2.25.2012

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad... in that order!

Because I tweeted it at Podium: Vanmarcke, Boonen, Flecha Not in that order...well we still don't know ;) "
The early break includng  Boucher, A. Cappelle, Ricci Bitti, Vachon, Vandousselaere and Westra was over.  Many crashes had put feet down many riders, amongh the others Boom. Gilbert, one of the favourites for the people on the road, one of the most expected had been already droped because of a bad timed mechanic problem. In front Boonen was making selection imposing an hard pace. There were also Matti Brechel and Thor Hushovd.
He was looking well Tomeke, in a splendid shape and made strong by his victories in San Luis and Qatar. Neverthless not him made the decisive move but Sep Vanmarcke, attacking 20 kms to go. An authoritative progression, a nasty spurt. Only Boonen could follow. And his shadow: Flecha. How many times did we see  those two dancing the same steps? the are amongh the best dancer in the peloton, the best ones on those Belgian narrow streets bordering fields and crossing villages pavé. The last time it was the desert. Here it's Gent.
They went away: Vanmarcke, Boonen, Flecha. I copied and pasted the first name because it was the most difficult to write, the less known too. Then I put Boonen because I thought he won. Then Flecha... as usual! That was the podium for sure. Miracles excluded - Cancellara wasn't there: "We want 2 manage our group for the classics carefully and not expose them 2 many risks, since we have a group of only 9..." Johan Bruyneel had said. But NOT IN THAT ORDER! I wrote it. I read it. I thought: "Why not?" 
The finish was amazing. "A track sprint" they said on Sportza. That was, exactly. Boonen and Flecha were looking each others in a thrilling surplace brocken by Flecha attacks and Boonen replies. Now they were flying in a line:  last km, flamme roughe. Boonen in the midle controlling behinde and in front. He must respond all so decided to attack first. Too early. Vanmarcke passed him by the left and won. Easily. 
Boonen lost but made the race. He raced as a master. He underrated the new opponent maybe, all focused on the old one. Boonen and Flecha here looked a bit like Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador in last Tour de France - mutates mutandis. But Sep isn't Cadel.
After the finish, before the podium, he couldn't believe it was true. He kept crying and smiling at once, gave himself two slaps in front of the camera as to say: "Wake up stupid! must be a dream!" Not so. On the podium probably he realized it's a real, beautiful, well deserved victory in a race that's already a classic and a great show.

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