Keukeleire takes West Vlaanderen overall, Boeckmans takes the sprint
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Keukeleire takes West Vlaanderen overall, Boeckmans takes the sprint

by Bjorn Haake at 11:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results

European Champion Kris Boeckmans (Topsport Vlaanderen) took the sprint in a wild final stage of the three days of West Vlaanderen. He beat Yohann Gene (Bbox Bouygues) as well as Jens Keukeleire (Cofidis). The latter didn't mind too much, as his podium finish gave him the overall victory.

The race started very nervous, since the first three riders were only separated by five seconds. What was worse, the top 67 riders were within 14 seconds. Nobody wanted to let the opportunity of time bonuses slip away. There was a constant jumping and regrouping, with the peloton cut in pieces at times in the Belgian wind.

After about 30km there was a general regrouping, but the truce didn't last long. About 50 riders went off the front, including the race leader, Jens Keukeleire. While he had no teammates with him, his immediate rivals, Robert Wagner and Bobbie Traksel, did not even make the break. Wagner's teammate, Mitchell Docker in fourth place overall,  also didn't make the front group.

After 30km of very hard chasing, driven by Vacansoleil, the peloton finally regrouped. Immediately, there was a counter by Bert de Waele, who was soon joined by three others.  While Adam Blyth (Omega Pharma), who figured in the previous danger-break and was lying in 12th overall, abandoned, the peloton brought back the De Waele group.

With a 100km left to go, six riders emerged at the front.  The group included third-placed Bobbie Traksel (Vacansoleil), Jaroslaw Marycz (Saxo Bank), Frédéric Amorison (Landbouwkrediet), Johan Coenen (Topsport Vlaanderen), Boy van Poppel and Maurice Vrijmoed (Rabobank Continental). Despite Traksel in the group, the lead quickly shot up and was over four minutes, with 83km to go.

The peloton didn't take any risks and started to cut into the lead. With 44km to go the break was done and over with.  But the peloton never had a dull moment and the next to go were  Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil), Fumiyuki Beppu (Radio Shack), Cédric Coutouly (Saur-Sojasun), Koen Barbé (Landbouwkrediet), Steve Houanard (Skil-Shimano), Wesley Kreder and Boy van Poppel ( both Rabobank Continental).

With 29km to go, the break passed the finish line for the first time, with three laps of around 10km left. The gap was 31 seconds to the peloton. It diminished to 16 seconds at the second passage. Into the final lap, it was only seven seconds left, giving Keukeleire the chance to win the overall.

Full report to come


1. Kris Boeckmans (Topsport Vlaanderen)
2. Yohann Gene (Bbox Bouygues)
3. Jens Keukeleire (Cofidis)

Final general classification

1. Jens Keukeleire (Cofidis)



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