Bennati accepts sixth place at Gent-Wevelgem despite bad luck
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Bennati accepts sixth place at Gent-Wevelgem despite bad luck

by Kyle Moore at 4:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
Radioshack-Nissan satisfied, looking for better fortune next weekend

Daniele BennatiDespite a sizeable string of bad luck in the E3 Prijs Harelbeke on Friday and in Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem, Radioshack-Nissan is happy with the results of the recent Flanders races, including Daniele Bennati’s sixth place in Gent-Wevelgem.

In the E3, Fabian Cancellara flatted after an attack on the Oude Kwaremont and then crashed in a feed zone. In Gent-Wevelgem, Bennati punctured with 12 kilometers to race, and though he caught back up to the leading group before the finish, he was left depleted when the bunch kick came about.

“All day I was feeling good, with good legs,” Bennati said Sunday. “On the Kemmelberg I felt like I could try something, but bad luck struck again when I had a puncture with 12 kilometers to go. The peloton was moving at more than 65 kilometers per hour right then and it’s almost impossible to catch back up, but I made my way through the cars to the front group. Then I had to take it easy for a few kilometers to catch my breath before I could even begin to make my plan for the sprint.”

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) took the victory ahead of Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Matti Breschel (Rabobank). Radioshack-Nissan came away with Bennati’s sixth place, as well as 13th from Cancellara, who tested his legs on Sunday after the E3 crash in a move with 25 kilometers to go.

Team director Alain Gallopin seemed satisfied with the results, given his team’s modest expectations for the race.

“The race plan was to not put too much pressure on the guys,” Gallopin admitted. “On Friday we had put a lot of effort into the race, and that wasn’t our game plan [in Gent-Wevelgem] since we didn’t have the defending champion riding. We were more relaxed.

“At the end we had three guys in the front group and this is good. And Fabian did well today, we could see that.”

After taking the win in Gent-Wevelgem, his seventh of the season, the resurgent Boonen insisted that he still isn’t the primary favourite for next Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. Instead, he’s saying that Cancellara would still be the man to beat. In his comments after the race, the Swiss rider felt just the opposite.

“My legs were okay, perhaps better than in E3,” Cancellara added. “And the team was all better today I think. This is the way to build up for next week. I think the big favourite now is Tom. He and his team have the pressure on their shoulders now. That’s clear. It’s a new parcours for Flanders so the strongest will win of course.

“I know everyone will be watching me and Tom so I hope our team can perform well. It’s a long race, a nice race, but a lot of things can happen. I’m going home now to rest with my family and will be back on Friday ready to race.”

For the Tour of Flanders, Radioshack-Nissan will add the experience of Markel Irizar and Joost Posthuma to the roster in support of Cancellara.


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