In His Own Words: Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage on Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Sun 24 Feb 2013

Like many of the projected Omloop Het Nieuwsblad pre-race favourites, ORICA-GreenEDGE missed out on the race winning move. The Australian outfit came together during the last hour of racing to assume control of the chase. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to close the gap to the race leaders and had to settle for riding in a bunch that was racing for 11th place. In his own words, Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage describes the first of two days of racing in Belgium. 

The results may not reflect it, but the team did a great job today. They were where they needed to be at nearly every critical point of the race. Their only mistake was not anticipating the winning break. They thought the move was the opening for the leaders instead of recognizing it as a a real threat. I would call it more of bad luck than a mistake, really.

By the time the team realized that the move was dangerous, it was too late. They started chasing with the idea that others teams would help, too. We didn’t get enough help, and there wasn’t enough race left. After a long day in the saddle in this cold weather, everyone was at their limits.

In the end, Luca Paolini (Katusha) won a two-up sprint against Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma QuickStep). The duo broke away from a ten rider escape group that had formed following the last climb of the race. The field finished 6:27 behind Paolini. Jens Keukeleire, Sebastian Langeveld, Baden Cooke and Mitch Docker were all part of 90 rider peloton. 

Michael Matthews was our only rider involved in any crashes today. We heard some of you were asking about him on Twitter. He’s scraped up a bit, but there’s not too much damage. He’ll be good to go tomorrow for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.

Seeing how the team raced, I must say that I have a much better feeling about our possibilities in the bigger classics than I did last year at this time. The guys will be ready and the experience they’re gaining in a race like today will help them be prepared.

Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne is very different than Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but we’ll want the team to race as a unit the way they did today. If things go as planned, they’ll put together a sprint train for Leigh Howard and we'll have a better result tomorrow.