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Alessandro Ballan scored his third top 10 finish at E3-Harelbeke with eighth on the day. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Alessandro Ballan scored his third top 10 finish at E3-Harelbeke with eighth on the day. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Ballan Eighth At E3-Harelbeke

23. March 2012

Alessandro Ballan sprinted to eighth place for the BMC Racing Team Friday at E3-Harelbeke while teammates Michael Schär and Greg Van Avermaet also finished in the front group.

Ballan Satisfied
Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) edged out Oscar Freire (Katusha) to win the 203-kilometer race that was run under sunny skies. Ballan and Van Avermaet were part of a small group that was able to stay with Boonen when he made an attack on the Taaienberg, more than 50 km from the finish. Later, Van Avermaet attacked on the Kwaremont (35 km to go) but was unable to escape. And Schär came back to the front group late but still showed himself on the front inside the final 10 km. Ballan said he was originally trying to help Van Avermaet in the sprint. "The finish was a bit confusing," he said. "Then I was there in the front for the last 200 meters and did the sprint by following some wheels. I'm satisfied because I was feeling good."

Defensive Approach
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said the strategy to ride defensively was a success, as two of the team's three leaders (Ballan and Van Avermaet) were in contention at the end. "We knew we were going to ride more defensively because some of the guys were coming back from crashes or illnesses," he said. "Our other leader, Philippe Gilbert, was not having a good day - which can happen – because he was suffering last week from a problem with his tooth and he had that crash on the Cypressa at San Remo."