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'Move to Improve' charity race a success

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Silence-Lotto's Jurgen Van Den Broeck looks composed in the sand.

Silence-Lotto's Jurgen Van Den Broeck looks composed in the sand. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Quick Step veteran Matteo Tossato gives his steed a little touch up.

Quick Step veteran Matteo Tossato gives his steed a little touch up. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Alessandro Ballan gets busy with the high pressure cleaner.

Alessandro Ballan gets busy with the high pressure cleaner. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Tom Boonen seems to master the sandy conditions in Mol.

Tom Boonen seems to master the sandy conditions in Mol. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Jan Bakelants takes a tumble and has a laugh.

Jan Bakelants takes a tumble and has a laugh. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Filippo Pozzato rides along the lake on his way to 36th.

Filippo Pozzato rides along the lake on his way to 36th. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Quick Step rider Stijn Devolder didn't set the world on fire.

Quick Step rider Stijn Devolder didn't set the world on fire. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Alessandro Ballan (left) and Matteo Tossato looked pleased with their efforts.

Alessandro Ballan (left) and Matteo Tossato looked pleased with their efforts. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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The day's podium (l-r): Jelle Vanendert, Maarten Wijnants and Dries Devenyns.

The day's podium (l-r): Jelle Vanendert, Maarten Wijnants and Dries Devenyns. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Some of the day's stars are presented, including local boy Tom Boonen (far right).

Some of the day's stars are presented, including local boy Tom Boonen (far right). (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Tom Boonen shows his Belgian pedigree with a strong performance out front.

Tom Boonen shows his Belgian pedigree with a strong performance out front. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Tom Boonen stretches out to an early lead.

Tom Boonen stretches out to an early lead. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Boonen joins an escape group.

Boonen joins an escape group. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The riders dismount to navigate a particularly thick section of sand.

The riders dismount to navigate a particularly thick section of sand. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alessandro Ballan

Alessandro Ballan (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Boonen shows his 'cross skills.

Tom Boonen shows his 'cross skills. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alessandro Ballan crossed beneath the bridge once more.

Alessandro Ballan crossed beneath the bridge once more. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The race was held at Het Zilvermeer in Mol, Belgium

The race was held at Het Zilvermeer in Mol, Belgium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alessandro Ballan navigates the sand.

Alessandro Ballan navigates the sand. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Maarten Wijnants wins in Mol

Maarten Wijnants wins in Mol (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Former World Champion Alessandro Ballan tries his hand off-road.

Former World Champion Alessandro Ballan tries his hand off-road. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Italy's Matteo Tosatto

Italy's Matteo Tosatto (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) appears to be enjoying the race.

Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) appears to be enjoying the race. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

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.

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