Daniel Lloyd said he almost had to pinch himself when he was in the break with the likes of Sylvain Chavanel and Leif Hoste in the Tour of Flanders.
The Cervelo rider attacked on the descent of the Paterberg and was joined by Chavanel, Hoste and Manuel Quinziato. They bridged up to the two leaders, Wim De Vocht and Aleksandr Kuschynski on the Koppenberg.
Lloyd said: “We had three protected riders, Andreas [Klier], Thor [Hushovd] and Heinrich [Haussler] from the start of the race. Usually, my role would be to cover the moves in the first part of the race, but Roger [Hammond] put his hand up and said he’d do that.
“I don’t think he was feeling all that confident of his form. He’s been a bit ill lately, I think, and he wanted to make sure he could do something for the team. As it turned out, he had great legs, because he covered the moves early on, and was still there at the finish.
“It made me more nervous, having to wait but the day before the race, in the team meeting, they said that if we come to the new climb after the Eikenberg [Varentberg], I should attack.
“After the Paterberg, Andreas came on the radio and said that if I was feeling good, I should have a go. So, I attacked on the descent of the Paterberg, and then Chavanel came across.
“There was a bit of hesitation behind and we were away. I couldn’t believe I was there. It’s one thing being in the early break in the race, but to be in a break at that stage of the race, with those riders, was unbelievable.
“This is one of my favourite races. I usually watch it at home on TV. On the Paterberg, I was in on Pozzato’s wheel in the first ten, and that was great but to get in the break… I had to pinch myself. I didn’t think it would go to the finish, because it was still a long way, but to be off the front was fantastic.
“I was getting goosebumps on the climbs. I know the route off by heart. I know the roads from living here for a couple of years, and I know the climbs well, so I knew exactly where we were going.
“When Chavanel went on Berendries, that was it for me. I couldn’t react. I blew my chips on the Muur really. The legs tied up, and I came in with a team-mate [Gabriel Rasch].”
Lloyd was 45th, 5-38 down, but had more than fulfilled his role for the team. “I think second was the best we were going to get today, with the way [Stijn] Devolder was going.
“We had three riders working. Lotto had a few working, so did Rabobank, but Devolder was going away from them.
“Haussler got second, and Thor could have got third if he hadn’t crashed.”
Initially, it was feared Hushovd had broken his fingers, but they are just badly bruised. However, on Monday he was struggling to grip the bars properly when the Cervelo team went out for a spin.
Lloyd is now on standby to replace him in Wednesday’s Ghent-Wevelgem. Hayden Roulston is first reserve, but he crashed in the Tour of Flanders, meaning second reserve Lloyd has stayed out in Belgium in case.
“If I get a ride I think I’d be going really well, but on the other hand, I’d been expecting to get home last night and see the family. I’ve got a pretty heavy race schedule. I’m doing a race in Holland next Monday, then I’ve got Amstel Gold and the Ardennes Classics.”
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