“I told Guillaume, a couple of days ago, that the Sparkassen Giro was his type of course.” said Steve Bauer to sportcom. The SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy DS knew what he was talking about, when Guillaume Boivin took second place in the race held on Sunday in Germany. Not only did he take second place but he bested Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia) and four other riders in the break sprint.
It was a great return to Europe for the 21-year old Boivin, who has raced on Belgian, German and French roads for three years, starting in 2007 from January to May.
“It was an extraordinary feat,” said Bauer. “Guillaume finished with strength, taking his wheel in the final turn for the sprint.”
After flying away solo with 6 kilometers to go, Niki Terpstra (Milram) took the win with a 10 second gap on the chase group.
“I knew it would a good race for him with turns, difficult hills and a finish with a right-hand turn.” continued Bauer. “It was perfect for a complete all-rounder like him”
It was a miserable and challenging day for many on the bike. The 165-km UCI 1.1 race, which started in the pouring rain, included two substantial hills per lap, which the riders would see 11 times. The early break, with Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) and Luke Roberts (Milram), was away for over four laps but never managed more than a minute gap.
Once caught, the attacks continued with ebb and flow at the front. With four laps to go, the front group was down to 40 riders, which included Boivin and two teammates, David Boily and Bruno Langlois. Once the gap was established the main peloton lost any chasing interest and the lead group cruised one lap without any further attacking, recuperating from the intense racing over the last two hours.
With two laps to go, as the heavy rain was subsiding, Langlois followed a very important attack, making a decisive breakaway with six other riders. Boivin has been riding well in Corrèze, so Langlois sat on the break discouraging the lead riders. Milram eventually pulled the break back and a counterattack, including Boivin, formed. With 35 km to go, there were now nine riders in the lead. Boivin and Boily made the split, and so did Greipel (HTC Columbia), Eric Bauman (NetApp) and Steven Caethoven (Landbouwkrediet).
“It was a good break and we divided the work well all the way to the end. Bruno gave Guillaume a chance to counter-attack.” said Bauer.
The time gap increased to 20 seconds as the small group approached at the final two hills of the day. Boily protected Boivin’s lead by following a counterattack, which eventually emerged as a five man chase group. Two men in front were dropped, with Boivin attacking and feeling strong among the seven lead men.
“I went for it,” wrote Boivin. “I attacked, attacked and attacked once again. The competition was very active and very intense. I was hoping to tire out some of them and avoid as much as possible that it finished with a duel with Greipel. It was in my interest to keep on pounding because I had noticed that he was tired in the final kilometers.”
The seven riders were together at the front over the final hill, Terpstra attacked solo with no immediate reaction from the others. Boivin timed his sprint perfectly, coming off of Greipel’s wheel immediately after the final turn in the short 220 meter final straight away, scoring second place.
“I was thrilled to beat Andre Greipel, a big name in the cycling world for whom I have the utmost respect.” wrote Boivin. “This second place finish is, for our team, a very important victory.”
Boily won the sprint in front of his small chase group of five men, finishing an excellent ninth at one minute back. Langlois finished in 30th in the main chase group at 1:10 back.
It wasn’t all good news for the Canadian team however, Andrew Randell slipped and fell hard, fracturing his left femur, high up below the greater trochanter.
“That is really a shame.” said Bauer. “Andrew has big goals with the ProTour races in Montréal and Québec. I hope that he recover wells and that he keeps his morale up with next season in mind.”
According to team release, Randell has undergone surgery at the Bermannsheil Hospital in Bochum, Germany, and will head back to Canada upon his release in few days.
Next up for the team is a Belgian Kermesse and then the Mi-Août Bretonne, a four-stage race on August 12-15 in France.
“It will be a race where we’ll see a bit of everything,” said Bauer about the race’s terrain. “There will probably be aggressive breaks every day.” Boivin, Boily, Langlois will be joined by Keven Lacombe, Martin Gilbert and François Parisien.