One of the biggest professional kermises in Flanders is the Gullegem Koerse, first held in 1942 when Belgian legend Marcel Kindt claimed victory.
Since then it’s been won by many of the hardest kermis riders in the game – Willy Tierlinck, Wilfried Nelissen, Nico Eeckhout, Gert Omloop to name a few.
Not to mention some of the best roadmen of their eras; including Nico Mattan, Peter Van Petegem and Philippe Gilbert.
And for this year’s edition we can boast of a Scottish winner in Andy Fenn – well, his mum is Scottish and he rode the Commonwealth Games for us in Delhi.
But anyone who can win big pro kermises and wants to ride in the blue of Scotland gets my vote.
Fenn is 22 now but won his first British title at just 10 years old and then a clutch of British U16 track titles.
As a junior in 2008 he added to his collection of British medals on road and track; but more significantly he took European junior titles in the pursuit and team pursuit.
The same year he won the junior version of Paris – Roubaix and in 2010 became British U23 road champion on a savage course around Pendle.
Turning pro for AN Post in 2011 he was one of the animators of the 2011 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and was 5th in the U23 Paris-Roubaix – but more significantly, he took a stage win in the Tour de Bretagne and won the prestigious Memorial Van Coningsloo.
He topped the year off nicely with a brilliant third place in the U23 Worlds in Copenhagen; with his reward a contract with QuickStep for last season.
He certainly hit the ground running with two wins in Majorca, early season and posted a raft of top ten placings from Turkey to Beijing, as well as sharing in the QuickStep TTT victory in the Tour de l’Ain.
This season he’s come close to victory in Langkawi, Turkey and Picardie but on Tuesday there was no ‘close’ about it and it was Fenn atop the podium with BMC stars Greg Van Avermaet fourth and Philippe Gilbert seventh.
He took time to speak to VeloVeritas the day after his great result.
Congratulations, Andy – a solo win for a sprinter?
“The race is like that, it’s an attacking race, I saw a chance and I took it.”
Talk us through the race.
“There were attacks from the gun with riders going up the road, I chose my moment and went across – there were 15 in the group and we were away all day.
“Initially we had 30/40 seconds but it went to three minutes. With 25 K to go there were more attacks and the group whittled down with Van Avermaet and Gilbert both there.
“Van Avermaet went away with a couple of riders and I got across leaving seven of us in the lead.
“There was a lot of attacking and I saw my chance and took it with eight or nine K to go and won alone; Yves Lampaert (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) was second, and Benjamin Verraes (Accent Jobs-Wanty) was third.”
Van Avermaet and Gilbert – strong guys.
“Yes; Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) was one of the 15 too; he’s very strong and the two guys on the podium with me are good riders, too.”
The race always has a big field; one year they had 270 plus.
“They had 213 this year. It’s one of the biggest of the pro kermises race and there’s money behind it; they pay the best teams to ride it.
“We had a full team here and there was BMC and Topsport; that way the organisers are guaranteed a good race. It’s a typical kermis course, pan flat with a lot of corners.”
It must be a relief to get your first win?
“I’ve been close in Langkawi, Turkey and Picardie so yeah, it’s good to get the win.”
You were sixth on GC in Picardie.
“It was sprinters’ GC with Kittel winning overall, I think I could have made the GC podium but I messed up the last stage.”
Wouter Weylandt won Gullegem twice and Patrick Lefevre won in 1977; was any of that in your mind?
“To an extent, but it’s a big race for the team with the sponsors being based locally.
“It’s not like we were under pressure to win but we were certainly expected to perform – so it was cool to get the victory.”
Your programme has been pretty heavy this year.
“Yeah, I’ve ridden Down Under, Langkawi, Catalonia, Turkey and Belgium.
“I haven’t actually ridden that many one day races.
“It takes it of you but it’s what you have to do if you want to build up for a Grand Tour – I hope to ride the Vuelta, this year.”
Have you raced much with Cav?
“Only once, in the Scheldeprijs but I was ill and didn’t finish – but I’ll be racing on the same time as him in a week or two.
“And of course at the British Champs in Glasgow.
“I’m looking forward to that with it being on home soil and the try out for the Commonwealth Games road race course.”
And Boonen is back with a bang.
“I was helping him in the sprints in the Tour of Belgium; he’s going a lot better than people expected – I think he surprised even himself.
“But with it being his home tour he wanted to do a ride.”
And any gossip for us on Uran coming to the team?
“We’ve heard rumours, of course, but the team keeps quiet about stuff like that; we don’t get to hear about it until the training camps – or we read it in the press!”
