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NewsWire: De Vlaeminck: ‘Boonen’s rivals were third-rate’

In our daily NewsWire, we bring you a collection of the intriguing stories from newspapers, journals and elsewhere around the world of competitive cycling. Pour your coffee, mute your phone and read on.

Roger De Vlaeminck: ‘Boonen’s rivals were third-rate’ — Het Nieuwsblad

Roger De Vlaeminck’s record of four Paris-Roubaix wins stood for more than three decades — until Sunday. Tom Boonen’s victory set him level with the elder Belgian, and opens up the opportunity for a new record over the coming years. De Vlaeminck responded to Boonen’s victory in Het Nieuwsblad on Tuesday.

“I hope that Cancellara will participate next year, to attend a real race. I knew in advance that Boonen would catch up (to my record). Tom cannot help it if there was no pressure (from the others),” De Vlaeminck said.

“In front of him, there were only third-rate racers,” he added. “Take Pozzatto! Whoever wanted to win Sunday only had to not let go of Boonen’s wheel by even an inch in the last hundred kilometers.”

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Matthew Ladagnous: ‘J’ai les boules’ — Sunday Morning Herald

Matthew Ladagnous (FDJ) was at the front through Arenberg, and rode with favorites Allessandro Ballan and Juan Antonio Flecha through the Carrefour de l’Arbre. He was undoubtedly among the strongest in this year’s Paris-Roubaix, until his chances were felled by an untimely puncture.

“J’ai les boules,” (literally “I have balls,” an expression meaning “I’m angry” – Ed) he told L’Équipe after the race. “This is annoying. I was among the strongest. I can maybe win one day, but today I am disappointed. I was in the first group the whole time, always well placed.”

Ladagnous rolled across the line at the Roubaix velodrome in 12th, 3:31 back on Tom Boonen.

“I was where you had to be, but I had bad luck at the wrong time. Boonen was the best, but I was in the running. It’s infuriating. I’ll do better next year,” the Frenchman added.

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Gianni Meersman leading Lotto at Brabantse Pijl— Gazet Van Antwerpen

Lotto-Bellisol’s sport director Mario Aerts has selected Gianni Meersman as team leader for Wednesday’s Brabantse Pijl. Jelle Vanendert will also have protected status within the team.

“We will rely primarily on Meersman,” Aerts said. “Vanendert is also ok, but focuses on the Amstel Gold Race and will work for Meersman at Brabantse Pijl. Gianni will get in Overijse a finish that suits him. In the Basque Country he rode with the leaders and gained confidence.”

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