Crash destroys Van Den Broeck's hopes at Pais Vasco

Lotto Belisol lose out on opening stage

Lotto Belisol were one of the big losers from the crash that occurred inside the final 10km at Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco as Jurgen Van Den Broeck limped across the line more than five minutes behind the day's winner Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge). Van Den Broeck was the team's hope for the general classification and appeared to be riding well after finishing inside the top-ten at the recent Volta a Catalunya but his ambitions for the WorldTour race all but disappeared in the fall.

The crash caused the main field to split into numerous groups on the fast run toward the finishing town of Elgoibar on Stage 1 with Van Den Broeck eventually crossing the line, alongside teammate Dirk Bellemakers, in 128th place. The team's best-placed rider in the chaotic finale was Bart De Clercq who came in with the group containing last year's overall winner Samuel Sanchez, losing five seconds and finishing in 31st.

"Jurgen Van den Broeck crashed in the first stage of the Tour of the Basque Country on top of the last climb, seven kilometers from the finish," read a team statement.

"An initial check-up found no major problems. We now have to wait until tomorrow to see what the full consequences are."

Van Den Broeck tweeted shortly after the finish, showing off the damage to his right knee before giving some context to his photo with a brief explanation of his condition.

"Hopefully everything is ok, will have to wait until tomorrow. Knee and hip [took a] pretty solid hit and the elbow is bruised with a small hole in it," said Van Den Broeck on Twitter.

It is yet to be seen how the Belgian fares in the coming days, especially given he has lost all chance of improving on his 12th place overall from last year. With four demanding stages remaining and a time trial on the final day it seems Van Den Broeck is in for a tough week in Spain.

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