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Lotto Belisol during the TTT at Tirreno-Adriatico
Crashes derailed GC ambitions and stage wins
Lotto Belisol started strongly at Tirreno-Adriatico with seventh place in the team time trial on day one but crashes laid to rest any possibilities of overall victory as Jurgen Van den Broeck had to leave the race having suffered deep, horizontal cut on the inside of his right knee on Stage 2. Bart De Clercq also came off his bike but suffered no serious injuries and showed a glimpse of his best by riding to eleventh place on the stage to the Selva Rotonda ski station.
A new examination on Van den Broeck's knee showed that the injuries are evolving well and is now riding on the rollers.
For the rest of the team , there were moments to saviour but ultimately there were no stage wins although not from lack of trying. André Greipel sprinted to third place in stage two while Adam Hansen put in a strong performance on the stage over the Muro di Guardiagrele, in which he was fourth.
On the penultimate stage Marcel Sieberg crashed in preparation of the bunch sprint as they rest of the train then had to brake to avoid a collision halting Greipel's chances at stage victory.
"We can't say Tirreno-Adriatico was successful for us this year, because we came here to win a stage. We knew there were two to three stages in which we could try to win in the sprint. That didn't work out, also because of certain circumstances and a crash," sports director Herman Frison said.
"The crash of Bart De Clercq and Jurgen Van den Broeck in stage two put a damper on the party after the team time trial of day one. They were our guys for GC. We could immediately forget to strive for a good overall classification.
"Adam Hansen set a great result on Sunday. When we look at the team as a whole we can certainly be satisfied about the team time trial, where the boys have set a great performance. It confirmed that our riders are in a good shape. We were only four seconds behind place four, while all top teams were represented. Also yesterday the guys were in a good position, but then there was that crash. When we saw the images on TV we feared for injuries. When we noticed after the finish that there wasn't too much damage that was a relief of course. Luckily we can go to Milan-San Remo with a good and complete team."
Depending on his recovery, the team will have Van den Broeck on the start line at the Volta a Catalunya next Monday.
On Sunday evening Gert Dockx had surgery of a dislocated fracture of his left collarbone, which he incurred in Dwars door Drenthe and with a period of seven to ten days rest he will resume training on the rollers.
Greg Henderson, who left the Three Days of West-Flanders on the return from knee surgery one day before the end, responded well to the draining of the infected wound on his knee and will start in Catalunya as well.