Result - Gullegem Koerse 2013
2 (Belgium) Yves LAMPAERT Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloi… + 21″
3 (Belgium) Benjamin VERRAES Accent Jobs-Wanty
4 (Belgium) Greg VAN AVERMAET BMC Racing Team
5 (Belgium) Tom DEVRIENDT EFC Omega Pharma Quickste…
6 (Belgium) Guillaume VAN KEIRSBULCK Omega Pharma-Quickstep
7 (Belgium) Philippe GILBERT BMC Racing Team + 29″
8 (Belgium) Frédéric AMORISON Crelan – Euphony + 1’15”
9 (Belgium) Benjamin DECLERCQ EFC Omega Pharma Quickste… + 1’17”
10 (Belgium) Alphonse VERMOTE An Post-Chainreaction
11 (Belgium) Lander SEYNAEVE EFC Omega Pharma Quickste…
12 (New Zealand) Ryan WILLS Selectie – Nieuw-Zeeland + 1’21”
13 (Belgium) Bart DE CLERCQ Lotto Belisol Team
14 (Netherlands) Lieuwe WESTRA Vacansoleil-DCM + 1’32”
15 (Belgium) Joeri STALLAERT Crelan – Euphony + 3’06”
16 (Belgium) Michael VAN STAEYEN Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloi…
17 (Belgium) Roy JANS Accent Jobs-Wanty
18 (Belgium) Andrew YDENS T.Palm-Pôle Cont. Wallon
19 (Belgium) James VANLANDSCHOOT Accent Jobs-Wanty
20 (Belgium) Giovanni DE MERLIER To Win-Josan
21 (Belgium) Christophe NOPPE Morgan Blue C.T.
22 (Belgium) Maxime FARAZIJN EFC Omega Pharma Quickste…
23 (Belgium) Kenzie BOUTTÉ Doltcini-Flanders
24 (Belgium) Jochen DEWEER VL Technics Abutriek CT
25 (Belgium) Frederique ROBERT Lotto Belisol Team
26 (Belgium) Jef VAN MEIRHAEGHE Lotto Belisol U23
27 (Belgium) Florent DELFOSSE Color Code-BioWanze
28 (Germany) Michael SCHWEIZER Team NSP-Ghost
29 (Netherlands) David VAN EERT Start-Trigon CT
30 (Belgium) Francesco VAN COPPERNOLLE Ventilair-Steria Cycling …
31 (Belgium) Frederik VANDEWIELE Ventilair-Steria Cycling …
32 (Belgium) Evert VANNESTE VL Technics Abutriek CT
33 (Belgium) Louis CONVENS T.Palm-Pôle Cont. Wallon
34 (Latvia) Andris SMIRNOVS Doltcini-Flanders
35 (Belgium) Kevin VERWAEST Doltcini-Flanders
36 (Japan) Yu TAKENOUCHI Colba-Superano Ham
37 (Lithuania) Gediminas KAUPAS Team Differdange – Losch
38 (Belgium) Joren TOUQUET CT Soenens-Construkt Glas
39 (Belgium) Joeri PERSOON CT Soenens-Construkt Glas
40 (Belgium) Joeri BUEKEN Crelan – Euphony
41 (Ireland) Jack WILSON An Post-Chainreaction
42 (Belgium) Gerry DRUYTS EFC Omega Pharma Quickste…
43 (Belgium) Antoine LELEU Color Code-BioWanze
44 (Belgium) Kenny BOUVRY Terra Footwear-Bicycle Li…
45 (Israel) Frank SHAKED DNCS/PRO 2012 CT
46 (Belgium) Jonas RICKAERT Ovyta – Eijssen – Acrog
47 (Belgium) Robbe VANGHELUWE Capino-Geldhof Cycling Te…
48 (Belgium) Ruben DE MAREZ WT Decock-Sportivo Moorse…
49 (Belgium) Jeffrey MELLEMANS Melbotech CT
50 (Belgium) Ludwig DE WINTER Color Code-BioWanze
