Spanish-Belgian rider Flecha wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Look, a hoop for my cat to jump through!

A Spaniard from sunny Spain who prefers the cold, wet weather and hard cobblestones of Belgian. Juan Antonio Flecha became the first Spanish rider rider to win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

We might have to re-christen him with his Dutch name: Johan Anthony Flecha. His resume is crowded with podium placing in many cobblestone classics and semi-classics. A second and third place in Paris Roubaix (2005 & 2007) and a second in the Tour of Flanders (2008). Just last year he finished 3rd in the big Omloop loop.

Now he’s taken out Sky’s first big win of the season with a surprisingly easy and confident win, beating Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo) and Tyler Farrar (Gramin-Transitions) by 18 seconds.

“I’m super happy for him. He’s been knocking on the door for such a long time and he was getting the reputation for getting to the end and not being able to finish it off and he showed everyone today that he was super strong,”  said Flecha’s team manager Dave Brailsford.

Flecha’s nickname is the Spanish Flandrian and we’re beginning to wonder how that happened? Was he born with some kind of recessive cobblestone-chromosome? We may even be dealing with a abduction scenario. Spanish couple desperate for child swipes Belgian baby from Antwerp hospital. Whatever the reason, Flecha has always been comfortable with the classics.

There’s been much talk about Team Sky’s big budget and big business approach to bike racing. David Millar said he’s rather ride for Garmin any day because that team had soul. Well business beat soul today in Gent and Edvald Boasson Hagen also scored a 6th place. The boys are cranking “Wheels in the Sky” by Journey in the Sky rolling disco bus.

Tom Boonen looked all set to add an Omloop to his palmares but despite some aggressive moves and hard accelerations, the win was not to be. A puncture let the air out of his chances and he rolled in a frustrated 59th. Although he did amuse the large crowd at sign-in by riding out on a Fendi designer Dutch bike with saddlebags and a front basket.

American Tyler Farrar also showed his talent for hard racing on the bone jarring stones. His confidence seems to increase from week to week. Soon the argyle genius Jonathan Vaughters will have to decide wether  he wants to buy more train cars or bring in additional hard men to support Farrar in the classics. A nice problem to have.

We’re toasting Johan Flecha with a big Trappist beer. Johan, where you from again — Spain? What part of Belgium is that exactly, the Dutch or the Flemish part?

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