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After his near-miss at Het Volk on Saturday, Tom Boonen gained his sporting revenge by winning Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne the following day. But his team, Quick Step, came within a whisker of failing to set up the bunch sprint that Boonen finally won so convincingly.
?They almost blew it.? Great Britain?s top finisher, Roger Hammond (T-Mobile), who took 13th, told CW. ?The guy they got in the break that looked like it would stay away, Sebastian Rosseler, was weaker than they?d thought and got dropped, so they had to work really hard in the last ten kilometres to pull it all back together again for Boonen.?
Quick Step?s strategy worked, but only just. The last two survivors of the five-man break, Mathe Pronk (Unibet.com) and Preben Van Hecke (Davitamon-Lotto) were caught within two kilometres of the finish following a massive effort by Quick Step to reel them in.
Peter Van Petegem and then Geert Steegmans led out Tom Boonen for the Belgian star?s sixth win of the season. Second in the 66-man sprint was Marcel Sieberg (Milram) and third Iljo Keisse (Chocolade Jacques).
Hammond, suffering from a slight stomach bug, said that he had been ?swamped in the final corner. When you?re not going brilliantly, then you instinctively don?t take as many risks.?
It was not the best of weekends for Hammond. 24 hours before, the T-Mobile rider had crashed in Het Volk with 18 kilometres to go when a rider went down in front of him. ?It was just as it was all starting off for the finale, and at that point in the game nobody?s hanging around, so that was it, really.? Uninjured, he was able to finish.
Of the two other Britons taking part in Kuurne, Steve Cummings (Discovery Channel) finished 48th, whilst Jeremy Hunt (Unibet.com) abandoned.
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