Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Columbia) has often sacrificed his chances to help his teammates but the friendly Austrian finally got his day of glory at Gent-Wevelgem, winning the six-rider sprint that decided the Belgian classic.
Eisel let George Hincapie (BMC) lead out the sprint and then hit the front hard with two hundred metres to go. It was still a little early but Eisel is an excellent sprinter and had the speed to beat Sep Vanmarke (Topsport-Vlaanderen) and Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto). Hincapie held on to take fourth.
“It was such a tough race,” Eisel said to Sporza right after crossing the line. “I was sure it was going to be really hard in the end. Breschel punctured out of the lead and then we lost Oscar Freire when we put him in the wind. Then I knew I had a chance to win and I had to take it.”
“In the sprint I waited and put Oss in front of me because I figured he was the fastest in the group. I stayed on his wheel and looking between my thighs I saw George coming. I was really going well and past him straight away. Then I thought: that’s going to be a long way Bernie… This is the biggest win of my career. Actually I never liked this race. It was never my favorite. I’ve always been struggling. It’s only the second time I finish this race in nine participations. It probably suits me and now I’ll love it.”
Read the rest: Eisel wins Gent-Wevelgem.
The Classics have arrived! Hot damn!
In other news for the weekend’s racing, Cancellara claims E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke.
Cancellara got away with Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) on the Paterberg climb, 42km from the finish. Boonen appeared to be the favourite to win the sprint but Cancellara attacked just before a tight left turn, with just over a kilometre to go. Flecha lost Cancellara’s wheel and eased up. Boonen gave it everything he had but was unable to close the gap.
Cancellara surged clear and had time to straighten his Swiss national champion’s jersey before celebrating his win. Boonen beat Flecha to take second place but was not happy with second place.
Read the rest: Cyclingnews.com.
Cancellara looks very, very good at the moment. Following the winn, Cyclinews.com makes the assertion that Cancellara becomes the big favourite for the Tour of Flanders.
But the odds at Velotips.com do not reflect that conclusion:
Tour of Flanders 2009 – Winner Odds
Boonen at 4.00 (3/1) Blue Square
Pozzato at 8.00 (7/1) with Sky Bet
Haussler at 10.00 (9/1) with Sportingbet
Devolder at 15.00 (14.1) with Blue Square
Nuyens at 19.00 (18/1) with Bet365 and Blue Square
Hoste at 23.00 (22/1) with Blue Square and Stan James
Van Avermaet at 23 (22/1) with Bet365
Gilbert at 23.00 (22/1) with PaddyPower and Stan James
Syl. Chavanel at 26.00 (25/1) with Sportingbet
Flecha at 26.00 (25/1) with Blue Square
Hincapie at 29.00 (28/1) with Blue Square
Hushovd at 24.00 (33/1) with Blue Square
Burghardt at 34.00 (33/1) with Bet365 and Sportingbet and PaddyPower
Bennati at 34.00 (33/1) with Bet365 and Sportingbet and PaddyPower
Cancellara at 34.00 (33/1) with Bet365
Kroon at 41.00 (40/1) with Bet365
McEwen at 51.00 with Blue Square
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Cancellara at 33/1? Yeah. That’d pay quite well.
Update: Kinda wish you had thrown a hunskie at that one, eh?by