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Mapei’s Michele Bartoli won Saturday’s Het Volk semi-classic, a 200km race between Ghent and Lokeren.The Italian champion won a sprint finish to come in ahead of Belgian Hendrik Van Dijck (Lotto) Matthe Pronk (Rabobank).
Bartoli, who suffered a serious injury to his right leg after an accident in the 1999 Tour of Germany, is now back in top form following this result in Belgium’s season-opening event. At 30, he is now in the kind of shape which saw him top the world rankings at the end of the 90’s. The result upstaged Belgian riders who have only been beaten five times in 55 editions of this race.
Bartoli said it was great to be back, adding: “This stands me in good stead before the World Cup races begin.”
Milan-San Remo, the first World Cup event of the year, is on March 24.
1. Michele Bartoli (I) Mapei 4:52:002. Hendrik Van Dijck (B) 3. Matthe Pronk (Nl) 4. Arvis Pisiks (Lat) 5. Fabian De Waele (l) 6. Daniele Nardello (I) 7. Maarten Den Bakker (Nl), all s.t.8. Paul Van Hyfte (B) at 0:189. Didier Rous (F) at 2:1510. Pieter Vries (Nl) at 2:58. 11. Hans De Meester at 5:4912. Frank Hoj (Dk) 13. Andreas Klier (G) 14. Mauro Radaelli (I)15. Emmanuel Magnien (F)16. Peter Van Petegem (B)17. Gianluca Bortolami (I)18. Rolf Sorensen (Dk)19. Serguei Ivanov (Rus)20. Geert Omloop (B), all s.t.