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Burghardt takes stunning debut win

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Marcus Burghardt (T-mobile)

Marcus Burghardt (T-mobile)
(Image credit: AFP)
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Freire is the new ProTour leader

Freire is the new ProTour leader
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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The peloton rolls

The peloton rolls
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Yowza! That's got to hurt!

Yowza! That's got to hurt!
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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The crash on the Kemmel

The crash on the Kemmel
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Hammond and Burghardt

Hammond and Burghardt
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Peter Van Petegem (Quickstep) adjusts his helmet at the start.

Peter Van Petegem (Quickstep) adjusts his helmet at the start.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Pietro Algeri talks about his rider, Francisco José Ventoso (Saunier Duval-Prodir), at the start.

Pietro Algeri talks about his rider, Francisco José Ventoso (Saunier Duval-Prodir), at the start.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Tom Boonen (Quickstep) rolls in for the race.

Tom Boonen (Quickstep) rolls in for the race.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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The Time bikes of Cofidis.

The Time bikes of Cofidis.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Alessandro Cortinovis (Milram) talks about the race.

Alessandro Cortinovis (Milram) talks about the race.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Antonio Cruz (Discovery Channel) happy with his Ronde and looking forward to the Gent-Wevelgem.

Antonio Cruz (Discovery Channel) happy with his Ronde and looking forward to the Gent-Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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The Discovery Channel bus at the start in Deinze.

The Discovery Channel bus at the start in Deinze.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Volodymyr Dyudya (Milram) starting in his first Gent-Wevelgem.

Volodymyr Dyudya (Milram) starting in his first Gent-Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Flying frog at the finish in Wevelgem.

Flying frog at the finish in Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Mathew Hayman (Rabobank) before Gent-Wevelgem; unfortunately, he crashed and broke his elbow on the descent of the Kemmelberg.

Mathew Hayman (Rabobank) before Gent-Wevelgem; unfortunately, he crashed and broke his elbow on the descent of the Kemmelberg.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Iban Mayoz (Euskaltel-Euskadi) explains the team tactics.

Iban Mayoz (Euskaltel-Euskadi) explains the team tactics.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Pat McQuaid and Jacques Hanegraaf talk at the race start.

Pat McQuaid and Jacques Hanegraaf talk at the race start.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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UCI President Pat McQuaid showed up in Belgium to support Unibet.com.

UCI President Pat McQuaid showed up in Belgium to support Unibet.com.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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McQuaid explains to the media his problems with the Grand Tours.

McQuaid explains to the media his problems with the Grand Tours.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Pat McQuaid in Deinze for the start of Gent-Wevelgem.

Pat McQuaid in Deinze for the start of Gent-Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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McQuaid explains how he is upset that the Grand Tours have not held up to its agreements.

McQuaid explains how he is upset that the Grand Tours have not held up to its agreements.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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McQuaid at the start of Gent-Wevelgem to support Unibet.com

McQuaid at the start of Gent-Wevelgem to support Unibet.com
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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McQuaid focused on solving the Unibet.com situation.

McQuaid focused on solving the Unibet.com situation.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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UCI President Pat McQuaid wants Unibet.com in all the ProTour races.

UCI President Pat McQuaid wants Unibet.com in all the ProTour races.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Milram's Colnagos at the start of Gent-Wevelgem.

Milram's Colnagos at the start of Gent-Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Pozzato's Cannondale

Pozzato's Cannondale
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) was given a special Cannondale for the Milano-Sanremo, which he still uses.

Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) was given a special Cannondale for the Milano-Sanremo, which he still uses.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Scott bikes on the back of Saunier's team bus.

Scott bikes on the back of Saunier's team bus.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Skil's bikes at the start of Gent-Wevelgem.

Skil's bikes at the start of Gent-Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Tyler Farrar (Cofidis) races Gent-Wevelgem for the first time but, unfortunately, he crashed on the descent of the Kemmelberg.

Tyler Farrar (Cofidis) races Gent-Wevelgem for the first time but, unfortunately, he crashed on the descent of the Kemmelberg.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Peter Van Petegem (Quickstep) on the stage before the start of the 69th Gent-Wevelgem.

