Cycling...and Dutchman Gerrie Knetemann, winner of the Paris-Nice event last month, was again in tremendous?
Cycling...and Dutchman Gerrie Knetemann, winner of the Paris-Nice event last month, was again in tremendous form, when he took the Crystal Palace Grand Prix at the National Recreation Centre in London on Saturday (15 April). So far this season, Knetemann has raced more than 3,000 miles (4828 km), and is currently top man on the road. Second, behind the Dutchman, was British rider Paul Carbutt from Birmingham with Jan Huisjes of Holland, third.
SYNOPSIS: The race, which lasted for two hours, plus three laps, attracted a quality field, including the 1977 Tour de France winner, Bernard Thevenet of France.
Felice Gimondi of Italy, another Tour de France winner, was also there, as was Phil Edwards, the Italy-based British champion, who finished fourth.
There were 18 non-British riders in the 70-strong field, with Gimondi of the Bianchi-Faema team, and Trevenet, riding for Peugot-Esso, the star attractions. For Gimondi it was his first race in Britain since 1970.
Thevenet, like Gimondi reputed to be one of cycling's millionaires, set a lap record of just below 29 miles per hour (46 kilometres per hour) for the 1.3 mile lap (2 kilometres), but Gimondi, seemed content to follow mid-way down the pack. At this stage Knetemann, the form man from the T1 Raleigh McGregor team, was prepared to bide his time and steer clear of any trouble.
The strong head wind in the back straight posed problems, but Knetemann was well placed, and had strong support from his team-mates, who carefully blocked any attempted break.
There were 12 Primes, and one of the 50 prizes (94 U.S. dollars) went to Australian six-day star Don Alan. Allan, stage winner in the Tour of Spain, was riding for the Dutch Frisol team.
With two laps to go Knetemann and Carbutt were 13 seconds clear. Carbutt, with scarcely 300 miles in his racing legs, rode magnificently, but it was the bespectacled Dutchman, who timed his sprint perfectly to win.
It was a fine performance by Knetemann, whose team mate Jan Huisjes won the mass spring finish for third place.