Boonen Takes Second Straight Tour of Flanders

News & Results

04/3/2006| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) takes the win ahead of Leif Hoste (Team Discovery Channel). Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) takes the win ahead of Leif Hoste (Team Discovery Channel). Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Boonen Takes Second Straight Tour of Flanders

For the second consecutive year, Tom Boonen (Quick Step) has won the Tour of Flanders.

For the second consecutive year, Tom Boonen (Quick Step) has won the Tour of Flanders. The world champion bested Leif Hoste (Discovery Channel) in a two-up sprint to take the rugged, 259-km race in 6:24:26. George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) won the sprint for third at 1:17.

 

 

The race began in windy, rainy conditions. Hostilities did not commence for some time. At 93 km , Thierry Marichal (Cofidis), Ludovic Auger (Francaise des Jeux), Michael Albasini (Liquigas), Bram Schmitz (T-Mobile), David Boucher (Unibet.com), and Rik Reinerink (Skil) escaped. The fugitives? advantage reached 4:40 before the peloton started chasing. Behind, a crash took down 15 riders, but the bunch stayed within reach.

 

Boonen led the charge up the Molenberg. Attrition took its toll, and Boucher and Reinerink were dropped, while the leading quartet?s lead dipped below 4:00. Discovery Channel and Gerolsteiner began to drive the pursuit.

 

The pursuit slowed, and the break extended its lead to 4:45. The chase renewed, however. Up front, Auger and Albasini were dropped on the Kwaremont. Quick Step began to drive the chase, and riders were shelled. The Belgian squad took Boonen to the Koppenberg ( 185 km ), where the world champion took over.

 


Boonen attacked and was joined by a chase group that consisted of his teammate Paolo Bettini, Andreas Klier (T-Mobile), Peter Van Petegem (Davitamon), Fabian Cancellara and Karsten Kroon (both from CSC), Hincapie and Hoste (both from Discovery), Roberto Petito (Tenax), Alessandro Ballan (Lampre), Francisco Ventoso (Saunier Duval), and Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank). Eventually, Boonen?s teammates Filippo Pozzato and Serge Baguet joined the group along with Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), and Erik Zabel (Milram). This group overtook Schmitz and Albasini at 195 km .

 

Pozzato and Baguet drove the group, and riders were shelled. At 226 km , Hoste attacked on the Valkenburg. Only Boonen could follow. Bettini, the last Quick Step rider in the chase group, blocked, and attrition cut the group down to the Olympic champion, Van Petegem, Ballan, Klier, and Cancellara. When the two leaders breasted the Bosberg, they led the chase group by 1:40.

 

 

Boonen did most of the work. At the one-km banner, he tried to persuade Hoste to take a turn. Hoste refused, and Boonen threatened to stop. Hoste stayed behind the world champion and jumped him with 450 m to go. Boonen countered and took the lead with 200 m left.

 

The race revolved around Hoste?s move. Some displeasure was expressed about motorbikes obstructing the pursuers. Kroon said, ?When Boonen opened up right after the climb, there were strong headwinds, and it seemed like they had an advantage because of the motorbikes in front of them.? Cancellara added, ?I think the motorbikes gave the riders at the front an advantage, which influenced the race in a way it shouldn?t have. I believe Karsten would have made it [across to Hoste and Boonen] otherwise.?

 

On Wednesday, many of the riders in the Tour of Flanders will contest Gent-Wevelgem. Who will prevail? Check in at Roadcycling.com and find out!

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