Team Sky unable to chase down Boonen in Paris-Roubaix
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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Team Sky unable to chase down Boonen in Paris-Roubaix

by Kyle Moore at 5:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix
 
Flecha fourth, Hayman eighth as team gets little help in chase

Juan Antonio FlechaWhen Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) made it known that his solo breakaway with 55 kilometers to race was serious, it was Sky Procycling that had the biggest presence in the chase.

But even with several men chasing, the pursuit would prove unsuccessful. Boonen took his record fourth win in Paris-Roubaix, yet Sky’s riders could be quite satisfied with their efforts after the race, knowing that they had worked well together and put two in the top eight.

When it became clear that Boonen would be trying to stay away alone for 50 kilometers, Sky amassed troops on the front of the primary chase group in hopes of bringing back the Belgian and setting up Edvald Boasson Hagen for a sprint win.

The team had Flecha, Boasson Hagen and Mathew Hayman in the lead group, with Ian Stannard trying to catch up in a second chase group behind. Hayman, the general on the road, sat up on the front of the group and signaled to allow Stannard to bridge, which also increased the size of the chase group by about five men.

Sky went to work from there, and while it didn’t allow Boonen to build time in a Cancellara time trial-esque fashion, its chase would ultimately be fruitless. Boonen had over a minute and a half on second place-finishing Sébastian Turgot (Europcar) on the line.

“When we saw that the gap was going up we tried to send Flecha ahead,” said team director Servais Knaven on the team’s website. “It was great to see the guys up there in numbers but at some points in the race that was actually a disadvantage for us. Flecha was super strong and he deserved to be on the podium today.”

With Rabobank being the only other team with multiple representatives in the chase, Sky found few others willing help in the pursuit of Boonen. No one came forward, save for Boonen’s team-mate Niki Terpstra, who only meant to disrupt things.

Flecha tried a host of moves throughout the race, the first coming before Boonen’s attack, and the last being a final solo effort to bring him back.

“We tried and did everything possible,” Flecha stated. “But in the end there was one man above everyone. It wasn’t easy to bring him back but everybody on Team Sky should be proud of our race and the way we rode.”

With Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Nissan) out with a broken collarbone, and with few others showing the scintillating form of Boonen, Flecha could be satisfied with his result, given his own rough buildup to the race.

“I nearly missed this race,” he added. “Five weeks ago I had surgery for a broken bone [in his hand – ed.] so I didn’t know what my chances were. I knew that I just needed to try my best and that’s what I did. Fourth place was the result. Congratulations to Tom Boonen.”

Along with Flecha’s finish just off the podium, Hayman came home eighth, and Boasson Hagen was 42nd.

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