Australian Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto), sprinted to his fourth victory in the Paris-Brussels cycling classic race Saturday.
McEwen, a winner in 2002, 2005 and 2006, achieved a third consecutive victory in the race between the French and Belgium capitals ahead of British rider Jeremy Hunt and Honorio Machado of Venezuela.
Norway’s Thor Hushovd, who had been expected to challenge the Australian,made his break too early, some 500m from the line, and dropped to eighth position after the 220km race.
“Winning the same race four times doesn’t happen often. It’s a fantastic achievement,” said McEwen after his 13th success of the season. “It was a very nervy final. It was very, very fast and it was impossible for a team to control the peloton. Hushovd started off very strong and powered forward, but obviously a little early.
“The final metres were very difficult,” he added. “I thought I’d die ten times over during the sprint. But I won which is the important thing.”
Ten riders tried to unsettle the sprinters by breaking away half-way through the race but couldn’t make any distance on the peleton.
McEwen’s delight was echoed by another rider – Belgian Frank Vandenbroucke, once again in the leading peleton in the final kilometres,three months after his suicide attempt.
“Today I’m proud of myself,” said the 32-year-old Vandenbroucke afterfinishing the race where he achieved his first major success in 1995.
© BikeRadar & AFP 2007