Paris-Tours: OPQS Plays Aggressor, Terpstra 3rd
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team had a team prepared for a breakaway finish or a sprint in the 238km Paris-Tours on Sunday. The "Sprinter's Classic" turned out to be one for the breakaway, and OPQS was involved in all moves of the race.
Niki Terpstra was in a three rider sprint for the race win, and placed 3rd to Michael Marcato (Vacansoleil) and Laurens De Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator). Zdenek Stybar of OPQS, who made a small chase group, was 19" back with the group in 10th.
Terpstra and six other riders were ahead after catching the remaining rider of an original breakaway that included OPQS riders Sylvain Chavanel and Jerome Pineau.
Terpstra attacked with the two riders as the newly formed escape group clung to less than 20" of a gap within the final 20km. Terpstra and his break mates kept looking at each other in the final km, as John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) was within meters after trying to bridge from the Stybar chase group. Terpstra was the first to jump with 300m to go, but couldn't hold his power.
"I had a great Feeling all day," Terpstra said. "In the final part of the race I attacked with Marcato and De Vreese and we went. I really went for it, for the victory, but at the final sprint Marcato was really strong – There was nothing to do for me. Honestly I have no regrets about this race. I'm happy with this result. The entire team was great. Everybody was still motivated. It was a great season for me and it's nice to finish my road races with such a good result. Next Monday, the 15th, I will be already busy with the Six Days of Amsterdam. I love the track and I will try to take advantage of this condition."
"This morning when we discussed the tactic before the race we decided to be a protagonist and present in all the actions," Sports Director Rik Van Slycke said. "In the early breakaway we had Chavanel and Pineau with other nine riders. Once the breakaway was caught, Niki attacked. In the group behind, our riders covered Niki's attack, and in the final Stybar found also the energy to enter in a counter attack. At the final sprint Niki did his best. Maybe without the pressure of Degenkolb coming from behind, Niki could have prepared better the sprint. But in any case, Niki did a great race and as a team we showed a great motivation. I want to congratulate our guys today. They shown great professionalism after a long and intense season."