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Greg Van Avermaet (Omega Pharma-Lotto) is red-faced from the effort on the climb.
Illness an issue, but not the sole problem for Belgian team
Omega Pharma-Lotto continued its poor start to the 2010 with a disappointing display in E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke on Saturday. The Belgium team is without a win this season and in today’s race its highest place finish came courtesy of Greg Van Avermaet in 26th place, 3:16 minutes down on race winner Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank).
The team was affected by illness before the race, with Phillipe Gilbert, its leader for tomorrow’s Gent-Wevelgem, forced to change hotels in a bid to stay healthy. However team director Herman Frison wasn’t willing to lay the blame for today’s poor showing on illness alone.
“We didn’t make any mistakes today. We just had a bit of bad luck and on the Taaaiberg; when Tom Boonen attacked Greg was the first to respond. But on the next climb he wasn’t in the top 10 and that’s a problem,” he said.
“I don’t know why they were missing. I don’t know,” he added.
Asked if Avermaet and the team’s other leader Leif Hoste (63rd) were ill, Frison batted the excuse away. “That’s not the problems for Greg or for Leif, the other guys were sick, not these guys,” he said. “We’re disappointed.”
Lotto has the chance to make amends tomorrow when the team head into Gent-Wevelgem with Gilbert set to lead the team. He did not race at Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke on Saturday.
“He feels good and he’s been training today,” he said. “Tomorrow is a ProTour race and it’s important for him and the sponsors.”
Lotto for Gent-Wevelgem: Adam Blyth, Kenny De Haes, Mickael Delage, Philippe Gilbert, Olivier Kaisen, Sebastian Lang, Jurgen Roelandts, Greg Van Avermaet