When Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) crossed the finish line in Ghent he did not know if he was in trouble for beating his team leader Tom Boonen or if Boonen had decided to give him the stage win.
After a few second Boonen hugged him and insisted he was happy with second and happy just to have taken the green jersey from rival Robbie McEwen (Predictor).
Who knows if it true or as it seemed, Boonen did not have the legs to get past his own lead out man. However both riders seemed genuinely happy to have given Quick Step a one-two in Belgium and see Boonen take the green points jersey.
?I don?t know if Tom Boonen let me win but if he did it?s the best present that he could ever give me,? Steegmans said just after the finish.
“We wanted to do it differently than yesterday, when we started the sprint too soon. There was no plan on who would win the stage. Everything happened naturally. The most important thing is that we finished first and second. This is my best ever win. I won my first ever race as a kid just 200 yards from here. After winning it was an intense explosion of emotions.?
Boonen has not won a stage in the Tour de France since 2005 and had it on a plate in Ghent after a huge crash left just 25 riders at the front but he proudly refused to admit it, preferring to enjoy the green jersey.
?I?m really happy to have taken the green jersey,? Boonen said.
?When Gert lead out the sprint I realized there wasn?t anybody behind me. That?s rare in a sprint and it was great he managed to win. I didn?t give him the win, he won it all on his own. The moral in our team is good and we proved that today.?