Peter Van Petegem (Quickstep) on the stage before the start of the 69th Gent-Wevelgem.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Oscar Freire (Rabobank) explains how the race unfolded.

Oscar Freire (Rabobank) explains how the race unfolded.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Freire in his new ProTour jersey.

Freire in his new ProTour jersey.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Marcus Burghardt (T-mobile) wins his first pro race

Marcus Burghardt (T-mobile) wins his first pro race
(Image credit: all)
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Burghardt won and his team-mate Hammond finished second

Burghardt won and his team-mate Hammond finished second
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Burghardt hoists his trophy

Burghardt hoists his trophy
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Boonen climbing the Kemmel

Boonen climbing the Kemmel
(Image credit: AFP)
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Boonen suffering on the Kemmel

Boonen suffering on the Kemmel
(Image credit: AFP)
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Burghardt was stunned that his move actually worked

Burghardt was stunned that his move actually worked
(Image credit: AFP)
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Burghardt happy with his trophy

Burghardt happy with his trophy
(Image credit: AFP)
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Burghardt on the Kemmel

Burghardt on the Kemmel
(Image credit: AFP)
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Burghardt wins Gent Wevelgem

Burghardt wins Gent Wevelgem
(Image credit: AFP)
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Congratulations on the podium

Congratulations on the podium
(Image credit: AFP)
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One of the Euskaltel riders stunned with pain after crashing on the descent of the Kemmel

One of the Euskaltel riders stunned with pain after crashing on the descent of the Kemmel
(Image credit: AFP)
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Freire leading the six strong breakaway

Freire leading the six strong breakaway
(Image credit: AFP)
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Hammond leads the break

Hammond leads the break
(Image credit: AFP)
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Roger Hammond was happy with the team's performance

Roger Hammond was happy with the team's performance
(Image credit: AFP)
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James Vanlandschoot gets a neck brace after crashing

James Vanlandschoot gets a neck brace after crashing
(Image credit: AFP)
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Marcus Burghardt wins and Hammond celebrates behind

Marcus Burghardt wins and Hammond celebrates behind
(Image credit: AFP)
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Stijn Devolder at the Kemmelberg

Stijn Devolder at the Kemmelberg
(Image credit: AFP)
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Happy T-mobile team-mates Roger Hammond congratulates Burghardt

Happy T-mobile team-mates Roger Hammond congratulates Burghardt
(Image credit: AFP)
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Burghardt powers the break

Burghardt powers the break
(Image credit: AFP)
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Roger Hammond and Marcus Burghardt (T-mobile) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) make up the Gent Wevelgem podium

Roger Hammond and Marcus Burghardt (T-mobile) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) make up the Gent Wevelgem podium
(Image credit: AFP)
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James Vanlandschoot is attended to after his crash

James Vanlandschoot is attended to after his crash
(Image credit: AFP)
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Oscar Freire (Rabobank) gets his ProTour leader's jersey from Pat McQuaid

Oscar Freire (Rabobank) gets his ProTour leader's jersey from Pat McQuaid
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Burghardt shows off his new trophy - a big one!

Burghardt shows off his new trophy - a big one!
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Hammond and Burghardt

Hammond and Burghardt
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Hammond, Burghardt and Freire on the podium

Hammond, Burghardt and Freire on the podium
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Robbie McEwen leads the bunch home

Robbie McEwen leads the bunch home
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Hammond is thrilled for his young team-mate

Hammond is thrilled for his young team-mate
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Burghardt salutes after winning his first pro race

Burghardt salutes after winning his first pro race
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Burghardt wins Gent Wevelgem with room to spare

Burghardt wins Gent Wevelgem with room to spare
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Hammond pulls through with a huge effort after spending much of the day in the front

Hammond pulls through with a huge effort after spending much of the day in the front
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Burghardt leads Hammond in the break

Burghardt leads Hammond in the break
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Burghardt and Hammond leading the break of six

Burghardt and Hammond leading the break of six
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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The peloton regrouped and is in full flight in pursuit of the break

