By Andrew Hood
Dutch racer Roy Sentjens (Rabobank) won Sunday’s 56th Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, finishing alone 19 seconds ahead of Belgian Leif Hoste (Lotto-Domo) in the semi-classic that shares the same weekend with Het Volk to open the Belgian season.
With 2km to go, the 22-year-old Sentjens attacked the remnants of a group of eight riders that escaped early in the race to score the first victory of his career. Eight riders, including Postal’s Tony Cruz, broke clear early in the race in horrible weather and built up a 12-minute gap with 80km to go. Volker Ordowski (Gerolsteiner) accelerated and trimmed the lead group to four others: Sentjens, Andy Flickinger (AG2R), Davide Bramati (Quick Step) and Leif Hoste (Lotto).
The leaders started attacking each other on the final laps and with 2km to go, Sentjens’ move stuck and he came across alone for the big win. Hoste had the most out of the four-up sprint to take second.
It was another good day for the Posties. Just a day after Max Van Heeswijk’s excellent ride in Saturday’s Het Volk where he finished second behind Johan Museeuw, Cruz hung tough to come across 11th at 2:37 back. Benoit Joachim was 16th while George Hincapie, building up for an assault on the upcoming Belgian classics, was 22nd.
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (UCI 1.2)
1 Roy Sentjens (Nl) Rabobank, 190km in 4:48 (39.55 kph)
2. Leif Hoste (B), Lotto-Domo, at 19 seconds
3. Volker Ordowski (G), Gerolsteiner
4. Davide Bramati (I), Quick Step-Davitamon
5. Andy Flickinger (F), AG2R – all same time
6. Jimmy Casper (F), FDJeux.com, at 1:52
7. Johan Coenen (B), Marlux
8. Geert Omloop (B), Palmans Collstrop
9. Frederik Penne (B), Palmans Collstrop – all same time
10. Vincent Van der Kooij (Nl), Bankgiroloterij, at 2:14
11. Antonio Cruz (USA), U.S. Postal, at 2:37Other Posties
16. Benoit Joachim (Lux), U.S. Postal, at 4:34
22. George Hincapie (USA), U.S. Postal, at 5:31
Carrigan grabs World Cup opener, Armstrong fifth
Australian Sara Carrigan nabbed compatriot Katie Mactier on the line to win a split-second finish to the opening round of the UCI women’s World Cup road cycling series in Geelong, Australia on Sunday.
Mactier, thinking she had the 119-kilometer race in the bag, took her hands off the handlebar just before the line to make a victory salute. Carrigan flashed around the outside and threw her bike across the line to snatch the win.
Mactier had to settle for second by a mere .03 of a second despite a strong race.
American Kristen Armstrong took fifth in a very strong debut to the World Cup series.
Mactier and Carrigan were in a group of seven that formed on the first of 17 laps. They never led by more than a minute and a half and the gap was only 32 seconds with four laps left, but they held their nerve and finished well clear.
Mactier attacked four times in the closing laps, including three on the last circuit, and her last push opened a gap in the last two kilometers, which she thought was decisive.
Carrigan was the only rider in the break with a team-mate and said thiswas crucial to her win.
The riders in the break filled the top seven places — German champion Judith Arndt was third and New Zealander Melissa Holt took fourth after leading the charge to catch Mactier at the end.
While Armstrong took fifth, Australain Natalie Bates was sixth and her sister Katherine seventh.
All those riders were given the same time as Carrigan.
“What can I say, you know? It churns in my guts and you know what – I was kind of hoping no-one saw it,” Mactier said. “Okay, I stuffed up today, but I know I’ve got it within myself to be one of the better riders around, that’s all that counts.”
Pagliarini takes sprint at Almeria
Brazilian Luciano Pagliarini of Lampre won the 18th Clasica Almeria in Spain on Sunday, just nipping defending champion Massimo Strazzer at the line. Pagliarini won in 4 hours, 1 minute, 30 seconds and was fastest in the bunch sprint in the 187km race. Italian Marco Pantani was hoping to make his season debut today and then start the Vuelta a Murcia on Wednesday, but he’s still waiting word from the UCI on a possible doping suspension.
Clasica Almeria (UCI 1.3)
1. Luciano Pagliarini (Bra), Lampre, 187km in 4:01:30 (46.46 kph)
2. Massimo Strazzer (I), Phonak
3. Alexei Markov (Rus), Lokomotiv
4. Bram De Groot (Nl), Rabobank
5. Marc Lotz (Nl), Rabobank
6. Ivan Herrero (Sp), Labarca 2
7. Francisco Gutierrez (Sp), Labarca 2
8. Ruslan Ivanov (Md), Alessio
9. Nico Sijmens (B), Vlaanderen-T
10. Angel Edo (Sp), Milaneza-MSS – all same time29. Bobby Julich (USA), Telekom, s.t.Moncoutie scores at GP Lugano
French racer David Moncoutie won his second race of the 2003 season Sunday, finishing 33 seconds ahead of Russian Alexandr Kolobnev to take the GP Lugano. The Cofidis rider won a stage at the Tour Mediterranean last month and won Sunday’s edition of the 169km race in Switzerland.GP Lugano (UCI 1.3)
1. David Moncoutié (F,) Cofidis, 169km in 4:25:23, (38.345 kph)
2. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus), Domina Vacanze-Elitron, at 33 seconds
3. Ruslan Gryshenko (Ukr), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 34 seconds
4. Kurt-Asle Arvesen (N), Team fakta, at 37 seconds
5. Jérôme Pineau (F), Brioches La Boulangere
6. Francesco Bellotti (I)
7 Ludovic Martin (F), Jean Delatour
8. Marcel Strauss (Swi), Gerolsteiner
9. Michele Gobbi (I), De Nardi-Colpack – all same time
10. Mikel Astarloza (Sp), Ag2r-Prevoyance, at 2:11