Puncture for Kenny in Forest of Wallers
After about twenty kilometers a front group of eight was formed, with Kenny Dehaes. The Lotto Belisol rider had the company of Boucher, De Troyer, Jarrier, Kolar, Koretzky, Murphy and Schillinger. They got up to almost ten minutes. At the start of the first cobblestone section, after 97.5 kilometers of racing, the difference was 8’20”. Just before sector 20 Dehaes had a puncture, but he could quickly return to his companions and rode over the cobbles in first position. 95.5 kilometers from the end the Forest of Wallers loomed up. The Trouée d’Arenberg is a five star section and is often a first crucial point in the race and so Kenny took the lead. Then bad luck struck again: another flat tyre! The winner of the Tour of Drenthe and Nokere Koerse was dropped for good. When the peloton had reeled him in, he also fell back there because of a puncture. Despite his setbacks, Kenny did finish the race.
On sector 13 Tom Boonen accelerated. First he rode to a group with Geraint Thomas, then the three last escapees of the early break were caught. From behind riders bridged, among other Peter Sagan. The man from Slovakia attacked with 21.5 kilometers to go. Cancellara, Degenkolb, Stybar and Vanmarcke joined him on Carrefour de l’Arbre. Six riders would return from the background later on. One of them was Niki Terpstra who took off with just over six kilometers to go. He crossed the finish line solo. John Degenkolb beat Fabian Cancellara in the sprint for the second place. Stig Broeckx was the first rider of Lotto Belisol today.
Herman Frison, sports director Lotto Belisol: “We didn’t came to the start of Paris-Roubaix with the selection we had put forward a few weeks ago. You can’t expect of the youngsters that they animate the final. Kenny was part of the early break and obviously was one of the betters in front. Unfortunately he had a puncture in the Forest of Wallers. It would indeed have been better if we had had a second man in the front group, that it wouldn’t have been over for us yet.”
“Jens Debusschere didn’t feel well today, but did finish the race. In the last fifty kilometers also the best was over for the experienced Lars Bak. Vegard Breen and Stig Broeckx did well in their début. Breen had his share of bad luck, but arrived in Roubaix. Stig was the only one of the team who didn’t have a puncture and was the first of our riders at the finish.”
“We had other expectations for the Flemish spring. In the Belgian opening weekend we weren’t good enough. We don’t have the biggest strong core and we had our portion of bad luck the past weeks. On the moments that mattered we didn’t compete for the prizes. Our highlights were a top ten for Debusschere in Dwars door Vlaanderen (6th, LTB), a solid performance of Gallopin and Roelandts in E3 Harelbeke (6th and 12th respectively, LTB) and of course the victories of Kenny Dehaes in the Tour of Drenthe and Nokere Koerse. From Wednesday on a new type of races begins with other riders that have to do it. We hope this will be a better time for the team.”