World Ports Classic Stage 2: Boonen Wins Overall, 3rd in Stage
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Tom Boonen predicted the second stage of the first World Ports Classic would come down to a bunch sprint, as there would be a headwind, as opposed to a crosswind, which created chaotic echelon splits on Stage 1.
Boonen was correct about the final of Stage Two. A three rider break was methodically pulled back by the peloton with every passing kilometer, and reeled in within the final 10km in preparation for the sprint final. The finish would be crucial, because if Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), wearer of the Green Jersey, won the stage over GC leader Boonen, he would then also win the overall.
Teams fought for position up until the 1km to go point. Argos-Shimano and Rabobank sat on the front. Boonen launched his sprint, with Greipel slightly boxed in. Greipel came around in front of Boonen in the final meters, but it was Theo Bos (Rabobank) who won the stage over Greipel and Boonen. As a result of Bos winning the stage, Boonen preserved his GC lead and won the overall by a second over Greipel.
"I'm happy about this victory and these two days of races," Boonen said after his overall victory. "I knew that to get a good result it was important to finish in the top three, two times, and that's what happened — we made it. The team was great in those two days. It was a special race with a lot of wind. We built the GC victory yesterday and today we protected and kept the jersey. I have to say that it wasn't so easy, especially yesterday. If you look at the result, it seems like we had two bunch sprints, but it's not exactly what's happened. If you talk with some guys in the peloton, they can tell you that yesterday it was the hardest race of their life because of the wind and the high speed. Now, this is done and I'm happy about the result. It's a good race in this moment of the season. Riders who didn't race the Vuelta were all here, so the level was high."
Boonen will take the start also tomorrow in Leuven.
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