Second placed Dutchman Karsten Kroon (Team CSC) was beaten in the sprint by Freire. "My sprint was alright," he told Sporza. "Starting the sprint early made it possible to close down Nuyens on the left side of the road. So he was already out of contention. Freire proved to be a bit stronger than me in the sprint.
"Before that, Nuyens was alone in the front. I was able to come back to him, but he was riding very fast. I couldn't help him increae our lead on the two Rabobank guys. They must have been very strong because they came back to us.
"I'm gathering top 10 places over here, but you can have them all for a single victory. Next week I'll try to perform well in the Tour of Flanders, but my main target will be the Wallonian races. Changing teams, from Rabobank to CSC, was the best thing I could do. Never in my career, I've been riding so strongly."
CSC team director Scott Sunderland commented on team-csc.com, "Of course Karsten was happy with his result and as a team we also have every reason to be pleased with our efforts. The team has improved from race to race this spring and I'm sure that we are totally ready for April's big classics."
Nick Nuyens (Quick.Step) tried to pull away from his fellow escapees but Karsten Kroon, and later on Freire and Flecha caught him. In the sprint he finished a frustrated third. "I don't understand why Kroon was chasing me," Nuyens reacted to Sporza. "He should've known it was up to Freire to lead the chase, because you know he's the fastest at the finish. Freire wasn't the strongest man in the race. He was just faster than us in the sprint.
"Our team did very well, particularly Baguet and Vasseur. The atmosphere in our team is fantastic and we understand each other very well. Today, we proved that Quick.Step has two top quality teams. For me, this was the last test before the Tour of Flanders. My fitness is alright and I think that I'll be very important for Tom Boonen next week. Predicting what the result will be is difficult, but probably I'll be there in the finale."
Davitamon rider Björn Leukemans had a good race and tried a few times to get away on the Bruineput. But in the end, he wasn't able to get into the decisive break. "Right from the start, we didn't have anybody in the early escape. Our team had to chase them down and that's why some of us were tired in the finale. Suddenly, there were five guys from Quick.Step attacking. We had two guys who needed to gamble on which was the good escape. You need some luck to succeed in this.
"Probably, I'll ride the Tour of Flanders because Leon Van Bon is ill and Nico Mattan is not going well either. The pressure on our team is mounting because we're not winning races. Maybe one victory can make things completely different for us."
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