Tom Boonen sent a shot across the bows of those looking to beat him at the spring classics with his third win at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne today. In doing so he set yet another record as the only man to have won this race three times. The cobbles are getting mighty interesting!
I can sprint … I can throw a bike
Usually in the first weekend of cobbles, one race is super exciting and the other, meh, not so much. Last year, of course, KBK was cancelled due to snow so we can’t hark back to that, but suffice it to say that, this weekend, yesterday’s Omloop was the exciting race. Today’s was a masterclass in break-building (if I can take a term from snooker) and how to work together to leave the rest of the peloton dangling.
Does that make it super exciting? Meh, not so much.
But it did go to show something that we always talk about. If you work together and the chasing group doesn’t (or waits too long to sort themselves out), you stay away. Unfortunately for Andre Greipel, Edvald Boasson Hagen et al in the chasing group, they couldn’t corral the teams to work as hard as the breakaway group. And these were pretty strong teams – Sky, Katusha, Lotto-Belisol, FDJ and Giant-Shimano.
That said, the ten-man break did have five Pharmers, including Matteo Trentin, Stijn Vandenbergh and Boonen, three Belkins including yesterday’s workhorse Sep Vanmarcke, lone Garmin-Sharpie Johan Vansummeren and Yves Lampaert from Topsport. Seriously, with a break like that riding to stay away, you’d be foolish to put your money elsewhere.
In the end, the break kept going until the final few hundred metres, when Boonen and Belkin’s Moreno Hofland sprinted to a bike throw. But let’s face it, Tom wasn’t going to spend most of the race in a break and not win.
A stitch in time
Another casualty to keep yesterday’s crash victim, Thor Hushovd, company in the BMC clubhouse. And that’s Mr Taylor Phinney. A nasty crash midway through the race got our hero a chainring to the ribs – ouch! – and a nasty gash on his knee. But, as we have come to expect from That Boy, he was in good spirits and even treated us to a selfie from the hospital.
The race in numbers
22 – Number of one-day races Tom Boonen has won since turning pro (not counting national or world championships). Contrast this with 11 for Fabian Cancellara.
13 – Number of riders who finished the race who had ‘van’ in their name. Four of those were in the top ten.
68 – Riders with DNF next to their names in the final results.
1. Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) 4:28:50
2. Moreno Hofland (Belkin) same time
3. Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) s/t
4. Yves Lampaert (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) s/t
5. Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) s/t
6. Maarten Wynants (Belkin) s/t
7. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) s/t
8. Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) +0:02
9. Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) +0:04
10. Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp)) s/t