pozzato (Katusha). The Italian fell into Langeveld, who was also crashing into the barriers in a nasty pileup just as the peloton was hitting top speed for the sprint.

“We were in the last 200 meters to go and Hushovd had the last train man in front of him, and we caught the breakaway. I anticipated the Cervélo’s sprint and, when I was at the front, Langeveld went toward the barriers and I crash against him. The positive thing is that I don’t have done myself much bad, and my shape is good. The negative is that today I would have been able to win.”

Also going down and perhaps even causing the crash was Martin Velits, the Milram sprinter. The team had already lost the services of Gerard Ciolek, victim of another crash, while Niki Terpstra saved the team’s honor by sprinting to ninth.

“Despite the unlucky finale, we can be pretty satisfied,” said team manager Gerry Van Gerwen. “The team rode well today and showed it can be in the front in races like this. Fortunately, Gerald and Martin came away with only bruises and minor injuries, so both of them can try their luck tomorrow at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.”

Sunday: Racing continues in Belgium on Sunday with the 62nd Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Held over a circuit of two loops totally 193km, the route features several cobble sections and hits eight “hellinge” along the way. The race typically favors sprinters, with George Hincapie (Columbia-High Road) becoming the only American to win in 2005. Last year, Dutch rider Steven de Jongh (Quick Step) earned his second win in five years while Tom Boonen (Quick Step) won in 2007. De Jongh has bowed out of defending his title with tendonitis.