The peloton regrouped and is in full flight in pursuit of the break
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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The peloton split after the crashes on the descent from the Kemmel

The peloton split after the crashes on the descent from the Kemmel
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) rides up the Kemmel

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) rides up the Kemmel
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Freire follows Björn Leukemans (Predictor-Lotto) up the Kemmel

Freire follows Björn Leukemans (Predictor-Lotto) up the Kemmel
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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A Bouygues Telecom rider on the Kemmel

A Bouygues Telecom rider on the Kemmel
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Shrapnel on the Kemmel

Shrapnel on the Kemmel
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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McEwen concentrates on climbing

McEwen concentrates on climbing
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Fabian Cancellara (CSC) pulled like mad to bring the break back, to no avail

Fabian Cancellara (CSC) pulled like mad to bring the break back, to no avail
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Luca Paolini (Liquigas) climbs the Kemmel

Luca Paolini (Liquigas) climbs the Kemmel
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Freire is the new ProTour leader

Freire is the new ProTour leader
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Tom Boonen (Quickstep) wasn't on a great day

Tom Boonen (Quickstep) wasn't on a great day
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Burghardt finds the cobbles to his liking

Burghardt finds the cobbles to his liking
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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The early break

The early break
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Mengin, Hammond and Brard were off the front for 100km

Mengin, Hammond and Brard were off the front for 100km
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Brard starts to drop off on the Kemmel

Brard starts to drop off on the Kemmel
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Boonen has a clear view of the descent

Boonen has a clear view of the descent
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Milram on the front

Milram on the front
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Not where he wants to be Jimmy Casper lies on the cobbles

Not where he wants to be Jimmy Casper lies on the cobbles
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Yowza! That's got to hurt!

Yowza! That's got to hurt!
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Casper was the worst off after the first crash

Casper was the worst off after the first crash
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Jimmy Casper suffered facial lacerations

Jimmy Casper suffered facial lacerations
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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The crash on the Kemmel on the second trip down

The crash on the Kemmel on the second trip down
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Sacchi in obvious pain

Sacchi in obvious pain
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Burghardt leads on the descent

Burghardt leads on the descent
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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The view from the crash

The view from the crash
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Can you raise your arms any higher?

Can you raise your arms any higher?
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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He couldn't stop smiling after his first pro win

He couldn't stop smiling after his first pro win
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Burghardt = winnaar

Burghardt = winnaar
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Robbie McEwen and Thor Hushovd pose at the start in Gent

Robbie McEwen and Thor Hushovd pose at the start in Gent
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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The peloton rolls along the coastline

The peloton rolls along the coastline
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Hammond leads the break up the Kemmel

Hammond leads the break up the Kemmel
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Burghardt and Ventoso made the critical split on the final climb

Burghardt and Ventoso made the critical split on the final climb
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Fabio Sacchi (Milram) looks annoyed with the crash

Fabio Sacchi (Milram) looks annoyed with the crash
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Vanlandschoot gets a neck brace after his fall.

Vanlandschoot gets a neck brace after his fall.
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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The scene on the Kemmel

The scene on the Kemmel
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Suffering at the back of the peloton

Suffering at the back of the peloton
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) is way at the back of the bunch

Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) is way at the back of the bunch
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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The peloton hits the Kemmel

The peloton hits the Kemmel
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Big crowds on the Kemmel

Big crowds on the Kemmel
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Burghardt wins!

Burghardt wins!
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)
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Hammond celebrates a T-Mobile 1-2.

Hammond celebrates a T-Mobile 1-2.
(Image credit: Luc Claessen)

69th Gent-Wevelgem - PT

Belgium, April 11, 2007

ProTour standings

T-Mobile control Gent-Wevelgem finale

23 year-old Marcus Burghardt nabbed his first professional win in Gent-Wevelgem thanks to perfect team work by T-Mobile. The young German took the Semi-Classic win in front his British team-mate, Roger Hammond. The duo formed part of the winning move of five when, at 26 kilometres to go, Burghardt bridged to an early escape which included Hammond. The two T-Mobile men had to contend with three-time World Champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank), who formed part of the move with Francisco José Ventoso (Saunier Duval-Prodir) and Christophe Mengin (Française Des Jeux).

