Just about nothing went right for Team Volksbank in the first stage of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen on Friday. The team brought Olaf Pollack into position for the end sprint, but a crash 250 meters before the finish line stopped him and the other top sprinters.
"The riding was almost criminal there at the end," Pollack, 34, said. "Daniel Musiol and Josef Benetseder brought me well into position, but the crash directly in front of me was just bad luck."
Another crash had more serious consequences. Pascal Hungerbühler crashed, and came out of it with bruises and "a wound on his elbow, which doesn't look good," according to Directeur Sportif Gregor Gut. The Swiss rider was nevertheless expected to start again on Saturday.
He did start but didn't get far, though, and not because of injuries. As team spokesman Michael Fruhmann told Cyclingnews, "After the crash, Hungerbühler rode 600 meters behind the team auto, and so got back into the field. He started today and was belatedly disqualified by the race organisers for the events of yesterday. The jury also wanted to disqualify the team car but after a long and loud discussion, it was allowed to remain in the race, at least for the time being..."