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Defending champion Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge)
Crashes and horrific conditions prove too tough for Gerrans and Goss
Closing out a brutal day of racing in the season’s first monument, Milan - San Remo, the best result Orica GreenEdge would be taking home was Sebastian Langeveld’s 23rd-place. Langeveld sprinted to the line with the group that raced for 8th, 14-seconds behind Gerald Ciolek’s (MTN - Qhubeka) winning breakaway.
Orica GreenEdge had lined up with the winners of the past two editions, Matt Goss (2011) and Simon Gerrans (2012) but the weather sought to ruin the tactics of the defending champions who were unable to overcome the near inhumane conditions.
"When the boys got on the bus after the race was stopped in Ovada to bypass the Turchino, it was clear that the race had gone for 10-15 kilometres too long," team director Neil Stephens told GreenEdgecycling.com. "We were in really bad shape. The boys where shaking and shivering. I heard from a few other teams that they had riders that were shaking so badly they had fallen off their bikes.
"I wanted to tell them not to worry about it - to get off and stay off the bike. Instead, I had to do the opposite. I had to give them warm tea and food, encourage them to take warm showers and get them mentally prepared to go out there again. It was hard on my team and hard on the whole peloton."
Goss had essentially ruled himself out of contention after crashing shortly before reaching the arrival of the neutral zone in Ovada and after climbing aboard the team bus it soon became clear that his injury would not allow him to challenge for a second la Primavera title.
"Gossy [Matt Goss] had been involved in a crash about ten minutes prior to arriving back at the team bus. He hurt his leg, and we realized it was getting worse the longer he sat around. Between the constant changes and Gossy's fall, there wasn’t much tactic left. It became a race for the opportunists. At the end of our meeting, I said to them ‘Someone is going to win - why can’t it be us?’ and then I sent them back out there."
Gerrans lost contact on the penultimate climb of the Cipressa along with Impey while Langeveld was able to handle the freezing conditions of the race. Stephens was pleased to see the Dutchman perform well ahead of the Belgian classics where the team will rally around the 2011 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad champion.
"Sebastian stayed in the bunch over the Cipresso and Poggio. We’re happy to see that he's showing good form ahead of the Belgium classics where he really wants to shine," said Stephens.