Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.
Ian Stannard is retiring, calling an end to a long and successful career that included a Paris-Roubaix podium, a national championship, roughly 7 million kilometers spent at the front of the Tour de France peloton for a string of Tour-winning teammates, and, most importantly, one of the greatest shellackings of Belgium’s favorite team in the sport’s history.
The year was 2015, and Yogi, as his teammates lovingly call him, worked his way into a late move at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with no fewer than three Etixx-QuickStep riders. Niki Terpstra was there, a year after he’d won Roubaix. Stijn Vandenbergh was there. Tom Boonen, a contender for the greatest of all time, was there.
With 10 km to go, it was still three against one. Stannard sat on, waiting.
The attacks began, first from Terpstra. Then Boonen went, hard on the right side of the road. Stannard closed it. As he did so, Terpstra pulled a classic counter-punch, which might have worked if Vandenbergh hadn’t inexplicably decided to cover it. Stannard followed Vandenbergh, brought it all back together, then went on his own.
This time, Vandenbergh was dropped. Boonen too, left hovering 5 meters back. Terpstra crossed the gap and jumped on Stannard’s wheel. It stayed that way, Stannard pulling ahead of Terpstra with Boonen chasing within sight, until 400 m to go. That’s when Terspstra decided he’d like to play leadout instead of sprinter and moved into the lead.
Terpstra opened the sprint. He got a wheel-length gap and was looking good, right up until the moment when momentum and fate conspired to send 83 kilos of pale British juggernaut straight past his right shoulder.
Take a bow, Ian Stannard. It was a great career, and that was a spectacular win. Watch it all in the video below.