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By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2002
Uwe Peschel rolled back the years to stun a host of younger favorites by winning the Grand Prix des Nations, a 67km time-trial, for the second time in Le Havre, France, Saturday.
The 33-year-old Gerolsteiner rider clocked 1hr 24min 4sec to relegate Mapei’s Hungarian time trial specialist Laszlo Bodrogi to second and Yuriy Krivtsov of Jean Delatour to third.
Laszlo, 25, was 36secs adrift and 23-year-old Krivtsov at 54sec, with Olympic time trial champion Viatcheslav Ekimov down in sixth at over a minute adrift.
Peschel last won the high profile end-of-season event in 1997 when it was held in the east of France.
And he admitted his last victory gave him hope to make it two wins in five years.
“As much as I was surprised to win the first event (in 1997), I still had big hopes of winning this time,” admitted Peschel, a Berliner who has made time trialing his specialty since turning professional in 1997.
At the midway point of the race Peschel lay in second place at eight seconds behind Mapei rider Bodrogi.
However the German upped his effort on the second lap and attacked the final climb near the end of the race with gusto to go into the lead.
“The layout of the course suited me perfectly. In fact the only time trial courses I don’t like are the ones with a lot of climbs,” added Peschel.
Christophe Moreau, regarded as France’s top rider now that Laurent Jalabert is retiring, finished in a honourable seventh place at 1:38 behind Peschel.
Moreau’s Credit Agricole team-mate – German Jens Voigt – struggled and finished in 16th, effectively ending his hopes of making Germany’s time trial team for the upcoming world championships in Zolder, Belgium in October.
“It was an important test for me,” said Moreau, who pulled out of this year’s Tour de France for the second time in a row after a catalogue of falls left him short of full fitness, and motivation.
“My fitness is progressing, but I’m not quite there yet. I hope, if I get picked for Zolder, that I’ll have a successful world championships.”
Jalabert meanwhile, who was the second best Frenchman on the day, is entitled to a place on France’s time trial team for Zolder but he is concentrating solely on the road race on October 13, the day of his professional sawn song.
“That was my final time trial as a pro, and I’m happy to have raced it here at the GP des Nations,” said Jalabert.
“It was hard but I just told myself it would be my last time doing this.”Copyright AFP2002