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"It'll sound like we're bad losers, but the race was falsified by the motorbikes. Edvald was smart enough to attack behind four motorbikes while I was dangling on the cobbles in the wind. A little later, those two [Stannard and...








02.03.2014 @ 14:00 Posted by Joseph Doherty

OPQS were heavily tipped to win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad yesterday and as reported on, ( ) they had a wealth of options to choose from. But when the race really got going, only Niki Terpstra was able to respond to the attacks and he eventually finished 5th after being smoked in the sprint for third by Boasson Hagen (Sky, 3rd) and Vanmarcke (Belkin, 4th).


But both Terpstra and manager Patrick Lefevre were not happy with the way motorbikes helped pace riders.


"It'll sound like we're bad losers, but the race was falsified by the motorbikes. Edvald was smart enough to attack behind four motorbikes while I was dangling on the cobbles in the wind. A little later, those two [Stannard and Van Avermaet] attacked and there's a huge amount of motorbikes again. I would not have won regardless, but something has to be done," Terpstra said.


But Terpstra did admit he lost the race rather than Ian Stannard wining it:


"I didn't co-operate because I thought my teammates were coming up. I had no information. When we were caught by a group of 20 riders and only Stijn Vandenbergh was there and not Tom Boonen. I thought Fuck, what did I do, why did I give so much away and not take some pulls? It probably looked stupid. From there, my motivation was gone," Terpstra said.


"Then again, our tactic was clear: only the win counted. If we were not 100 percent sure, then we would wait for Tom because he's in top form. Edvald (Boasson Hagen) is a sprinter and Lars (Boom) is not slow either. It was not 100 percent. In hindsight, much more was possible if only more information would have reached me. I can't blame my teammates."


Boonen himself admitted the cold temperatures got the better of him. But he didn’t think the lack of race radios made the race better and would have preferred to have them:


"I don't like it that we don't have race radios, but it's like that so we'll have to take it for granted," Boonen said. 


"It's not a glaring omission in my palmarès, not yet," Boonen said. "It may sound weird for a so-called Flandrien, but I've never been able to stand this foul weather, I'm too skinny for this coldness. I was shivering from the cold on the bike. My wrists are hurting from the shaking. I didn't feel anything. I couldn't shift or eat. I couldn't do anything. Even clothing doesn't help. Maybe it's my height. I'm a child of the sun," Boonen said.


"We were reaching the hill zone and getting warm, so we took off some layers. Then a rain shower that didn’t stop affected us. The cold came over me, and I just couldn't stand it. It felt like it was only just above freezing point. Stybar, Trentin and I ended up in a second group just because we were frozen. We tried to get back, hoping it would improve, but it didn't. All the skinny guys were suffering. Tomorrow's weather will be better so let's hope for that."


Boonen will now target Milan-Sanremo saying, “It’s good for me.”


Patrick Lefervre weighed in on his views of the race.


"You don't have to know a lot about cycling to see that the race was falsified," Lefevre said. "We didn't understand Boasson Hagen his tactics. He didn't want to co-operate while he is a faster man in the sprint. Then, on the Lange Munte [pavé], he attacked behind the motorbikes. Even the motorbike out-riders were there. Then they got caught and two riders rode away behind six motorbikes then, that makes a difference of 15km/h; that's a big difference. You can be the best rider in the world but you're not going to close it down."


"This was not a cycling race but a race between motorbikes trying to get the best photo. It's time for the UCI to step in. This was scandalous behaviour. I understand that this is the first Belgian race, but this was clear race falsification." Last week Lefevre asked the team directors to talk about the problem at a big meeting in Brussels with the UCI. "They talked about the re-organization of the teams while that's a topic of the team managers."


He is undoubtedly disappointed, saying:


"The season started. We came here with 10 wins in the bag but today there's a lot of losers and we're part of them. We came here to win but as a team we didn't deliver to the high expectations,"


Asked whether or not his team must win in today’s Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, he replied, “They’re never obliged to win”


But OPQS will want to win today to ease yesterday’s’ pain.









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