Fränk Schleck said that Alex Rasmussen of Garmin-Barracuda caused him to lose time in Wednesday's eleventh stage of the Giro d'Italia. The Dane called that “a lie”. Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) was held up twice by crashes and lost 46 seconds, dropping him from 13th place to 23rd, where he is now 2:11 down on leader Joaquim Rodriguez.
“Just before the final lap Alex Rasmussen gave his teammate Christian Vande Velde a big push to launch him upfront,” Schleck said on the team website. “While doing this he was practically going backwards himself and he was like a wall in the middle of the pack. Incredible. I hit him from behind and stood completely still. Then I started chasing like hell and I made it back to the peloton that had already started the last climb.
“But then bad luck struck again, because there was another crash and everybody was standing still again. Normally, I would have been in the front before the crash, but because of Rasmussen's move I was completely behind. I lost precious time there and it was impossible to get back to the group once I got rolling again."
The team didn't know about the first time he had to chase the field, sport director Kim Andersen admitted. “It wasn't until he was chasing for the second time that we found out and then we could tell the others team riders to wait for Fränk. But then again, with a peloton going super fast before a bunch sprint, it's impossible to get back in the group."
Schleck noted that while “I didn't have a good day yesterday [Tuesday, ed] - I have to be honest - but today was different. It's really frustrating that I lose so much time because of that stupid move of Rasmussen.
“Both crashes were out of my control and I had to stop twice. These are precious seconds and it's frustrating that you have to lose them in such a way. I wish there was footage of the incident. I think launching a teammate is against the UCI rules and even more so, it puts other riders in danger, as I have experienced first hand today...”
Rasmussen: “his own fault”
Rasmussen called Schleck's explanation “a lie”. He had not spoken to Schleck “but he had told one of my teammates that I was to blame that he crashed.
"But it's totally a lie, it was not that way at all. The crash occurred on a bend shortly before we went out on the last lap, when he came and ran straight into the side of me and ran my derailleur off. He's actually the lucky one, because nothing happened to him nothing and he could continue to ride away. I had to remain standing to change my bike and thus could not help more on the stage,” he told feltet.dk
"At that time I had handed Ryder (Hesjedal ed.) to the front, and was about to fall quietly back in the box. So I rode completely relaxed. He (Schleck, ed) comes up in panic, because he is too far back. So it was his own fault that he ran into me. But he is obviously upset that he was losing time.”