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GP Pino Cerami
« on: July 15, 2017, 11:51 »

First, a short biography of Pino Cerami!

(on the last picture, with Ferdinand Bracke and Gaetan Bille when the latter won the 2012 edition)

Giuseppe Cerami was born on 28 March 1922 in Misterbianco, Sicily, close to Catania. He’s one of the first Sicilian-born champion: long before Mr Nibali… His nickname Pino is short for the affectionate name his mother gave him: Giuseppino.  The family migrated to Belgium when Giuseppino was aged 5. His father Giovanni found a job in the steel industry in Montignies-sur-Sambre near Charleroi, the so-called “Black Land” (“Pays noir”) because of all the coal mines around. The Cerami family belongs to the first wave of South Italian migration to Belgium (1922-1930), a second one from 1946 to 1946 was even more impressive after the so-called Coal Treaty. Other cyclist Carmine Preziosi is from that second wave (and also landed around Charleroi). In total about 300,000 Italians migrated to Belgium in those two periods to do the hard jobs that we – lazy Northerners – no longer wished to do. *it

Pino started cycling in 1937 and won his very first race in 1938. World War II broke out and Pino was destined to forced labour for Germany. After the war during which he lost his father, Pino found a job in the steel company Hainaut-Sambre in Couillet (now Cockerill-Sambre after a merger and owned by ArcelorMittal), in order to support his family before finally turning pro cyclist in 1947 at age 24, when without steady wages. 1949 was the year of a timid breakthrough. He was in the lead of the Walloon Arrow when Coppi attacked. Jean-Paul Ollivier noted in his Coppi biography that the latter did not know him though he was Italian like him because he was a migrant. Eventually Pino was 4th in the race that saw the comeback of Rik Van Steenbergen to outsprint Coppi in a controversial way. Pino was then 2nd to Bruno Landi in the 1953 Tour of Lombardy when the top favourites Fiorenzo Magni and Stan Ockers were misdirected. Pino got the Belgian citizenship in 1956 and then went on to make a name for himself in a sort of “second youth”, winning Paris-Roubaix and the Walloon Arrow in 1960 at age 37 - that Paris-Roubaix was the first live covered cycling race ever –, winning Paris-Brussels in 1961 at age 38 and winning a stage at the 1963 Tour of France at age 41, the year he got his last selection for the World Championship, one of the few riders to remain loyal to Van Looy in the Belgian team. He remained a much-loved figure in Wallonia ever after he retired. He was joyful, exuberant and made guest appearances for comedy shows unrelated to cycling.

The GP Pino Cerami was created by the Vélo club Wasmuellois (now Vélo Club Cerami Organisation), in 1964, one year after Pino retired from professional racing. At that time there were a lot of tribute races to former riders but usually they would not last. It’s amazing that the GP Cerami managed to stand the test of time 53 years after creation with only 3 years unheld (1993, 1997, 2009).

Some valuable names in the palmarès: Eddy Merckx in 1966 (though he was a neopro), Ferdinand Bracke in 1973 (who was keen to win as a close friend of Pino’s and Flemish migrant to the “Pays noir” himself), Gerrie Knetemann in 1978 & 1984 (in his comeback year after the terrible Dwars door België crash), Joop Zoetemelk in 1980 & 1981, Bernard Hinault in 1983 and …  :P AG demands mentioning Philippe Gilbert in 2015  :lol , to make it 7 wins by former World Champion road race. Jelle Wallays is the defending champion.

An edition that struck me in recent years was 2005 when multi-talent Kai Reus (sadly was hit by a nasty crash and never was the same rider afterwards), still a U23 for Rabobank Development defied the experienced Bert De Waele in the Tienne du Dragon and outsprinted him. Tom Stamsnijder was then 17th also for Rabobank Development. One of the rare edition covered by RTBF Sat in those years. 

The race was first held in Wasmuel, obviously but has been moved to Grand-Hornu, a historical place of the “Pays noir”, centre of the coal industry. This year from Saint-Ghislain to Frameries.

