Posted by Editoress on 03/23/11
Team Director, Steve Bauer:
The goal of the team was to ensure Svein Tuft and Keven Lacombe were as fresh as possible entering the final 50 kilometres of the race and be able to make the selection over the famous Oude Kwaremont / Patersburg cobblestone climbs. We knew both men have been riding well and they were Team SpiderTech's best chances for a performance. The team reviewed the race course including all the critical phases of the route over two days.
The start of the race was fast and never slowed. Over the first two hours of racing the average speed was in the high 40's (km/hr). A breakaway of four riders finally gained some ground and went clear just before the feed at 85 kilometres.
During the first part of the race, we were busy changing several flat tires and were having some bad luck. Keven Lacombe suffered from a flat tire at the worst moment of the race, halfway up the cobbled Eikenburg. Strategically, this was the first major peloton selection. A valiant attempt to regain the leaders was made with support of teammates Lambert-Lemay, Houle, Batty and Anderson, but we could only get Keven back into the first chase group.
Up front, the main peloton was dwindled to about 50 men and Svein was riding well. Svein followed in good position when the Leopard Trek team hit it hard going into the Oude Kwaremont. Cancellara attacked to separate the strong men out of the group. Over the top of Patersberg, Svein stayed well in front making the front group and the most important selection of the day.
The attacking for the win began shortly after with a two man breakaway of Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank) and Geraint Thomas (Sky) bridging to one rider which remained from the original break, Frederic Amorison (Landboukrediet), who was eventually dropped very close to the finish. Garmin-Cervelo made chase in the final 15 kilometres, attempting to bring back the leaders, but the duo barely held off the small peloton with Nuyens winning from Thomas in the final metres.
In the sprint for third place, Svein finished his day in 20th, and is satisfied with a good positive day: "I am really happy with the teamwork today, which has improved each race. I knew that positioning before the cobblestone sections of this race was key and each time we do a race here, I am becoming more comfortable with that. It was bad luck for Keven, as we were hoping to have two men in the final first group, improving our chances. I am enjoying this racing and looking forward to Saturday [UCI 1.HC E3 Prijs Harelbeke]," commented Svein Tuft.
"It was a very good experience for our team today, racing as such a high level as the big guns prepare for the cobblestone classics. The SpiderTech powered by C10 men rode well supporting captain Svein. We surely had bad luck with several punctures, but Keven's puncture came at worst moment and took him out of contention. Otherwise, we felt he could have been in the final kilometres with Svein. It's exciting to see our guys make progress," said Steve Bauer, directeur sportif for Team SpiderTech powered by C10.
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