In conditions more like the Tour of Southland Hayden Roulston finished fourth in the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne classics race in Belgium yesterday.
Wind and freezing rain buffered riders with miserable conditions marking the 194 km race. Bobbie Traksel (Vacansoleil) won a three man sprint ahead of Rick Flens (Rabobank) and Ian Stannard (Team Sky).
After crashing and losing skin and badly bruising his right hip on the final day of Spanish stage race la Ruta del Sol late last week Roulston was very happy with yesterdays result.
“I punctured at a bad moment and had to fight my way back, but this is a big result considering how strong the field was.”
At the 52 kilometre mark, Traksel, Stannard and Flens had the about a one minute gap on Thor Hushovd and Jeremy Hunt (both Cervélo TestTeam) and Roulston (HTC-Columbia), with the main chase a further two minutes back.
Hunt abandoned the race and Roulston became the only close chaser when Hushovd dropped back to his team car with 20 kilometres remaining.
Showing good strength Roulston moved away from the chasing field but could not bridge across to the leading three riders, finishing 59 seconds behind Traksel.
1. Bobbie Traksel (Ned), Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team, 194km in 4:43:15
2. Rick Flens (Ned), Rabobank, same time
3. Ian Stannard (GB), Team Sky, s.t.
4. Hayden Roulston (NZ), HTC-Columbia, at 0:59
5. Dominique Rollin (Can), Cervelo Test Team, at 2:58
6. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Cervelo Test Team, s.t.