PEZ Speak: Nico Mattan 2005 Gent-Wevelgem Winner


In 2005, Nico Mattan grabbed victory in one of the controversial editions of Gent – Wevelgem ever held. The newspapers ran and ran with it, however Sean Kelly noticed, “no issues” with the end result. Ed Hood caught-up with the charismatic Belgian to listen to Mattan’s model of that still-debated day.

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No stress

PEZ: The spring of 2005 was a lean one in your Lotto group, did you’re feeling underneath loads of stress going into the race?
Nico Mattan:
Not on me, the stress was on Van Petegem, he was team-leader and Steels, he was the second protected rider; I wasn’t paid to win races, they had been. I had superb kind coming in to the race, I had been third in De Panne, and Gent-Wevelgem passes inside 5 kilometres of my door, so my morale for the race was good. I by no means felt harassed going right into a race.

Mattan main Musseeuw in Brabantse Pijl

PEZ: Lotto had a big Walloon ingredient, it’s stated that a few of the Flandrians, such as you, weren’t actually accepted.
I had no issues with the group, however I had been with Cofidis earlier than and so they simply let me get-on with issues. I’ve all the time been a rider who likes a bottle of beer, at Cofidis it wasn’t an issue, they simply let me stay my very own life. At Lotto, if I went right into a bar for a beer it was within the newspapers, on the TV – “Mattan is consuming”, that was an issue for me about being with Lotto. I’ve been a professional for 14 years, that’s round double the typical rider’s profession; I wouldn’t have managed that if I drank an excessive amount of.

arundel bike t-wrench banner

Mattan main Belgian champion, Nico Eeckhout, in De Panne

PEZ: Inform us concerning the parcours of Gent-Wevelgem.
There are two races in Belgium the place the wind is the dominant issue, De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem; I’ve gained each of them. Positioning is all the pieces, two kilometres away from a nook or climb, I’m eager about the place I needs to be sitting on the street and within the bunch; you must preserve a place within the high 20 on a regular basis. I skilled on these roads day-after-day, I do know each one in every of them.

On residence roads

If you’re an Italian or Spanish rider you simply don’t know what’s coming-up and it’s inconceivable to do nicely. In Flanders it’s much more vital to know the course, it takes 4, 5, six makes an attempt earlier than you may win at Flanders. You may take Lance Armstrong on the peak of his July kind, drop him into Flanders and he couldn’t win. Other than the wind and good place, one other issue is that you must be extraordinarily cautious on the descent of the Kemmel – it’s very harmful. I can’t clarify it, however I actually don’t just like the Kemmel – it’s simply not my hill. My group in 2007, DFL, didn’t experience Flanders; so on that Sunday I took the group round a lot of the Gent-Wevelgem parcours to familiarise them with it for the Wednesday (Gent-Wevelgem was held on Wednesday), it’s important.

In Het Volk’07 with DFL

PEZ: Whereas we’re as regards to Flanders, what else is vital over the cobbles?
Other than situation and information of the course, the precise tyre stress for the cobbles is significant. Usually I experience 7/8 bars however for Flanders it’s 5 bars. Firstly I attempt the tyres of different riders, even skilled guys like Bettini would have their tyres too exhausting. The choices are made on the cobbles at Flanders and you may’t be snug and prepared if you’re bouncing-about in every single place.

Main his good friend and teammate Frank Vandenbroucke and Lars Michaelsen

Proud of third place and the win for VDB

PEZ: Gent-Wevelgem is a “sprinters basic” however you gained from a break.
It’s not typically gained by a rider alone, that’s true. Vandenbroucke gained on his personal in ’98; I used to be third that day and it was my first huge end result. In 2005 I attacked on the little hill simply after the Kemmel and eight or 9 of us went away. These roads are on my coaching circuit, I experience them just about day-after-day; the truth is I experience the final eight kilometres of Gent-Wevelgem day-after-day. Coming in to the finalé, Flecha had jumped away however I used to be closing-in on him with Baden Cooke chasing me; he was fading although and dropping floor. Flecha and Cooke had been using possibly 50/51 kph however I used to be using possibly 51/52 kph. Once I caught Flecha with round 600 metres to go, I might have ridden from there to the road with my arms within the air, however I didn’t take the chance. Flecha was drained and I used to be nonetheless robust, once I noticed him forward it was like a magnet drawing me in direction of him.

On the assault in Gent-Wevelgem 2005

Ought to Juan Antonio Flecha gained in 2005?

PEZ: Have been you upset by the allegations that you just had used the race vehicles to bridge-up?
By no means, persons are nonetheless speaking about that end, it gained’t be simply forgotten and neither will my win. Certain I rode within the slipstreams of motorbikes and vehicles the place I might, that’s a part of professional bike racing, however the automotive I used to be presupposed to have adopted was slowing-down to swing-off the end straight, doing possibly 40 kph, I used to be doing 50 plus. Should you have a look at the video, everybody was wanting forward at Flecha, I took everybody without warning.

Nico Mattan – The 2005 Gent-Wevelgem winner

Wevelgem 2005 Podium

PEZ: How was morale within the camp after your win?
We had a celebration till three within the morning, there have been 600 individuals there dancing on the tables and consuming beer.

Beer or champagne, Mattan appreciated each

PEZ: Is that the win that gave you most satisfaction?
For positive, my spouse, household and all my associates had been there. Freddy Maertens is an effective good friend of mine and he was in tears on the end. While you win on your own home territory, it’s very particular. In 2001, I gained the Tour of Piedmont, I beat Paolini and Sacchi on their very own floor. It was a giant win, however after it, you simply go to the following race, it’s not like profitable at residence.

You’ll be able to’t beat a motorcycle throw

# PEZ want to thank Nico for his time and persistence. #

Nico Mattan nonetheless likes a superb time, right here with Jo Planckaert and associates

2005 Gent-Wevelgem End result:
1. Nico Mattan (Davimaton-Lotto) in 4:53:07
2. Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) at 0:02
3. Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Caffita) at 0:09
4. Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo)
5. Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole)
6. Baden Cooke (Française des Jeux) at 0:16
7. Tom Steels (Davimaton-Lotto) 0:18
8. Simone Cadamuro (Domina Vacanze)
9. Erik Zabel (T-Cellular)
10. Stuart O’Grady (Cofidis)
11. Jaan Kirsipuu (Crédit Agricole)
12. Magnus Bäckstedt (Liquigas)
13. Marcus Ljungqvist (Liquigas)
14. Steven De Jongh (Rabobank)
15. Grégory Rast (Phonak)
16. Antonio Cruz (Discovery Channel)
17. Matti Breschel (CSC)
18. Stefan Van Dijk (MrBookmaker-Sports activities Tech)
19. Vladimir Gusev (CSC)
20. Marcus Burghardt (T-Cellular)
21. Robert Hunter (Phonak)
22. Ludovic Auger (Française des Jeux)
23. Lars Michaelsen (CSC)
24. Frédéric Guesdon (Française des Jeux)
25. Mathew Hayman (Rabobank)
26. Tom Boonen (Fast Step-Innergetic).

Watch essentially the most complete stay & ad-free protection of Gent-Wevelgem 2022 on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with stay polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, outcomes & extra – plus stream authentic and unique biking documentaries. Watch all of it with GCN+ on any machine.

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