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E3 Prijs Cycling News special for March 26, 2006

Date published:
March 26, 2006, 0:00 GMT
  • Post-race comments

    Tom Boonen (Quick.Step)
    Article published:
    March 26, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Patrick Lefevere, team manager of the winning Quickstep-team, knew that the race would be decided at...

    Lefevere happy

    Patrick Lefevere, team manager of the winning Quickstep-team, knew that the race would be decided at the Paterberg. "I sent a message to our man in the car that it would be good if Boonen would attack," said Lefevere post-race. "At that moment, Robbie McEwen was riding in front of the group on the small asphalted part of the road. That was very intelligent because anyone who wanted to attack needed to ride three km/h faster. Ballan proved to be the man with the best legs and guts at that moment.

    "He would fit in our team. Already since 2003 he is on my list for the team. But you can't have all the best riders of the world, can you? We've already got Boonen, Bettini, Pozzato and in the past, we had Museeuw, Vandenbroucke and Di Luca. But he is a great rider, there's no doubt about that. His attack on the Poggio in Milano-Sanremo was impressive. Even more impressive was the pace afterwards that didn't allow Igor Astarloa to come back to them.

    "Andreas Klier was also good, but he had been riding in front for most of the race. I have the impression that two riders are riding extraordinarily. The rest are riding on their normal level, which is also a high level of course."

    On the Paterberg, Boonen was the only Quick.Step rider in the front group. "That's right," said Lefevere. "Though Cretskens was in the attack early on. Van Impe did what he had to do. Bram Tankink needed to give his wheel on a cobbled section. Afterwards, he got behind because of a fall. Still, he came back to the front. For the others, I'll have to discuss their performance with Wilfried Peeters. Also, you've got to take into account that three riders of our team for Sunday are not here. Pozzato, Nuyens and Bettini will join our squad there.

    "But every race is different, so I don't have to make the account of the Davitamon-team. Though I prefer being in our camp. Still, we'll see after Liège-Bastogne-Liège how our classics...

  • Boonen equals Raas

    Tom Boonen (Quick.Step)
    Article published:
    March 26, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Innergetic) has followed on from his past two successes in the E3 Prijs...

    Boonen and Ballan blow the bunch apart

    Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Innergetic) has followed on from his past two successes in the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, winning it for the third time in a row today in Harelbeke. The last rider to do that was Dutchman Jan Raas, who did it between 1979 and 1981, although the all time record is still held by Rik van Looy, who won it four times. And just like last year, the World Champion demolished his breakaway companion Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-Fondital) in a two man sprint, after the pair had escaped on the Paterberg with 40 km to go. The best of the rest was Aart Vierhouten (Skil-Shimano), who turned a bad couple of days into a nice result with a podium place.

    "Winning on home ground and wearing this jersey is just fantastic," said Boonen, who then described the non-premeditated winning move: "I knew things would happen on the Paterberg. Robbie McEwen rode up front and dropped the pace. I didn't want to attack but nothing happened. Then Ballan was blasting besides us on the cobbles. Immediately, I jumped on his wheel. The pace was very high on that last section of the Paterberg. Arriving on top, we kept a high pace and apparently the others couldn't come back to us."

    Boonen was then very confident that he would win. "Ballan was also very strong but suddenly, after a cobbled section, he had problems with his saddle. He spoke to me about it. I said that he shouldn't bother about it and keep riding hard, because I would beat him in the sprint anyway."

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