3.23.2012

E3 Harelbeke: in the open field fight


Green and gray. You can hide yourself on these flat narrow roads, on these cobbled ramps, in these open fields. E3 is like to say via Aurelia, lungolago Roma, Avenue des Champs-Élysées: the name of a legendary street. A cycling legend – because 'of cycling' and because 'pedaling' – won here today after the open fight of all against all, the messy splits and chases, the many and wild attacks, the audacious break lasting a breath. Or a dream. The nightmare of bunch crashes. And mechanics and flats.
Tom Boonen back King of Belgium. Philippe Gilbert retired and never in the race. Cancellara hit by Barredo while changing a wheel: unlucky twice and still so strong to regain the peloton and the last desperate break. Chavanel and Murajev shaking the hands but only and just when caught. Oscar Gatto stoped by a flat so close to the incredible dream. In fact we didn't really believe... but you never know! Millar and four others to the hospital, more or less injuried: colored jersey spread in the green of the fields beside the gray of the insidious serpentine road. Devolder, Sagan, Sep Vanmarcke, Pozzato, Tony Gallopin, Van Avermaet.... you can't name them all but they all played a card, some of them even two (like Devolder) and lost. But you never fail when you try, you can't regret.
In Belgian races you must show your face. The anonymous peloton that uses to ride compact and covered till 20 or even 5 km to go has here no place: 50 km to go Boonen placed his first punch. Oscar Gatto was in the first break and just a flat stoped him: we didn't believe... but still that's a fact. You must catch the moment, the second, your chance when it comes. Cancellara looked suffering in the last km and didn't really sprint: the worst pain isn't in the body but deep in your soul.
BDW
RSNT tweeted: "To the person who stole Fabian's wheel after Oude Kwaremont while three people were on the ground: best of luck with it! Or bring it back.." OMG!!
Results
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 4:51:59  
2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team    
3 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling    
4 Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
5 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Garmin - Barracuda    
6 John Degenkolb (Ger) Project 1t4i    
7 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
8 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar    
9 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
10 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar    
11 Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling Team

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