Report: Stannard First Brit to win Het Nieuwsblad


Ian Stannard fulfils his destiny by being the first British rider to win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after a thrilling finale in Gent

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Thanks to Paul Burgoine for the recording of the press conference and the following photos

Stannard First Brit to win Het Nieuwsblad


The rider who spends most of his time drilling it on the front for the benefit of others had his day and how! The 26-year-old beat Greg van Avermaet (BMC) in soaking conditions. Starting his sprint early, Stannard edged out the BMC rider, while behind, his Sky teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen was third.

In awful conditions that suited Stannard, the race was a mix of attacks and crashes on the wet cobbles witrh the weather playing as big a part in the race as the tactics of individual teams. Stannard admitted the final kilometre had been a balancing act.“I knew the guys behind us had dropped off a bit so it was just about playing it right,” he told Sporza.

“I felt strong on the lead-in and I was confident for the sprint. I knew 300 metres [was a good distance]. I needed to wind it up a little bit and not have it be super fast. It worked out well. I knew I had to try and hit him as hard as I could and I was able to get a gap.”


As ever for a pro race, there was an early break where a small group of eight largely representing proconti teams went clear with Omega Pharma – Quick-Step keeping control behind. The lead group opened up a gap of four minutes after tackling the famous climb of the Muur de Gramont. As the rain started to get harder, and the riders became of blur of colour and murky mud splattered faces, the battle for position and fatigue saw lots of crashes.

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) launched the first key attack on the Taaienberg but that was shut down quickly by Stannard. Omega Pharma-Quick-Step then sent Niki Terpstra up the road ahead of the Wolvenberg and Team Sky had to react to close that dangerous move down.

The penultimate climb of the Leberg saw a break of seven go clear but that split after a crash. Onto the final climb of the Molenberg and BMC and Garmin chased as Stannard with Welsh teammate Luke Rowe sat in. Crashes and punctures saw the break’s hopes destroyed and after they were brought back, Stannard attacked immediately with Van Avermaet on his wheel and it was a move that would prove to be the winning one!


Afterwards in the press conference, Ian had this to say …
“The guys in the team really helped me out. Christian Knees looked after me early on and then Bernie and Luke did a great job before the climbs which is quite important to be at the front then but today especially so with it being wet. We’ve had a good build up and thankfully the weather in the UK last week was nice so I stayed there and trained really hard.”

“I was quite confident once we got away. I could feel he wasn’t as strong as me. I knew there were three guys chasing us, they were about eight seconds at one point but then coming into that last K I could see they had dropped away. So I bided my time and Greg went back in front of me, I think he panicked a bit, and that put me into a really good position for the sprint. With about 300 metres I wanted to go and he looked away and I went and took my chance. I gapped and happy with that.”

Talking about the moment the break went when Stannard did a long long turn, Ian explained “I just wanted to put a good gap in so it was about cementing that gap and making it go.” Asked if this was a big goal for the season, Ian replied “all these races are big for us. We love them and its nice to come here and win. There are a lot of other big races coming up, Flanders and Roubaix are really massive and we want to be up there for them as well.”


“You have to learn these races and we have a young team. I think it is all slowly coming into place and hopefully we can show that in the next races as well not just a one off. I came here today as the leader for the team. They put some faith in me and hopefully I showed I repaid that faith with my performance. I enjoyed the day.”

“I didn’t want to put my arms and have Greg come back round me so it was about getting across the line first! I seem to go well in this weather. I don’t enjoy being frozen solid at the end but I race well in it so I’m not going to complain.”

Why he find the races good, he said “They’re hard. They suit me for one with normally bad weather and I just enjoy the hell out of them, banging round the Flemish roads is great fun.”

“I’d like to perform in Roubaix and hopefully today is a stepping stone towards that.”

Tour de France
“If I get in that I’ll really be looking forward to that. The second stage is on my training roads and it will be good. Starting in England is a big deal for us so I want to get in that team.”

BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet runner-up
“During the final, I was really cold, but I thought I could be my best in the sprint,” Van Avermaet said. “But he (Stannard) surprised me and took two meters. My body didn’t react as I thought it would react. It is a disappointment because I thought I would be the strongest in the sprint.” Van Avermaet, fifth place the past two years and fourth in 2009, called his best result in the race a missed opportunity from a perfect situation.

“You know if you are in the break with Stannard he always keeps going until the finish,” he said. “And normally I should be able to beat him in the sprint. But I think the weather conditions fit him better.”

BMC’s Taylor Phinney, who was active in the chase of a earlier breakaway that included Lars Boom (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) and Terpstra, finished seventh. “Phinney rode a fantastic race, tactically really well,” BMC’s DS Allan Peiper said. “He brought the group back to the group of Boom and that made the big difference for Greg in the final.”

The BMC Racing Team lost Norwegian national road champion Thor Hushovd to a crash with about 92 km to go. The race winner here in 2009 said he had no time to react on the rain-slickened pavement. “There was braking in the front and one CCC Polsat guy didn’t have time to brake and went straight into me,” Hushovd said.

“I don’t think anything is broken; that’s a good thing.”


1 STANNARD Ian Team Sky 04:49:55
2 VAN AVERMAET Greg BMC Racing Team
3 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Team Sky 00:24
4 VANMARCKE Sep Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
5 TERPSTRA Niki Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6 DRUCKER Jean-Pierre Wanty – Groupe Gobert 01:34
7 PHINNEY Taylor BMC Racing Team
8 DEVENYNS Dries Team Giant-Shimano
9 GARCíA ETXEGIBEL Egoitz Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
10 DéMARE Arnaud

11 ROWE Luke Team Sky
18 BOOM Lars Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
26 CHAVANEL Sylvain IAM Cycling 3.43
27 CIOLEK Gerald MTN – Qhubeka
29 STYBAR Zdenek Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 3.46
33 BOONEN Tom Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
35 BAK Lars Ytting Lotto Belisol @9.14
51 THWAITES Scott Team NetApp – Endura
56 DEMPSTER Zakkari Team NetApp – Endura
70 FARRAR Tyler Garmin Sharp
82 BAUER Jack Garmin Sharp
99 MILLAR David Garmin Sharp 14.02

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