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Sky rider stuck in Spain, Italian-based riders begin to arrive in Maastricht
Team Sky has confirmed that Bradley Wiggins will not ride Sunday's Amstel Gold Race after being stranded at his Spanish home in Girona because of the effect of Volcano Eyjafjallajökull on European air travel.
Wiggins' teammate Chris Froome was also affected by the travel chaos and like many other Italian-based riders is currently driving to Maastricht.
Fortunately for Team Sky, most of their riders have been in Maastricht since the middle of the week. The team rode the Brabantse Pijl race on Wednesday and Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Mathew Hayman joined the team on Friday to study the route of the Amstel Gold Race.
Team Sky will be able to field the required minimum number of six riders but other teams are battling against traffic and time to make it Maastricht.
Most of the Liquigas team squeezed into a minibus and then picked up HTC-Columbia riders Marco Pinotti and Michael Albasini along the route from Milan to Maastricht. They slept in Luxembourg on Friday night and arrived in Maastricht at lunchtime on Saturday. This afternoon they will go for a ride and stretch their legs after hours spent cramped in the minibus.
World Champion Cadel Evans is also traveling by car from Southern Switzerland with teammate Steve Morabito and BMC Racing Team president Jim Ochowicz.
The Lampre-Farnese Vini team had planned to catch a 6:30am train from Milan but opted to drive and left early in the morning to arrive in Maastricht mid-afternoon. Team leader Damiano Cunego is travelling in a faster and more comfortable team car, while the rest of the team is in a minibus.
Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) were due to fly from Spain to Northern Europe today but with Swiss and Italian airports also closed, it seems unlikely they will make it to Maastricht.
Bradley Wiggins revealed he wouldn't be able to ride the Amstel Gold Race in a twitter message on Saturday morning: "Can't get to Amstel this weekend due to Arthur!" he said.
His wife Cath quickly responded with another tweet: "So you're with us instead. Every volcanic cloud has a silver lining."