Cyclingnews Boonen: We Should Have Waited For The Sprint

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  1. articlebot

    articlebot Member

    Jan 3, 2005
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    Amid the comedy of errors that was Etixx-QuickStep’s unravelling in the finale of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, Tom Boonen could at least summon up some gallows humour. As he leant across to congratulate the surprise winner Ian Stannard (Team Sky) on the podium, he quipped laconically that it had been “a nice team time trial.”
    Boonen had two Etixx-QuickStep teammates – Niki Terpstra and Stijn Vandenbergh – for company in the four-man winning move that formed after the cobbles at Haaghoek with 40 kilometres remaining, and nothing, it seemed, could come between the team and a first Omloop win since Nick Nuyens triumphed all of a decade ago.
    True, Stannard was able to sit on their wheels all the way to Ghent, but the race’s apparent strongman, Sep Vanmarcke (Lotto-JumboNL) had punctured out of the move. The deck was stacked so heavily in Etixx-QuickStep’s favour that it simply seemed a question of choosing exactly how they wanted to win it.
    They ultimately opted to play a rather surprising hand, however, as Boonen himself was the first to launch a telling attack in the finale. He punched his way clear with a little over four kilometres remaining, but a resilient Stannard clawed him back and grew in confidence thereafter.
    Stannard responded to Terpstra’s later move, too, and then pulled the Dutchman away with him inside the final three kilometres. Boonen gave a desperate, lone chase through the streets of Ghent’s southern outskirts, but had to settle for third place, while Terpstra contrived to lead out the sprint and lose it to Stannard.
    “We made the error of starting to attack,” Boonen said afterwards. “Stannard could have sat on our wheels for an hour. We didn’t have a lead of a few minutes on the chasers either. We should have just kept riding to make sure they didn’t bring us back.”

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