Unfortunately the iconic climb of the race, the Tienne du Dragon in Colfontaine has been dropped from the route since 2014 because it’s too expensive for the town of Colfontaine to secure safety for the race.  It was the last edition with Pino Cerami still alive. He left us on 20 September at age 92. :( So Pino has never seen the race moved from the Thursday of the Paris-Roubaix week (day after Ghent-Wevelgem which also has been moved since) to late July and never saw his race adopting no less than the Kapelmuur of Geraardsbergen but early in the race.

GPM 1 : Km 41,3 – La Houppe (1600m al 5,2%)
GPM 2 : Km 46,2 – Les Plachettes (1220m al 5,6%)
GPM 3 : Km 58,8 – Muur (1150m al 7,5%)
GPM 4 : Km 64,1 – Denderoordberg (720m al 7%)
GPM 5 : Km 108,7 – Bois d’Erbisoeul (1700m al 2,9%)
GPM 6 : Km 137,7 – Côte d’Elouges (1200m al 4,3%)
GPM 7 : Km 154,1 – Côte d’Autreppe (1000m al 3,2%)

Technical Guide with Map and Profile in it

The race is 210.8km, this year.

Starting teams:
Provisional Startlist
BMC (Jempy Drucker, Nathan Van Hooydonck, Ben Hermans,…) but they are not present on the official start list)
Lotto Soudal (Jelle Wallays, Tosh Van der Sande, Kris Boeckmans, Jasper De Buyst, James Shaw, …)
Quick Step (Julian Alaphilippe, Rémi Cavagna, Tim De Clercq, Yves Lampaert, …)

Veranclassic (Roy Jans, Kevyn Ista, Maxime Vantomme, …)
Wanty Groupe Gobert (Jérôme Baugnies, Xandro Meurisse, Tom Devriendt, …)
Veranda’s Willems (Wout Van Aert – not sure if confirmed though –, Tim Merlier, Timothy Dupont, Dries De Bondt, Gaetan Bille, Michael Goolaerts …)
Sport Vlaanderen (Piet Allegaert, Bert Van Lerberghe, Preben Van Hecke, …)
Gazprom Rusvelo (Mister Sergeï Lagutin, Aleksei Tsatevich, …)
Aqua Blue Sport (Stefan Denifl, Andrew Fenn, Lasse Norman Hansen, Adam Blythe, …)
Direct Energie (Bryan Coquard, Jonathan Hivert, …)
Fortuneo (Boris Vallée – back after the Dunkirk crash –, Anthony Delaplace, …)
Roompot (Brian Van Goethem, Coen Vermeltfoort, Taco Van der Hoorn, …)

Ago Aqua Service (Franklin Six, Lionel Taminiaux, …)
Armée de terre (Damien Gaudin, Fabien Canal, …)
Isowhey Sport (Scott Sunderland, …)
Leopard (Alexander Krieger, …)
Pauwels Sauzen (David Boucher – the « Davidomètre », the French guy who managed to be Belgian champion as elite without contract -, Barry Markus, Dieter Bouvry, …)
Roubaix Lille Métropole (Joeri Calleeuw,…)
T-Palm (Max Emil Korner, …)
Lotto Kern Haus (Joshua Huppertz, …)
Team Wiggins (they are also mentioned by but not on the off website)

I think it's aired on Eurosport and so possibly also streamed.  ;)
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  • "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)


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    Re: GP Pino Cerami
    « Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 20:03 »
    Wout Van Aert confirmed his participation on his Twitter.  :cool

    Morgen terug koers in GP Pino Cerami! Het vervolg van mijn zomerprogramma staat op  Race schedule is online now!

    The rest of his summer agenda goes with Rad am Ring - Nurburg, Dwars door Het Hageland and the Lowlands Tour. But the GP Cerami will be his comeback race after the Belgian Nats. So two weeks off since. Not sure if he'll be in top form. Wait & see.