51 (Belgium) Kurt HOVELYNCK Crelan – Euphony
52 (France) Denis FLAHAUT Colba-Superano Ham
53 Verenigde StatenRatcliff ALISTER Team 3M
54 (Belgium) Ritchie DENOLF EFC Omega Pharma Quickste…
55 (Belgium) Matthias VANDEWALLE CT Soenens-Construkt Glas
56 (Belgium) Isaak BULTYNCK WT Decock-Sportivo Moorse…
57 (Belgium) Laurens SWEECK KDL Cycling Team
58 (Netherlands) Tom VERMEER Cyclingteam Jo Piels
59 (Belgium) Davy COMMEYNE Accent Jobs-Wanty
60 (Belgium) Jonathan DUFRASNE Wallonie-Bruxelles
61 (Netherlands) Piotr HAVIK EFC Omega Pharma Quickste…
62 (Belgium) Dieter CLAUS Terra Footwear-Bicycle Li…
63 (Belgium) Ian VANSUMERE T.Palm-Pôle Cont. Wallon
64 (Lithuania) Vytautas KAUPAS Team Differdange – Losch
65 (GB) Robert CRAMPTON Terra Footwear-Bicycle Li…
66 (Belgium) Joachim VANREYTEN Ovyta – Eijssen – Acrog
67 (GB) Joshua CUNNINGHAM An Post-Chainreaction
68 (Norway) Even SANGNES Selectie – (Norway)
69 (Belgium) Kevin CLAEYS Crelan – Euphony
70 (Belgium) Vincent VANHOUTTEGHEM WT Decock-Sportivo Moorse…
71 (Belgium) Evert VANDROMME Ventilair-Steria Cycling …
72 (Belgium) Elroy ELPERS To Win-Josan
73 (Belgium) Lorenzo DERYCKE VL Technics Abutriek CT
74 (Belgium) Jerome KERF Color Code-BioWanze
75 (New Zealand) Joel STEARNES Terra Footwear-Bicycle Li…
76 (Belgium) Sven NECKEBROECK Terra Footwear-Bicycle Li…
77 (Belgium) Gert-Jan DE VOS Ovyta – Eijssen – Acrog
78 (Belgium) Gilles DEVILLERS Crelan – Euphony
79 (Germany) Dirk FINDERS To Win-Josan
80 (Belgium) Kenneth VANBILSEN Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloi…
81 (Belgium) Quentin BERTHOLET Wallonie-Bruxelles
82 Verenigde StatenShane BRALEY Terra Footwear-Bicycle Li…
83 (Belgium) Kenn SIMON To Win-Josan
84 (Belgium) Quentin VAN HEUVERSWIJN Color Code-BioWanze
85 (Argentina) Mauricio FRAZER Selectie – (Argentina)
86 (Belgium) Gijs VAN HOECKE Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloi…
87 (Belgium) Jan GHYSELINCK Cofidis, solutions crédit
88 (New Zealand) Sean JOYCE Terra Footwear-Bicycle Li…
89 (Belgium) Anthony VAN DEN BERGHE CT Soenens-Construkt Glas
90 (Belgium) Miel PYFFEROEN CT Soenens-Construkt Glas
91 (Belgium) Jeroen SNICK Terra Footwear-Bicycle Li…
92 (Belgium) Jonathan DEWITTE Wallonie-Bruxelles
93 (Latvia) Janis DAKTERIS Team Differdange – Losch
94 (Belgium) Maarten NEYENS Lotto Belisol Team
95 (GB) Joshua TEASDALE Terra Footwear-Bicycle Li…
96 (Belgium) Steve BEKAERT Burgos BH-Castilla y Leon
97 (Lithuania) Egidijus JUODVALKIS Crelan – Euphony
98 (Belgium) Laurent VANDEN BAK An Post-Chainreaction
99 (Belgium) Gianni BOSSUYT Morgan Blue C.T.
