Friday, September 16, 2005


Nuyens, Leukemans Prove Their Worth in GP Wallonie

In the midst of all the Belgian team controversy (see above), two of De Cauwer’s charges proved that he’s pretty handy at picking on-form riders for the squad.

At the GP Wallonie on September 14, controversial World’s selection Bjorn Leukemans (Davitamon-Lotto) had a great chance to prove his worth with a win in Namur. But with a clear view of the line and the victory, he made an age-old mistake that seems to be becoming more frequent these days—raising his arms a bit early. This is a note to all riders: if it can happen to a solid veteran like Zabel in a race as big as Milan-San Remo, it can happen to you. The premature celebration allowed fellow World’s team member Nick Nuyens to justify his selection by charging through on the right for the win.

In an interview with , Nuyens recognized that, despite going wheel to wheel in the final against Leukemans, in Madrid, they’d all be riding together in the name of the homeland.

“Underway, Leukemans picked up bottles for his team. I asked one from him as well. ‘Then you can practice for next Sunday in Madrid,’ I said to him. He who goes to the World Championships must be sure that they can carry the national jersey. Gilbert, Leukemans and I are the men who must go with the attacks in the final. Tom (Boonen) has proven that he deserves the absolute leadership.”

Boonen rode a fine race in support of Nuyens to finish 10th, and Philippe Gilbert (FDJ) was 11th, showing that the Belgian squad is hitting on all cylinders for their respective trade teams. Now we’ll see what happens when they’re all thrown in a common pot.

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