“If it wasn’t for the crash, I probably could have won. I was on Hushovd’s wheel when suddenly I was almost knocked into the barriers.”
Classics-specialist Tom Boonen (Quickstep) said this yesterday after the hectic finale in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the opening race for this year's Classics season. Boonen crashed less than fifty meters from the finish line as he was getting ready to sprint by yesterday's eventual winner, Thor Hushovd (Cervelo).
Today, however, in the second race of the two-part Belgian Classics opener, Kuurne-Brussels-Kurrne, Boonen was not to be denied the win that he wanted. His powerhouse Classics team QuickStep, put in huge efforts towards the end of the race to ready Boonen for a sprint win.
An elite group of 13 riders formed late in the race, with Classics favourites such as Boonen, teammates Sylvain Chavanel and Maarten Wynants, Rabobank's Juan Antonio Flecha, and yesterday's Omloop breakaway-man Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo).
While competitors made several attacks to isolate Boonen, his teammate Chavanel worked tirelessly, sacrificing his own chances of winning, to reel in those breakaways and put Boonen in a position to win.
When it came down to a sprint at the last minute, Boonen did not let his team QuickStep down, delivering a commanding sprint victory over Bernhard Eisel (Team Columbia), and Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo).