April 06, 2005
Mattan wins Ghent-Wevelgem; will he keep it?
At Ghent-Wevelgem today, Davitamon-Lotto's Nico Mattan took the win, but the win is still being examined by officials.
Mattan led by 20 seconds with a little more than 5 miles to ride, but was caught by a small group including Fassa Bortolo's Juan Antonio Flecha. Flecha took advantage of the letdown that usually happens when a break is caught to launch his own attack, and Mattan dropped his compatriots to try to chase back on to Flecha over the last few kilometers.
During that chase, Mattan reportedly drafted two cars and two motorcycles, part of the race caravan. He caught and passed Flecha in the final 300 meters, to win, at least for now, on a circuit he rides as part of his everyday training.
"Any sportsman couldn't be happy with this," said Fasso Bortolo director Giancarlo Ferretti. "I saw the pictures on television and I said to myself: what on earth is going on here!"
Mattan denied receiving any unauthorized help.
"You can't say it was down to the motorbikes that I won the Ghent-Wevelgem. I did the pedaling," he said.
Sometimes during big races with crowds in the streets, it's almost impossible for the riders to stay completely clear of the draft coming off the leading motorcycles. Here, it sounds like the support crew may have been complicit in helping local boy Mattan take the race.
VeloNews also reports that Discovery Channel's former Ghent-Wevelgem winner, George Hincapie, dropped out of the race with about 50 kilometers to race. In an interview in CyclingNews, Hincapie mentions:
"In years past, I might have done too much [at Gent-Wevelgem] and not saved enough energy for Paris-Roubaix. But hopefully I'm getting my form back after being sick, so I'm going to race hard [at Gent-Wevelgem] and do what I can there."
Cycloblog mentions that Discovery's Roger Hammond, who crashed and broke his arm on the race, and that one of Shimano's "neutral" service drivers was fined 400 Swiss francs for not clearing the course at the end of the race.
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Yeah, he'll keep it. They completed the review and though it wan't pretty, he's in. What happened to Georgie? Saving his legs for Paris-Roubaix? I think he's got the legs, he just ain't got the head for it.
Posted by: fixedgear at Apr 6, 2005 8:39:59 PM
Why, why, why don't you have an e-mail address? So many times I run across articles I think you'd be interested in, but i give up because I have no way of contacting you?
Can you please publish an e-mail address? Or at least put up a form for those of us to submit links.
BTW, here's a great article on Lance:
Posted by: Tom at Apr 7, 2005 2:45:29 AM
Tom: send them to email@example.com and I'll be sure to post them ASAP ;-)
Posted by: fixedgear at Apr 7, 2005 12:23:14 PM
"I dare, with the hand on the heart, to maintain that I have not won thanks to the cars or the motorbikes." Nico says no!
Posted by: Dan at Apr 9, 2005 2:33:54 PM