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Monday’s Euro-file: The weekend wrap-up

There was plenty of racing action throughout Europe, headlined by LanceArmstrong's second-place finish in the Criterium International,March 30-31. Spanish rider Alberto Martinez (Euskaltel) beat thethree-time Tour champ by just one second."I felt good in the race," Armstrong said Sunday.  "Yesterday'sstage was not too difficult, therefore it was hard to judge my form, butthis morning's stage was a tough one and I was happy with what I felt. The time trial was a bit of a disappointment, as it's tough to lose byhalf a second, but if you asked me before if I thought I would be

By Andrew Hood

There was plenty of racing action throughout Europe, headlined by LanceArmstrong’s second-place finish in the Criterium International,March 30-31. Spanish rider Alberto Martinez (Euskaltel) beat thethree-time Tour champ by just one second.”I felt good in the race,” Armstrong said Sunday.  “Yesterday’sstage was not too difficult, therefore it was hard to judge my form, butthis morning’s stage was a tough one and I was happy with what I felt. The time trial was a bit of a disappointment, as it’s tough to lose byhalf a second, but if you asked me before if I thought I would be podiumhere, I would have said you were crazy.  All in all, I can’t complain- I’m ready for the Classics.”Martinez said he was ecstatic to have beaten a rider such as Armstrongin the two-day, three-stage race in northern France.”To beat the best rider in the world even sweetens the victory,” saidMartinez,  who finished second in the Criterium International lastyear.In other news:Belgium hosted two important one-day races over the weekend as racershoned their fitness for the Tour of Flanders.On Sunday, March 31, Fabian De Waele won the 198-km 42nd Brabantse-Pijlheld on a circuit course.A 12-man break led the race into the finish. Last year’s winner, MichaelBoogerd, the Dutch rider on Rabobank, finished ninth at 7 seconds back.De Waele, a Belgian rider on Mapei, beat compatriot Erwin Thijsof Palmans to the line.Brabanste-Pijl, March 31, 2002
Belgium
1. Fabian De Waele (B), Mapei, 198 km in 4:30:10;
2. Erwin Thijs (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop, same time;
3. Chris Peers (B), Cofidis;
4. Elio Aggiano (I), Mapei-Quick Step, both s.t.;
5. Wim Vansevenant (B), Palmans-Collstrop, at 0:07;
6. Serge Baguet (B), Lotto-Adecco.;
7. Cristian Moreni (I), Alessio.;
8. Dave Bruylandts (B), Domo;
9. Michael Boogerd (Ned), Rabobank;
10. Geert Verheyen (B), Rabobank, all s.t.On Saturday, March 30, Dario Pieri won the GP E3-Harelbekerace that saw many of the Flanders favorites taking part, including JohanMuseeuw, Paolo Bettini, Peter Van Petegem and Fred Rodriguez.Pieri, an Italian on the Alessio team, edged Belgian Jo Planckaert(Cofidis) in a two-man sprint. Museeuw (Domo) crossed the line third withBettini (Mapei) at 27 seconds back and Petegem (Lotto) at 28 seconds back.Rodriguez (Domo) was ninth at 39 seconds back.The 22nd Tour of Normandie (March 25-31) wrapped up Sunday withFrench rider Jerome Pineau, a neo-pro on Bonjour, taking top honors.The race is a traditional battleground for neo-pros and other up-and-comingriders. Jorgen Bo Petersen, a Dane on Fatka, and Arkadius Wojtas,a Pole on Nurnberger, rounded out the top-3.There are several races leading up the Flanders this week, the mostimportant of which is the Three Days of De Panne held in BelgiumApril 2-4. Many of the Flanders favorites will start, including AmericanGeorge Hincapie, in his first race since Milan-San Remo. Domo andLotto will also have strong teams present. The opening stage is 181 kmfollowed by an even longer second stage, 232 km cross western Belgium.Wednesday’s race is split between a 118-km road stage followed by a decisive14-km individual time trial in De Panne.Paris-Camembert Lepetit is April 2 and GP Miguel Indurainis April 6 in Spain. Of course, all the attention will be on Flanders,coming up Sunday.VeloNews will have news throughout the week leading up to thesecond round of the 10-race World Cup.AMERICANS WATCH: Lance Armstrong made all the headlines overthe weekend, finishing just 1 second out of first-place in just his secondrace of the 2002 season. Next up for the Texan is the Tour of Flanders,where he said he will ride in support of teammate George Hincapie.Joining Armstrong in France over the weekend were Floyd Landis,23rd overall, David Zabriskie, 41st overall and Christian VendeVelde, 24th overall. Bobby Julich (Telekom) finished 32nd overallin Criterium International, the race he won in 1998.Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank) continued his solid preparation forgoals later this season, finishing 15th overall at the 39th SetmanaCatalana (March 25-29). Jonathan Vaughters (Credit Agricole)and Tyler Hamilton (CSC-Tiscali) both pulled out of Setmana Catalanain Thursday’s stage.Up next for Hamilton is the Vuelta a Pais Vasco (April 8-12)in Spain. Hincapie didn’t race over the weekend, but will compete in theThree Days of De Panne to prepare for his assault on Flanders (April 7),Ghent-Wevelgem (April 10) and Paris-Roubaix (April 14).Vende Velde is scheduled to race at Paris-Camembert-Lepetit onApril 2 along with U.S. Postal Service teammate Chann McRae. FredRodriguez (Domo) finished ninth in Saturday’s GP E3-Harelbeke and willrace at Tour of Flanders.The Navigators cycling team began a three-week European swing,starting with Coppi & Bartali in Italy on March 26-30. The teamflew straight from the Sea Otter Classic and finished just 21 secondsout of the top-10 in the opening team time trial despite the fact theirteam bikes hadn’t yet arrived!