By Bjorn Haake in Gent
Two of the young guns of the Cofidis team had an Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with a very different outcome. Neo-pro Guillaume Blot spent the first part of the race in the break of the day, while second-year professional Alexandre Blain crashed out of the race.
Blot looked tired at the finish, but happy. "This course is beautiful," he said. "Being in the break was great, I am feeling at a good level." He admitted that he has not the experience and the physique yet. "It is a pity I bonked, but it was still a great day." Blot added that he enjoyed the experience. "I was riding at the front and that is how I can progress."
Blot said the finish was very tough, for the uphill stretch. "But also there was a headwind." The Frenchman said he didn't know the route beforehand. "It is superb, I really enjoyed it!"
His teammate Blain was less happy at the finish, marked with a bandage on his left elbow, blood on his knees and a jersey that showed signs of falling on his left shoulder. His teammates immediately asked how he was doing, having heard the news over the race radio.
"Yes, yes, ça va," he responded to his Cofidis pals. The crash happened on the last cobble stone section, the infamous Paddestraat. Blain admitted that he was in a group that was beaten. "But it is still a pity, I think we were racing for maybe 15th place."
Blain was riding without a problem on the Paddestraat. "There was a group of riders to my right, riding in the gutter. One of them came came out of the gutter and clipped my front wheel."
Blain had some regrets. "Until then it was going well. I am now a bit of a protected rider, as we don't have a clear leader for the Classics anymore."
Blain felt things were going his way. "This was my first Het Volk and I wasn't that far off when the moves came in the end. So it is really disappointing I couldn't finish."
Blain said that having the protected status is motivational. "But it also a little bit of stress for me." He was hoping to be able to race in Kuurne the next day, but had to see how his injuries would heal up over night.