"We form a good group. Alessandro won Flanders but it was a team victory," said Paolo Fornaciari to La Gazzetta dello Sport after his Lampre-Fondital teammate won on Sunday. Everyone gave something, even more than what was expected of them."
Fornaciari is a father figure amongst the Lampre-Fondital riders, and using his experience he helped direct the race from his bicycle. He oversaw Enrico Franzoi's escape, the ensuing kilometres and, finally, Daniele Bennati's super-domestique work on the Muur.
"When Franzoi went in the escape I let out a sigh of relief that could be heard in Brussels," continued the 36 year-old rider.
"I was ready to go," recalled 24 year-old Franzoi, Italian cyclo-cross champion. "I tried numerous attempts, then, at kilometre 25, I went and was followed by another three riders."
He reflected to later in the race, when the escape was nearing its end due to the surge of Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) and Gert Steegmans (Quickstep-Innergetic). "Cancellara and Steegmans joined us and I received orders [from the team car] not to take pulls but I still felt like I had energy. After the Muur and Bosberg I could not hold on to the front group, instead I finished with the second group, at one and a half minutes down.
"I am happy because I demonstrated that I can handle a race of 260 kilometres. It is good. Now there will be Roubaix. My legs are there and so is the desire."
24 year-old Claudio Corioni did his share of work to ensure Ballan would win. He recalled how he began to celebrate early. "I was in the front up until 30 kilometres to go. I knew that Alessandro would win when there was only 10 kilometres left and at this point, alone, I started to party."
"I crashed before the Muur but it was not my fault," said 31 year-old Daniele Righi. "I kept on my feet and worked my way back to the front of the group. I gave a hand to Fabio Baldato to pull once Fabian Cancellara had escaped.
"I finished dead-tired but I did finish, and for me this was a victory."