Tom Boonen and Wilfried Peeters have declared the inaugural 'Move to Improve' charity race in Mol, Belgium, on Saturday a success, and expressed their confidence that the event will continue into the future.
The cyclo-cross race at Het Zilvermeer (Silver Lake) in Boonen's home town saw a number of road cycling's top riders test themselves on a sandy course. Apart from the spectacle of the event, a charity auction held in conjunction with the race saw more than 30,000 Euros raised for the 'Move to Improve' foundation.
"We are very happy people," organizers Boonen and Peeters told Het Nieuwsblad after the event. "This could become an annual event for the riders."
The race itself was won by Quick Step's Maarten Wijnants, who was one of the riders with some 'cross experience. Although the emphasis of the event was on fun for the gathered crowd, the Belgian admitted that there was still a measure of friendly rivalry.
"Boonen and I have been chatting for weeks about who would be the best of us," said a playful Wijnants, before adding, "maybe I'll call [Belgian cyclo-cross coach] Rudy De Bie again, I've still got his phone number."
Italian Filippo Pozzato was at the opposite end of the spectrum to his former-Quick Step colleague. In his first ever cyclo-cross event the Katusha rider finished 36th, a result no doubt influenced by his attention to local custom the night before the race. "Duvel? Yes, I'm well acquainted with [that beer] now."
However, Pozzato proved his commitment to the spirit of the event as he donated 5,000 Euro to the foundation at the charity auction. The Italian was the winning bidder on a collection of signatures of all the riders who participated in the race. The auction raised a total of 30,200 Euros, with one of Tom Boonen's bikes attracting a 15,000 Euro bid.
Click here for a gallery of images from the race.