Tour of Flanders 2008
6h24' of spectacular, intense and uncertain racing eventually saw the awarding of the strongest and most courageous rider of the day.
Stijn Devolder left all his breakaway companions behind at 25 km from the finish, taking it all solo: 33' to ride the last 25 clicks (average speed of 45 km/h), 3'30" to climb the legendary "Muur", 13' for the last 10 km (average speed of 46 km/h), fighting against a 'capricious' wind and the fatigue accumulated in a race toughened even more by the weather conditions, especially in the first part (snow).
Probably starting the event with the order of helping Tom Boonen, Stijn found himself in his best day form along the course and was able to profit of it intelligently, also encouraged by a not-so happy day of his captain.
After he got a green light from his team, he got rid of the earphone and rode head-down, without ever turning back once.
It's definitely not easy to keep and manage an advantage never superior to the mere 25-30" over the chasers, but no other rider behind him really had the legs in the end to make any difference.