Steegmans crashes out of Driedaagse De Panne

Trek Factory Racing hoping Devolder can shine at the Tour of Flanders

Gert Steegmans' spring Classics campaign is almost certainly over after a second nasty crash during the opening stage of Driedaagse De Panne.

The Belgian from Trek Factory Racing was one of the many riders to crash during Gent-Wevelgem because of the strong winds. He ended up in a water-filled, with a team mechanic scrambling to save his bike. On Tuesday Steegmans crashed in the first 10km of the stage of Driedaagse De Panne, hitting his knee hard, apparently on some traffic furniture.

He suffered serious bruising above his knee and will not be part of Trek Factory Racing’s team for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. The team has already lost team leader Fabian Cancellara after he fractured two vertebra during E3 Harelbeke, leaving veteran Belgian Stijn Devolder as team leader for the Tour de Flanders. Fortunately for the team he seems to have found some form for the Classics and was part of the breakaway with stage winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) at Driedaagse De Panne. Devolder knows how to win the Tour of Flanders, having won the race in 2008 and 2009. 

"It was a slippery slight turn and there was a traffic island. I slid out and hit the traffic island just above my knee and now I have a hematoma. It is terrible pain!" Steegmans about of crash on the Trek Factory Racing website.

"I hope to be able to train by the weekend and then maybe come back for Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix. We’ll have to see."

However directeur sportif Dirk Demol was not so optimistic, suggesting that Steegmans spring campaign has come to and end because of his latest crash.

"I do not know what exactly happened to Gert. Apparently, he misjudged a bend and crashed into a traffic island. The race doctor said afterwards that we had to fear for a knee fracture. Now it appears that he has nothing broken, but his spring is over. That is clear," Demol told Sporza.

Steegmans tweeted on Wednesday morning about his recovery: "Going home. Reboot the body and mind #comingback"

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