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Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) solos to the finish.
Danish Champion forced to ride teammate's bike
Despite his team's success at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, Saxo Bank's Matti Breschel was furious after crossing the line, his own chances of success having been ruined by poorly executed bike change with sixty kilometres-to-go.
Breschel finished 15th, in the midst of the first peloton to reach the finish line, 2:35 after his teammate and race winner, Fabian Cancellara. Breschel had looked strong throughout the race, creating the first major selection on the Paterberg. But just after the climb of the Eikenberg, 20 kilometers later, Breschel's day was effectively done, as an already slow bike change was made even worse when he was forced to continue on a teammate's spare machine.
"The brakes were rubbing on the wheel, so it was impossible [to stay in touch with the group]," Breschel said of the incident. "My car came up and gave me the wrong bike – they gave me Stuart O'Grady's bike - you know, that's a big, big, big mistake."
Breschel was forced to temper his fury with the knowledge that his teammate Cancellara had been able to come away with victory. Cancellara also had to contend with two bike changes of his own at around the same time as Breschel, however, those had been executed with relative ease.
"I'm happy for Fabian won, he deserved it, but, ah, we could do better from the mechanical point of view from my team," he said. "It sounds rough, but they're just mistakes that shouldn't happen. The brakes go loose, that happens, but give me the wrong spare bike? That's just not good."
His frustration was amplified by his condition and presence in the race prior to the mechanical incident. Although a subsequent bike change returned the Dane to one of his own spares, the damage had already been done.
"I felt good, but after two bike changes the commissares make a barrage [of vehicles] and in the finale it was impossible to come back."
Breschel will have a chance to take some revenge at Paris-Roubaix. His team's dominant performance at Flanders was a sign they will again be a major force when the Classics move to French soil.
"I'm going for it [Roubaix]," he said. "But I'm pretty pissed right now, so I think I have a lot of anger to get out before then."
Despite his own disappointment, Breschel admitted he wouldn't skip his team's inevitable celebration on Sunday night. "Yeah, it might relieve my depression a little bit."