Originally Posted by 18-Valve. (pithy)
He was lucky to be in that position, though. Extremely lucky. They were strong efforts, but we all know he would have won exactly zero times had he not been Boonen's teammate. At least Nuyens battled it out with the top guys.
With Devolder in another team, Boonen still had Pipo 'the shadow' on his wheel. Devolder could almost as easily use their rivalry as he used the fact that he was teammate of Boonen. Getting away would be a little bit harder, but if he really wanted it, I wonder if Pipo and Boonen really would have chased them with more then 30k to go. Devolder attacked early both times remember.
However, Boonen would have chased him from 20k or something. What happened in that scenario, no one knows. I think Devolder, who was at least the 3rd strongest man in the race both years, used very good tactics and was at least one of the strongest.
The same goes for Nuyens. He was at least one of the best in the race. Racers who maybe where stronger (Chavanel, Cancellara) used lesser tactics so a very derserved win. Other riders couldn't make the jump on the flat to Meerbeke.