Leipheimer in solid position for Omega Pharma-QuickStep at Catalunya
There are positive signs for Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s Dries Devenyns as he recovers from a shoulder fracture suffered on the penultimate stage of Paris-Nice.
The Belgian has resumed training, six days after crash on the descent of the Col de Vence while pacing teammate Levi Leipheimer back to the peloton. Devenyns, coming out of a corner, was unable to avoid a gendarme on his motorbike who was on the side of road assisting Matthew Lloyd (Lampre-ISD) who had earlier come to grief.
The injury forced Devenyns out of Milan-San Remo, which was hardly surprising.
"Today is the first day I've had a better feeling on my bike," Devenyns said. "I had five hours of training, so I am happy with that and am looking forward to the next days. I have six hours on the bike in the next days as well. I've only felt better in the last couple of days. If you asked me four or five days ago I would have been more pessimistic, but now I am having good feelings."
According to the press release issued by his team, no decision on the 28-year-old’s race schedule will be made following observation of his condition in the next few days.
"April 1st is the Tour of Flanders, and everybody in the town is excited about the race," Devenyns, who lives on the critical passage of Tour of Flanders on the Kwaremont, said. "They've been knocking on my door, checking on me, to see if I am going to make it or not. It really gives me a lot of courage and strength to have the support from friends and family, and the town, but also from the team and medical staff. Whether or not I make it, the support makes a lot of difference. For sure I have pain, it's a shoulder fracture and takes some time to heal. But there is nothing I can do about it, and I feel less pain because of the support I have."
Meantime, the Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad rode to second place on Stage 2 of the Volta a Catalunya on Tuesday, courtesy of Dario Cataldo. The Italian was at the front of a 20-plus rider front split as they negotiated a fast and technical descent following category 1 climb Alt Dels Àngels. The front group chased down three attacking riders, including Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Daniel Martin (Garmin-Barracuda) and Matteo Cararra (Vacansoleil) with less than three kilometres remaining.
Team leader Leipheimer finished 23rd in the stage, with the front split. He now stands in 24th on general classification, 1:32 back.
"We did the best for our main job, which was to protect Levi," Cataldo said. "Tomorrow is the most important race, and today it was to be in the front for the last kilometers. We did it, and we did a really great job. In the last three kilometers, we were in the small peloton and I had a talk with Levi. We decided to let me do the sprint. So I tried, and was pretty fast with a small group. But after climbs like those, I was already a bit tired. I found the right position, but the legs were already a bit tired. It's all the small things — together you can win or lose the sprint. But we did a great job with our main goal, and if we could have won also today it would have been really great. But it's still a good result. The bigger goal is for tomorrow with Levi."
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