Borut Bozic (Astana Pro Team) continued his fine spring form with second place in a hard-fought Gent-Wevelgem. The result marked the Slovenian’s second runner-up spot in less than a week after he finished in the same position in Dwars Door Vlaanderen last Tuesday.
"I’m very happy with my sprint today. I've made some mistakes this season, but today I did everything right."
The foundations for Bozic’s success in both Belgian races have been Astana’s dedicated support as well as the 32-year-old’s own form. Today the Kazakh team rode a tactical race similar to the one they produced in Dwars Door Vlaanderen, positioning a rider in the early break with Assan Bazayev helping to form a three-man move in the middle of the race.
Bozic moved across to the leaders in a larger 14 man move that included eventual winner Peter Sagan and although Bazayev faded, Bozic was able to pick up second place in the bunch sprint after Sagan had taken the win.
"Nobody could go with Sagan, he was too strong. All year he is always the strongest in the race. But I knew I could sprint for the podium after Sagan, and when we turned into the wind for the finish I waited and waited and waited until the right moment. I am very happy with my sprint today. I have made some mistakes this season, but today I did everything right. After five years of doing this race, I finally like it!" Bozic said.
Bozic consistency has been a surprise this spring. While he has picked up wins in a number of smaller Belgian races in recent years, he hasn’t shone in races of such high calibre as Dwars and Gent-Wevelgem.
The team puts this down to several factors, including dedicated support as well as giving him clear and structured goals during the off season.
"This was a very special Gent-Wevelgem," said Astana’s director sportif Stefano Zanini.
"With the weather we had a strange start and very fast attacks. In the first 10 minutes we thought the race was over.
"In the final selection it was obvious who was a driver and who was a passenger. Borut worked very hard to win that sprint into a block headwind. Physically he was the same as everybody else, but mentally he was the strongest out of the bunch."