Tom Boonen Sprints to Third Tour of Flanders Victory

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04/1/2012| 0 comments
by Thomas A. Valentinsen
Tom Boonen wins Tour of Flanders 2012 in a sprint to the finish line. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Tom Boonen wins Tour of Flanders 2012 in a sprint to the finish line. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Tom Boonen Sprints to Third Tour of Flanders Victory

Team Omega-Pharma-QuickStep's Tom Boonen earlier today secured his third Tour of Flanders victory when he outsprinted Farnese Vini-Selle Italia's Filippo Pozzato and former world champion Alessandro Ballan of Team BMC Racing in the final meters of the 2012 edition of the legendary classic race in Belgium.

Team Omega-Pharma-QuickStep's Tom Boonen earlier today secured his third Tour of Flanders victory when he outsprinted Farnese Vini-Selle Italia's Filippo Pozzato and former world champion Alessandro Ballan of Team BMC Racing in the final meters of the 2012 edition of the legendary classic race in Belgium.

Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep Cycling Team worked hard during the whole 256 kilometer Ronde van Vlaanderen race in order to be well-represented in all attacks and groups and in order to affect the race agenda to their own advantage.

"It's always difficult in a race like this, especially in a headwind," a thrilled Boonen commented after being celebrated on the podium. "I made a good sprint. I think Pippo was strong. Perhaps on the Kwaremont he was stronger than me, but in the sprint he didn't have much of a chance. Of course I didn't sit down and let them go, the one real thing I had to do was jump on a wheel when Ballan went. I had to chase, and waited for Pippo to push it, but he didn't really push it."

Ballan, 3rd place finisher, was the rider who jumped first in the final sprint before Boonen counted-attacked. Ballan attempted to get away multiple times in the last few kilometers as well, including at the 1 kilometer marker. Boonen closed the gap soon after each attempt was made. Pozatto, Boonen and Ballan worked together for 15 kilometer after Ballan initially attacked on the Oude Kwaremont and the other two riders bridged the gap afterwards.

The gap quickly grew to 15 seconds on a false flat, and Boonen had to fight to stay composed up the final climb of the Paterberg, so he could remain with Ballan and Pozatto while preserving as much of his energy as possible for the anticipated final sprint.

The trio, once on flatter ground, expanded their gap to more than a minute over the last 10 kilometer. Boonen continued to wait on any moves by his break mates, and he successfully kept the race scenario in his favor until the last few hundred meters. It was a watching game, until Ballan decided to jump for the final time.

"For me it's not so important to show up on climbs and try to drop everyone and maybe lose the race," Boonen said and added "I have to wait for my moment and count on my sprint."

The Omega Pharma-QuickStep team was so dominant in today's race that it succeeded at putting three riders in the top ten at the finish line. Niki Terpstra finished 6th, and Sylvain Chavanel 10th in a small group of riders who stuck together when the peloton split into atoms over the last several climbs.

"Every extra guy we have in the final kilometers is important," Boonen said when asked about the strong presence of his team and then added "It was nice to see that Chava and Niki were there. We controlled the break a little bit, but everything came back just before the Kwaremont, then Jerome went, then we went after him."

Unfortunately Team Radioshack-Nissan's

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