Photo Gallery

Results

Results, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

1. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Cervélo TestTeam 4:47:45 (42.65kph)
2. Kevyn Ista (Bel), Agritubel, same time
3. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa), Rabobank, s.t.
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel), Silence-Lotto, s.t.
5. Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Columbia-High Road, s.t.
6. Frédéric Amorison (Bel), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, s.t.
7. Andreas Klier (Ger), Cervélo TestTeam, s.t.
8. Heinrich Haussler (Ger), Cervélo TestTeam, s.t.
9. Niki Terpstra (Ned), Milram, s.t.
10. Tom Boonen (Bel), Quick Step, s.t.
11. Thomas Voeckler (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom, s.t.
12. Bram Tankink (Ned), Rabobank, s.t.
13. David Boucher (Fra), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, s.t.
14. Nick Nuyens (Bel), Rabobank, s.t.
15. Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Silence-Lotto, s.t.
16. Joost Posthuma (Ned), Rabobank, s.t.
17. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra), Quick Step, s.t.
18. Wim De Vocht (Bel), Vacansoleil Pro Cycling, s.t.
19. Romain Feillu (Fra), Agritubel, at 0:45
20. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr), Française Des Jeux, at 0:45
21. Roy Sentjens (Bel), Silence-Lotto, at 0:45
22. Robbie McEwen (Aus), Katusha, at 0:45
23. Baden Cooke (Aus), Vacansoleil Pro Cycling, at 0:45
24. Geert Verheyen (Bel), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:45
25. Johan Coenen (Bel), Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, at 0:45
26. Lloyd Mondory (Fra), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 0:45
27. Mathew Hayman (Aus), Rabobank, at 0:45
28. Gabriel Rasch (Nor), Cervélo TestTeam, at 0:45
29. Cyril Lemoine (Fra), Skil-Shimano, at 0:45
30. Nico Sijmens (Bel), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne, at 0:45
31. Koen Barbe (Bel), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:45
32. Cédric Pineau (Fra), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 0:45
33. Gerben Löwik (Ned), Vacansoleil Pro Cycling, at 0:45
34. Peter Wrolich (Aut), Milram, at 0:45
35. Michael Schär (Swi), Astana, at 0:45
36. Matti Breschel (Den), Saxo Bank, at 0:45
37. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel), Katusha, at 0:45
38. Yoann Offredo (Fra), Française Des Jeux, at 0:45
39. Roy Curvers (Ned), Skil-Shimano, at 0:45
40. Björn Leukemans (Bel), Vacansoleil Pro Cycling, at 0:45
41. Brice Feillu (Fra), Agritubel, at 0:45
42. James Vanlandschoot (Bel), Verandas Willems, at 0:45
43. Rony Martias (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:45
44. Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel), Silence-Lotto, at 0:45
45. Nicolas Jalabert (Fra), Agritubel, at 0:45
46. Serguei Ivanov (Rus), Katusha, at 0:45
47. Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:45
48. Martijn Maaskant (Ned), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:45
49. Marc De Maar (Ned), Rabobank, at 0:45
50. Hayden Roulston (NZl), Cervélo TestTeam, at 0:45
51. Ben Hermans (Bel), Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, at 0:45
52. Mickael Delage (Fra), Silence-Lotto, at 0:45
53. Gianni Meersman (Bel), Française Des Jeux, at 0:45
54. Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:45
55. Alexandre Pichot (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:45
56. Christophe Laurent (Fra), Agritubel, at 0:45
57. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita), Liquigas, at 0:45
58. Kevin Neirynck (Bel), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:45
59. Sébastien Turgot (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:45
60. Arnaud Labbe (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:45
61. Roger Hammond (GB), Cervélo TestTeam, at 0:45
62. Jeremy Hunt (GB), Cervélo TestTeam, at 0:45
63. Johnny Hoogerland (Ned), Vacansoleil Pro Cycling, at 0:45
64. Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn), Skil-Shimano, at 0:45
65. Preben Van Hecke (Bel), Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, at 0:45
66. Koen De Kort (Ned), Skil-Shimano, at 0:45
67. Kurt Hovelijnck (Bel), Quick Step, at 0:45
68. Frank Hoj (Den), Saxo Bank, at 0:45
69. Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Fra), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne, at 0:45
70. William Frischkorn (USA), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:45
71. Kilian Patour (Fra), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:45
72. Arnaud Gerard (Fra), Française Des Jeux, at 0:45
73. Stijn Devolder (Bel), Quick Step, at 0:45
74. Maciej Bodnar (Pol), Liquigas, at 0:45
75. Manuel Quinziato (Ita), Liquigas, at 0:45
76. Lars Ytting Bak (Den), Saxo Bank, at 0:45
77. Murilo Fischer (Bra), Liquigas, at 0:45
78. Daniel Oss (Ita), Liquigas, at 0:45
79. Wouter Weylandt (Bel), Quick Step, at 0:45
80. Maarten Wynants (Bel), Quick Step, at 0:45
81. Kevin Van Impe (Bel), Quick Step, at 0:45
82. Bert De Backer (Bel), Skil-Shimano, at 0:45
83. Kevin De Weert (Bel), Quick Step, at 0:45
84. Enrico Franzoi (Ita), Liquigas, at 0:45
85. Anthony Geslin (Fra), Française Des Jeux, at 0:45
86. Frederik Willems (Bel), Liquigas, at 0:45
87. Tom Veelers (Ned), Skil-Shimano, at 0:45
88. Floris Goesinnen (Ned), Skil-Shimano, at 0:45
89. Leif Hoste (Bel), Silence-Lotto, at 1:15
90. Stuart O’Grady (Aus), Saxo Bank, at 1:15
91. Jean Zen (Fra), Palmans Cras, at 1:15
92. Filippo Pozzato (Ita), Katusha, at 1:24
93. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra), Française Des Jeux, at 1:30
94. Sebastian Langeveld (Ned), Rabobank, at 1:35
95. Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz), Astana, at 1:41
96. Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu), Astana, at 1:52
97. Jonathan Hivert (Fra), Skil-Shimano, at 1:57
98. Anders Lund (Den), Saxo Bank, at 2:36
99. Tyler Farrar (USA), Garmin-Slipstream, at 2:59
100. Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe), Saxo Bank, at 3:34
101. Renaud Dion (Fra), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 7:00
102. Wesley Sulzberger (Aus), Française Des Jeux, at 7:00
103. Bert Grabsch (Ger), Columbia-High Road, at 7:00
104. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor), Columbia-High Road, at 7:00
105. Geert Steurs (Bel), Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, at 7:00
106. Thomas Fothen (Ger), Milram, at 7:00
107. Maxime Vantomme (Bel), Katusha, at 7:00
108. Nikolay Trusov (Rus), Katusha, at 7:00
109. Bart Vanheule (Bel), Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, at 7:00
110. Frederik Veuchelen (Bel), Vacansoleil Pro Cycling, at 7:00
111. Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den), Saxo Bank, at 7:00
112. Leonardo Duque (Col), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne, at 7:00
113. Guillaume Blot (Fra), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne, at 7:00
114. Biel Kadri (Fra), Ag2r-La Mondiale 12:32
115. Stefan Van Dijk (Ned), Verandas Willems, at 12:32
116. Stefan Rucker (Aut), ELK Haus, at 12:32
117. Matthias Brandle (Aut), ELK Haus, at 12:32
118. Dieter Cappelle (Bel), Palmans Cras, at 12:32
119. Wilfried Cretskens (Bel), Silence-Lotto, at 12:32
120. Vicente Reynes (Spa), Columbia-High Road, at 12:32
121. Bernhard Eisel (Aut), Columbia-High Road, at 12:32
122. Marcel Sieberg (Ger), Columbia-High Road, at 12:32
123. Matthias Friedemann (Ger), PSK Whirlpool-Author, at 12:32
124. Martin Müller (Ger), Milram, at 12:32
125. Sébastien Delfosse (Bel), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 12:32
126. Aurélien Clerc (Swi), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 12:32
127. Gerald Ciolek (Ger), Milram, at 12:32
128. Artur Gajek (Ger), Milram, at 12:32
129. Aart Vierhouten (Ned), Vacansoleil Pro Cycling, at 12:32
130. Huub Duyn (Ned), Garmin-Slipstream, at 12:32
131. Timothy Vangheel (Bel), Palmans Cras, at 12:32
132. Sven Van Den Houte (Bel), Verandas Willems, at 12:32
133. Sven Renders (Bel), Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, at 12:32
134. Mathieu Criquielion (Bel), Verandas Willems, at 12:32
135. Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr), ISD, at 12:32
136. Sébastien Chavanel (Fra), Française Des Jeux, at 12:32
137. Dominique Rollin (Can), Cervélo TestTeam, at 12:32
138. Tom Vanbecelaere (Bel), Palmans Cras, at 12:32
139. Thomas De Gendt (Bel), Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, at 12:32
140. Michael Friedman (USA), Garmin-Slipstream, at 12:32
141. Romain Villa (Fra), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne, at 12:32
142. Ian Stannard (GB), ISD, at 12:32
143. Frantisek Rabon (Cze), Columbia-High Road, at 12:32
144. Bolat Raimbekov (Kaz), Astana, at 12:32

Did Not Finish


Johan Van Summeren (Bel), Silence-Lotto
Sébastien Hinault (Fra), Ag2r-La Mondiale
Stéphane Poulhies (Fra), Ag2r-La Mondiale
Gatis Smukulis (Lat), Ag2r-La Mondiale
Valeriy Dmitriyev (Kaz), Astana
Berik Kupeshov (Kaz), Astana
Sergey Renev (Kaz), Astana
Mathieu Claude (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom
Franck Bouyer (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom
Saïd Haddou (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom
Alexandre Blain (Fra), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
Jean-Eudes Demaret (Fra), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
Alexandre Usov (Blr), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
Hans Dekkers (Ned), Garmin-Slipstream
Christopher Sutton (Aus), Garmin-Slipstream
Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr), Liquigas
Maarten Tjallingii (Ned), Rabobank
Gert Dockx (Bel), Columbia-High Road
Kenny Dehaes (Bel), Katusha
Gert Steegmans (Bel), Katusha