Bad luck for Boonen and Trentin in Milan-Sanremo
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bad luck for Boonen and Trentin in Milan-Sanremo

by VeloNation Press at 3:22 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Milan-Sanremo
Italian under 23 champion crashes heavily in finale

Tom BoonenAs the final climbs reared up and the kilometres ticked down towards the finish of today’s Milan-Sanremo, Tom Boonen appeared to be one of the riders most likely to win the race. Well positioned and riding strongly, the Belgian was sitting towards the front when he needed to be, and was also showing little signs of fatigue.

Come the finish, though, and he wasn’t in contention. Boonen got delayed in the fast drop off the Poggio, the final five kilometres undoing the good work and strong riding which had come in the previous 293.

"I had really good legs, maybe the best legs ever in Milano-Sanremo,” he related afterwards, explaining what went amiss. "It was always under control and the team did a really good job for me. They kept me in the first ten to fifteen positions in all important moments of the race.”

So far, so good for the rider who finished second in 2010, third in 2007, and who wanted to finally take the victory today. “On the Poggio I was seventh or eighth when we took the corner to go downhill. I was really good, the team was with me, and we were in good position ready to fight for victory. Then, in the first part of the downhill a rider crashed, and I was just behind him. I had to brake, and lost 100 meters. Because of that it was impossible to come back.”

Boonen eventually crossed the line 22nd, twenty seconds back. He was part of a large group led home by last year’s winner, Matt Goss (GreenEdge), who took fifteenth.

He’s disappointed, but his Classics chances remain alive and he recognizes that. “In any case I am in good shape and I am ready to fight for the next races in the coming weeks,” he stated, thinking of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. No Primavera victory this year, but there’ll be other opportunities to prove he’s back to his best.

More bad luck for the team:

The Omega Pharma Quick Step squad has been one of the most successful this season, and hopes were high that it could get a big result today. Once Boonen was delayed, the team’s chances lay on the shoulders of Matteo Trentin. While he and the rest of the chase group were unable to reel in the trio of Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge), Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas Cannondale), he was in line for a high placing until he hit the deck on the final bend.

Trentin fell hard, along with others such as BMC Racing Team’s Greg Van Avermaet, and lay face down on the road for some time. Initially confused by some with Boonen, his lack of motion created fears that he was badly hurt, but things haven’t turned out quite so serious.

He has multiple scrapes, particularly on his gluteal region and right elbow, but otherwise appears to be okay. The biggest issue was the frustration the lost opportunity created.

"I was there all the day in the front. I felt very good, “ he said. “I was near Tom and our tactics went perfectly. We were together at the top of the Poggio as we planned, but in the downhill a rider crashed in front of Tom. I stayed in the front waiting for Tom, but he didn't come, so I tried to do my sprint.

“However, a rider touched my wheel and I crashed. I was really disappointed. For a young guy like me, it's a dream to be there and sprint for the biggest race and Italy and for my team. But, there's nothing I can do. The only thing we can do is try to be always in the front and see if one day the victory is realized."

Directeur sportif Davide Bramati praised the team for what he said was a great job, but said that they were ultimately unfortunate that the hard work didn’t pay off. Boonen’s qualities are already well known; he said that today’s result proved that Trentin is also someone the team can count on in the future.

“Matteo was just really unlucky,” he said. “He showed as a neo professional that he can stay with the best riders in the peloton."

The Italian under 23 champion will sure have more chances to show what he can do in the months ahead. At 22 years of age he’s just starting off; if he can keep on progressing, he’ll be a contender for big wins before too long. In that respect today's race wasn't all bad news for the team.


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