Garmin-Transitions was targeting victory and the first leader’s jersey at the nighttime 13km team time trial at the Vuelta a España but a crash as they warmed-up just an hour before the race left Julian Dean in pain and affected the team’s performance.
Dean is a key lead-out man for sprinter Tyler Farrar and so his speed is a vital component in Garmin-Transitions’ team time trial strategy. The Kiwi rider hurt his shoulder after hitting a kerb and then a sidewall in the dark and was unable to give his best in the time trial.
He was the first rider to be left behind as Garmin-Transitions chased victory but that meant the team was short on riders and horsepower for the final push to the line. Garmin-Transitions finished sixth, 17 seconds slower than winners HTC-Columbia.
Team leader Christian Vande Velde finished with the team and looked strong after his long spell out of action. He revealed that Dean had crashed in a Twitter message soon after finishing: “Ouch. Kinda fun, kinda terrifying. Lost Julian on the warm up to a "dark sidewalk". Bad crash and put some fear in the team. Congrats to HTC.”
Bingen Fernandez, Garmin-Transitions directeur sportif at the Vuelta, gave more details.
“Julian Dean crashed on a bike lane that was five centimetres higher than the road. He didn’t see it. It happened one hour before the race during our second lap of warm-up. He has a scratch on his shoulder and bruises on his right elbow and right side. After one kilometre of racing, he was off, so we basically rode with one rider less and Julian is a very important guy in our team. Otherwise, five or six guys rode really well,” he said.
"David Zabriskie is strong at the moment. The team time trial is our speciality. We always want to win it. We were one of the favourites, so we can’t say we’re happy with sixth place but it’s not too bad either.”