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By Agence France Presse
Boonen takes E3 Prijs Vlaanderen
Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen coasted to victory in the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen Saturday as he warms up for next weekend’s Tour of Flanders, the fourth race in the 27-leg Pro Tour series.
Boonen, who rides for Quick Step, crossed the finish line of the 200km race ahead of Germany’s Andreas Klier (T-Mobile), who had been the 24-year-old Belgian’s breakaway companion for nearly a third of the race. Belgian Peter Van Petegem (Davitamon-Lotto) crossed 10 seconds later for third.
Boonen’s second consecutive victory here, his fifth win this year, followed a 57km breakaway with Klier, who could not match the Belgian at the finish.
“I think I’ve shown today that I’m ready for the Tour of Flanders,” said Boonen, who next week will come up against his old boss Lance Armstrong, who should be working for the benefit of his Discovery Channel teammate George Hincapie.
Race note: World road race champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) decided not to race the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen because of a buttock-muscle strain. However, team spokesmen said, the 29-year-old Spaniard will race in Sunday’s Fleche Brabanconne, where Armstrong is also scheduled to compete.
Pellizotti wins Internazionale
Italian Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas-Bianchi) took an authoritative victory in the Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale di Coppi & Bartali on Saturday.
Elio Aggiano (LPR) won the fifth and final stage, a 170km leg from Castellarano to Sassuolo.
The overall win gave Pellizotti, 27, his first significant success this season and his sixth since turning pro in 2001.
Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale di Coppi & Bartali
1. Elio Aggiano (I), LPR, 170km in 4:14:32 (40.144 km/h)
2. Alexandr Kychinski (Pol), Amore & Vita, at 0:03
3. Marco Serpellini (I), Gerolsteiner, same time
4. Daniele Pietropaoli (I), Tenax-Nobili Rubinetteri, at 0:08
5. Alexandr Aerekeev (Rus), Acqua & Sapone, s.t.
6. Massimo Mazzanti (I), Team Androni Giocattoli, s.t.
7. Massimo Janetti (I), Naturino-Sapore di Mar, s.t.
8. Juan Pablo Magallanés Aranda (Mex), Team Androni Giocattoli, at 1:26
9. Krzystof Sczawinski (Pol), Ceramica Flaminia, at 1:33
10. Maurizio Carta (I), Miche, at 1:34
1. Franco Pellizotti (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, 21:21:32 (38.968 km/h)
2. Mauro Facci (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:12
3. Damiano Cunego (I), Lampre-Caffita, at 0:28
4. Luca Mazzanti (I), Ceramica Panaria, at 0:32
5. Francesco Casagrande (I), Naturino-Sapore di Mar, at 0:36
6. Paolo Tiralongo (I), Ceramica Panaria, at 0:38
7. Kim Kirchen (Lux), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:53
8. Massimo Codol (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 1:03
9. Michael Rogers (Aus), Quick Step, at 1:21
10. Patrik Sinkewitz (G), Quick Step, same time
Dekkers doubles in Romandie
Hans Dekkers (Rabobank) sprinted to victory in the sixth stage of the Tour de Normandie on Saturday, a 179km leg between Ducey and Bagnol-de-l’Orne.
It was Dekkers’s second stage win in this year’s tour, following his first on Thursday. His teammate, Kai Reus, retains the overall lead going into Sunday’s finale.
Tour de Normandie
1. Hans Dekkers (Ned), Rabobank, 179km in 4:28:31 (41.050 km/h)
2. Peter Mohlmann (Ned), AXO Pro Cycling Team, same time
3. Benoit Legrix (F), Normandie, s.t.
4. Martin Garrido Mayorda (Arg), Duva-Tavira, s.t.
5. Thomas Fothen (G), Equi. Nationale Allemande, s.t.
Overall (after 6 stages)
1. Kai Reus (Ned), Rabobank, 894.600km in 21:17:58 (41.995 km)
2. Stéphane Pétilleau (F), Stéphane Bretagne -Jean Floc’h, at 0:17
3. Garrido Mayorda, at 0:46
4. Dekkers, at 0:56
5. Stéphane Bonsergent (F), C.C. Nogen sur Oise, at 0:57
Belgian cops target Acqua & Sapone
Belgian police found suspicious substances in the hotel rooms of cyclists on the Acqua & Sapone team and forced each rider to take a doping test, public prosecutors said on Saturday.
A policeman saw a team member dispose of a bag containing syringes in a public waste bin sparking a thorough search of their hotel rooms in the town of Erpe-Mere in northwestern Belgium.
Test results on the riders’ urine samples will be available in a month.
Acqua & Sapone is scheduled to race the Tour of Flanders on April 3.