By Gregor Brown in Meerbeke
Carlos Barredo got his chance to form part of the A-Team in one of the Team Quick Step's biggest season objectives, the Ronde van Vlaanderen. The 26 year-old from Asturias, Spain, had taken part in the race twice before, but this was the first time while riding for the team of Tom Boonen. The day was a brilliant success for the team which helped Belgian champion Stijn Devolder to victory.
"It went very well," Barredo noted to Cyclingnews at the arrival of the 264-kilometre Monument in Flanders.
Barredo had taken part in Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2004 and 2005 with Liberty Seguros, and after a good showing this spring, the Belgian super-team chose Barredo to fill its eight-man race line-up. He did not disappoint; Barredo made his presence felt in the final 100 kilometres, riding up front on the climbs leading to the Leberg, where Devolder's first attack was launched.
"I think that we rode a great race and we worked a lot," he continued. "In the end, you are very happy when a team-mates wins. Everyone knew that this is the race that counts the most for the team, and for us, what we did, It was great."
While Devolder maintained his advantage up the road, Barredo kept in contact with two-time race winner Boonen. "He was fine with Devolder up the road – we are a team. At the beginning we worked completely for Tom, but the race decides the tactics. After the hills started, I worked with Devolder, he felt well and pulled of a number."
Barredo, whose contract runs through the end of 2008, hopes the same winning group of riders can stay together for 2009. "I hope that next year this same group continues on working together; this is a very strong team," he finished, as he went in search of the soigneur to wipe the road grime off his face.