36-year-old Bert Scheirlinckx (Landbouwkrediet) scored his first victory since 2008 in the GP Pino Cerami today, topping Vacansoleil's Marco Marcato in a two-man sprint.
"This is without doubt the most beautiful victory of my career," said Scheirlinckx. "And good revenge for the Tour of Flanders. Sunday I was very disappointed because I made a tactical error on the Muur and did not make the front group. And I really had the legs for it! Well, today I proved that I was capable of a top 10 in the Ronde."
Scheirlinckx credited long hours of training with his younger brother Staf for giving him a second wind in his career. "It's now bearing fruit. This sort of event suits me perfectly and I am glad that the puzzle pieces finally fell in place. The past year I have been on the podium, but winning was so difficult. Third in Frankfurt, most recently second in the Classic Loire Atlantique ... I had enough of them over time. This victory makes me very happy, and for my Landbouwkrediet team it is a serious boost."
Vacansoleil team manager Hilaire Van Der Schueren was disappointed to miss out on the win. "Marco was the best and I don't understand how this has happened, he should be faster than Scheirlinckx, it is a pity."
Hermans, on the other hand, was happy to get back onto the podium after being sick. "I'm not complaining. This is my first race in three weeks. I got sick after Tirreno-Adriatico and had to skip races. At the end I had cramps, which is a bit logical. Good for my morale anyway. My first goal of the season is Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I really look forward to these races."
The 199.2 kilometre event was more like two races in one. The first was a battle for the climber's classification, with three mountain sprints on a single 132km loop in Belgium's Wallonian region, and that was followed by three local circuits ending in Frameries outside Mons that had a real sting in the tail, with the cobbled Tienne du Dragon climb and a 400m sector of pavé on the Rude des Fachelles.
With plenty of riders keen to get away for the primes, there were a number of attacks in the first half hour of racing, with no group able to break the elastic.
It wasn't until 30km in that a group of six were finally given an advantage: Fumiyuki Beppu (Radioshack), Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel - Euskadi), Dimitri Claeys (Team NetApp), Francesco Di Paolo (Aqua e Sapone), Alexander Schmitt (Eddy Merckx - Indeland) and Kevin Lalouette (Roubaix - Lille Metropole).
The Hameau des Papins, Hurdumont and Mont Elsa came in quick succession after 44 kilometres, and it was the Frenchman Cazaux who claimed the mountain prize by winning the first two and coming second to Beppu at the third while the peloton kept a steady gap of just under four minutes.
Once the hills were behind them, the lead for the six men ballooned to a maximum 7:25, but that advantage fell rapidly as the race headed toward the three local circuits.
The gap was hovering just under one minute on the first trip up the Tienne du Dragon, and Cazaux played his last card with a solo attack, leaving his five companions to be gobbled up by the peloton.
The pavé caused a number of splits in the peloton and spelled the end to Cazaux's time out front. At the end a select lead group was formed with 40km to go.
That group contained Ben Hermans (Radioshack), Marco Marcato and Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil), Steven Caethoven (Willems Verandas) Alessandro Donati (Acqua e Sapone), Wesley Kreder (Rabobank Continental), Frederic Amorison and Bert Scheirlinckx (Landbouwkrediet), Anthony Delaplace (Saur Sojasun), Boy Van Poppel (United Healthcare) and Anthony Colin (Roubaix).
The Tienne du Dragon split the front group again on the second trip, with four riders in the lead, Hermans, Marcato, Scheirlinckx and Donati, while Dalaplace made an heroic effort to rejoin the leaders.
The five maintained a 40 second lead heading into the final ascent, where Donati and Dalaplace were dropped.
The remaining three pulled out nearly a minute on the peloton heading into the final five kilometres. The cooperation ended just before the red kite, as Scheirlincks put in a strong attack that jettisoned Hermans.
