Boonen confirms that Freire was strongest in Milano-Sanremo
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Boonen confirms that Freire was strongest in Milano-Sanremo

by Bjorn Haake at 10:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Milan-Sanremo
 

Tom Boonen finished second in Milano-Sanremo on Saturday - a race that is high on his wish list for a win. It was his best result so far, after finishing third in 2007 and fourth in 2006.

Yet he seemed pretty far from obtaining his dream of a win in the longest Classic of the season. Oscar Freire stormed past all his rivals on the seaside town of Sanremo, along the Marelunga, like a man possessed. Freire cleanly beat the sprinters by more than a bike length, jumping off Daniele Bennati's wheel and never leaving a chance for Boonen to make up for lost distance.

Boonen said he didn't curse at the finish about his second place. "I gave my maximum. I was good - very good, but I encountered a strong Freire," Boonen told Sporza.

Boonen rode Tirreno-Adriatico last week and he could tell Freire was looking good, despite the Spaniard being sick at the beginning of the race. "I saw it in Tirreno, he was playing with his pedals." The Belgian made no mistakes in the final meters in Sanremo. "In the sprint I sat where I needed to sit. Maybe I could have started my sprint earlier, but that is after-race talk."

Like others, Boonen was impressed with the rainy conditions. "It was a real difficult race, but I felt good, very good. It was a nice day," which wasn't referring to the foul weather, but his excellent form - and that of his teammates, where Sylvain Chavanel was still in the final selection. Chavanel was even in a brief break in the end. "A 'bravo' to my team. That promises to be really good for the upcoming races," Boonen said.

His manager, Patrick Lefevere, said the same thing at the airport. "We saw a beautiful and tough Sanremo, with a winner who deserved it," Lefevere told Sporza. "Everybody knows that I don't like to lose. I also don't like to admit it, but we were cleanly beaten in Sanremo."

Lefevere couldn't hold anything against Boonen. "There is little to say against his performance. The only way to beat Freire was going to anticipate à la McEwen. But Tom was really honest: 'I couldn't come out of his wheel.'"

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