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"Stannard was team leader today. A team leader that was on the wheels for 40 kilometres. A rider of his level, a team leader, doesn’t stay on the wheels for 40 kilometres,” Lefevere said.

Photo: Etixx - Quick-Step/ Tim De Waele

IAN STANNARD

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OMLOOP HET NIEUWSBLAD

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PATRICK LEFEVERE

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QUICK-STEP - ALPHA VINYL

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TEAM SKY

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01.03.2015 @ 02:16 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

If there was a textbook on how to lose a won race, a brief description of Etixx-Quick Step tactics in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad finale would be enough to cover that topic comprehensively. Nonetheless, despite suffering a spectacular defeat Belgian squad manager Patrick Lefevere has been in a splendid mood after the event came to its end, praising his team for a collective effort, criticizing impressive winner Ian Stannard and making sarcastic comments about Sep Vanmarcke.

 

While Saturday's defeat was a little too big to be denied, Lefevere insisted that he couldn't blame his team for failing to turn their stunning advantage into a victory,

 

“It hurts, that’s true,” Lefevere said, according to Cyclingnews. “I can’t blame the team for anything. I’m proud we added colour to the race. We’re ready but it’s very hard to win. With Stannard on the wheels for thirty kilometres everybody was getting nervous. Maybe they made a couple of mistakes but we decided the race. We excelled as a team.”

 

Instead of criticizing his own riders for making wrong tactical choices, Etixx manager claimed that Stannard's behavior was beneath a dignity of a WorldTour team leader and suggested that the Briton should have contributed to a pace setting while being completely isolated.

 

“Stannard did what he had to do. Then again, I think that a rider from his calibre from that team should share the work until the gap was 40 seconds. He played it hard but tomorrow or next week it’s another race, then we can play that game. Stannard was team leader today. A team leader that was on the wheels for 40 kilometres. A rider of his level, a team leader, doesn’t stay on the wheels for 40 kilometres,” Lefevere said.

 

“For us it wasn’t possible to play poker. There were three men at 20 seconds then you have to keep riding. [...] They rode away at the Haaghoek with more than 40 kilometres to go. They’re not used to do this effort in these temperatures. Then the light goes out. If you see Tom is flexing his back then you know what’s going on. He tried it but it didn’t work out.”

 

Another big pre-race favorite, Sep Vanmarcke, once again missed a decisive move, but his furious chase of the 4-rider front group encouraged some observators to call him the strongest rider in the race. Lefevere wasn't equally eager to praise the 26-year old Belgian, though, and allowed himself to be openly sarcastic while speaking of the LottoNL-Jumbo leader..

 

“Vanmarcke the best man in the race? That’s probably going to be your title. We were the best team in the race. Besides Vanmarcke wasn’t dropped, he didn’t puncture away. He came back after puncturing. They didn’t ride away when he punctured,” Lefevere said. When asked again about Vanmarcke he became sarcastic.

 

“Vanmarcke? Best man in the race, by far. I’m already afraid. Is he the best rider on the cobbles? Absolutely. But why didn’t he close the gap. If there would be a few more motorbikes then the gap would be even smaller. You should try to watch the race with the eyes of a connoisseur. It’s about time to get rid of the motorbikes between the riders.”

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