Paris-Brussel: Boonen Victorious Again in 2012
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Tom Boonen added another race to his palmares, winning the field sprint in the 216 kilometer Paris-Brussel on Saturday. This was his first time winning the race in his career, and adds to an outstanding year of victories in 2012. His teammates controlled the front in the final kilometers, dragging back every attacking rider and setting him up perfectly to best the top sprinters in the field.
Boonen beat Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) and Oscar Freire (Katusha) with a bike throw, powering up the middle of the field in the final meters.
His teammates were also active earlier in the race. Marco Bandiera attacked with 19km remaining, and while he was brought back with 12km to go, OPQS made it clear they wanted to set the tone for the last kilometers.
This is the 51st victory for OPQS in three disciplines.
"We decided already yesterday to put everything on the sprint," Sports Director Tom Steels said. "All the team worked together to put Tom in the best position possible for the final. Bandiera attacked two times in the final and he permitted the rest of the team to stay 'relaxed' and prepare the sprint. In the final, everybody were really strong and did their job perfectly. It was a difficult sprint but Tom made it easy with another good performance."
"I stayed in the safe zone, out of trouble until the last kilometers," Boonen said. "After a week of hard training I didn't know what I could expect from this race. But today we decided to try and go for a win. We worked in the final really hard for the sprint. The guys were great, perfect team work. The finish here at Paris-Brussel is not so easy. The team led me perfectly until the last corner. Maes literally killed everybody during the leadout. His job permitted me to pass the train of Rabobank and have a good sprint. I'm satisfied about my performance. This race was missing in my palmares. It's an important classic and it's nice to have it on my personal list. In the next days I still have some work to do to improve. I will do a few good training days at the beginning of this week and on Wednesday I will race. Then I will focus on the TTT Worlds and then on the Worlds Road race. I'm really looking forward to the next two weeks."
PHOTO CREDIT: Photopress.be