April 04, 2005
Homeboy Boonen wins Flanders in a breakaway
Tom Boonen won perhaps the biggest race of his stellar career Sunday, and established himself as more than Belgium's outstanding sprinter in a dramatic win at the Tour of Flanders.
At the first Belgian classic of the year, Boonen animated a six-man breakaway group, then rode away from a class bunch, including two-time Flanders winner Peter Van Petegem, Erik Zabel and his T-Mobile teammate Andreas Klier, Fassa Bortolo's Roberto Petito, and Lampre-Caffita's Alessandro Ballan, the only survivor of an earlier break, to which the strongmen bridged with less than 40 kilometers to ride.
Boonen has won race after race in his 3-year pro career with a killer finishing kick, but Sunday, he didn't want to risk dicing it out with Zabel, Klier, and PVP:
“I didn’t want to wait,” he explained about his late attack. “I couldn’t win against Zabel and a team-mate, I had to attack. I simply couldn’t risk a sprint with Zabel and Van Petegem.”
Instead, Boonen countered one of Van Petegem's attacks, and immediately got a 10-second gap on the breakaway, which pretty quickly started racing for second, letting Boonen win by 33 seconds.
Team Discovery Channel has to be a little disappointed. Lance Armstrong flew the flag in a late but futile chase of the leaders, and George Hincapie, Stijn Devolder, and Viatcheslav Ekimov were in the chasing group in the last 10 kilometers, but none of the Discos covered Boonen, van Petegem, and Zabel's decisive move. Hincapie led the field sprint, taking 7th on the day, but that's small comfort. CyclingNews has Johan Bruyneel telling "Belgian TV tersely that 'for the team, it was a big disappointment.' "
TDFBlog favorite Magnus Backstedt was in the longest break of the day.
1) Tom Boonen (QuickStep), 6:22:49
2) Andreas Klier (T-Mobile), at :35
3) Peter Van Petegem (Davitamon-Lotto), at :40
4) Erik Zabel (T-Mobile), same time
5) Roberto Petito (Fassa Bortolo), same time
6) Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-Caffita), same time
7) George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), at 1:42
8) Leon van Bon (Davitamon-Lotto), same time
9) Sergei Ivanov (T-Mobile), same time
10) Vladimir Gusev (Team CSC), same time
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Home Boy Boonen did not win Gent Wevelgem today!
Posted by: Dan at Apr 9, 2005 5:32:37 PM