“I knew that the form was good and that the team confided in me, but I would be lying if I thought at the start line I was going to win, even though I knew I could be at the front. . . In fact, during the team meeting, they asked what I thought the ideal situation would be. I responded that I didn’t know, that I preferred to improvise. And it was like that. I played by cards as it unfolded, without having a set plan.”
Look at Flecha. The cards are on the table. He knows this is the moment. He has just gotten rid of the baggage. There is nothing between him and the finish line. He reaches out with his right index finger to shift up another gear… (Full size version of pic here.)
I believe that is Philippe Gilbert, of Omega Pharma Lotto, who just got his doors blown off. He’s no slouch, that one. He took Omloop Het Volk (as it was then called) twice in his career, in 2006 & 2008. Gilbert would finish the day in the second group, some :26 seconds back, soft pedaling to twenty six place.
There are eight million stories in the Naked City; this has been one of them…by