Team News: Francesco Chicchi wins Nokere Koerse

Win number 22 in 2012 for Omega Pharma – QuickStep came at Nokere Koerse where the hard work during the race and an impressive leadout helped Francesco Chicchi sprint to an impressive victory helped by Britain’s Andy Fenn.

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Quickstep’s Michal Kwiatkowski was part of two breakaways in the race — the first being an early 11 rider break that was caught with slightly less than 40km to go. The second was a 14 rider break, which included teammate Matteo Trentin. The second break was chased down by the peloton with 18km to go, but Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team continued to drive the pace at the front. They chased down a few attacks within the final 9km, and firmly established their leadout train in the final 4km.

Easy does it — Chicchi is pleased with his runaway victory. Photo: OPQS/Tim de Waele

“We had riders in the breakaway — Kwiatkowski and then Trentin — all day long,” Chicchi said. “We didn’t have to work a lot, only in the final to win. This is my first victory in Nokere. I am really happy, and hope for another big race on Friday in the Handzame Classic.”

Chicchi, sat third wheel with just 2km remaining, and as the final kilometer came around, Andy Fenn and Matteo Trentin were the final men to set up Chicchi perfectly for his sprint. He took off with such acceleration that he won the race by multiple bike lengths, able to pull up and raise his hands in victory several metres before he crossed the line.

“The team were perfect. They took the lead with 4km to go when the group was all together and did a great job. Iljo Keisse and Andy Fenn were perfect in the final 3km, and then Trentin gave a great leadout in the final kilometer,” Chicchi said. “I started pulling at 500m. There was a corner at 300m, so I started before the corner and won ‘easy’ for once.”

Iljo Keisse also did a great job helping Chicchi return to the peloton when there were a couple mechanical problems with his bike. Sports Director Tom Steels said the bike fixes were a bit “hectic,” but everyone did their jobs to ensure Chicchi was ready if the race came down to a bunch sprint — a sprint that likely would include the need to be in the right place at the right time.

“It was a technical sprint,” Steels said. “You have to be the first one at that last corner. There were cobbles, a downhill to the last 200 meters — but Fenn and Iljo, they could really feel the sprint, they knew when to go harder and when to take it easy in the pack. Chicchi went at the right time, and he was difficult to be beaten because he’s in good shape.”

Photo: OPQS/Tim de Waele

1. Francesco Chicchi Omega Pharma – Quickstep 4:19:42
2. Kris Boeckmans Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team @ same time
3. Boy Van Poppel United Healthcare Presented By Maxxis @ same time
4. Andre Schulze Team NetApp @ same time
5. Michel Kreder Team Garmin – Barracuda @ same time
6. Giorgio Brambilla Leopard TREK @ same time
7. Pieter Vanspeybrouck Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator @ same time
8. Maxime Vantomme Team Katusha @ same time
9. Alexander Porsev Team Katusha @ same time
10. Baptiste Planckaert Agricole – Euphony @ same time
11. Robert Förster United Healthcare Presented By Maxxis @ same time
12. James Vanlandschoot – Verandas Willems @ same time
13. Christophe Laborie Saur – Sojasun @ same time
14. Matthias Friedemann Champion System @ same time
15. Michael Reihs Christina Watches-Onfone @ same time
16. Jack Bauer Team Garmin – Barracuda @ same time
17. Benjamin Verraes Jong Vlaanderen – Bauknecht @ same time
18. Raymond Kreder Team Garmin – Barracuda @ same time
19. Laurens De Vreese Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator @ same time
20. Leif Hoste – Verandas Willems


RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes