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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Floris Goesinnen (Skil-Shimano) was over the moon yesterday after claiming his first professional...
Floris Goesinnen (Skil-Shimano) was over the moon yesterday after claiming his first professional victory, the Belgian calendar finale Sluitingsprijs van Putte-Kapellen. "I am going to call home straight away to let them know that it's going to be a late night tonight," said the Dutch rider.
Goesinnen won the event by 14 seconds over compatriot Roy Sentjens (Predictor-Lotto) after attacking a break that included team-mate Maarten Den Bakker in the race's closing stages. "I knew that I was one of the fastest in the break, but I didn't want to take the risk of arriving at the finish with the six others," he explained of his tactics to HLN.be. "That's why I attacked twice. The first time everyone jumped straight on my wheel. The second time I got away. It's a good feeling to win here with all these people."
Goesinnen's victory was his first since stepping up from amateur to professional two years ago. "I am not someone that wins a lot, but today was finally my turn," he said excitedly. "The first win is finally done."
Sentjens admitted to feeling the effects of being in a Skil-Shimano "vice". "I really was in a Skil-Shimano vice, I reacted to everyone of their attacks, but when Goesinnen went the last time it was up to the other riders to close it down," he explained. "Eventually I went on the counter alone, but the gap was just too big to close down and I finished a few meters behind. I have had a turbulent year, with some setbacks at crucial times. This makes up for some of it."
While Goesinnens was busy making his own history, ProTour squad Unibet.com was writing the final chapter in its own history. After a year that saw the squad make its ProTour debut only to be 'team non grata' at the majority of ProTour events, the Sluitingsprijs, or 'finishing prize', was a fitting name for its last race on Belgian soil.
One year and a day ago, Unibet.com won its first race in here after hearing that it had been granted a ProTour licence. At the time, it was Gorik Gardeyn who crossed the line first, but this year his name was not to be seen on the results sheet at all. Team director Hilaire Van der Schueren, summed up the feeling within the team. "We ride today with regret in our hearts," he said.
A disappointed Van der Schueren looked back on the team that he built up from an amateur squad into one of the world's strongest teams, on paper at least, as there were very few opportunities for the team to show just how strong it really was. Of the few times that they could race, they were generally unprepared due to the lack of big races in their legs.
"On paper we had one of the strongest teams in the peloton, if we could have had the chance to swap the weaker links in the team with stronger riders for next season then we would have away, but yeah, that's history now," he said disappointedly. "Because we were not allowed to ride Paris Nice, we had to do back flips top find other races. I was on my knees with the Tour of Murcia. Luckily I still have some contacts."
Van der Schueren isn't done yet though, he is waiting to hear from team manager Jacques Hanegraaf regarding a new project for next year. "Jacques is busy with a project overseas," he said. "I am waiting to hear from him in a few days. If that doesn't happen I will set something up with Charel Palmans (of Palmans-Collstrop), the only thing that we need is money."