Lampaert ruled out of opening weekend with broken sternum
The Belgian came down on the opening stage of the Portuguese race and battled on with the injury before eventually pulling out on the final day. Closer examination revealed a broken sternum, or breastbone, and it is unclear when he'll be back in action, though he did pick out Dwars door Vlaanderen on March 23 as a possible return date.
"My crash in the Tour of Algarve has caused me more harm than I suspected. I have a break in my sternum, all the way up to my neck," wrote Lampaert on his Instagram page.
"With great pain in my heart I will miss the opening weekend. I don't yet know where I will resume but I hope to be back there at Dwars door Vlaanderen. Until then I'll keep an eye on everything through the television."
Lampaert is the latest in a string of riders who are being forced to miss the opening weekend. Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) broke his shoulder blade ahead of the Ruta del Sol, ruling himself out for six to eight weeks, while Johann Vansummeren has been sidelined by a heart problem and André Greipel is a doubt after breaking a rib in a crash at the Volta ao Algarve. Then there's the Giant-Alpecin team, who have had to pull out of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad due to a rider shortage following their training crash in Spain last month.
Castroviejo transferred to Spanish hospital
Jonathan Castroviejo has returned to his native Spain following a spell in a Portuguese hospital after a crash at the Volta ao Algarve last week.
The Movistar rider collided with a spectator, who jumped out into the road, on his way down from the Alto de Malhao summit finish to the team bus after the conclusion of the final stage. He fractured his sixth vertebrae as well as the ulna bone in his left forearm. After a night in Faro hospital, he was transferred to Pamplona on Monday, where he will undergo an operation on his arm and further tests on his vertebrae, according to Spanish website Biciciclismo.
In a short statement sent to Biciciclismo, Castroviejo issued a plea for cycling fans to exercise caution when watching races from the roadside.
"Many thanks to everyone for the support, we're not having very good luck," he said. "I would like to ask for those who come to watch cycling to take care. For us it's amazing to feel the warmth of the public, but one lapse of concentration could cause an accident. That said, I also want to send support to spectator with whom I collided, and wish him a speedy recovery."
Izaguirre's confidence boosted by Algarve showing
Jon Izaguirre was able to take a great deal of confidence from his performance at the Volta ao Algarve last week, where he rode to second overall behind Geraint Thomas. The Spaniard, solid in the time trial as well as on the summit finishes, got the better of the esteemed likes of Alberto Contador, Fabio Aru, and Thibaut Pinot, which bodes well ahead of Paris-Nice in March.
"I came into the race wanting to do well and second place is a positive result," Izaguirre said. "This year many top leaders came and to see myself there on the podium with Geraint Thomas, with Alberto Contador, for me it's important and gives my confidence going into the next races."
The result comes on the back of his fourth-place overall finish at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, where he was hampered by a crash, and forms part of a developing trend of consistency in the week-long stage races. The 27-year-old, who is leaving Grand Tours by the wayside, won the Tour de Pologne last August and was third at the Vuelta al País Vasco earlier in the year.
"The week-long races with a time trial suit me well; I can manage the time differences on the climbs and in the time trials I can put some seconds into the favourites," he said.
"Being in this team, I don't see myself for the Grand Tours - we already have a good squad to help Nairo [Quintana] and [Alejandro] Valverde fight for GC in those races. The team has put confidence in me for the week-long races and I prefer to focus on them because I know I can do well in them."
Next up for Izaguirre is Paris-Nice, followed by the GP Indurain and then País Vasco.
Tro Bro Leon poster
Race posters can range from good to bad to ugly, but we reckon the Tro Bro Leon has struck gold with their latest offering.
Jean-Paul Mellouët, the organiser of the one-day race, which takes place across stretches of dirt track in the depths of Brittany, draws the posters himself each year, and this time the canvas is adorned by Dan Craven, holding a pig. There's a good reason for this; the best-placed Breton rider each year walks away with a piglet, and ahead of last year's edition, the Namibian professed his love for the race and his anguish at his nationality preventing him from ever being able to get his hands on such a prize.
"Sunday is Tro Bro Leon, possibly the greatest bike race on this planet. Road race with some gravel jeep track and the best Breton wins a PIG," said Craven on Twitter ahead of last year's race. "A PIG! No greater prize exists in cycling! I'm investigating becoming a Breton just for the weekend.
"Disaster. I've been unable to blackmail anyone for a Breton passport and the two Bretons in my team aren't racing tomorrow. No pig. Sob [...] They lied, we have a Breton in the @trobroleon team after all! Forget team tactics. I'm working only for @MORICEJulien, all day. #PigTime."
The organisers took pity, and duly presented Craven with a piglet of his own at sign-on ahead of the race, thus inspiring the latest in a long line of brilliant posters.
Echu ! pic.twitter.com/NrphyLX1CA— TRO BRO LEON (@trobroleon) February 22, 2016