By Susan Westemeyer
Team High Road has been able to celebrate a number of wins early in the 2008 season, but it has had a lot of its riders in the on the sick list. The USA-based team will rely on its strong team roster while some of the members are recovering.
The intestinal virus that made the rounds at the Tour of California took out half the team there. Bradley Wiggins is still ill and had to miss the British Madison Championships over the weekend. Neither Marcel Sieberg nor Bert Grabsch was able to finish the Omloop Het Volk on Saturday and both were unable to start Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday due to illness. Adam Hansen crashed out the latter race and taken to the hospital with facial injuries.
Things were only moderately better elsewhere. Marco Pinotti was trying to move up in the GP Lugano Sunday when he crashed on the final descent. "But with 1.5 kilometres to the finish on a switchback I broke strongly and the back wheel tubular became unstuck; I could not control it anymore and I crashed badly. First, I was worried but after two minutes I got up and finished the race with a spare bike," he said on his website. "After a good shower and some rest I feel still OK and I am sure it's nothing serious, only some pain in my butt. My plan for will stay the same for next week and I have still the confirmation that I have good form at the moment."
Things look more serious for Marcus Burghardt, who is beginning to worry as to whether he will be able to repeat his 2007 win in Gent-Wevelgem. He was forced to drop out of the Volta ao Algarve with continued pain his right knee. "I am naturally very disappointed," he said on his personal website. "I am especially a little troubled because Algarve, like Paris-Nice, was supposed to be an important part of my preparations for the Spring Classics. Now I will recover at home and try to get the problem under control."