Van Petegem Wins Paris-Roubaix
Peter Van Petegem (Lotto) has scored back-to-back World Cup wins. The Belgian followed last week's victory at the Tour of Flanders with today's win at Paris-Roubaix. The Lotto rider took a three-up sprint from Dario Pieri (Saeco) and Vyatcheslav Ekimov (U.S. Postal Service) to win the 261-km Hell of the North in 6:11:35. Van Petegem's victory gives him the World Cup lead after three rounds.
The first break went early. At 15 km, Antonio Cruz (U.S. Postal Service), Davide Bramati (Quick Step), Kai Hundertmarck (Telekom), Rubens Bertogliati and Alberto Loddo (both from Lampre), Julien Laidoun (Ag2r), Damien Nazon (Brioches La Boulangerie), Corey Sweet and Cedric Herve (both from Credit Agricole), Jose Garcia Acosta (iBanesto.com), Ludovic Capelle (Landbouwkrediet), Eddy Seigneur (Jean Delatour), and Malte Urban (Team Coast) sallied off of the front. The escapees reached the first of 26 sections of pave with a 3:30 lead. At 140 km, Sergei Ivanov (Fassa Bortolo), Nicolas Jalabert (CSC), Marc Wauters (Rabobank), Leif Hoste (Lotto), and Tom Steels (Landbouwkrediet) attacked from the peloton. Andrea Tafi (CSC) led the pursuit. The bunch caught the second group in the Arenberg Forest. With about 60 km left, Tafi, Van Petegem, Servais Knaven, and Romans Vainsteins (Vini Caldirola) attacked from the bunch. This move created a shakeout that formed a 13-man lead group with 40 km remaining. The leaders were Tafi; Van Petegem; Daniele Nardello, Hundertmarck, and Rolf Aldag (all from Telekom); Pieri; Ivanov; Wauters; Vainsteins; Nazon; and Ekimov and Max van Heeswijk (U.S. Postal Service). This group was more than a minute ahead of a chase group that contained defending champion Johan Museeuw (Quick Step). Pieri and Aldag attacked and forged a 20-second lead with 35 km left. Four km later, van Heeswijk punctured and crashed. Ekimov bridged up to Pieri and Aldag. The German dropped off of the pace, but Van Petegem bridged up to the two leaders. With three km left, Ekimov tried to solo away from his companions. Van Petegem took his wheel, and the leaders entered Roubaix's velodrome together. From the top of the banking, Ekimov sprang into the lead. The Russian never had a chance. Van Petegem powered past him and took Pieri with him. Pieri had bittersweet feelings about his second place. "I feel happy but also disappointed," the Saeco rider said. "...I think I did a great ride." And so he did!
In the World Cup, Van Petegem has 200 points to 117 for Pieri and 100 for Milan-San Remo winner Paolo Bettini (Quick Step).
Round 4 will be the Amstel Gold Race on April 20. Will Van Petegem continue his winning ways? Will a Dutch rider such as Michael Boogerd or Erik Dekker win on home ground? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
Are you interested in top-flight cycling eyewear? If the answer is yes, check out e-rudy.com. E-rudy.com has stylish and functional cycling eyewear for cyclists like you. Click on the e-rudy.com link at the www.roadcycling.com website to learn what e-rudy.com has to offer you.