Great day for Columbia, Norway, and my VDS team. Results:
- Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia-High Road
- Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas
- Matthew Goss (Den) Team Saxo Bank
- Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank
- Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo TestTeam
- Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
- Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Team Columbia-High Road
- Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank
- Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas
- Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervelo TestTeam
* The Stop-Quick Step Movement: not a single QS rider made the breakaway. OK, they probably were on orders not to do too much today unless the race fell into their laps, which it never was going to. Let's face it: everyone needed a win today more than QS. So when a non-QS break got away with pretty good representation from the big teams, it was destined to stay out.
* Columbia: Obviously they got the best result, but I was also more impressed with their tactics. Their three top classics guys were alert enough to make the split, rather than nuzzled around Cavendish hoping to hold the race together. Boasson Hagen presumably was the main guy to try something, and he was clearly up to the task. When Saxo tried to respond, Hincapie did a textbook marking job. All went swimmingly. Mind you, this doesn't get them off the hook; this was big fish in the small pond stuff. Let's see them nail their tactics Sunday. Then they'll have my ultimate respect.
* Aleksandr Kuschynski: Clearly the star of the day; it's not his fault he can't sprint. Jumping away right before the Kemmelberg was the ideal strategy. You know for sure the race is going to break up some, and you're sure to see guys bridging in very small numbers, if at all. I doubt he intended to solo home from there. It's a bit sad for him he drew Boasson Hagen, who offered ideal help driving the break but at the cost of getting outsprinted. Still, there's only so much you can control, and Kuschynski was valiant to give it a shot. Honorary winner... which means no trophy, just a few "chapeaus". What can I say, it's a tough sport.