Marcel Kittel takes a rainy Scheldeprijs in a day hit with crashes
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Marcel Kittel takes a rainy Scheldeprijs in a day hit with crashes

by Ben Atkins at 11:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
German wunderkind racks up yet another as the spring weather slicks up the course

marcel kittelMarcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) made it victory number five for the season, getting a first win for his team’s new sponsor, as took first place in the 100th edition of the Scheldeprijs. The German sprinter proved to be the fastest of what was a much-reduced peloton at the end of the 202km course, as crashes on the rain-slick roads saw many of his sprint rivals hit the tarmac in the closing stages.

2010 winner Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) finished a close second to the German wunderkind, just ahead of former track World champion Theo Bos (Rabobank), whose team had led into the final metres.

“I am especially glad that I have been able to win the 100th edition,” said Kittel to the Sporza TV cameras. “The finale was very hectic. There were a lot of sprinters together and I really had to jump from wheel to wheel.

“I was a bit boxed in, but was lucky that I still had clear path,” he added.

Kittel becomes the third German to win the prestigious sprinters’ race, after Didi Thurau in 1978, and Erik Zabel in 1997.

"It was a very tough sprint, even with the rain,” Kittel explained. “I'm really glad that I'm on the roll of honour. This is a race that every sprinter dreams of.”

The sprint came only after the seven-man break of avid Boucher (FDJ-BigMat), Kevin Claeys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony), Kevin Van Melsen ( Verandas), Kevin Hulsmans (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Simon Lambert-Lemay (Spidertech p/b C10), Wu Kin San (Champion System) and Sven Vandousselaere (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) was pulled back in the last of three 16.4km finishing circuits. Hulsmans held out the longest, but was finally captured just inside the final ten kilometres.

As usual, a number of teams attempted to take control of the peloton in the final kilometres, but increasingly heavy rain made the cobbles and city streets slick, and a number of crashes saw several race favourites left behind.

No hills to worry the sprinters but the breakaway needs to be controlled

The 202km course, beginning in Antwerp and taking in a wide circuit around the flat countryside to the east of the city, was to finish with its usual three 16.4km laps around the town of Schoten. With no classified climbs in the entire route - although it would cross a number of sections of cobbles, including the 1700 metre long Broekstraat halfway around the finishing circuit - the race was almost certain to finish in a sprint.

The race would start without 2011 winner, World champion Mark Cavendish (Team Sky), however, since the Manxman’s partner Peta Todd gave birth to their first daughter the night before the race.

The attack from Boucher, Claeys, Van Melsen, Hulsmans and Lambert-Lemay came after just 15km, and 20km later they were chased and joined by Wu and Vandousselaere before they had gone too far. The group, which now numbered seven, was allowed to build a lead of 8’20” in the first hour of the race before there was any kind of reaction from the peloton.

The sprinters’ teams in the peloton steadily closed the gap in the second hour of the race, and after 90km it was down to just 4’45”. A railway crossing closed between the break and the peloton however, allowing the gap to widen a little wider; this, coupled with a lack of urgency from the sprinters, meant that with 85km to go it was up to 5’39”.

As the course wound its way around the towns and villages of Loenhout, Hoogstraten, Oostmalle, and Lille - that play host to the cyclocross races of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee and Superprestige series - Telenet-Fidea’s Tom Meeusen could be seen amongst the crowd as he enjoyed the race in the middle of a training ride.

Lotto-Belisol was now in control of the peloton, along with Argos-Shimano and Garmin-Barracuda, but the teams were still allowing the break some freedom. With 80km to go the gap had slipped out to 5’42’, but this was to be as far as it would get, as RusVelo also joined the chase, and the speed began to rise.

With 60km to go the gap was down to 4’31”. Shortly afterwards Team Sky positioned itself at the front of the peloton, riding for Cavendish’s lead out man Bernhard Eisel, in the absence of the World champion.

Tom Boonen stretches his legs as the peloton closes in on the break

Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Tom Boonen accelerated out of the front of the peloton as it hit the Broekstraat for the first time, followed by Kevin Peeters (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony); the two were quickly closed down, but the Ronde van Vlaanderen winner continued to lead the peloton as it left the cobbled section and hit the banks of the Schelde.

After a few kilometres of stringing out the peloton, the legwarmer-clad former World champion decided that he had had enough of a workout for now, and allowed the Vacansoleil-DCM and Katusha teams to sweep past him.

As they crossed the finish line for the first time, with 49.2km to go, the seven leaders were just 3’15” ahead of the peloton, which was now led by Lotto-Belisol. With the pace up front beginning to drop, Hulsmans put in a little false attack to try to jolt a little more speed out of his companions.

As the peloton hit the Broekstraat for the second time, 2’43” behind the leaders, Vladimir Isaichev (Katusha) attacked in the same way that Boonen had done previously. Unlike Boonen, the Russian was allowed to briefly get away, before Omega Pharma-Quick Step caught up with him again as they hit the banks of the Schelde again.

This was the cue for another Boonen workout, as the big Belgian hit the front of his team’s train once more.

Across the line with two laps to go, the seven were still working together well, but they were now only 1’40” ahead of the peloton, which was still led by Boonen. A light drizzle, which had begun to fall, was getting heavier however, making the first few tight corners of the circuit slippery, and there was a crash in the second half of the peloton involving a number of riders from FDJ-BigMat and Saxo Bank, as well as Boonen’s usual lead out man Nikolas Maes.

As the peloton left the city it was in two large pieces, with Boonen still leading the first.

Into the final 25km, and with the front half of the peloton just 42 seconds behind, Hulsmans put in a far more meaningful attack as he approached the Broekstraat. Boucher and Vandousselaere fought their way up to him on the cobbles, followed by Claeys, but it was over for the other three, who were quickly swallowed up by the group behind them.

Team NetApp now took over the peloton, although Boonen briefly moved ahead of them again, and, as they entered the last 20km, the remaining four were just 25 seconds ahead.

The sprinters teams wind it up but the rain is getting heavier

As the quartet approached the bell, the second half of the peloton finally made contact with the first, and was now just 12 seconds behind. As the peloton tiptoed around the slick, twisty corners, it grew to 15 seconds with 15km to go, but soon began to come down again under the impetus of Astana.

With the peloton in sight behind them, Vandousselaere attacked the break, Hulsmans chased across to the Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator rider and, finding him unable to contribute further, went right by.

Garmin-Barracuda was now organised, just nine seconds behind him though, and the Belgian’s days were surely numbered; just after he passed under the 10km to go banner, ‘Hulse’ was finally caught and the sprinters’ teams began to jostle for position. Team Sky led onto the Broekstraat for the final time, keeping the pace high to prevent attacks. On the slick cobbled surface, midway back through the peloton however, a crash brought down several riders.

The rain was coming down heavily now, as the race entered the final 5km, as Saxo Bank joined Sky at the front, and Lotto-Belisol, Argos-Shimano, and Garmin-Barracuda began to fight them for supremacy over what was now a small peloton.

Another crash in the final two kilometres saw Astana sprinter Jacopo Guarnieri taken out by FDJ-BigMat’s Yauheni Hutarovich as the Belarusian came down very close to the front, leaving just thirty riders to contest the finish.

Rabobank led into the final kilometre and Mark Renshaw launched Bos towards the line. The former kilometre World champion still had a lot of ground to recover though, and Farrar and Kittel were drawing alongside. As they hit the line the German just managed to get his wheel in front to take the victory, before hurriedly slowing down down again in the run off area.

Having crossed the line, there was another crash, as Sébastien Turgot (Europcar) came down; Australian Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo Bank) was among those brought down and he left the race by ambulance. One of the crashing sprinters collided with the photographers, with one of them also being taken to hospital with a fractured jaw.


