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"A race in Belgium gives you very few options.  If you waste energy at the wrong time, like when I was a little behind, then you will have very little luck since the legs will tell the whole story in the end."

Photo: IAM Cycling






28.02.2015 @ 19:37 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The cold, wind and pavé defined the day.  For the first race in Belgium, the peloton was given the chance to taste all the various flavors of Flanders.  And the least we can say is that Ian Stannard was best at taking the measure of the race.  Having already won this event last year, the rider from Team Sky came away the masterful tactician by winning the day in the face of three Etixx-Quick Step riders.


Sylvain Chavanel, who was active in a chasing group, was caught in the final kilometers by the main peloton before the finish line, and ended his day in 28th place.  Jérôme Pineau, who suffered a minor crash in the course of the event, also succeeded in being in the main peloton and took part in the bunch sprint, finishing in 25th place. Heinrich Haussler, who punctured 300m from the line, meanwhile took 33rd place.
As the first cobbled classic of the season, the Het Nieuwsblad no doubt requires riders to have to exercise different reflexes. Despite this, the IAM Cycling team was able to show itself well over the cobbles on Saturday. Sylvain Chavanel rode an offensive race the whole day and rediscovered his Classic feelings. 


“When we hit the Haaghoek sector, I was a little behind and I saw them go.  So after that I wanted to catch up on the Molenberg,” the French rider said.  “I attacked with Philippe Gilbert and Marco Marcato.  But Marcato left a 10 meter gap, so we rode until we could make it back on the last sector. 


"A race in Belgium gives you very few options.  If you waste energy at the wrong time, like when I was a little behind, then you will have very little luck since the legs will tell the whole story in the end.  I didn’t feel too bad, but then in the final section my legs were a bit heavy.  I am very happy, though, to be back in Belgium.  The Belgian public, the atmosphere, it’s all what is special about racing in Belgium.” 
“I think the team did not ride too badly,” Rik Verbrugghe said.  “We’re missing some benchmarks for the races.  We have to find our style, our role, but in general, I think it was okay.  Sylvain was not too far away from what we need; on the Molenberg he was able to follow.  And he was nearly with the best when Sep Vanmarcke broke away.  Afterwards, when Gilbert attacked solo on another section of pavé, Chavanel wasn’t able to latch on since there was a small break of maybe 10 meters.” 


As a bonus, the riders from the Swiss professional team will have a chance to try it all over again with the race looming on Sunday. 


“I saw some good reactions from the team.  We’re just missing some small details,” Verbrugghe continued.  “Kuurne tomorrow will be another race, and we will try to ride well as a group.  We’ve always said that that is what is important for these races.  We can take the lessons learned from Het Nieuwsblad and apply them tomorrow.  We will have some different riders for the race on Sunday; with different cards to play, I hope to see a strong and cohesive team.”     



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