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Wyss hanging tough in the group (Photo by Stijn Vercaemer)
Wyss hanging tough in the group (Photo by Stijn Vercaemer)

Though boxed in, Wyss sprints to top 20 place

7. March 2009


In another hard day at the 3 Days of West Flanders, the competitors were hammered with strong winds and demanding cobbled passages.  The typically narrow Belgian roads increase the importance of good positioning, a battle for which there is no respite until the rider crosses the finish line.  After 184 kilometers of fighting these elements, a pack is well worn down. 

But since the day's course was pancake flat, the ultimate victor inevitably came from a mass sprint.  Italian fast man Danilo Napolitano racing for the Russian Katusha team took the day's honors while Friday's winner, Johnny Hoogerland, retained the overall lead.  BMC's Danilo Wyss was initially well placed in the sprint, and finished in the top 20 in spite of being boxed in during the final meters.

Wind breaking up the field

"It was not an easy day," Danilo Wyss reported.  "The wind certainly livened things up and breaks in the field kept forming, especially on the final circuit."  The strong wind and high level of racing at this year's event has turned this race into a tough proving ground for the competitors.  Good positioning is a full-time concern and even the smallest mistakes can prove to be huge learning experiences.  "I wasn't too badly placed for the final sprint," Wyss explained.  "But I ended being boxed in and was not really able to let loose on the sprint."  Wyss has proved himself in the past to be very capable at positioning in the sprints, and hopes to have better success in the final stage on Sunday.

Another tough day to come

With rain again in the forecast for the final stage of the 3 Days of West Flanders, the 145 kilometer stage in and around Ichtegem should give another hard tutorial on how to race in Belgian conditions.  With Danilo Wyss consistently finishing in the top 20, the team can still focus on gaining a top finish in the GC which would certainly be an improvement on their efforts in the same race a year ago.