Stannard Takes Second Straight Win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

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03/1/2015| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill

Stannard Takes Second Straight Win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Ian Stannard sprints to victory in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2015.

Ian Stannard (Sky) has won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for the second consecutive year. Stannard took Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step) in a two-up sprint to win the 200-km classic, the first on the Belgian schedule, in 4:58:41. Tom Boonen, Terpstra’s teammate, finished third at 0:08.

Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Matt Brammeier (MTN-Qhubeka), Christophe Laborie (Bretagne-Seche Environnement), Michael Reihs (Cult Energy), Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Louis Verhelst (Cofidis), Jaroslaw Marycz (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Sean De Bie (Lotto-Soudal), and Albert Timmer (Giant-Alpecin) jumped clear of the peloton in the first 10 km and had forged a six-minute lead within an hour, an advantage that they kept over the day’s first two climbs, the Leberg and the Berendries. When the break breasted the Muur at 83 km, the bunch began to stir.

Etixx-Quick Step, Sky, and LottoNL-Jumbo began to chase, with Sky doing much of the work with Bradley Wiggins and Bernhard Eisel. When the escapees reached the race’s fifth ascent, the Kaperij, their lead had been halved.

Brammeier drove the break, which was down to Timmer, Gougeard, Brammeier, Verhelst, Van Melsen, and Laborie on the Kruisberg. The thinned-out peloton reached the summit 2:07 after the fugitives.

The Sky men led the field onto the Taaienberg, but Boonen attacked on the climb. Stannard, Luke Rowe (Sky), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka), and Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick Step) joined the Belgian. A regroupment increased the chase group’s size to about 20 riders, while attrition took its toll in the break. Only Brammeier and Timmer remained in the lead, and their advantage was down to 0:45. The pair were dead men riding.

The regroupment continued on the Eikenberg, and on the Wolvenberg, Rowe attacked and bridged up to Brammeier and Timmer with 47 km left. Etixx-Quick Step led the field, which was single filed, to the break.

Vandenbergh and Boonen attacked, and Terpstra, Sep Vanmarcke (Lotto NL-Jumbo), and Steve Crainel (Cofidis) joined them. Vanmarcke jumped into the lead but punctured. Etixx-Quick Step paced the break, while behind, BMC, Lotto NL-Jumbo, and Lotto-Soudal led the chase. On the Leberg, the break led the bunch by 0:30.

With 20 km left, Terpstra led the break onto the last of the day’s five sections of cobbles, the Lange Munte. Twenty-five seconds behind the leaders, Vanmarcke and Van Avermaet pursued, while Stannard sat on.

With 4.5 km left, Boonen attacked. Stannard towed the group to Boonen, but Terpstra countered. Inexplicably, Vandenbergh led the chase. With three km to go, Stannard made his move, and only Terpstra could follow. Boonen pursued but could not catch the two leaders. Terpstra took the lead too early and led out the sprint. With 100 m remaining, Stannard came around him for the win.

Stannard attributed his victory to letting Etixx-Quick Step do the heavy lifting. “Being with those three guys I knew they were all committed to trying to win,” the Briton said. As a team they haven’t won it for 10 years, and it’s a big one missing off Boonen’s palmares. I knew they were going to race hard. With Sep Vanmarcke and Greg van Avermaet chasing behind it put the pressure on them. I could just sit back, play a bit of poker, and enjoy the ride. “I just wanted to get a free ride for as long as I could. That was my idea. When they all started attacking me, it wasn’t a great feeling. When Boonen went, I was thinking ‘Right, what do I do here?’ I knew if I rode him back I’d get attacked. I paced myself back a little bit. I could feel the wheel behind was trying hard to stay with me. So I felt like it was going pretty good and then I just took my chance.”

Tomorrow, Stannard and Sky will face Etixx-Quick Step in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Will the Belgian squad turn the tables on the British team? Will BMC with Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet or Katusha with Alexander Kristoff pull off a win? Check in at and find out!

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