Björn Leukemans, Niki Terpstra and Steve Chainel took off in pursuit of Matti Breschel in the finale of Wednesday's Dwars door Vlaanderen, but it was all in vain. The Danish Saxo Bank rider went on to win the race with a seven second lead, with Leukemans and Terpstra taking second and third.
Breschel slipped away from a large group with about 23 km to go, and the three riders were the only ones able to give chase.
Leukemans (Vacansoleil) was satisfied with his second place finish, outsprinting Terpstra on the line. “I think the best and strongest won today,” he told the Belga news agency. There was not much to do against the performance of Matti Breschel.”
The three chasers worked well together, Leukemans said, but were unable to catch the Danish road champion. “On the Nokere climb I forced the pace, but even then it proved impossible to catch him. Fortunately we were able to stay away from the chasing group.”
“I didn't have any serious thoughts about winning. I just though: let's do something incredibly stupid,” is how Milram's Terpstra described his early attacks in the race, which eventually brought him to third place. “Apparently it sometimes works out wonderfully.”
While he would have liked an even better result, the 25-year-old was pleased with the race. “In the past I usually waited too long (to attack). By waiting too long, I missed out,” he told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “I have not always performed up to my ability. Physically I am no better than one year ago. But I know now that I can do more than I have shown so far.”
Looking to the future, Terpstra knows he may also be looking for a new team, as sponsor Milram will stop at the end of this year. De Telegraaf said that Erik Dekker of Rabobank has been trying to recruit him, but that was not to the young Dutchman's taste.
“Pfft,” he responded. “That's not the team I want to go to first, if I have to change teams. It is better when Dutch riders are spread around on different teams.”