Mouris takes Ronde van het Groene Hart for strong Vacansoleil team
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mouris takes Ronde van het Groene Hart for strong Vacansoleil team

by Bjorn Haake at 12:02 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 

Jens Mouris used a timely move about ten kilometers from the finish to win the fourth edition of the Ronde van het Groene Hart, a race over 207 kilometers. He saved about ten seconds over a chase group, led home by Niko Eeckhout (An Post - Sean Kelly Team). The main peloton was more than a minute back.

Mouris was a popular man at the finish. He was congratulated by a Rabobank Soigneur, teammate Lieuwe Westra, competitor Servais Knaven (Milram), who desperately had tried to come back over the final little rise, and finally Mouris' girlfriend.

On a nice, sunny day the decision maker was the wind, as was expected in this Dutch race. Just as the group had slowed down, Mouris attacked on the right hand side of the road and nobody was initially willing to organize a chase. Westra further interrupted comeback attempts from the group.

A family man

Mouris crossed the line with both hands in the air. "This is really nice," he said with a smile in the Dutch afternoon sun. "I was extra motivated. My whole family was watching," he told Dutch television. He admitted that he didn't notice his folks in the final. "In the last ten kilometers I didn't see much anymore."

The Vacansoleil team kept the competitors in check in the final kilometers, when many attacks were made. "The work by the team was superb and it is fantastic that I was able to take home the win," Mouris said.

He had a maximum gap of around 13 seconds, but once the counters started and with a small rise - a bridge over the freeway - the lead tumbled. As he crossed the one-kilometer to go sign, he held about six seconds.

"In the end I didn't think and I didn't look back. I was just hoping that they wouldn't catch me."

Runner-up Eeckhout could only congratulate the winner. "He certainly was very strong," the Belgian admitted. Eeckhout tried to chase back. "But when I moved, I always had his teammate on my wheel, so there was no point."

Later, Rabobank (with Graeme Brown and Rick Flens) and Skil-Shimano tried to close the gap. "But the fact that they couldn't shows how strong Mouris was," Eeckhout said.

Winning would have been better, but Eeckhout still smiled over his runner-up spot. "Better to finish second than 47th," he concluded.

Results

1. Jens Mouris (Vacansoleil)
2. Niko Eeckhout (An Post - Sean Kelly Team)
3. Sep Vanmarcke (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator)
4. Graeme Brown (Rabobank)
5. Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano)
6. Geert Omloop (Palmans - Cras)
7. Pieter Van Speybroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator)
8. Wim De Vocht (Milram)

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