Team Rabobank was only able to send seven riders to the start of the Driedaagse de Panne on Tuesday. Two serious injuries from Saturday's E3 Prijs sent the team scrambling for replacements, while Gerben Löwik and Marc de Maar recovered from their broken bones.
Löwik was only six kilometres in to the weekend's race when he was unable to avoid a pothole in the road and went down. He got back up though and continued on his way. "I got back into the group after the crash, but let [directeur sportif Erik] Dekker know that I had considerable pain in my arm," the rider told Sportwereld.nl. "I just couldn't keep up. 10 kilometres later, he told me, 'if you turn off here, you can probably ride along the canal back to the hotel'."
Löwik did that and rode the 40 km back to the Holiday Inn in Gent. "With some shoes I borrowed from the hotel reception, I stepped into my car and drove to the hospital," he added. "There they found a cracked bone. I got a cast on it and drove home. I'll miss two weeks. Last year I missed the Ronde van Vlaanderen because I broke my hand in De Panne."
Marc de Maar can't tell how his crash happened, because he doesn't know. The road suddenly got narrower and there were riders all around him. "The next moment my handlebars were struck from my hands," he explained. "I have lost a couple of seconds of what happened on Saturday."
De Maar also ended up in hospital in Oudenaarde with an elbow broken in four places. "Tears flowed on Saturday night," the 23 year-old admitted. "More from frustration than from pain. This will cost me four to six weeks, I have already heard. And there were such great races as the Giro [d'Italia] on my calendar." (SW)