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Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne from a 10-man break on Sunday.
Boonen — who finished a disappointing 33rd in Saturday’s rain-soaked Omloop Het Nieuwsblad — was one of five Omega riders in the break, which in considerably improved weather took more than a minute’s advantage into the finishing circuits of the 197km race as the bunch left the pursuit to Sky, Lotto-Belisol and Katusha.
“Today was another type of race and another type of temperature. That’s a big difference,” said sport director Wilfried Peeters.
“The first acceleration we got on the Kwaremont. We knew it this morning, it’s only Belkin and maybe also BMC who want to ride together with us. When you have an acceleration then you make something happen, and then we had a strong team with us in Belkin. And the guys from Katusha and Lotto, between us, we were stronger today.”
Belkin’s Maarten Wynants was first to jump away from the break with less than 4km to race, but the Omega men easily brought him back. Then Garmin-Sharp’s Johan Vansummeren had a go coming out of the final corner, but he quickly ran out of gas as the sprint ramped up.
And in the end it was Boonen popping off Nikolas Maes’ wheel and punching it up the right side of the road, taking the win by a whisker from Belkin’s Moreno Hofland and Sep Vanmarcke, who finished second and third.
“I was really expecting the other guys to start attacking really early, but you couldn’t go anywhere with the wind. So the race was locked,” said Boonen. “And then in the final we were lucky that Belkin was also aiming for the sprint so we had only a few attacks in the last three or four kilometers.
“Matteo [Trentin] was supposed to lead me out, but he closed the gap on Maarten, so it was Nikolas who was leading me out, but he had cramps, and then in the end he almost led the other guys out, so it was a big chaos.”
Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) crashed out of the race with a nasty series of chainring gouges to the left ribs. In a selfie posted to Twitter it looked as though he had been attacked from roadside by Marvel’s Wolverine.
Editor’s note: Dan Seaton contributed to this report.