    On, they do not seem to think there is any live coverage but pretty sure I saw a mention of the race on Of course with the Tour of France going on it's unlikely that there can be any live coverage on TV in Europe but possibly some highlights, why not?  ;)

    Some additional info about the GP Cerami:

    In 2008 the race was organised by TRWORG (which means the organisers of the Tour of Wallonia and of the Wallonia GP in September). In 2009 the race could not be held due to financial and organising problems. In 2010 a new committee took back the organisation of the race: Le cerami (non-profit organisation), presided by Édouard Gallée along with among others Laurent Haegeman, President of the Entente Cycliste Acrenoise, organising club of the Grand Prix Claude Criquielion (the cycling club of Deux-Acren, Deux-Acren being the hometown of the Criquiélion family). Former World Champion and great Ardennes specialist Claude Criquiélion also was in the committee apparently until his brutal death to a CVA in 2015 (:(). His son Mathieu Criquiélion - a former rider himself - has been the organiser ever since his father's death.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: GP Pino Cerami
    « Reply #2 on: July 19, 2017, 08:48 »
    Apparently there's a written live coverage in French AND in Dutch on for those of you who understand either of the two languages.  ;)

    Post Merge: July 19, 2017, 11:10
    Alaphilippe makes long awaited return to racing at GP Cerami

    Frenchman leads Quick-Step Floors in first race since April

    Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe will make his return to racing at the GP Cerami. The Quick-Step Floors rider hasn't raced since April with a knee injury knocking him out of the both Ardennes Classic and Tour de France.

    Alaphilippe's last race was the Vuelta al Pais Vasco when he abandoned on stage 5 due to his pre-patellar lesion knee injury.

    "I am really looking forward to returning to the peloton and race again! I would not say I am more motivated than normal because I'm always motivated, but I really miss racing, and it is something special for me to come back," said Alaphilippe who has been training in Livigno and taking in the Stelvio and Gavia climbs.

    "I need some kilometers and hours of racing to get the speed back in my legs. I do not have any expectations for myself, and just want to enjoy, help my teammates and then we will see what goals I can set for the rest of my season."

    Joining Alaphilippe for the 210.8km race from Saint Ghislain to Frameries will be Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Maximilian Schachmann and Pieter Serry.

    Jelle Wallays of Lotto Soudal won the GP Cerami last year ahead of Jerome Baugnies (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).
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  • « Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 11:10 by Echoes, Reason: Merged DoublePost »


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    Re: GP Pino Cerami
    « Reply #3 on: July 19, 2017, 19:21 »
    Just amazing!

    The decisive escape occurred with 120km to go: Jempy Drucker (BMC), Wout Van Aert (Vérandas Willems-Crelan), Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step), Benjamin Thomas (Armée de Terre). In the hill zone, though it does not seem to me that it was exactly on a climb.

    4'25" with 92km to go and still 4' with 40km to go. On entering the final lap, they still had 1'30" (they had chance). With 5km to go, 57", that was in the pocket!

    Dries Devenyns attacked with 2km to go and then Benjamin Thomas but eventually Wout Van Aert outsprinted Jempy Drucker, Dries Devenyns and then Benjamin Thomas.

    It's Wout Van Aert's third win in 1.1 races, this season. I'm wondering if he lost any in that category? What a talent! So I guess I can confirm he was present.  :P Benjamin Thomas is definitely a rider to watch out for as well.  ;)

    (picture from L'avenir/

    Wout Van Aert Mightily Wins the 51st GP Pino Cerami

    Wout Van Aert and his three breakaway mates deceived everybody this Wednesday by attacking with about 120km to go.
    We did not mean to hold through. We thought we would have been caught on the local laps but the peloton granted us too big a lead. In the finale, we believed in it and managed to keep a gap in order to fight for win.
    said the World champion cyclocross.

    Three riders had quickly found a way to escape: Rémi Cavagna (Quick Step Floors), Jimmy Raybaud (Armée de Terre) and Gaëtan Pons (Leopard Pro Cycling). Other Frenchman Dylan Kowalski (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) then managed to join the trio but the Kapelmuur tolled the bell for the morning breakaway.

    A new breakaway then took form shortly before the feed zone (km 82) with Jempy Drucker and Wout Van Aert, later joined by Dries Devenyns and Benjamin Thomas. With 50km to go the escapees' lead was still up to 2'50". They had a 5' maximum lead.

    Lotto-Soudal and Veranclassic which had been trapped carried the chase in vain, on the local laps.

    The finish was on a slightly uphill false flat.

    Timothy Dupont outsprinted the peloton ahead of Roy Jans.

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  • Echoes

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    Re: GP Pino Cerami
    « Reply #4 on: July 20, 2017, 20:40 »

    Once Again Van Aert Shows Class on the Road: World Champion Cyclocross Wins GP Cerami

    Second paragraph from Het Laatste Nieuws gives interesting additional info.