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Scheldeprijs, Belgium (1.HC) Results: Antwerp to Schoten (202.2 km)

  Click on the arrowsat the top of the column to sort the race results.
Country Result Name Team Time
ger GER 1 Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) 04:30:52
usa USA 2 Tyler Farrar (Team Garmin - Barracuda) s.t.
ned NED 3 Theo Bos (Rabobank Cycling Team) s.t.
fra FRA 4 Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) s.t.
ita ITA 5 Manuel Belletti (Ag2R - La Mondiale) s.t.
ita ITA 6 Elia Favilli (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia) s.t.
rus RUS 7 Alexander Porsev (Katusha Team) s.t.
fra FRA 8 Sébastien Turgot (Europcar) s.t.
ita ITA 9 Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack - Nissan) s.t.
can CAN 10 Guillaume Boivin (Spidertech Powered By C10) s.t.
ita ITA 11 Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
ger GER 12 Andre Greipel (Lotto - Belisol Team) s.t.
bel BEL 13 Tom Van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
aus AUS 14 Jonathan Cantwell (Team Saxo Bank) s.t.
aus AUS 15 Christopher Sutton (Sky Procycling) s.t.
rus RUS 16 Victor Manakov (Team Rusvelo) s.t.
nor NOR 17 Alexander Kristoff (Katusha Team) s.t.
ger GER 18 Rüdiger Selig (Katusha Team) s.t.
bel BEL 19 Michael Van Staeyen (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
bel BEL 20 Kristof Goddaert (Ag2R - La Mondiale) s.t.
ger GER 21 Michael Schwarzmann (Team NetApp) s.t.
ned NED 22 Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare Presented By Maxxis) s.t.
usa USA 23 Jacob Keough (UnitedHealthcare Presented By Maxxis) s.t.
aus AUS 24 Mark Renshaw (Rabobank Cycling Team) s.t.
bel BEL 25 Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) s.t.
rsa RSA 26 Robert Hunter (Team Garmin - Barracuda) 00:00:04
bel BEL 27 Stijn Neirynck (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
slo SLO 28 Blaz Jarc (Team NetApp) s.t.
ned NED 29 Tom Veelers (Argos-Shimano) s.t.
ned NED 30 Kenny Van Hummel (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) s.t.
sui SUI 31 Gregory Rast (RadioShack - Nissan) s.t.
bel BEL 32 Maxime Vantomme (Katusha Team) s.t.
bel BEL 33 Bert De Backer (Argos-Shimano) 00:00:18
can CAN 34 Martin Gilbert (Spidertech Powered By C10) s.t.
den DEN 35 Jonas Aaen Jorgensen (Team Saxo Bank) s.t.
nzl NZL 36 Jack Bauer (Team Garmin - Barracuda) s.t.
ger GER 37 Matthias Friedemann (Champion System) 00:00:22
aus AUS 38 Mathew Hayman (Sky Procycling) s.t.
bel BEL 39 Rob Goris ( – Willems Veranda’s) s.t.
ita ITA 40 Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia) s.t.
sui SUI 41 Reto Hollenstein (Team NetApp) 00:00:38
slo SLO 42 Gregor Gazvoda (Ag2R - La Mondiale) s.t.
bel BEL 43 Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto - Belisol Team) s.t.
nzl NZL 44 Gregory Henderson (Lotto - Belisol Team) s.t.
ger GER 45 Roger Kluge (Argos-Shimano) s.t.
ukr UKR 46 Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack - Nissan) 00:00:42
can CAN 47 Ryan Anderson (Spidertech Powered By C10) s.t.
bel BEL 48 James Vanlandschoot ( – Willems Veranda’s) s.t.
ned NED 49 Jos Van Emden (Rabobank Cycling Team) s.t.
den DEN 50 Michael Morkov (Team Saxo Bank) s.t.
ger GER 51 Andreas Schillinger (Team NetApp) 00:00:49
ger GER 52 Timo Seubert (Team NetApp) s.t.
bel BEL 53 Sjef De Wilde ( – Willems Veranda’s) s.t.
aus AUS 54 Graeme Brown (Rabobank Cycling Team) 00:00:53
bel BEL 55 Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) 00:01:04
gbr GBR 56 Jeremy Hunt (Sky Procycling) s.t.
nzl NZL 57 Clinton Avery (Champion System) s.t.
ita ITA 58 Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) 00:01:09
ita ITA 59 Cristiano Benenati (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia) s.t.
can CAN 60 Keven Lacombe (Spidertech Powered By C10) s.t.
ita ITA 61 Leonardo Giordani (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia) s.t.
aut AUT 62 Bernhard Eisel (Sky Procycling) 00:01:32
ger GER 63 Andreas Klier (Team Garmin - Barracuda) s.t.
slo SLO 64 Borut Bozic (Astana Pro Team) 00:01:47
ita ITA 65 Marco Bandiera (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) 00:02:03
kaz KAZ 66 Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana Pro Team) 00:02:35
bel BEL 67 Andy Cappelle ( – Willems Veranda’s) s.t.
ned NED 68 Dirk Bellemakers (Landbouwkrediet - Euphony) s.t.
bel BEL 69 Kevin Peeters (Landbouwkrediet - Euphony) s.t.
kaz KAZ 70 Dmitriy Fofonov (Astana Pro Team) s.t.
est EST 71 Mart Ojavee (Champion System) s.t.
aus AUS 72 Aaron Kemps (Champion System) s.t.
ned NED 73 Barry Markus (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) s.t.
kaz KAZ 74 Valentin Iglinskiy (Astana Pro Team) s.t.
fra FRA 75 Etienne Tortelier (Saur - Sojasun) s.t.
ltu LTU 76 Tomas Vaitkus (GreenEdge Cycling Team) s.t.
bel BEL 77 Frederique Robert (Lotto - Belisol Team) s.t.
bel BEL 78 Jens Debusschere (Lotto - Belisol Team) s.t.
den DEN 79 Kasper Larsen Klostergaard (Team Saxo Bank) 00:02:46
den DEN 80 Martin Mortensen (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) s.t.
aus AUS 81 Luke Roberts (Team Saxo Bank) s.t.
bel BEL 82 Baptiste Planckaert (Landbouwkrediet - Euphony) s.t.
fra FRA 83 Christophe Laborie (Saur - Sojasun) s.t.
ned NED 84 Dennis Van Winden (Rabobank Cycling Team) s.t.
ned NED 85 Tom Leezer (Rabobank Cycling Team) s.t.
fra FRA 86 Steve Houanard (Ag2R - La Mondiale) s.t.
fra FRA 87 Lloyd Mondory (Ag2R - La Mondiale) 00:02:53
fra FRA 88 Stéphane Poulhies (Saur - Sojasun) s.t.
rus RUS 89 Nikita Eskov (Team Rusvelo) 00:03:05
bel BEL 90 Jens Keukeleire (GreenEdge Cycling Team) 00:03:07
bel BEL 91 Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) 00:03:22
esp ESP 92 Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky Procycling) 00:03:30
fra FRA 93 Mickaël Delage (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) 00:03:39
fra FRA 94 William Bonnet (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) s.t.
bel BEL 95 Sven Jodts (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) 00:03:57
fra FRA 96 David Boucher (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) s.t.
bel BEL 97 Joeri Bueken (Landbouwkrediet - Euphony) s.t.
bel BEL 98 Kenny Dehaes (Lotto - Belisol Team) s.t.
rsa RSA 99 Jay Robert Thomson (UnitedHealthcare Presented By Maxxis) s.t.
rus RUS 100 Alexander Mironov (Team Rusvelo) s.t.
can CAN 101 Ryan Roth (Spidertech Powered By C10) s.t.
ned NED 102 Stefan Van Dijk ( – Willems Veranda’s) s.t.
bel BEL 103 Kurt Hovelijnck (Landbouwkrediet - Euphony) s.t.
nzl NZL 104 Hayden Roulston (RadioShack - Nissan) s.t.
ita ITA 105 Thomas Bertolini (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia) s.t.
