QSI: Boonen & Devolder

First, a disclaimer: I like both Boonen and Devolder, and was hoping that either one of them would win (since Cancellara was in poor form and Ballan didn't start.). So this is not a poor TomFan thread.

So now, Bonnen and Devolder: Can these two continue to race on the same team? Or, more importantly maybe, will Boonen continue to race on the same team as Devolder?

It seems to me that the situation is perfect for Devolder. The other favorites are all glued to Boonen in the big races and that allows Devolder to sneak off the front and win. (I'm not saying his wins aren't amazing; I love his style.)

If Devolder was captain of his own team, he would have to vie with Boonen, Pippo, and Haussler himself. But, as it stands, he can leave Boonen to babysit everyone else. It seems the trade off would be Devolder gets Flanders and Boonen gets Roubaix, as it was last year, but now Devolder's saying he wants both.

At the end of last season, I thought it was a poor career move by Devolder to stay with QS in Boonen's shadow (like Leipheimer at Astana), but now I see that it's best for him and his attacking style b/c all the potential chasers have the Boonen anchor weighing them down.

Having the two on the same team--and with the amazing but unneccesary addition of Chavanel--is great for the team's win column, but Boonen could probably have won at least one more edition of de Ronde by now if he didn't have such enthusiastic "help." Will he continue to put up with it? Can this relationship last?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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I think the relationship will last. I do agree that having Boonen in the race is helping Devolder...but he has clearly been the strongest at the end. Pozatto and Boonen shackeled each other the whole race.

Of course Devolder wants to win PR...but doing it will be difficult. I think Boonen has more power on the flat cobbles and when his motor is tuned up look out.

I also don't think picking up Chavanel was a bad idea. Great for the team...look how they were in control in Flanders. Chavanel contributed as much or more to the win than Boonen. It must be tough having so many good riders eh?

Lastly, I am not at all convinced that Boonen was the real card they were going to play in Flanders. I think it may have been Devolder all along. Just my thoughts and opinion..but a possibility.

We will see on Sunday how things play out in PR, but I expect Boonen to be at the front at the end.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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Quick step held all the aces to me.If Pozzato had chased Devolder,Boonen would have had an armchair ride.Also would Devolder have attacked if Chavanel had someone other than Quinziato away with him.I think Quick step have the balance right for the classics and watch for Devolder repaying Boonen at roubaix.Rabbobank were a bit dissapointing though in Flanders,so maybe they will be out to make ammends too.
Its been a great season so far,and looking forward to the rest of it. :)
 
Apr 3, 2009
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Boonen already stated in the press that he felt a bit frustrating during the race, both because of Pozzato not willing to take over when they made their move on the Berendries and the Taaienberg, and Devolder taking advantage of that situation once again. Especially because he had the legs to win himself. And of course Boonen will not begrudge Devolder for taking his second win, but I can understand why he's frustrated. After all, he's not getting any younger, and there's only so many Classics he can win in one year.

On the other hand, staying with Quickstep has clear advantages for Devolder. He's part of the strongest team in the classics, and as mentioned before, he has the Boonen-factor on his side, not against him. Once he leaves Quickstep for another team, everybody will be watching him like a hawk, and he'll never get away that easily as he did the past 2 years. In addition to that, there's not so much pressure on him. Lefevre knows he can leave Devolder be and let him follow his own path until 'his' races come up, and Devolder in turn can pretty much do whatever he wants, as long as he delivers in the first week of april. But what when he joins a team where they expect him to perform in other races as well, or be a domestique in races he usually doesn't want to ride? And last, within the Quickstep equipe, Devolder knows he's the captain for the big stage races, seeing there's no alternative captain. Even if he can't live up to the expectations (that's another discussion), he'll always get another chance, just because there's no other rider with the same aspirations.

So I only see him leaving to another team if he gets the same guarantees as he gets with Quickstep now. And where would he find that nowadays? Rabo, Columbia, Cervelo, Astana, Saxo, Liquigas, they all have their own classics contenders and GC riders...
 

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