Ian Stannard outsmarted three Etixx-Quick Step riders in the end and defended his title in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. For CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders it was another cobblestone lesson and a chance to gain experience in the Belgian events.
Ghent where the start and finish was held, welcomed the peloton with a nice, dry and sunny weather. These are not typical conditions for that race since it has been cancelled twice because of heavy snow. Also rain and wind has always been a common occurrence in this event.
„Riders in orange” kicked off the race in the first row, to position themselves for breakaway attempts. The first group that has broke clear consisted of 6 riders, but there was no CCC Sprandi Polkowice representatives in it. Later Jarosław Marycz tried to jump over to the escapees alongside Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) and Albert Timmer (Team Giant-Alpecin).
Marycz, who due to illness had to skip Tour du Haut Var few days ago, was dropped from his companions and was forced to wait for the bunch. De Bie and Timmer joined the leading six and established a breakaway of the day, together with Alexis Gougeard (AG2R), Matt Brammeier (MTN), Christophe Laborie (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Michael Reihs (Cult Energy), Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty) and Louis Verhelst (Cofidis).
Their advantage reached almost 7 minutes, but with 21 cobblestone hills on the route, it was obvious that it will be extremely difficult to hold off the peloton.
CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders didn’t have to much luck on that day. Few times they were involved in a harmless crashes losing distance to the bunch. Lack of experience in those kind of cobblestone races didn’t help them either.
The break got caught with 46km to go and main favorites took the center stage. Three Etixx-Quick Step riders launched an attack – Niki Terpstra, Tom Boonen and Stijn Vendenbergh. Ian Stannard (Sky) sat on their wheels. The front four was building up the gap and approached the final 5km with 30 second lead.
Despite preponderance of Etixx-Quick Step, Ian Stannard took the win, answering to every attack which came from the Belgian team. In the final sprint he bested Terpstra. Boonen came in 3rd, eight seconds behind.
Adrian Kurek was the only “rider in orange” who completed the race. He was 67th.
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Ghent – Ghent, 200,2km
1. Ian Stannard (Team Sky)
2. Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step)
3. Tom Boonen (Etix-Quick Step)
67. Adrian Kurek (CCC Polsat Polkowice)
DNF Jarosław Marycz (CCC Polsat Polkowice)
DNF Marek Rutkiewicz (CCC Polsat Polkowice)
DNF Mateusz Taciak (CCC Polsat Polkowice)
DNF Grzegorz Stępniak (CCC Polsat Polkowice)
DNF Tomasz Kiendyś (CCC Polsat Polkowice)
DNF Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC Polsat Polkowice)