Jurgen Van den Broeck's withdrawal from the Vuelta a España has compounded his disappointing performance in this year’s Tour de France and left the Lotto-Belisol rider questioning whether he will ride the Tour again.
The Belgian finished fourth in the Tour in 2010 and 2012, but could only manage 13th place this year.
“We knew that 2014 would be a transition year after his very serious crash in the Tour last year,” team manager Marc Sergeant told Sporza.be. “After such a bad crash many riders have found it physically and mentally difficult to return.”
Van den Broeck crashed in the fifth stage of the 2013 Tour, and severely damaged his right knee. He did not return to training until October.
Sergeant called the 2014 campaign “a season of ups and downs. Unfortunately there was only one real up: third place in the Dauphiné.”
After his unsuccessful Tour, Van den Broeck looked to do well at the Vuelta. He had “considerable confidence” between the two races, Sergeant said. “His intention was not to go for the GC but to win a stage.”
“At the start of the Vuelta, Jurgen still made a good impression on me, but that was soon over. When he gave up, there was nothing in his legs.”
The manager said that it is now time to re-consider what races he will ride in the coming year. “I hope it will be better in 2015,” he said. “Must it absolutely be the Tour? I don’t know. The Giro and the Vuelta are also options. But first he must be ready for them....”