100 (Belgium) Frederik VERKINDEREN Team 3M
101 (Belgium) Julien DECHESNE T.Palm-Pôle Cont. Wallon
102 (Belgium) Diego CLARYSSE Melbotech CT
103 (Belgium) Justin VAN HOECKE Wallonie-Bruxelles
104 (Belgium) Jonathan BARATTO T.Palm-Pôle Cont. Wallon
105 (Germany) Sebastian FORKE Team NSP-Ghost
106 (Belgium) Fabio POLAZZI Wallonie-Bruxelles
107 (Belgium) Laurent EVRARD Wallonie-Bruxelles
108 (Belgium) Gorik GARDEYN Doltcini-Flanders
109 (Belgium) Laurens DE VREESE Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloi…
110 (Spain) Carlos VERONA QUINTANILLA Omega Pharma-Quickstep
111 (Belgium) Matthias LEGLEY CT Soenens-Construkt Glas
112 (Belgium) Glenn VANDEMAELE T.Palm-Pôle Cont. Wallon
113 (New Zealand) Clinton AVERY Champion System Pro Cycli…
114 (Belgium) Ruben POLS Ventilair-Steria Cycling …
115 (Belgium) Stijn NEIRYNCK Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloi…
116 (Belgium) Kevin DE WEERT Omega Pharma-Quickstep
117 (Belgium) Stijn JOSEPH Ovyta – Eijssen – Acrog
118 (Belgium) Diether SWEECK KDL Cycling Team
119 (Belgium) Sander HELVEN Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloi…
120 (Belgium) Maxime ANCIAUX Wallonie-Bruxelles
121 (Belgium) Tom DERNIES Wallonie-Bruxelles
122 (Belgium) Gianni DENOLF Cyclingchamps
123 (Belgium) Wout FRANSSEN An Post-Chainreaction
124 (Belgium) Brecht DHAENE VL Technics Abutriek CT
125 (Australia) Chris JORY Selectie – (Australia)
126 (Belgium) Rutger ROELANDTS Ventilair-Steria Cycling …
127 (Belgium) Jürgen ROELANDTS Lotto Belisol Team
128 (Australia) Timothy CAMERON Selectie – (Australia)
129 (Belgium) David DESMECHT EFC Omega Pharma Quickste…
130 (Belgium) Floris DE TIER KDL Cycling Team
131 (Belgium) Tom BOONEN Omega Pharma-Quickstep
132 (Belgium) Stijn DEVOLDER Radioshack Leopard
133 (Belgium) Serge DE WORTELAER Color Code-BioWanze
134 (Belgium) Yannick EIJSSEN BMC Racing Team
135 (Belgium) Niels SCHITTECATTE Colba-Superano Ham
136 (Belgium) Kevin PAUWELS Sunweb-Napoleon Games
137 (Luxemburg) Kevin KOHLVELTER Team Differdange – Losch
138 (Belgium) Tim MERTENS Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloi…
139 (Belgium) Arne DE SCHUYTER VL Technics Abutriek CT
140 (Belgium) Steven VAN VOOREN An Post-Chainreaction
141 (Belgium) Nikolas MAES Omega Pharma-Quickstep
142 (Belgium) Preben VAN HECKE Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloi…
143 (Belgium) Baptiste PLANCKAERT Crelan – Euphony
144 (Belgium) Klaas LODEWYCK BMC Racing Team
145 (Belgium) Gianni MEERSMAN Omega Pharma-Quickstep
146 (Belgium) Tim DE TROYER Accent Jobs-Wanty
147 (Belgium) Olivier KAISEN Lotto Belisol Team
148 (Belgium) Louis VERHELST Etixx – Ihned
149 (Belgium) Tom VANBECELAERE WT Decock-Sportivo Moorse…
150 (Lithuania) Marius BERNATONIS Team 3M
151 (Belgium) Pieter GHYLLEBERT An Post-Chainreaction
152 (Belgium) Niko EECKHOUT An Post-Chainreaction
153 (Belgium) Sander CORDEEL Lotto Belisol Team
154 (Belgium) Jens WALLAYS EFC Omega Pharma Quickste…
155 (Belgium) Staf SCHEIRLINCKX Accent Jobs-Wanty
156 (Belgium) Hendrik SWEECK KDL Cycling Team
157 (Belgium) Sven NYS Crelan – Euphony
158 (Belgium) Jens KEUKELEIRE Orica-Greenedge
159 (Belgium) Tim DECLERCQ Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloi…
160 (Belgium) Klaas SYS Crelan – Euphony
161 (Belgium) Julien STASSEN Wallonie-Bruxelles
162 (France) Clément LHOTELLERIE Colba-Superano Ham
163 (Belgium) Christophe PREMONT Crelan – Euphony
164 (Belgium) Matthias VANDEN HEEDE Colba-Superano Ham
165 (Belgium) Mathias VAN HOLDERBEKE Doltcini-Flanders
166 Verenigde StatenManuel Bello CALIXTO Start-Trigon CT
167 (Belgium) Stijn DE BOCK CT Soenens-Construkt Glas
168 (Belgium) Niels WYTINCK An Post-Chainreaction
169 (Belgium) Koen BARBÉ Crelan – Euphony
170 (Belgium) Steven CAETHOVEN Accent Jobs-Wanty
171 (Spain) Salvador GUARDIOLA TORA Team Differdange – Losch
172 (Belgium) Garrit BROEDERS To Win-Josan
173 (Belgium) Jens DEBUSSCHERE Lotto Belisol Team
174 (Belgium) Jonathan BREYNE Crelan – Euphony + 3’53”
175 (GB) Jake TANNER Doltcini-Flanders + 4’25”
176 (Belgium) Manuel DE NAEGHEL Capino-Geldhof Cycling Te…
177 (Belgium) Glenn CAUWELIER VL Technics Abutriek CT + 5’43”
178 (Belgium) Ludwig DESREUMAUX WT Decock-Sportivo Moorse