What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Belisol: No revenge for Lotto Belisol

Today Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne took place, the second race of the Belgian opening weekend. The Oude Kwaremont turned out to be a crucial point. A front group of ten battled for victory. Tom Boonen won. André Greipel was the first Lotto Belisol rider, he finished in the first chase group on place 14.

Crucial phase on the Oude Kwaremont

It took a while before a front group was formed. After 25 kilometers two duos came together. Dillier, Isaichev, Joeaar and Vingerling never got more than four minutes lead, controlled by Lotto Belisol. Just like yesterday Belkin broke up the peloton. This happened just before the Oude Kwaremont, 76 kilometers from the end. Ten riders could make the jump to the front: five riders of Omega Pharma-QuickStep, three riders of Belkin, Lampaert and Vansummeren. The early escapees were all reeled in by the chasers.

In the first chase group were six Lotto Belisol riders: Lars Bak, Kris Boeckmans, Jens Debusschere, André Greipel, Jürgen Roelandts and Marcel Sieberg. Together with among other Katusha and Sky they took control of the small peloton. The difference kept hanging just above one minute for a long time. When entering the first of two local laps of 16 kilometers the gap was 56″. 25 kilometers before the end the advantage of the leaders rose again above one minute. They battled for victory. Tom Boonen won the sprint. Moreno Hofland became second, his teammate Sep Vanmarcke was third. The group with Greipel finished at 1’24”, he became 14th.

Herman Frison, sports director Lotto Belisol: “We knew the phase of Côte de Trieu and Oude Kwaremont would be crucial and that we had to be in front there with André Greipel and some teammates. Then we had to see how to handle the rest of the race to get a sprint. But we couldn’t fulfil our ambitions. On the Kwaremont Greipel was riding in a good position, but he gradually lost some places and missed out on the decisive break. Lars Bak and Jürgen Roelandts immediately started pulling in the chase, but it was too late. With three teams and sometimes ten riders we chased the leaders. The difference kept hanging around one minute. The group didn’t get closer, then you have to acknowledge the better riders were in front.”

“We don’t have to try and hide that the team had a bad weekend. The team has failed. But I don’t agree that our team isn’t strong enough as a whole; this is a random indication, indeed not an unimportant one. In the preparation we proved the opposite. For a big part it were the same riders, who helped to get success in the first races of the season. We missed the crucial moment today, but then we did everything to close the gap. Unfortunately that didn’t work out. Our performance will understandably be enlarged. We didn’t came to the front this weekend, but these two days are only one part of the season. Now we look ahead to new races, that offer new opportunities. Our next goals are Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. Those races will be ridden partly by riders who raced this weekend and also other riders. Next week we have to optimally prepare ourselves for that.”

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