Nuyens Wins Omloop Het Volk
Nick Nuyens (Quick Step) has won the 201-km Omloop Het Volk, the first race on the Belgian calendar. With 15 km left, Nuyens soloed away from the field to take the 60th edition of the race in 5:17:43. Nuyens?s teammate Tom Boonen outsprinted Steven de Jongh (Rabobank) for second at 0:14.
The race began with the temperature just above freezing and with snowflakes falling. At 0 km, Eelke van der Wal (Shimano) attacked, but Kristof Trouve (Mr. Bookmaker.com), Jakob Piil (CSC), and Benoit Vaugrenard (La Francaise des Jeux.com) made the first move that stuck when they sallied off of the front at 15 km. The trio?s advantage maxed at 4:39 before the Quick Step-led peloton began to chase.
When the bunch reached the Eikenberg (108 km), the trio?s advantage was down to 2:00. Stijn Devolder (Discovery) began to press the pace. He attacked on the Leberg (121 km) and took Karsten Kroon (Rabobank) and Bram Tankink (Quick Step) with him. Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Ludo Dierckxsens (Landbouwkrediet) tried unsuccessfully to bridge up to the break.
The chasing trio overtook the early break on the Berendries, but Davitamon kept the new leaders within striking distance as the field approached the Molenberg. Peter Van Petegem (Davitamon) bridged up to the group, and Vyatcheslav Ekimov and George Hincapie (Discovery), Philippe Gilbert (La Francaise des Jeux.com), and Gorik Gardeyn (Mr. Bookmaker.com) joined him. With 65 km left, Discovery was in the driver?s seat, with three men in an eight-man break that forged a 0:45 lead.
T-Mobile and CSC were not represented in the break, and Quick Step had only Tankink in it. The Quick Steppers did most of the work, but T-Mobile helped enough for the bunch to catch the break with 37 km left. By this time, it was raining.
The lead group was 70 strong. One attack followed another as the riders crossed four sections of pave and approached the last such section, the Vogelzangstraat, with 15 km remaining. With 18 km left, Dierckxsens was caught, but he escaped again shortly thereafter. This time, Johan Coenen (Mr. Bookmaker.com) and Nuyens joined him.
When the trio reached the Vogelzangstraat, they led the bunch by 0:10. Nuyens brought the hammer down. At the end of the pave, he led the field by 0:10. Davitamon and Rabobank poured on the coal, but Nuyens would not be denied. With four km remaining, he led by 0:32.
Het Volk is always hard, but today?s race was particularly difficult for CSC. Tristan Hoffman broke his left leg in a crash and will miss the spring classics season. Stomach cramps knocked Lars Michaelsen out of the running, and the Danish squad was too depleted to have an impact on the finale. Today, CSC?s best rider was Allan Johansen, who finished 12th.
Many of today?s riders will meet again at Paris-Nice. Who will prosper? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!