Sitting in the Ghent-Wevelgem press room and calmly swigging from a bottle of mineral water, Roger Hammond took CW through his epic ride on Wednesday which saw him finish second behind T-Mobile team-mate Marcus Burghardt after staying away from the bunch in a 170 kilometre break.
?It?s a fantastic result for us.? Hammond said. ?A lot of people have put their trust in me and support me in this team, and this is my reward for them.?
Hammond got into the break after he followed an attack by Christophe Mengin (fdjeux.com) and said he ?really had no idea how far it could go. We were hoping a Quick Step and a Predictor-Lotto rider might come across, but they never arrived.?
?I?ve been trying to get in early breaks all year and this one was the first that worked out.We knew that if we were still away after the Kemmelberg, then we?d have a chance because the run-in to Wevelgem?s narrow and it?s hard to organise a chase. Then once Marcus and the two Spaniards got across after the second time round the Kemmelberg, it was like the cavalry had arrived.?
?I gave it 100 percent, whilst Marcus didn?t come through quite so hard each time he took a turn. That meant that when he finally got away, he had that bit extra. Hoffie and Brian [Tristan Hoffman and Brian Holm, team managers] told Marcus to go with a kilometre and a half and he came past me like a plane. And that was that, really.?
Hammond still rates his third place in Paris-Roubaix in 2004 as his ?biggest Classic result. Nothing compares coming into the velodrome in the winning break. But this is pretty good, too!? He agreed that this result has ?motivated me a lot for Sunday and Paris-Roubaix. It?s upped my confidence, and the team?s.?
One of Britain?s two other participants in Ghent-Wevelgem Jeremy Hunt (Unibet.com) did not finish the race and climbed off after the first time round the Kemmelberg, whilst Dan Lloyd (DFL) finished 84th, just over five minutes back.
Hunt reported that his team-mate Jimmy Casper, one of the worst affected by the multiple crashes on the twin descents of the Kemmel is in intensive care at Ypres hospital suffering from severe concussion, although his condition is stable and he can talk. Italy’s Marco Velo (Milram) was also badly hurt, breaking his collarbone and injuring his knee. He will not recover in time to act as Alessandro Petacchi’s leadout man in the Giro d’Italia.