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“As a team we tried today to be in position at the important points of the race but in general I think we can admit that we were not good enough to be in the final breaks or at the front."

Photo: Team Giant-Shimano






28.02.2015 @ 19:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Albert Timmer’s strong ride in the lead group at today’s opening cobbled spring classic of the season, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was the highlight of Team Giant-Alpecin’s day as the team struggled to assert itself on the race.


After the break was reeled back in and the attacks started to fly, Team Giant-Alpecin were left vacant from the front of the race, and had to settle for the minor placings by the finish.


The plan from the top of the day was to get a rider in the main attack of the race, and then to build on the team work involved in getting key riders into position at the important points of the race. After initially missing a six rider move, Timmer was quick to jump clear with another as he set about bridging across to the leaders. After a hard chase he made it to the front after 30km of racing, and set about helping to push out the break’s advantage, which reached just under six minutes at its best.


As the climbs and cobbled sections started to take their toll, riders dropped off the pace at the front while behind the speed also increased as the peloton neared the break. A big attack from Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quickstep) on the Taaienberg was the move that sparked the first splits as the favourites came to the fore. Timmer was one of the last remaining riders out front as he was caught by the chasers with around 45km to race. But the group that caught him was lacking in Team Giant-Alpecin jerseys.


The front of the race was then dominated by Boonen and his teammates as three Etixx-Quickstep riders pulled clear with Ian Stannard (Sky) but it was Stannard who kept his cool and cleverly played his card at the end to take an unexpected victory, repeating his win from 2014.


Zico Waeytens added after the finish: “As a team we tried today to be in position at the important points of the race but in general I think we can admit that we were not good enough to be in the final breaks or at the front.


“It’s a disappointing feeling, but it is only the first classic and there’s still a lot to come. A bad day is not a bad year, so let’s see what the rest of the classics bring.”


Coach Rudi Kemna added: “The tactic was to work on our processes and to put some of the guys in the front at the important points, as well as trying to have someone in the front in the early groups to be there later on.


“The first part went really well when Albert jumped across to the break so that put is in a good position. But the second part of the plan, to work on getting into position at the important points as a team wasn’t as we wished as we didn’t have the power to make it work and also we didn’t have the power to jump individually into the right position. But we see that we’re still building for the classics but I have a good feeling that it will come together for the next classics which are still a few weeks away.


“It’s always a little disappointing when you are not really in the race, but we are working on getting better and stronger here so we can take the positives out of the race and move forward. Next up we’ve got Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico to keep building the form at and to get into the right shape for the one-day races to come.”



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