Quick.Step show their side-step
In what was ostensibly a two-team battle in the end, Patrick Lefevre's Quick.Step riders showed the smarts to take an emphatic 1-2 victory in today's 10th edition of the HEW-Cyclassics-Cup. Benefiting from strength in numbers and perfect teamwork, 23 year-old Italian Filippo Pozzato took the biggest win of his career, pipping team-mate Luca Paolini and young Liberty Seguros rider Allan Davis at the line, and leaving Fassa Bortolo floundering in what could have been theirs, with best-placed rider Fabian Cancellara only good enough for fourth.
"Today the tables were turned", said a delighted Pozzato, "but to be honest, my success needs to be shared with the rest of our team and in particular with Paolini and Tankink. I've done a lot of work over the past few weeks to get myself in top condition, even doing some intense altitude training in the mountains surrounding Livigno. At last it seems like all of my hard work is starting to pay off."
"I think we can say we worked in the other teams' favour and could of set up the race differently," said a disappointed Cancellara. "But I felt strong and my team-mates showed their confidence in me. Unfortunately, it didn't go as I wanted and for this reason I'm unhappy."
The day's action began after 25 kilometres or so, when Domina Vacanze's Jorg Ludewig broke away from a disinterested peloton. Leif Hoste (Discovery Channel) and André Greipel (Team Wiesenhof) formed a two-man chase that was to last until km 105, at which stage the three came together shortly before the race's midway point, enjoying a 12-minute advantage.
On the first of four ascensions of the Waseberg, Greipel was dropped, leaving just Ludewig and Hoste, who stayed together until roughly 30 kilometres to go. The penultimate climb of the Waseberg then saw Ludewig falter, but with the gap down to a minute and a half and 25 kilometres remaining, neither rider lasted too much longer out in front.
With Hoste caught, a group of 15 riders formed the final time over the Waseberg, the teams of Fassa Bortolo and Quick.Step best represented. In the end, it was Quick.Step who rode smartest, sending Bram Tankink out on his own with two kilometres to go and leaving the rest to chase, before Pozzato and Paolini made a winning double-dash to the line.
Said Paolini: "I was feeling really good throughout the race; Pippo and I were riding the race in parallel and we were able to rely on the help of all of our team, especially Paolo Bettini, who did everything possible to keep himself as near to us as possible. Shortly, I'll be taking part in the GP di Camaiore and the Tour di Lazio - both races are suited to my way of riding, so I'll be looking for a victory."