"I wasn't intending to sprint with Freire," Burghardt said. With Gent-Wevelgem Burghardt grabs his first professional victory, "and immediately a ProTour race. This is the biggest moment of my career," he said.

Burghardt is a hot prospect for all the classics, he finished third in the E3-Prijs Harelbeke this year as well. "In Harelbeke I had too much respect for Boonen and Cancellara. This time I showed just enough respect," Burghardt said.

"For a moment I thought we wouldn't make it but suddenly we had 50 seconds. When the finish was coming closer I realized I had to attack as I wasn't intending to sprint with Freire," Burghardt explained. "These last weeks have been grandiose for me, certainly if you compare them with last year when I was injured. This year, I trained even harder than last year to perform to my best."

When Burghardt attacked with one kilometre to go, the rest of the break hesitated. It was up to Freire to try to bring the tall German back, but he could not close the gap down, discouraged by the shadow of Hammond. Hammond jumped Freire in the final metres to make for a T-Mobile one-two. "I think I made a mistake in the last kilometre, because I thought Ventoso was strong," said Freire. "I thought to wait for the first attack then go with the second attack but I made a mistake and, of course, T-Mobile rode strong."

Freire was hoping to become the first Spaniard to win in Wevelgem, and his disappointment was clear on the podium. "I was very good in the last kilometres. It was difficult, with five or six riders, it is a lottery. Also with T-mobile, it was difficult." As a consolation, Freire move into the overall ProTour lead. The winner of Milano-Sanremo in March was presented the white jersey by UCI President Pat McQuaid after the finish.

The chasing peloton, which was actively led by Quick-Step for Tom Boonen, was led home by Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto). The Aussie sprinted clear of Max Van Heeswijk (Rabobank), just a few seconds behind Ventoso and Mengin.

Regarding this Sunday's Paris-Roubaix, Burghardt said, "It has a different character and it is sixty kilometres longer. I am certainly motivated; I have loads of confidence. T-Mobile will be good in France, as we also have Bernhard Eisel, who did well last year."

How it unfolded

It was a cloudy in Deinze where 193 took the start for the 69th edition of Gent-Wevelgem. Light winds meant that an echelon race in the 'Moeren' – a flat open part close to the coast – would be unlikely. Forty riders were visited by the doctor this morning, all were declared fit to start, however Italian sprinter Daniele Bennati did not start due to stomach problems.

Wouter Van Mechelen (Landbouwkrediet) was the first to attack after just four kilometres of racing, but he wasn't allowed to get away. During the first 15 kilometres, there were more attacks from Jimmy Engoulvent, Markel Irizar and Wouter Van Mechelen, but nothing went clear. Philippe Gilbert won the first intermediate sprint in Pittem ahead of Eric Baumann and Grégory Rast.

Good weather meant that the speed in the peloton was consistently high, with riders trying to break away repeatedly. Birthday boy Kevin Hulsmans was sufferign dizziness, and abandoned the race after 27 kilometres. In the first hour, the peloton covered an astonishing 49 kilometres, and still riders were trying to break free. David Boucher's attempt lasted only one kilometre, and it wasn't until French champion Florent Brard (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Mengin (Française Des Jeux) and Roger Hammond (T-Mobile) attacked that the breakaway would have any success.

The three leaders quickly gained two minutes on the bunch, and by the time they reached the coast in Oostende, the lead had ballooned to more than seven minutes, reaching a maximum at 10'50" with 100 kilometres to go. However, as soon as the riders turned back towards Wevelgem, the peloton awoke and the gap started to come down quickly. As the race approached the main difficulties, the Vidaigneberg, the Rode Berg, Monteberg and finally the cobbled Kemmelberg climbs, the gap was brought down to five minutes.

