Boonen wins World Ports
Tom Boonen clung onto the overall lead to win the World Ports Classic at the expense of Andre Griepel, with Theo Bos taking the second and final stage win.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider Boonen predicted the second stage of the inaugural WPC would come down to a bunch sprint, as there would be a headwind as opposed to the crosswind which was responsible for chaotic echelon splits on stage one – and he was correct.
A three rider break was methodically pulled back by the peloton with every passing kilometre and reeled in within the final 10km in preparation for the sprint final.
The finish would be crucial, because if green jersey wearer Greipel of Lotto-Belisol, won the stage over general classification leader Boonen, he would then also claim the overall.
Teams fought for position up until the 1km to go point with Argos-Shimano and Rabobank sat on the front before Boonen launched his sprint, with Greipel slightly boxed in.
Greipel came around in front of Boonen in the final metres, but it was Rabobank’s Bos who won the stage over Greipel and Boonen.
With Bos winning the stage, Boonen preserved his GC lead and won the overall by a second over Greipel.
"I'm happy about this victory and these two days of races," the Belgian said after his overall victory.
"I knew that to get a good result it was important to finish in the top three, two times, and that's what happened — we made it. The team was great in those two days. It was a special race with a lot of wind.
"We built the GC victory yesterday and today we protected and kept the jersey. I have to say that it wasn't so easy, especially yesterday. If you look at the result, it seems like we had two bunch sprints, but it's not exactly what's happened.
"If you talk with some guys in the peloton, they can tell you that yesterday it was the hardest race of their life because of the wind and the high speed. Now, this is done and I'm happy about the result.
"It's a good race in this moment of the season. Riders who didn't race the Vuelta were all here, so the level was high."
Tom Boonen is back in action on Sunday as the Grote Prijs Jef Scherens gets underway in Leuven.