Boonen takes first win of the season in Belgian kermesse
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Saturday, June 01, 2013

Boonen takes first win of the season in Belgian kermesse

by Shane Stokes at 4:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Nine month wait ends in Heistse Pijl race

Tom BoonenWithout a win since Paris-Brussels on September 8th, Tom Boonen has finally brought that drought to an end with victory today in the Heistse Pijl kermesse in Belgium.

The Omega Pharma Quick Step rider hit the line first at the end of the 170 kilometre event and, in doing so, will hope to have finally turned the page on one of the most frustrating periods of his career.

He beat Lotto Belisol rider Kenny Dehaes in a two up sprint to the line, with the duo having gone clear of a small break on the final lap.

“I’m very happy about the race. It was a tough race because we made it tough as a team, being in front all day,” he said. “We made a great effort and really pushed it, and in the end I won.”

Boonen and his team-mates Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, and Kevin De Weert were part of an eighteen man move which pushed forward halfway through the ten lap event. This was reduced to a group of six on the final lap.

“I attacked in the final on the last lap. I chose to attack on the last climb, which was more or less two kilometres on the cobblestones,” Boonen explained. “I was solo, but in the final kilometre Dehaes was starting to come back to me. So, I waited for him and we went for the sprint.”

Boonen was one of the most successful riders last season, winning thirteen races including Paris-Roubaix and the Ronde van Vlaanderen. His intention to keep the momentum going this year was frustrated several incidents.

In December he was hospitalized due to bad food poisoning and had another stay in hospital in January due to an arm infection which could, had it not been operated on in time, have seen him lose him the limb.

He missed his early season programme of the Tour de San Luis and Tour de Qatar, but then resumed racing and built up towards the Belgian Classics.

Admitting before the Ronde van Vlaanderen that he was short of form and was not in the same shape as twelve months earlier, he said that he nevertheless try to win the race. However he crashed out and fractured a rib, thus having to spend several weeks away from competition as a result.

The 32 year old showed signs of improving form recently when he was second and third on stages of the Tour of Belgium and now, finally, has a win to his credit. “I am happy I was able to get the victory. It's always good when you raise your arms in a race,” he said. “It's my second Kermesse victory of my life along with GP Zele in 2006. So, it's something special to win another one.”

The result is the 31st road race win of the season for the team. It will have its fan day tomorrow, when Boonen and the other riders will meet their supporters.


Heistse Pijl kermesse, Belgium:


1, Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma Quick Step) 176 km in 4 hours 2 mins 15 secs
2, Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol) same time
3, Sean De Bie (Leopard Trek) at 4 secs
4, Frédéric Amorison (Crelan-Euphony) same time
5, Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil DCM) at 10 secs

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