More fast, nervous racing inflicted more crashes on a battle-heardened peloton, and leading into the hilly section, Servais Knaven (T-Mobile) and Danish champion Allan Johansen, crashed, the latter flying over his handle bars into the ditch; meanwhile Tomas Vaitkus abandoned the race. While the leaders passed the top of the Kemmelberg for the first time with Brard safely leading the group, the peloton behind was not so lucky. Francisco Ventoso (Saunier Duval) led the peloton on the cobbles with Burghardt, Boonen and Nuyens following closely behind the Spanish rider, but over the top of the Kemmelberg, all hell broke lose.

On the cobbled descent, a water bottle was jarred loose, and a Gerolsteiner rider swerved to avoid it, causing a crash that left Unibet's Jimmy Casper lying on the cobbles with blood pouring down his face. As riders braked to avoid Casper, several more nasty crashes occured, taking out Wim De Vocht (Predictor), Tyler Farrar (Cofidis), Luke Roberts (CSC), Wilfried Cretskens (Quickstep), Andy Cappelle (Landbouwkrediet) and Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner).

The first part of the peloton didn't wait for news about their colleagues and a group of ten riders including Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Kevin Van Impe (Quickstep) and Leukemans forged ahead in pursuit of the leaders, but Milram brought the chasing peloton back together for Alessandro Petacchi. Two riders then went clear on the Monteberg, Dmitriy Muravyev and last year's number two David Kopp, but Muravyev realized it was a mission impossible, and went back to the bunch.

On the second ascent of the Kemmelberg, the leading trio of Brard, Hammond and Mengin had just over two minutes on the peloton, which was closing in on Kopp. Near the top, the Gerolsteiner rider was caught by the bunch, led again by Ventoso, Burghardt, Boonen and all the favourites who were wisely staying up front for safety. Once again, disaster struck on the descent of the Kemmelberg. Another bottle hit the ground, and this time took down Fabio Sacchi (Milram). Aart Vierhouten (Skil) braked to avoid the Italian, lost control and slid down the cobbles, and was followed to the ground by Matthew Hayman (Rabobank).

Once again, the leaders took this opportunity to try to make a move, and Burghardt and Ventoso opened up a gap with 30km to go. They were joined by thirteen riders: Grégory Rast (Astana) and Igor Abakoumov (Astana), Robbie McEwen (Predictor), Joaquin Rojas Gil, Nick Nuyens (Cofidis), Stuart O'Grady (CSC), Boonen and Wouter Weylandt, Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Eric Baumann (T-Mobile) and Baden Cooke (Unibet), now just one minute shy of the leaders.

The Spanish riders must've been feeling particularly strong, because out of this group, Freire attacked again and was joined by Ventoso and Burghardt. With the lanky German sitting on in defense of Hammond up ahead, Freire and Ventoso did much of the work to close the gap, but when the trio closed in on the lead riders, Ventoso attacked, bridged up to the group and went straight to the front, leaving Freire alone with Burghardt. Sensing the danger of missing out on a chance to join his team-mate, Burghardt put in the last bit of gas needed for Freire and himself to make the break six.

The six men in front fought hard for every second on the peloton, and with 16km to go the lead was still about half a minute on a peloton led by Quickstep and CSC. With fresh energy in the break, the tough pace caused Brard's legs to give out, and he had to let go of the five other riders in front. A bit of disorganisation in peloton allowed the break's gap to grow up to 45".

Hammond and Burghardt put a lot of effort into the move, as did Freire, who was anxious to see a sprint. In the final five kilometres Freire could be seen judging up Ventoso, who started skipping pulls. The Spaniard of Saunier Duval helped form the winning move, and looked to be the one to present Freire with the most problems. Instead it was solid teamwork by Germany-based T-mobile.

As the group approached the one kilometre to go banner, Ventoso tried to ride Burghardt off the back of the break. But the powerful young German bided his time, and as Ventoso reconsidered his tactic and closed the gap, Burghardt launched his winning move. When Freire jumped it was too late; Burghardt already had a sizable gap, and Hammond was wisely on the wheel of the three-time World Champion. Burghardt got his first professional win, minus the Metas Volantes competition in the Ruta del Sol, ahead of Hammond, making for a T-mobile one-two.

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