Vanmarcke wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Boonen mis-times sprint, takes second, Flecha third

Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Barracuda) staged his break-out performance at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, taking the race by the reins by forcing the final three-man breakaway and then stunning favourite Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) in the sprint to take the victory.

Sky's Juan Antonio Flecha was third.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes. I beat Tom Boonen, my big hero,” an emotional Vanmarcke said during the post-race interview with Sporza. He knew that in a sprint against Boonen, his chances were slim and tried to shake him off with a few attacks, but said, "I know if I have a really great day, I can sprint pretty well."

Boonen came in with generous and genuine congratulations for his young compatriot, and admitted to the press that he misjudged the approach to the line. "I saw the finish this morning and still I get caught. I thought I went at the right moment, but ... the race was 50 meters too long."

Flecha, standing on the podium for the fifth time in six years, was happy to return to the stage, but said that while this is clearly his kind of course, only the win matters.

However, the Spaniard was impressed by Vanmarcke. "You can see that the guy has tremendous talent in these races. He is impressive. That he beat Boonen in the sprint surprised me. It just goes to show, the race goes to the finish line."

Vanmarcke, 23, previously showed his Classics promise by taking second in the 2010 Gent-Wevelgem while riding with Topsport Vlaanderen, and before as a podium finisher in the U23 version of the Tour of Flanders, but today's victory showed a never-before seen brilliance, both in fitness and in tactical prowess.

The decisive breakaway was formed on the Taaienberg, 59km from the finish in sunny Ghent. Behind a break of three, Boonen tested his legs on the climb, and Vanmarcke swiftly followed. Matthew Hayman (Sky), Matti Breschel (Rabobank), Thor Hushovd (BMC), Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) were able to catch on. Behind them double winner Philippe Gilbert flatted and lost a lot of time.

With 39km to go the Boonen group caught the two remaining leaders, Sven Vandousselaere and Lieuwe Westra. It was on the Molenberg with 37km to go that Vanmarcke gave the first indication of his intentions - he attacked at the base of this final climb, and Boonen fought to catch on. Hushovd, Breschel, Hayman, Flecha and Devenyns eventually re-joined, but the early leaders were dropped for good.

On the cobbles of the Paddestraat with 31km to go Vanmarcke unleashed his devils once again, the acceleration ridding him of Breschel and Hushovd. With a seemingly dire tactical disadvantage, in a group with two proven classics men: Boonen and Flecha, each with a teammate, Vanmarcke was not intimidated.

Vanmarcke put in another acceleration to dislodge Devenyns and Hayman, and still had enough energy to contribute to the work in the final 20km to keep the trio clear.

The young star-to-be put in one last dig with 1km to go, trying to get away, but when Boonen shut down the maneuver, the Garmin rider sat on the back while Flecha set the pace, the Spaniard keeping a careful eye on his companions with frequent looks over his shoulder.

Boonen opened up the sprint ahead of the 200m to go mark, but Vanmarcke was able to get in behind and then put in a stinging acceleration to jump past and grab his first Classic victory.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Garmin-Barracuda4:52:34 
2Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
3Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling  
4Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Barracuda0:00:25 
5Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
6Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
7Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
8Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Fdj-Big Mat  
9Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar  
10Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
11John Degenkolb (Ger) Project 1t4i  
12Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team  
13Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank Cycling Team  
14Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
15Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Landbouwkrediet  
16Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar  
17Leif Hoste (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
18Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia  
19Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
20Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
21Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
22Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
23Bernard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling  
24Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling  
25Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
26Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling  
27Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling  
28Dominique Rollin (Can) Fdj-Big Mat  
29Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team  
30Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:36 
31Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:41 
32Koen De Kort (Ned) Project 1t4i  
33Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:00:51 
34Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
35Andreas Klier (Ger) Garmin-Barracuda0:00:54 
36Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:59 
37Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team0:01:05 
38Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:01:32 
39Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:05:22 
40Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia  
41Laszlo Bodrogi (Fra) Team Type 1-Sanofi0:05:30 
42Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Project 1t4i  
43Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
44Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team  
45Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) Team Type 1-Sanofi  
46Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto Belisol Team  
47Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
48Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Katusha Team  
49Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
50Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team  
51Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
52Romain Lemarchand (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
53Johan Le Bon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
54Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
55James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
56Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Greenedge Cycling Team  
57Renaud Dion (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
58Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
59Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Greenedge Cycling Team  
60Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fdj-Big Mat  
61Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar  
62Steve Houanard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
63Anthony Geslin (Fra) Fdj-Big Mat  
64Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar  
65Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
66Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
67Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
68Mickael Delage (Fra) Fdj-Big Mat  
69Ole Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Fdj-Big Mat  
70Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
71Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
72Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
73Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
74Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  
75Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Sky Procycling  
76Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Procycling  
77Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
78Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
79William Bonnet (Fra) Fdj-Big Mat  
80Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
81David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar0:07:45 
82Edwig Cammaerts (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
83Markus Eichler (Ger) Team Netapp  
84Evert Verbist (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
85Rob Goris (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
86Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
87Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
88Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
89Aliaksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Katusha Team  
90Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Barracuda  
91Baden Cooke (Aus) Greenedge Cycling Team  
92Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet  
93Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team Netapp  
94Guillaume Boivin (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10  
95Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Team Netapp  
96Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
97Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale  
98Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team  
99Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha Team  
100Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia  
101Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team  
102Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha Team  
103Mathieu Halleguen (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
104Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
105Jean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
106Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
107Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
108Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda  
109Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda  
110Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
111Egidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Landbouwkrediet  
112Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team  
113Kevyn Ista (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's0:12:44 
114Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
115Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Type 1-Sanofi  
116David Boucher (Fra) Fdj-Big Mat  
117Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia  
118Timon Seubert (Ger) Team Netapp  
119Christophe Laborie (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
120Sander Cordeel (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
121Andy Cappelle (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  

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