Breschel calls Quick Step's bluff, solos to victory

Danish champion Matti Breschel scored an important victory for his Saxo Bank team, riding away solo from a group of favourites including Quick Step's Tom Boonen and then holding off the chase to the line.

The 25-year-old underscored the significance of the win even though the race is a relatively minor event compared to the upcoming Spring Classics.

"To me, it's very important and for the team also. We only have a few wins this season, and the Classics have started. For me and for the team, we needed this for the morale."

Breschel was part of an elite group which brought back two escape groups after the cluster of climbs which came inside the final 40km. With teammate Fabian Cancellara and previous escapee Anders Lund to help, the Saxo Bank team had a decided advantage over Quick Step who had only Boonen and Maarten Wynants.

Their group had 25 seconds over a larger chasing peloton, and Breschel slipped away off the front on the Tiegemberg while the rest of the riders played cat and mouse, with few riders willing or able to work.

"We knew that we had to stay in front there, and we knew that it was me and Fabian - and then Fabian came to me and said he'd do this for me, just sit on my wheel. I didn't really attack, just went easy away, and I got the gap."

Once clear, Breschel faced a strong challenge from the attacking Frenchman Steve Chainel (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) who had been a frequent aggressor. He pulled away Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) and Niki Terpsra (Milram), but the trio could not close the gap to the flying Dane.

"I was dying at the end, had a little cramping, but I had Torsten [Schmidt, sports director] on the radio and he gave me the confidence to believe I could go all the way. . I tried as hard as possible, and yeah - I won!"

Breschel will be a strong ally for Cancellara, who will be the team's undisputed captain for the Classics. He has no problem being a back-up to his Swiss teammate. "There's no problem at all  - we're good friends, and we communicate well. It's always good to have more than one card on hand - that's how you win races nowadays as long as you're loyal to each other."

How it unfolded

The 65th running of the Dwars door Vlaanderen set off under decidedly improved weather conditions over the last Belgian races. During the rapid first 120km, the peloton stayed mostly together, saving its energies for the bergs which would pepper the last half of the course.

The first of the climbs, the Kattenberg, came at kilometre 108 and did not force any selections, but by the Berendries with 78km to go, a group of four managed to wrestle themselves clear of the bunch.

Gregory Habeaux (Verandas Willems), Jean Zen (Palmans-Cras), Steven Van Vooren (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) and Lloyd Mondory (AG2R La Mondiale) would stay clear for 50 kilometres over some of the toughest terrain that Flanders has to offer.

Their demise began when attacks from the peloton started with RadioShack's Markel Irizar and Andy Cappelle (Verandas Willems) with 51km to go. The attack did not last, but it provided a launching pad for Bbox Bouygues Telecom's Chainel to counter .

The attack pulled away a large group while most of the favourites decided to sit out the move and wait for the cluster of climbs which came with 40km to go to make a selection.

The group ahead was too big to stay away, although they managed to pull out a minute or so over the group with Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara over the coming kilometres.

The Oude Kwaremont at 35km to go provided a major selection across the board: it split the lead group, with Van Vooren and Mondory dropping Zen and Habeaux for good, while behind both the large chase group and the peloton fractured on the cobbled berg. With two more climbs in the next two kilometres, the action began to intensify.

After the Patersberg the chase group was down to just eight riders: William Bonnet and Chainel (Bbox), Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil), Niki Terpstra (Milram), Anders Lund (Saxo Bank), Geraint Thomas (Sky), Fabio Felline (Footon Servetto) and Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

The climbs had also split up the peloton behind, leaving a group of just 28 riders chasing the two groups ahead.

Fabian Cancellara set a brisk tempo to pull the groups together as the roads leveled out, succeeding in bringing back both the group of eight and the two leaders up the road. But the Swiss champion wasn't happy with the work that the rest of the group was contributing as he tried to keep them clear of the chasing peloton.

With 23km to go, Cancellara sat up to scold his companions for failing to work, and while he lectured them his teammate Matti Breschel slowly rode off the front in a bit of a gamble: the team was clearly saving him for the sprint, but he didn't fancy his chances against the likes of Boonen.

He quickly built up a lead of 20 seconds as the group argued over who should work. Chainel was having none of it and attacked to go after the Danish champion.

Niki Terpstra and Bjorn Leukemans also went after him, but neither would see the Dane before the finish line. The chasing peloton nearly caught the three chasers just before the line, but Breschel was still a few seconds clear and was able to celebrate his victory with a long two-armed salute.

Leukemans was able to nip in ahead of Terpstra to take second on the day, and Chainel held on to finish fourth.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Full Results
1Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank4:49:37
2Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:00:07
3Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team MilramRow 2 - Cell 2
4Steve Chainel (Fra) BBox Bouygues TelecomRow 3 - Cell 2
5Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 5 - Cell 2
7Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - ShimanoRow 7 - Cell 2
9Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team KatushaRow 8 - Cell 2
10William Bonnet (Fra) BBox Bouygues TelecomRow 9 - Cell 2
11Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 10 - Cell 2
12Nick Nuyens (Bel) RabobankRow 11 - Cell 2
13Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervélo TestTeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervélo TestTeamRow 13 - Cell 2
15Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 14 - Cell 2
16Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo BankRow 15 - Cell 2
17Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française Des JeuxRow 16 - Cell 2
18Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 17 - Cell 2
19Bert De Waele (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 18 - Cell 2
20Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick StepRow 19 - Cell 2
21Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 20 - Cell 2
22Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil - ShimanoRow 21 - Cell 2
23Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 22 - Cell 2
24Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) RabobankRow 23 - Cell 2
25Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Team RadioshackRow 24 - Cell 2
26Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam0:00:18
27Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Professional Cycling Team0:00:24
28Fabio Felline (Ita) Footon-Servetto0:00:52
29Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:00
30Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Team RadioshackRow 29 - Cell 2
31Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team RadioshackRow 30 - Cell 2
32Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Gert Dockx (Bel) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 32 - Cell 2
34Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 33 - Cell 2
35Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo BankRow 34 - Cell 2
36Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 35 - Cell 2
37Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38Thomas Fothen (Ger) Team Milram0:01:22
39Koen Barbe (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 38 - Cell 2
40Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 39 - Cell 2
41Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 40 - Cell 2
42Steven Van Vooren (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 41 - Cell 2
43Maarten Wynants (Bel) Quick StepRow 42 - Cell 2
44Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Verandas Willems0:04:22
45Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 44 - Cell 2
46Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 45 - Cell 2
47Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 46 - Cell 2
48Martin Reimer (Ger) Cervélo TestTeamRow 47 - Cell 2
49Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team KatushaRow 48 - Cell 2
50Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team RadioshackRow 49 - Cell 2
51Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
52David Garcia Da Pena (Spa) Xacobeo GaliciaRow 51 - Cell 2
53Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 52 - Cell 2
54Egidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Palmans - CrasRow 53 - Cell 2
55Wim De Vocht (Bel) Team MilramRow 54 - Cell 2
56Roy Sentjens (Bel) Team MilramRow 55 - Cell 2
57Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioshackRow 56 - Cell 2
58Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - ShimanoRow 57 - Cell 2
59Andy Cappelle (Bel) Verandas WillemsRow 58 - Cell 2
60Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 59 - Cell 2
61Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 60 - Cell 2
62Markus Eichler (Ger) Team MilramRow 61 - Cell 2
63Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team MilramRow 62 - Cell 2
64Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
65Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quick StepRow 64 - Cell 2
66Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick StepRow 65 - Cell 2
67Frédéric Amorison (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 66 - Cell 2
68Alessandro Fantini (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 67 - Cell 2
69Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervélo TestTeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBox Bouygues TelecomRow 69 - Cell 2
71Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 70 - Cell 2
72Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) RabobankRow 71 - Cell 2
73Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française Des JeuxRow 72 - Cell 2
74Mathieu Claude (Fra) BBox Bouygues TelecomRow 73 - Cell 2
75Sébastien Turgot (Fra) BBox Bouygues TelecomRow 74 - Cell 2
76Davy Commeyne (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 75 - Cell 2
77Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) An Post - Sean KellyRow 76 - Cell 2
78Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 77 - Cell 2
79Ben Hermans (Bel) Team RadioshackRow 78 - Cell 2
80Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick StepRow 79 - Cell 2
81Jos Van Emden (Ned) RabobankRow 80 - Cell 2
82Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 81 - Cell 2
83Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 82 - Cell 2
84Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick StepRow 83 - Cell 2
85Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) RabobankRow 84 - Cell 2
86Joost Posthuma (Ned) RabobankRow 85 - Cell 2
87Leif Hoste (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 86 - Cell 2
88Thomas Leezer (Ned) RabobankRow 87 - Cell 2
89Lars Boom (Ned) RabobankRow 88 - Cell 2
90Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 89 - Cell 2
91Greg Henderson (NZl) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
92Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 91 - Cell 2
93Dominique Rollin (Can) Cervélo TestTeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 93 - Cell 2
95Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 94 - Cell 2
96Mikhaylo Khalilov (Ukr) Team KatushaRow 95 - Cell 2
97Grégory Rast (Swi) Team RadioshackRow 96 - Cell 2
98Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 97 - Cell 2
99Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 98 - Cell 2
100Dominic Klemme (Ger) Team Saxo BankRow 99 - Cell 2
101Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:07:40
102Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil - ShimanoRow 101 - Cell 2
103Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française Des JeuxRow 102 - Cell 2
104Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 103 - Cell 2
105Vidal Celis Zabala (Spa) Footon-Servetto0:08:11
106Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil - ShimanoRow 105 - Cell 2
107Gustavo Dominguez Lemos (Spa) Xacobeo GaliciaRow 106 - Cell 2
108Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française Des JeuxRow 107 - Cell 2
109Baden Cooke (Aus) Team Saxo BankRow 108 - Cell 2
110Iban Mayoz Echeverria (Spa) Footon-Servetto0:09:15
111Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 110 - Cell 2
112Francisco Jose Pacheco Torres (Spa) Xacobeo GaliciaRow 111 - Cell 2
113Hayden Roulston (NZl) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 112 - Cell 2
114Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Team KatushaRow 113 - Cell 2
115Servais Knaven (Ned) Team MilramRow 114 - Cell 2
116Yohann Gene (Fra) BBox Bouygues TelecomRow 115 - Cell 2
117Gustavo Rodriguez Iglesias (Spa) Xacobeo GaliciaRow 116 - Cell 2
118James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Verandas WillemsRow 117 - Cell 2
119Tom Van Becelaere (Bel) Palmans - CrasRow 118 - Cell 2
120Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 119 - Cell 2
121Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 120 - Cell 2
122Fuyu Li (Chn) Team RadioshackRow 121 - Cell 2
123Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 122 - Cell 2
124Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Verandas WillemsRow 123 - Cell 2
125Kevin Ista (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 124 - Cell 2
126Reinier Honig (Ned) Acqua & SaponeRow 125 - Cell 2

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1