    Wout Van Aert Keeps Focusing on Cyclocross (Jeeezz how many times will he be asked again, it should be tiresome in the end to answer the same question time and again :fp)

    I want to honour my rainbow jersey throughout next winter. I remain a cyclocrosser in the first place.

    It almost never happens that the [early?] breakaway holds through till the end. I did not believe we had any chance when I started it. I think the peloton miscalculated a bit. The lead group was very strong and gave the best of themselves. I thought we would be caught on the local laps and that we were heading towards a bunch sprint but it did not seem to be the case. My form is excellent even after a short rest period. I like being fresh at the start of a race. The coming weeks I'm riding the  Rad Am Ring in Germany (30/07), Dwars door het Hagenland (05/08) and the Lowlands Tour (07-13/08). My first World Tour race. I want to do well there.

    Jempy Drucker of Luxembourg has to narrowly admit defeat to Wout Van Aert [the gap seemed big enough on the picture though].
    The lead group was very strong. In the finale, we raced all out and we still had energy left to keep a lead over the peloton. Wout Van Aert was the strongest. I did not have the legs to catch up with him in the sprint. I will start the Tour of Wallonia with a good condition. That race is an objective.

    [Funny that the first two both were or are cyclocross riders and they both raced for Fidea as U23 riders.  :cool]

    Dries Devenyns:
    I've just had a high altitude training session behind my back. For my return to the peloton it is a nice result. I chose not to attack in the finale. The peloton was close, so I mostly wanted to keep an ideal collaboration between the leaders. The local laps were not suited for a late attack either. In the sprint against Van Aert I had no chance.

    Dries Devenyns cannot defend his title in the Tour of Wallonia because Quick Step Floors does not start. [:-x] He will race the Clasica San Sebastian.


    It was hard to find some French-speaking Belgian newspaper reporting about the race. Only the local edition of Sudpresse - La Nouvelle Gazette (édition centre - which means the area of Mons close to where the race was taking place) - in the regional part of the newspaper. The rest of Sudpresse just ignores it. Shameless, really!!

    Wout Van Aert Wins at the Cerami

    World Champion Cyclocross is the great winner of the 51st Cerami Grand Prix

    The 51st Pino cerami saw the first victory of a defending World Champion in its history [wow I didn't really think about that either, lol]. Belgian Wout Van Aert, owner of the cyclocross rainbow jersey won dominated established roadies such as Jempy Drucker and Dries Devenyns at the end of an improbable 4-man breakaway of 120km. Evidence that cycling is not an exact science...

    Cycling is not an exact science. The most established models always end up collapsing, like morning breakaway, return of the peloton in the last race hour and bunch sprint. The current Tour of France gives regular examples of that. Yet yesterday things were different. After a first breakaway caught up in Geraardsbergen (km 80) [with Rémi Cavagna, and others as mentioned above], a quartet took form with 120km to go. *lu Jempy Drucker, *be Wout Van Aert and Dries Devenyns, *fr Benjamin Thomas saw their lead on the peloton grow up in an improbable way. At the start of the final laps in Frameries, the leaders whose lead had a peak at 5', still had a margin of 2'50". 

    We did not mean to hold through. We thought we would have been caught on the local laps but the peloton granted us too big a lead. In the finale, we believed in it and managed to keep a gap in order to fight for win.

    Never could the peloton led by Lotto-Soudal and WB Veranclassic - who were the fall-guys - letting the leaders fight for the win.

    It was impossible to attack in the finale. So I chose to take turns in order to maintain the lead on the peloton which was getting closer. The strongest won in Frameries. It was impossible for me to outsprint Van Aert.
    said Dries Devenyns.

    The World Champion Cyclocross got his third road win of the season after the Tour of Limburg and the Elfstedenronde [it's weird that the author of the article  does not translate that race into French as is usually done in the Francophony!].

    It's the kind of races I like. I'm still in a very good shape after a rest period. Winning a resumption race is very good for the rest of my summer agenda [races mentioned above]. For the rest I'm Cyclocross World Champion and it still is my sport. I want to wear my rainbow jersey as often as possible next winter.


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