Real classics-style racing today: no mass peloton toying cruelly with an escape. This time, the escape worked, though not without some massive attacks behind.
- CSC Tacticians: Winner! Victor Kurt-Asle Arvesen had the top number, so perhaps he was Plan A all along. They certainly raced as if he was: Arvesen joined the leaders inside of 70km with teammate Lars Bak, giving CSC a great chance if the group could stay away. Cancellara shadowed Boonen and went with his attack on the Taiienberg. If successful, Boonen was going to have to burn a TON of matches to get there. And if not, Cancellara could simply let Arvesen play his hand.
- Quick Step Tacticians: Non-winner! Steegmans was up the road with Arvesen, but he spent whatever strength he had on pointless attacks. If he'd sat on, he would have been an odds-on favorite in the sprint, depending on where he's at after his adventures with a tractor earlier in the week. And if he didn't have it, he could easily have slid back to Boonen and worked for his captain. In the end, CSC made the key break and QSI missed it. Hey, it happens. Try to iron it out before next Sunday, eh boys?
- Tom Boonen: winner, I suppose. He showed solid form, and for Flemish fans, E3 is as much a peek into their star's fitness as it is a bike race. Gassed in the end, so he isn't superman, but he and Cancellara looked pretty well matched out there.
- Rabobank: non-winners. They had the horses, and Jan van der Flecha gave it a go, but they definitely misread the race.
- Greg Van Avermaet: Winner. Silence! Lotto had other cards to play, and didn't, but putting Van Avermaet up the road was a solid ploy. Hoste never had to work, and if Quick Step had pinned back the break, Ol' o/ would have been in prime position to poach a smart win. Also, I though Van Avermaet went when he had to. If he'd caught David Kopp in the last KM, he had a great chance to win. But he needed just another couple joules of power. In the end, he wasn't quite the strongest guy on the road.
- David Kopp: Winner! Great job bridging up to the break for the finale, and with 300 meters it was still his to win. Alas, Arvesen outfoxed him. But he and that Swiss kid Schär win the intestinal fortitude prizes.