Rund um Köln: Boonen Wins Out of Breakaway!
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Tom Boonen won the 99th edition of Rund um Köln on Sunday, out of a five-rider group that was the remainder of a 23-rider original breakaway in the 196.7km one-day race in Germany.
Nikolas Maes served as a key teammate for Boonen in the escape group, which still had a 1'30" advantage inside 6.6km remaining. Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise) was 2nd, and Andreas Schillinger (Bora-Argon18) finished 3rd. Maes finished 5th after working for Boonen to conclude the race. Yves Lampaert also finished 9th out of the field sprint behind.
Petr Vakoc was present in the original breakaway. With less than 66km left to race the group was down to 16 riders. Eventually the five riders who ultimately would decide the race attacked their break mates. With about 4 laps to go the gap was at 2'50" to the peloton, and 1'15" to the chasers. The chasers were caught and it was down to the peloton to try and bring back the leaders, but their efforts were unsuccessful.
Boonen's win is the 31st on the road for Etixx - Quick-Step in 2015.
"I am of course happy about this victory," Boonen said. "There isn't often a chance to ride in Germany, so it's great to win there when I have the opportunity. It was a nice race. The first part was really up-and-down, left-and-right. There were steep and narrow roads, so it was a quite demanding parcours. In the longest climb of the day Linus Gerdemann set a hard pace. The peloton exploded and we ended up with more than 20 guys ahead after this climb. Then we really went full gas and lost a few guys again. Then I eventually attacked, but I was followed by Gerdemann, Nikolas, and three other guys. We worked really well together, full speed, because the peloton was always chasing hard behind. When we entered into the local laps we had about a minute gap, so we played a little bit with the tactics. Nikolas and I tried to keep everybody together for the final sprint. Nikolas did a great job and I finished off the day's work by winning the race. I am quite satisfied with my condition. After Baloise Belgium Tour I was tired and it took me a few days to recover. But the last few days I did good training, which I probably needed those days after the Giro and Belgium Tour. So I am looking to the next objectives with optimism. The next race will be the European Games in Baku. Let's see how the parcours will be. I hope to do a good race, and of course the Nationals at the end of the June are also among my goals. We will see what I can do in the next races."
Photo © Cor Vos