Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Ian Stannard claims Classics victory for Team Sky
Last Updated: 02/03/14 4:20pm
Ian Stannard: Took the biggest win of his career in fine style
Ian Stannard became the first British winner of the Belgian one-day Classic Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after a thrilling finale in Gent on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Team Sky rider broke away from the peloton late in the race and then got the better of BMC's Greg van Avermaet in a two-man sprint in soaking conditions.
Opening his sprint early, Stannard was able to just edge out his Belgian opponent, while Edvald Boasson Hagen ensured Team Sky had two riders in the top three by finishing third.
Stannard's result completed a great day for British cycling in Belgium after Lizzie Armitstead had claimed third in the women's race just hours earlier.
'Worked out well'
"I knew the guys behind us had dropped off a bit so it was just about playing it right," Stannard told Sporza afterwards. "I felt strong on the lead-in and I was confident for the sprint. I knew 300m [was a good distance]. I needed to wind it up a little bit and not have it be super fast.
"It worked out well. I knew I had to try and hit him as hard as I could and I was able to get a gap."
The 198.4km race took place in cold and wet conditions and eight riders, largely representing Pro-Continental teams, mounted an early breakaway and built up a lead of over four minutes.
They were all swallowed back up with around 50km to go, but a barrage of short, sharp climbs provided the platform for fresh attacks from within the peloton.
A group of five escapees formed, but they were later whittled down to just Boasson Hagen, Lars Boom (Belkin) and Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step).
With 23km to go the complexion of the race changed as a puncture for Boom removed him from the equation, and with Terpstra less willing to ride, Boasson Hagen tried to distance his rival with attacks as a 14-man chasing group clawed back time.
The inevitable regroup with 16km to go was the chance Stannard needed and he attacked immediately with Van Avermaet on his wheel, a move that would prove to be a winning one.
The race was also strewn with crashes, with former Thor Hushovd (BMC) being the highest-profile casualty.
1 Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky, 4:49:55
2 Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC, same time
3 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky, +24sec
4 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin, st
5 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
6 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, +1:34
7 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC, st
8 Dries devenyns (Bel) Giant-Shimano, st
9 Egoitz Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, st
10 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ, st
11 Luke Rowe (GB) Team Sky, st
1 Amy Pieters (Ned) Giant Shimano, 3:30:15
2 Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS, same time
3 Lizzie Armitstead (GB) Boels-Dolmans, st
4 Liesbet de Vocht (Bel) Lotto Belisol, +6sec
5 Kirsten Wild (Ned) Giant-Shimano, st
6 Sofie de Vuyst (Bel) Futurunshop.nl-Zannata, st
7 Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Specialized-lululemon, st
8 Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (RSA) Hitec Products, st
9 Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv, st
10 Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans, st