HTC-Columbia Sports Director Rolf Aldag has expressed his disappointment with the team's performance at the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt in Germany on Saturday, after their entire squad were part of a large group of riders to be withdrawn from the event on the first of three closing circuits.
Milram's Fabian Wegmann won the eventual sprint finish from a 22-man group. The total shut-out of the HTC-Columbia team did not please Aldag, who said his riders didn't demonstrate strong enough will.
“You can't give up that quickly. Such situations can happen at the Giro or the Tour,” he told the German website FR-online.de.
The problem started when Tony Martin crashed. He was “over motivated, he absolutely wanted to be up front and took a great risk,” said Aldag. Martin was not injured, but his bike needed replacing, and by the time that happened, he had fallen to the back of the race.
Even though there were still 90 kilometres left in the race, the riders didn't make any great effort to bring Martin or André Greipel up to the front group of 28 riders, which included Wegmann. “We had five men together and were only a minute behind this 28-man group. We should simply have ridden and tried to bring André Greipel up to it.”
The blame goes to Greipel, Aldag said. “As captain, Greipel should have given the order to catch them. After the race he said, 'they would have just dropped us again on the Mamolshainer Berg'. But then we could have caught them again in the last 30 kilometres.
“They gave up too early,” Aldag continued. “You can't do that in Frankfurt. This not some 'tra-la-la', but a very important race and the close of the Classics season. Next year we must make it more important.”
To make things worse, Aldag said he came down with a stomach bug on Saturday, and although he was in the team car, he was “hung over a plastic bag during the race.” Being so ill, “I didn't have the strength or motivation to grab the microphone and yell at the riders,” he said.