Experience beats promise in Denmark

Belgian breakaway specialist Erwin Thijs takes a surprising win in the Colliers Classic as CSC fail

Belgian breakaway specialist Erwin Thijs takes a surprising win in the Colliers Classic as CSC fail


It happens occasionally, and Sunday in Aarhus was one of those occasions when a rider who has been in a monster breakaway also manages to win the race. In this case it was Belgian veteran Erwin Thijs who pulled it off in the Colliers Classic (formerly CSC Classic), writes Susanne Horsdal.

With about 90 kilometres to go, the Unibet rider launched an attack and quickly got a gap that grew to about four minutes. "I thought Team CSC would let me get a certain advantage before they caught me and would then ride for [Stuart] O'Grady in the sprint, and I wanted the breakaway to last as long as possible, because we had Jeremy Hunt who could compete with O'Grady," explained Thijs, who's known in Belgium for his long breakaways.

The last one he did was about 200k's in the Amstel Gold Race - that was caught, but not this one. Instead he was joined by 18-year-old Norwegian Edvald Boasen, predicted to be the new Thor Hushovd, with about 15k's to go. But the youngster couldn't beat experience. Thijs, 35, let him do most of the work and easily outsprinted him.

"The sprint was actually pretty easy for me, but I don't think I stole the win after the work I'd put in earlier. It was clearly a matter of experience," said Thijs.

For the Belgian and not least Unibet the victory is pretty important because the team with ProTour aspirations haven't had the results this spring that they've dreamt of. "The sports directors have begun to be a little nervous which is why it was important for them that we did well here," explained Thijs after his 22nd victory in a 14-year pro career.

The Belgian still has another year and a half of pro racing to add to that total before he ends his riding career and switches to a job as sports director in Unibet's espoirs team. "And, of course, I've already noticed a rider like Boasen," said Thijs with a smile.

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