Dwars door Vlaanderen: Chavanel is ready for 'De Ronde'

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26.03.2008/ The Flemish week opened today with Dwars door Vlaanderen. The 205 kilometres long race was won by French rider Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis). Chavanel is the first French rider to won the Belgian semi-classic. Quickstep's Steven de Jongh came in second and Belgian veteran Nico Eeckhout (Topsport Vlaanderen) completed the podium.

© Sirotti
Sylvain Chavanel tk Dwars door Vlaanderen (© Sirotti)

The riders had to climb 15 hills today. Dwars door Vlaanderen started in Roeselare and after 200 kilometres the riders crossed the finish in Waregem. Once again, the riders suffered form cold and bad weather. The riders faced shower after shower.

The bunch broke into several groups as they reached the hills. With 57 kilometres to go Nick Nuyens (Cofidis) stepped up the pace on the Knokteberg and created a first leading group with Stijn Devolder (Quickstep), Greg Avermaet (Silence – Lotto) and teammate Sylvain Chavanel. A little bit later Tom Boonen (Quickstep) and Fabian Cancellara (CSC) bridged-up to the front group.

The 14 riders did not stay away. Just before they were caught, three riders broke away: Martin Elmiger (AG2R), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) and Allan Johansen (CSC). Behind this group a group of eight riders were leading the chase. Chavanel did not hesitate and attacked out of the front group.

Teammate Nick Nuyens disorganised the chase in the group behind and countered every attack. Chavanel did what he had to do and won the 63rd edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen. Chavanel is the first French rider who has won the prestigious Flemish race.

Sylvain Chavanel said: "This is my third win this season, so I am really satisfied." The Cofodis rider continued by saying: "Today I learned to know this race and now I want to experience the Tour of Flanders." Chavanel started because of a bet with his sports directors: "I wanted to proof that I can do it in Flanders as well."

Chavanel concluded with "When I took off alone Nick [Nuyens, his teammate editor] controlled the race. I have to thank him. He will be my guide at the 'Ronde'."

CSC's Allan Johansen finshed fifth, the Danish rider showed a strong performance and was involved in several breaks. "Allan showed great strength of character, which he always does in bad weather. It was pretty cold out there today and that's Allan's strong point. I don't actually think he gets any faster than usual, but maybe the other riders let the weather get to them. Anyway it was great to see Allan up front again – he's had a good spring so far," said CSC sports director Scott Sunderland after the race.

Results Dwars door Vlaanderen2 008

1 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone                 4.32.27 (44.04 km/h)
2 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Quick Step                                            0.28
3 Niko Eeckhout (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen                                        
4 Andreas Klier (Ger) Team High Road                                             
5 Allan Johansen (Den) Team CSC                                                  
6 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Silence - Lotto                                            
7 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R - La Mondiale                                        
8 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) Mitsubishi-Jartazi                                    
9 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank                                                  
10 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone

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