Cyclingnews Lefevere Laments Stannard’s Tactics In Omloop Het Nieuwsblad


Jan 3, 2005
Despite a numerical advantage in the day’s main break Etixx-QuickStep lost out on victory in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The race was won by Ian Stannard (Team Sky) who beat three riders from Patrick Lefevere’s team. Lefevere regretted the loss while heralding his team's performance, claiming that the chase group benefited from motorbikes, thus keeping the pressure on the riders. He also added that a team leader like Stannard should not stay on the wheels for 40 kilometres.
Forty kilometres from the finish line in Ghent the Etixx-QuickStep formation steamed forward on the Haaghoek cobbles in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Three of the team’s riders featured in the lead group – including top gun Tom Boonen - with Stannard hanging on for dear life on the cobbles. Few people believed the riders from Lefevere would give away the victory and Boonen seemed destined to win his first Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, filling a hole in his rich palmarès. It wasn’t to be.
Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) kept the pressure on from behind together with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep). They made the three Etixx riders in the lead group work hard to maintain their advantage as Stannard profited and remained in the wheels.

At 4.5km from the finish Boonen attacked, and Stannard closed the gap. Nikki Terpstra attacked and his teammate Stijn Vandenbergh followed him, joined by Stannard. Ultimately Stannard accelerated and only Terpstra was able to keep up, with an ailing Boonen at short distance. Terpstra led out the sprint but was beaten on the line by Stannard. A head-shaking Boonen crossed the line at a handful of seconds.
Lefevere was very cynical when asked for a reaction at the team bus shortly after the unexpected defeat. His team always features several favourites for the win at the Omloop but they have failed to convert that into a win since 2005 when Nick Nuyens won.
“It hurts, that’s true,” Lefevere said. “I can’t blame the team for anything. I’m proud we added colour to the race. We’re ready but it’s very hard to win. With Stannard on the wheels for thirty kilometres everybody was getting nervous. Maybe they made a couple of mistakes but we decided the race. We excelled as a team.”

You can

View the full article