Ian Stannard is fast acquiring legendary status. He is hard as nails. He rides on the cobbles just to stop himself from dropping the entire peloton.
This weekend he won the Omloop Het Neuwsblad. It used to be called Het Volk in the days when it was easier to spell. How he managed to win is still a rich topic for discussion. The Ettixx Quickstep team snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, but it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Stannard destroyed them. At one point (7.46) he seems to let a gap open with the express purpose of dropping Tom Boonen. He then powers away, with Terpstra the only one to go with him. It’s amazing. Terpstra kindly leads him out for the win, his mind scrambled by events. The sprint has all the pace and panache of two articulated lorries overtaking each other on the M5, making it somehow all the more glorious.
There’s a degree of irony, as Cycling Weekly pointed out, in the most unpredictable result coming from the most ‘predictable’ team, with Sky and Stannard the underdogs for once.