Sunday 1 April 2012 at 16h35

The Tour of Flanders 2012, Flanders' most beautiful, even with a modified race route, was won by Tom Boonen today when he finished easily ahead of the Italian rider Filippo Pozzato with whom he was in the final breakaway, together with number 3, Alessandro Ballan.

Finally it was not the race route which put his main competitor Fabian Cancellara out of competition and it was not the power of the Belgian rider either but an unfortunate crash of the Swiss rider who will yet again not reproduce his 2010 classics season.

The summary of the Tour of Flanders 2012


The race route

The new race route of the Tour of Flandrers was highly criticised since it was announced a few months ago. Rumours said that some fans of the race were planning of putting up pushpins on the road in the final part of the race in order to disrupt it. As an April's fool, the Belgian sports channel Sporza published this morning an article which announced some last minute changes in the race route for this reason. When the visitor of the website clicked on the button to show the new and final race route this was being drawn on the screen and the drawing ended in ... a fish form!

The crashes

It was finally not the three laps on the Vieux Quaremont and the Paterberg (instead of the Mur de Grammont) which mostly influenced the result of the Belgian classic but more the different crashes. Indeed, this Tour of Flanders was quite nervous and this led to several crashes which could have been avoided ... epsecially for one of the biggest favorites, Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Nissan) but also for the Dutch rider in who the cycling fans from The Netherlands had put their faith, Sebastian Langeveld (GreenEDGE). Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Barracuda) also took a risk when turning to the right at one point and this led to yet another crash ... While the first two riders were out after these crashes, Vansummeren continued the race and his crash only slightly influenced the things which happened in front of the race.


The way the race unfolded ...

After the start from Bruge, several riders immediately tried to get in a breakaway but we had to wait for 15 kilometers to see a group of 15 riders really get away from the peloton.

They were Anders Lund (Team Saxo Bank), Gert Dockx (Lotto-Belisol), Manuel Belletti (AG2R La Mondiale), Tom VeelersPeio Bilbao (Euskaltel-Euskadi), David Boucher (FDJ BigMat), Vladimir Isaichev (Katusha Team), Massimo Graziato (Lampre-ISD), Pablo Lastras (Movistar Team), Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank), Tyler Farrar (Team Garmin-Barracuda), Sven Vandousselaere (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), Baptiste Planckaert (Landbouwkrediet), Tom Veelers (photo, Team Argos-Shimano), Daniel Schorn and Andreas Schillinger (Team NetApp).
Despite the absence of riders from the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team, with Tom Boonen and Sylvain Chavanel seen as the biggest favourites for the victory in this race, and from Radioshack-Nissan, the peloton finally did allow this group to get away and their gap went up to 5'45".

Kris BoeckmansIn the end it's the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team anyway which takes the lead in the peloton and at a bit over one hundred kilometers from the finish a chasing group of 6 riders leaves the peloton, with Matthew Hayman (Team Sky), Tomas Vaitkus (GreenEDGE), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Katusha Team), Lars Boom, Kris Boeckmans(photo, Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) and Alexandre Pichot (Team Europcar), but they didn't stay ahead for a very long time.

In the first climb of the Vieux Quaremont several riders already had some difficulties in getting along while there it was still to be climbed twice after that one. In the leading group we started seeing riders dropping off little by little as well from that point.

Fabian CancellaraWhen they were no more than 10 ahead and when the peloton went through a feeding zone, one of the biggest favourites, Fabian Cancellara, crashes on a wide road and it immediately becomes clear that the Tour of Flanders ends there for Swiss rider who also sees the rest of his classics season gone since he most probabley has a collarbone fracture.

On another large road, in the descent of the Vieux Quaremont, Sebastian Langeveld (GreenEDGE) decides to hop on the bike lane which is parallel to the road and that's where a new tragedy starts. Indeed, a spectator, surprised by the riders passing in front and behind him, decides to get back on the side of the road, just at the time when the Dutch rider goes by him with a very high speed. Langeveld can not avoid the spectator, runs right into him at high speed, loses his front wheel and crashes very badly. For him, the big favourite for the Dutch fans, his dream ends there as well.

Philippe GilbertAt about 40 kilometers from the finish, and after an attack by Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) who got company from Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) and Yaroslav Popovych (Radioshack-Nissan), the leading riders are taken back, except for David Boucher at first but the French rider is finally also taken back in the second climb of the Vieux Quaremont.
In the climb of the Paterberg several big names try to get a good position at the front of the race but in the end it's Vincent Jérôme (Team Europcar) who gets in a solo breakaway. Even though his gap first goes up, this doesn't last long and when they start the last lap the race can start all over again.

Niki TerpstraNiki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) than does the work for his two leaders but in the third and last climb of the Vieux Quaremont, it was Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing Team) who did more or less like Spartacus when he placed a violet attack. Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) don't take long to react however and these three riders thus form the new leading trio of the race at about 17 kilometers from the finish.

Alessandro BallanAt 3 kilometers from the finish, the gap of this leading trio is 1'06" and it's thus clear that the winner of this year's Tour of Flanders is among these three strong riders. Alessandro Ballan briefly test the reaction of the two other riders who follow him easily. Once Pozzato indicated something to Ballan, the latter tries again but Boonen follows him as if it were his shadow, just like the third time he tries at 2 kilometers from the finish. It seems like the two Italian riders try to wear out Tom Boonen in this way. They don't manage to do so however since at 300 meters from the finish, the Belgian rider already launches his sprint and Pozzato does'nt manage to beat him anymore. That's how Tom Boonen took his third victory in one week, afte the Grand Prix E3 Harelbeke and Ghent-Wevelgem. Third victory as well in the Tour of Flanders for Tommeke, after 2005 and 2006, which he took thanks to the headwind in the last straight line!

The classification of the Tour of Flanders 2012

Tom BoonenHere's the top 10 of the Tour of Flanders 2012:

1/ Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) - 6h04'33"
2/ Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia)
3/ Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing Team) - +0'01"
4/ Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) - +0'38"
5/ Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale)
6/ Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
7/ Luca Paolini (Katusha Team)
8/ Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar)
9/ Matti Breschel (Rabobank)
10/ Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)

door Thomas Vergouwen
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2 comments | 6261 views

this publication is published in: Classics


There are 2 comments!

    | Roland TISSIER | Sunday 1 April 2012 om 18h49

  2. Great and popular result. I am always pleased when a Belgian rider wins such an important monument. I was very sad about Fabian Cancellara, and also about his probable absence from Paris Roubaix. Maybe the new parcours is good for roadside spectators, but watching on television, I very much missed the Muur van Geraardsbergen, and the Bosberg. Still a great race.

    | curleyman | Sunday 1 April 2012 om 19h19

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