ita ITA 106 Roberto De Patre (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia) 00:04:04
usa USA 107 Bradley White (UnitedHealthcare Presented By Maxxis) 00:04:06
irl IRL 108 Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare Presented By Maxxis) s.t.
ned NED 109 Ronan Van Zandbeek (Argos-Shimano) s.t.
ned NED 110 Albert Timmer (Argos-Shimano) s.t.
fra FRA 111 Steve Chainel (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) s.t.
bel BEL 112 Kevin Van Melsen ( – Willems Veranda’s) s.t.
bel BEL 113 Gert Dockx (Lotto - Belisol Team) s.t.
ned NED 114 Jetse Bol (Rabobank Cycling Team) s.t.
ned NED 115 Coen Vermeltfoort (Rabobank Cycling Team) s.t.
can CAN 116 Simon Lambert-lemay (Spidertech Powered By C10) s.t.
fra FRA 117 Rony Martias (Saur - Sojasun) s.t.
ned NED 118 Arnoud Van Groen ( – Willems Veranda’s) s.t.
can CAN 119 Hugo Houle (Spidertech Powered By C10) s.t.
chn CHN 120 Kun Jiang (Champion System) s.t.
bel BEL 121 Kevin Hulsmans (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia) s.t.
rus RUS 122 Dmitry Kozontchuk (Team Rusvelo) s.t.
ita ITA 123 Pier Paolo De Negri (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia) s.t.
rus RUS 124 Matvey Zubov (Team Rusvelo) s.t.
ned NED 125 Joost Posthuma (RadioShack - Nissan) s.t.
fra FRA 126 Romain Lemarchand (Ag2R - La Mondiale) s.t.
rus RUS 127 Artem Ovechkin (Team Rusvelo) s.t.
bel BEL 128 Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
bel BEL 129 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
bel BEL 130 Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
bel BEL 131 Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
bel BEL 132 Kevin Claeys (Landbouwkrediet - Euphony) s.t.
bel BEL 133 Koen Barbe (Landbouwkrediet - Euphony) s.t.
fra FRA 134 Laurent Mangel (Saur - Sojasun) s.t.
bel BEL 135 Sven Vandousselaere (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
ita ITA 136 Matteo Tosatto (Team Saxo Bank) s.t.
rus RUS 137 Sergey Klimov (Team Rusvelo) s.t.
bel BEL 138 Steven Van Vooren (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
ger GER 139 Christian Knees (Sky Procycling) s.t.
ger GER 140 Markus Eichler (Team NetApp) s.t.
fra FRA 141 Frédéric Guesdon (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) s.t.
fra FRA 142 Sébastien Chavanel (Europcar) s.t.
blr BLR 143 Aleksandr Kuschynski (Katusha Team) s.t.
fra FRA 144 Saïd Haddou (Europcar) s.t.
ita ITA 145 Daniele Bennati (RadioShack - Nissan) s.t.
fra FRA 146 Damien Gaudin (Europcar) s.t.
fra FRA 147 Alexandre Pichot (Europcar) s.t.
fra FRA 148 Tony Gallopin (RadioShack - Nissan) s.t.
bel BEL 149 Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
bel BEL 150 Leif Hoste ( – Willems Veranda’s) 00:04:31
ger GER 151 Grischa Janorschke (Team NetApp) 00:06:07
ned NED 152 Jens Mouris (GreenEdge Cycling Team) 00:06:10
arg ARG 153 Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Team Saxo Bank) 00:06:24
fra FRA 154 Mathieu Claude (Europcar) 00:06:52
bel BEL 155 Jonathan Breyne (Landbouwkrediet - Euphony) 00:08:36
chn CHN 156 Kin San Wu (Champion System) 00:08:45
can CAN 157 Will Routley (Spidertech Powered By C10) 00:09:25
aho AHO 158 Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthcare Presented By Maxxis) 00:09:31
MAS 159 Anuar Manan (Champion System) 00:09:47

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