German Eric Baumann (Team NetApp) is expected to miss most of the Spring racing calendar after breaking his knee in a crash at the Beverbeek Classic in Belgium on Saturday.
Baumann came down during the 168-kilometre event and will be forced off the bike as he faces up to an as-yet undetermined recovery period. The incident added injury to insult for NetApp as they faced a torrid start to their first Belgian race of the season.
"It's a bitter blow for us. Eric will probably have to wear a cast for a few weeks," said NetApp Sports Director Jens Heppner.
"Today's race went badly for us in every respect. I've never heard of such bad luck: within three kilometres [of the start], we had to deal with numerous tire problems."
The team's best placed rider, Nico Keinath, finished the event in 24th position. However, despite the mechanical problems that plagued them during the day, the team was able to show itself through Bastien Delrot, who formed part of a five-man breakaway that survived until 15 kilometres to go.
"Bastien did an excellent job," said Heppner.
The race was won by Belgian Yannick Eijssen (PWS Eijssen Cycling Team) ahead of Lotto-Bodysol's Edwig Cammaerts and Grégory Joseph (Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator).