Matti Breschel: “I didn’t have the power”
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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Matti Breschel: “I didn’t have the power”

by Ben Atkins at 5:49 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour of Flanders
Danish rider returns to the Ronde van Vlaanderen but can do nothing about the decisive break

matti breschelAfter a torrid 2011, dominated by a knee injury that he picked up in the previous year’s Paris-Roubaix, Matti Breschel (Rabobank) is steadily making his return to the sharp end of the peloton. The former Danish champion was forced to sit out all of last year’s Classics, as he underwent surgery on his troublesome knee but, so far, 2012 has been promising.

Unfortunately for Breschel however, an untimely crash, as well as perhaps a little lack of racing the full Classic distance, the Dane was unable to build on last weekend’s third place in Gent-Wevelgem, as he found himself unable to react when the decisive break was made in today’s Ronde van Vlaanderen.

“I didn’t have the power to close alone and we were [waiting] too long, unfortunately,” he told VeloNation at the finish in Oudenaarde.

While there were several incidents that saw riders make contact with the tarmac or cobbles - including the nasty crashes that saw Fabian Cancellara and Sebastian Langeveld leave the race with broken collarbones - there was only one incident that Breschel was interested in; the one that saw him, and a number of others either come down or stop on the second ascent of the Paterberg.

“There was one crash, right?” he said.

After that Breschel managed to rejoin the leading group, but was powerless to prevent the eventual escape of Alessandro Ballan, Filippo Pozzato and Tom Boonen, which became the winning move.

“Then it was just pure survival,” he admitted.

With two Omega Pharma-Quick Step riders - in the shape of French champion Sylvain Chavanel and Dutchman Niki Terpstra - in the chasing group that Breschel found himself part of, there was very little chance of regaining the three attackers in the closing kilometres.

Even if they had not been there however, Breschel admits that there was little that he could have done.

“In the beginning they were just neutralising everything,” he explained, “but that was fine by me because I didn’t have the legs for attacking the whole time.”

With no hope of closing down the three leaders ahead, Breschel managed to stay with the first chasing group, which was caught in the final kilometres by a larger one. Even so, the Dane managed to take sixth in the bunch sprint, for ninth place overall, his best since taking sixth in 2009.

As to whether or not the the new course is any tougher than the old, with its three finishing circuits based on the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg, Breschel is another rider that cannot say for sure.

“I don’t know, it was for sure a really really hard day,” he said. “I don’t know if it was harder.

“Maybe, I don’t know. I’m still as f***ed as last time I did it, so…” he laughed.


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