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Vanspeybrouck best of 'Boonen & friends' charity race

Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen) won the second edition of the charity cyclo-cross event 'Boonen&Friends' around the Silver Lake in Mol, Belgium.

The 'Boonen&Friends' cyclo-cross race collects money for the project 'Move to Improve' which supports people with physical disabilities caused by brain damage. Last year they raised 40,000 Euros at the event.

The extreme cold of the last week turned the course into a toboggan-run but that didn't keep the riders from racing. Last year's winner Maarten Wynants (Quick Step) finished second ahead of Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step). The all-star race was won by triple cyclo-cross world champion Erwin Vervecken.

The Belgian won ahead of Dutch former professional and Sky directeur sportif Steven de Jongh and former CSC-Tiscali rider Koen Beeckman.

Tom Boonen, who has been training for the start of the 2011 season after a year wrecked by injury, started with a bang. He led the field from the start but quickly noticed the course was rather slippery and dropped back. After a flat tyre for last year's winner Wynants, the road to victory was paved for Vanspeybrouck. The latter is a former junior Belgian cyclo-cross champion.

Vervecken had to work hard for his victory in the all-stars race which was held just before the pro's race. De Jongh fired away after the start and for a long time it seemed he would win the race of retired cyclists. “Everybody expected me to win because I retired only recently.

When De Jongh created a gap right after the start I didn't think I would be able to close it down. I died twice during the race but in the end I managed to catch him,” Vervecken told

Big names like Michael Boogerd, Johan Museeuw, Eric Vanderaerden, Tom Steels and motorcross star Stefan Everts felt far less comfortable on the frozen course and finished at long distance from winner Vervecken.

Museeuw had a severe crash. He went over the handle bars and crashed in the snow. The former Spring Classics specialist abandoned the race little later.

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