Danish talent Matti Breschel was on his way to a possible victory in Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, but then crashed badly as previously reported. The Team CSC rider was in the decisive 18-man breakaway on the final stage, a breakaway that also included the leading rider, Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen.
"I already won the intermediate sprint yesterday; and I was only seconds away from winning overall," Breschel told Cyclingnews from the hospital in Torhout this morning. "I just knew that I was stronger than McEwen but I never got the chance to show that in the final sprint. He had already come beside me and given me a push a couple of times to intimidate me so I'd be reluctant to take him on in the sprint. But I was where I had to be in that final straight."
While referring to the Monday morning edition of Het Volk newspaper on his bedside table, Breschel's tone of voice changed. "I'm most upset because McEwen said to the Belgian press that I tried to get through a gap which wasn't there. But that's rubbish. We started sprinting in the middle of the road and Robbie took me from the middle to the left, trying to close the door on me by pushing me towards the barriers. He went down first because of his irregular sprinting, and it was his bike which brought me down and made me hit the barriers damn hard."
Watching the TV footage of the event, race commissaires later relegated the Australian to 44th place for irregular sprinting. "Ok, they disqualified McEwen, but he walked away unscathed and although it is good to know that the commissaires saw what he was doing, their decision doesn't put me back in competition for the spring classics!," a very sore and battered Breschel said. "I've got to admit I'm seriously pissed off right now." Two fractures vertebrae and a serious concussion will keep the Dane out of racing for a few weeks, meaning he will miss out on the spring classics he was so focused on.
After being transported to hospital, it took Breschel 45 minutes before he could remember his date of birth, which immediately showed his head took most of the impact. But later on x-rays also revealed two fractured vertebrae. "At first I thought it was only a concussion so I'd be on the bike again in a few days," he continued. "But then they brought worse news and that made really feel low. Man, just when I was going so good, so strong! There couldn't have been a worse moment. But I guess that's always the case, for every rider crashing."
When asked if he was feeling better this morning, the usually upbeat and happy Dane responded emotionally: " No, I'm still hurting badly, never been this sore I think. Yesterday I was thinking that I'd recover quite quickly - I mean, I'm young and I'm tough! But right now, don't think I'll be going anywhere too soon."
The young CSC rider is likely to spend another day in the hospital in Torhout before being moved to a hotel close to the team doctor's practice. He hopes he can travel to Denmark next weekend where he can continue rehab with his family.