Another lovely day out in Belgium, now in the northern Scheldelands around Antwerp, for the ninety-somethingeth running of the Grote Scheldeprijs. The race story itself can't be told too dramatically: the race almost always ends in a bunch sprint no matter how many attacks happen early on -- and good thing too, after weeks of Classics finishes with riders straggling in two at a time. Better, the Scheldeprijs features three laps around the closing circuit for a total of four passes by the waiting crowd. Weather was calm, the race was fast, and apart from Tom Boonen crashing on some cobbles (seems fine) the tension was reserved for the end. Boonen wound himself up for the sprint, after telling the Belgian media that he didn't want to overdo it today. But Boonen went way too early led out an ineffective somewhat injured Wouter Weylandt, leaving Tyler Farrar to come around the Quick Step train ahead of Robbie McEwen in a powerful, well-timed sprint for the bike-lenth win. Farrar has two victories in a week and a fifth place in de Ronde in between. Not too shabby.
More pics on the flip...
Decent enough day in downtown Schoten, just east of Antwerp:
It's Tyler's world and we're just living in it.
Rabo trying to bring the race back for Graeme Brown:
Another edit of the winning sprint photo:
Sky were disappointed after, having put in their share of effort:
Boonen is none the worse for wear:
Pippo us back! Seemed relaxed all day.
Your podium: McEwen, Farrar and Forster
Happy victor navigates the well wishers afterwards: