Luca Paolini finished the best performer for Katusha Team at the Tour of Flanders, the Italian rider, after an attacking race, finished in 7th place, 38 seconds back from race winner Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
Paolini animated an attack on the Paterberg, followed by Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Vincent Jerome (Europcar). The blitz managed to split the group, however the trio was caught by eight more riders, and in few kilometres they reached a good gap over the chase group.
"Today I think I was in a good shape - said Paolini - so I tried to do my race and fight for win until the finish. The attack by Pozzato, Ballan and Boonen in Kwaremont was really unexpected. They're great champions, so they could reach the finishing line without being caught, also because in our chasing group there were two riders from Omega Pharma-Quick step that, obviously, didn't cooperate," he explained.
"When I saw the group had no chance to recover I tried myself, but it was too late. So in the end I did my sprint just in order to obtain a good position in the top-10. It's a pity because the team was really incredible, they gave me a lot of help."
The result was Paolini’s best so far in 2012, having been racing since January at the Tour Down Under in Australia.
"Anyway, now we have a whole week before Paris-Roubaix; we'll try to recover some energies and prepare this competition at our best."