GP de Fourmies / La Voix du Nord: Boonen 2nd as Solo Rider Snatches Victory
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Tom Boonen looked poised to win in the final meters of 205km GP de Fourmies / La Voix du Nord on Sunday, as he was at the front on the right side of the peloton closing in on Fabio Felline (Trek Factory Racing), the last rider remaining out of a front group that formed inside 30km to go in the race.
However, Felline barely held off the field behind him, winning ahead of Boonen and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis).
Yves Lampaert was one of the riders in the escape group that formed in the up-and-down race, shortly after the original breakaway was caught. However, that group was just 20" ahead of the field with 9km to go. Somehow, the group maintained an advantage into the final kilometers. Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) crashed at the back of the leader group in the middle of the road, and while he and his bike were successfully cleared before the peloton came by at high speed, this caused a complication in the chase as there was some slowing down in the field.
"Today we took the start with the objective to do well and try to win this race, after the bad luck we had yesterday at Brussels Cycling Classic," Boonen said. "We rode a good race, but in the final at about 3 kilometers to go, while we was chasing and taking back the breakaway, there was a crash that involved Pozzato in the leader's group. This caused a deceleration in the peloton. We lost few seconds because of the chaos and Alaphilippe, who was contributing to the chase by trying to come to the front, was a bit boxed because of it. But we continued to chase. At 250, maybe 300 meters to go, I launched my sprint. It was the only way to try to catch Felline. I was almost 40 meters behind him when I launched, and I arrived at 1 meter behind him. It's a pity because I wanted to win. But, if I have to consider the circumstances, I'm happy about my race and how I sprinted in the final. My condition is good. On Tuesday I will fly to Canada. Quebec and Montreal are nice races. We will see what we can do there to try and grab good results as a collective. We have a nice team there with multiple solutions. We will see."