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BMC Racing Team's Thor Hushovd rode as part of the leading group inside the final 40 kilometers. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
BMC Racing Team's Thor Hushovd rode as part of the leading group inside the final 40 kilometers. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Van Avermaet Fifth At Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

25. February 2012

Gent, Belgium

Greg Van Avermaet sprinted to fifth place for the BMC Racing Team Saturday at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after teammate Thor Hushovd lost contact with the leaders on one of the final cobblestone sections of the 200.3-kilometer race.

'A Bad Moment'

Hushovd was in a group of seven with 31 kilometers to go in when an acceleration on the Padderstraat opened a gap. "I was happy that I was there with the best riders but I just had a bad moment," Hushovd said. "I don't know what happened. Suddenly, I got dropped. I had been a bit worried that Omega Pharma-Quick Step had two riders and Sky had two in the group, but I had confidence that I was strong enough to be there in the final. Unfortunately, I just had a bad moment." BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said in a perfect situation, Hushovd would have also had a teammate with him. "Without radios and a lottery car position of 21 (in the caravan), you can't go up to speak to Hushovd to see how he's feeling or to even tell the other guys to ride," Lelangue said. "We protected our guys as we wanted, which is a good point for the team."

A Concerted Chase
After Hushovd lost contact, the BMC Racing Team mounted a chase with Marcus Burghardt and Alessandro Ballan doing the majority of the work, along with Belgian national champion Philippe Gilbert. The gap to the rapidly-dwindling group of leaders was halved from nearly two minutes, but it wasn't enough to catch Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Barracuda), who took took the win in a three-up sprint against Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky Pro Cycling). Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) took the field sprint ahead of Van Avermaet 24 seconds later.