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"It's a pity because I think that Boasson Hagen and I could have gone until the finish, and at that time I could have taken the podium or maybe try to win, even if Boasson Hagen is a faster sprinter than me. But that's cycling,...

Photo: ASO / B. Bade






01.03.2014 @ 20:29 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step was surprisingly anonymous in today's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and instead it was his teammate Niki Terpstra who shone with a 5th place. The cold conditions took its toll on Boonen who described the race as his coldest ever while Terpstra regretted a lost opportunity.


Omega Pharma - Quick-Step  rider Niki Terpstra finished 5th in the 198.4km Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, after playing the protagonist and attacking several times in the final kilometers.


One of the first attacks was with 41.4km to go. Terpstra and six riders went up the road on a peloton already reduced in number. Several OPQS remained in the group including Tom Boonen, Stijn Vandenbergh, Zdenek Stybar and Matteo Trentin, but the race became brutal with cold, rainy conditions. The race was littered with punctures and crashes.


Terpstra chose his moment to further reduce the number of riders with him on the Molenberg. Only Lars Boom (Belkin Pro Cycling) was able to stay on his wheel. Eventually the group rejoined, but only five riders remained due to a crash and two riders losing contact.


However, Terpstra wasn't satisfied. He attacked once again with 28.4km to go. This time Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Pro Cycling) and Boom hung on. Boom suffered a mechanical with about 23km to go, leaving just two ahead.


Boasson Hagen and Terpstra tried attacking each other over the next kilometres, but each attempt failed. Eventually the two were brought back, but Ian Stannard (Sky ProCycling) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) countered with 16km remaining out of the group that had shattered and was down to only 10 or 11 riders. This turned out to be the move that would decide the race.


Terpstra, Boasson Hagen and Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin Pro Cycling) tried to attack with 13km to go, but were unable to bring back the two riders. Stannard and Van Avermaet played cat and mouse until the final metres. Stannard launched his sprint early and was able to hold on for the victory.


Boasson Hagen earned the final podium placing out of the three rider chase group, with Terpstra 5th. Stijn Vandenbergh finished with the second chase group. 


Terpstra regretted to have refused to cooperate with Boasson Hagen but had expected his team captains to be ready in the chase group.


"Today I felt well, I had good legs," Terpstra said. "When I attacked I went with Boom and Boasson Hagen, but when I remained with Boasson Hagen I preferred to wait for the group behind. I was pretty sure that a few of my teammates were there but only Stijn was there. I didn't know that Tom, Styby and the other guys had a few troubles because of the could.


"It's a pity because I think that Boasson Hagen and I could have gone until the finish, and at that time I could have taken the podium or maybe try to win, even if Boasson Hagen is a faster sprinter than me. But that's cycling. Tomorrow is another day and we will see what we can get."


Boonen was the big favourite in today's race but was surprisingly anonymous. He wrote it down to the cold conditions on the rainy day in Belgium.


"It was a terrible day with rain and low temperatures," Boonen said. "I constantly suffered in this kind of weather. In the final I had also cramps everywhere. All my muscles were frozen and I couldn't eat. I wasn't the only one to suffer in these conditions — also Stybar, Trentin and Van Keirsbulck had some troubles. Probably it was the coldest day of my career, even more then last year at Milano-Sanremo.


Boonen is now looking forward to making amends tomorrow.


"Tomorrow I will take the start at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. As usual it will be a completely different race than today. Normally we will see a sprint and as usual we will try to do our best to be there and fight for the victory."



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