Marcato made the juncture, however, but failed to best the Belgian in the uphill drag to the line.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||4:48:45|
|2||Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team|
|3||Ben Hermans (Bel) Team RadioShack||0:00:10|
|4||Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur - Sojasun||0:00:36|
|5||Alessandro Donati (Ita) Acqua & Sapone||0:00:54|
|6||Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli||0:00:59|
|7||Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team|
|8||Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone|
|9||James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent|
|10||Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet|
|11||Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit Agricole|
|12||Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|13||Steven Tronet (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole|
|14||Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet|
|15||Evert Verbist (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent|
|16||Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet|
|17||Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team|
|18||Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp|
|19||Mikhail Antonov (Rus) Itera - Katusha|
|20||Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun|
|21||Michael Olsson (Swe) Team Cykelcity|
|22||Olivier Pardini (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit Agricole|
|23||Huub Duyn (Ned) Donckers Koffie - Jelly Belly|
|24||Niko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly|
|25||Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet|
|26||Kasper Jebjerg (Den) Glud & Marstrand - LRO|
|27||Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Team Differdange - Magic-Sportfood.de|
|28||Morgan Kneisky (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole||0:01:06|
|29||Remco Broers (Ned) Team Differdange - Magic-Sportfood.de|
|30||Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator|
|31||Gil Suray (Bel) Lotto - Bodysol Pole Continental Wallon|
|32||Julien Deschesne (Bel) Lotto - Bodysol Pole Continental Wallon|
|33||Benjamin King (USA) Team RadioShack|
|34||Jimmi Sorensen (Den) Glud & Marstrand - LRO|
|35||Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Lotto - Bodysol Pole Continental Wallon|
|36||Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Donckers Koffie - Jelly Belly|
|37||Jonathan Dufrasne (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit Agricole|
|38||Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator|
|39||Jonathan Dewitte (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit Agricole|
|40||Edwig Cammaerts (Bel) Landbouwkrediet|
|41||Sebastian Balck (Swe) Team Cykelcity|
|42||Mark McNally (GBr) An Post - Sean Kelly|
|43||Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Por) Team RadioShack|
|44||Dominique Cornu (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator|
|45||Steven Van Vooren (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator|
|46||Tom Stubbe (Bel) Donckers Koffie - Jelly Belly|
|47||Jean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Saur - Sojasun|
|48||Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:01:13|
|49||Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator|
|50||Wesley Kreder (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team|
|51||Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Donckers Koffie - Jelly Belly||0:01:15|
|52||Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator|
|53||Jesse Sergent (NZl) Team RadioShack||0:01:18|
|54||Hilton Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling||0:01:20|
|55||Stefan Cohnen (Ned) Team Differdange - Magic-Sportfood.de||0:01:24|
|56||Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||0:01:31|
|57||Francesco Failli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli||0:01:40|
|58||Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli||0:01:42|
|59||Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly||0:01:45|
|60||Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team||0:01:54|
|61||Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||0:02:13|
|62||Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team||0:02:20|
|63||Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||0:02:24|
|64||Steven Caethoven (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent||0:03:56|
|65||Joost Van Leijen (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||0:04:27|
|66||Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||0:06:04|
|67||Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|68||Bjorn Selander (USA) Team RadioShack|
|69||Boy Van Poppel (Ned) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling|
|70||Davide Ricci Bitti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli|
|71||Frank Dressler-Lehnhof (Ger) Team Differdange - Magic-Sportfood.de|
|72||Luc Hagenaars (Ned) Team Eddy Merckx - Indeland|
|73||Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) An Post - Sean Kelly|
|74||Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team|
|75||Anthony Colin (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole|
|76||James Spragg (GBr) Donckers Koffie - Jelly Belly|
|77||Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator||0:06:17|
|78||Maxime Anciaux (Bel) Lotto - Bodysol Pole Continental Wallon||0:06:29|
|79||Benoît Naert (Bel) Lotto - Bodysol Pole Continental Wallon||0:06:37|
|80||Tom Vermeer (Ned) Colba - Mercury||0:07:45|
|81||Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team Netapp|
|82||Karl Menzies (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling|
|83||Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet||0:09:39|
|84||Kenny Terweduwe (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly||0:10:22|
|85||Ronan McLaughlin (Irl) An Post - Sean Kelly|
|86||Benoit Daeninck (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole|
|87||Daniel Westmattelmann (Ger) Team Eddy Merckx - Indeland|
|88||Andreas Dietziker (Swi) Team Netapp|
|89||Romain Matheou (Fra) Saur - Sojasun|
|90||Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Lotto - Bodysol Pole Continental Wallon|
|91||Philippe Legrand (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit Agricole|
|92||Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|93||Pierre Cazaux (Fra) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|94||David Kopp (Ger) Team Eddy Merckx - Indeland|
|95||Alexander Gottfried (Ger) Team Netapp|
|96||Stijn Joseph (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator|
|97||Michaël Vanderaerden (Bel) Donckers Koffie - Jelly Belly|
|98||Sander Helven (Bel) Donckers Koffie - Jelly Belly|
|99||Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli|
|100||Christian Moberg Jörgensen (Den) Glud & Marstrand - LRO|