21st Grand-prix Ostfenster - 03.08.2008 - Contern


If the number of riders certainly wasn't big today in Contern, for the 21st edition of the race sponsored by Ostfenster and Romain Hilger, the quality was there for sure. In a race on a very selective course, the Bulgarian team from Nessebar, led by the National champion Georgi Georgiev, has dominated the event and its biggest opponents, Obando Brenes who will represent Costa Rica at the world championships and Luxemburgish rider Tom Kohn, to take all three podium spots.

48 riders have lined up for the Grand-prix Ostfenster, knowing well that a very tough race waits for them: a difficult course with the climb of Moutfort to be tackled fifteen times, heavy wind and some very strong contenders like the

Tom Kohn leads the break
Tom Kohn leads the brea
(photo: Max Gindt)

Bulgarians and the man from Cost-Rica, some contenders whose reputation is starting to cross the border from Belgian, where they have accomplished some nice efforts recently. And the race starts quickly with lots of attacks in the first kilometers. On the first climb in Moutfort, ten riders break away and quickly get 30 seconds of advantage: Pascal Triebel, Claude Degano, Tom Kohn (Tétange), Georgi Georgiev, Martin Grashev, Spas Gyorov (Nessebar), Gregori Brenes (Chevigny), Christophe Gillardin (Belvaux), Joël Zangerlé (Cessange) and Paul Bentner (Diekirch).

Most prominent victim of this move is Steve Fogen, who was at the back of the pack at the moment of the attack. The gap starts to grow and in the third lap, it comes close to the minute, so that Fogen has to react if he wants to come back to the front again. The professionnal from Preti Mangini starts to chase with Daniel Bintz among others and two more Bulgarians, Zaraliev and Stoychev.

Triebel and Fogen chase
Triebel and Fogen chase

At mid-race, the two groups are still seperated by forty seconds, whereas the main peloton is two minutes late and won't have anything to do with the battle for the first places.

But things are about to change a little bit since the Bulgarians accelerate again in the leading group which splits up after that. They are only 6 remaining in front: the three riders from Nessebar (Georgiev, Grashev, Gyorov), two from Tétange (Kohn and Degano) as well as the man from Costa Rica who rides for the Belgian team of Chevigny (Brenes). Exit for Triebel, Zangerlé, Gilladin and Bentner who fall back into the Fogen group. But Pascal Triebel hasn't spoken his last word: he wasn't able to hang onto the good group, but the legs are still good and he wants to come back to the front.

Triebel and Fogen start to chase again and slowly decrease their gap to the leaders, from 40 seconds, it goes down to 30, then to 20 seconds. They can see the men at the front, but are not able to bridge up. Steve Fogen, who hasn't done much races lately due to a severe injury, is running out of strength and so does Pascal Triebel,

Georgi Georgiev winner at the finish
Georgi Georgiev winner at the finish
(photo: Max Gindt)

who has already done a lot of efforts in the wind. And of course, at the front, the battle continues. Georgi Georgiev, the Bulgarian champion, accelerates with two laps to go and manages to get away, whereas Claude Degano is dropped after a good race on a course that is far to difficult for him. He waits for his friend Triebel and will finish the race in 6th position, together with his team-mate.

Because the riders that will take the five first places are already known, but not their order on the podium. Georgiev seems the strongest and he takes thirty seconds of advantage, whereas his team-mates of course don't work behind him. Obando Brenes, on his side, wants to keep some strength for the final climb and doesn't participate much in the collective effort, so that most of the work is done by Tom Kohn. The young rider does a fantastic job

The podium of the 21st GP Ostfenster
Le podium du 21ème GP Ostfenster

taking long turns at the front without asking too much questions. He will come out of the battle with his head high, even if he will not be rewarded well for all those efforts with a fifth place at the finish.

In the last lap, the Bulgarian rdiers of course take advantage of their number and, whereas the gap to the leading rider exceeds one minute, his team-mates start attacking one by one. Kohn and Brenes react once, twice, ... the fourth attack will be the good one for Spas Gyurov who breaks away in the climb of Moutfort and takes second place at the finish, 1'05" behind his team-mate and captain Georgiev. Tom Kohn continues to work at the back, but Brenes and Grashev also eye for the podium. The man from Costa-Rica attacks shortly before the last straight line, but is overtaken by the Bulgarian in the final sprint. The three riders from Nessebar take the three first places of the 21st Grand-prix François Faber with Georgiev, Gyurov and Grashev. They also have among them the best U23-rider with Spas Gyurov, whereas Tom Kohn wins the highly merited flowers for best Luxemburgish rider.

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