Tom Boonen pleaded to his Quickstep team pre-race to race like they can, to race like a team again and they did just that. Boonen himself responded to his own prodding, by winning the Gent-Wevelgem today, after saying in Milan San Remo, that the team was great and he just didn’t have enough. It was also something of an answer to the dominant performance Fabian Cancellara put up yesterday going into next Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen.
Sprinting may not be Tom’s specialty any longer, in fact, in the post-race he said something about not really even liking doing it that much, but his team worked hard to set him up perfectly with a nice three-man leadout into the final km. Up the road Quickstep had Chavanel as well, who had marked Peter Sagan and Ian Stannard in the late break, Boonen sprinted around Stannard as he was caught and held his margin for nearly a whole 300m with Benatti and Farrar charging hard.
Earlier in the race, Tom had mechanical problems 75 km from the line and the team car was nowhere in site. Sitting on the side of the road for about 45 seconds he waited for a new bike and had much work to do just to get back in contention. Then with about 20km remaining, and Boonen back in the thick of things, a massive crash split the peloton and took Mark Cavendish out of the race. From there, a lead group of about 30-40 riders drove things home with the late 4 man break and then Boonen closed out the win.
Gent-Wevelgem Top Ten
1. Tom Boonen (Quick Step)__________4h36’13”
2. Daniele Bennati (Leopard)
3. Tyler Farrar (Garmin)
4. André Greipel (Lotto)
5. Lloyd Mondory (AG2R)
6. Mitchell Docker (Skil-Shimano)
7. Bernhard Eisel (HTC)
8. Kristof Goddaert (AG2R)
9. Lars Boom (Rabobank)
10. Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank)