While Quick Step's Tom Boonen missed out on a much hoped for fourth victory at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, his team-mate Stijn Devolder was forced to contend with yet another day of bad luck at the 2010 Classics.
Devolder crashed and punctured twice, continuing his disappointing run at the Spring Classics this season. His second crash resulted in a contusion and a haematoma on his left knee. Since the crashes happened long before the finale had started Devolder faced a constant battle to chase back towards the front of the race.
Devolder didn't give up and came close on returning to the lead group, where Boonen was busy firing his ultimately unsuccessful attacks. "Ah, that didn't matter. I've never had the chance to get in the race. It's frustrating if you have the legs but you can't do anything with them. Especially because I've been so bad during the start of the season," Devolder said.
The 30-year-old Belgian eventually finished the race in 42nd position, 12:44 behind winner Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank). Right after the race Devolder was guided to the doping control room by International Cycling Union chaperones, but eventually he limped out towards the team car.
"My knee is seriously damaged. I went to see the doctor a couple of times but their treatment didn't help. Normally I would be riding the Brabantse Pijl, but we'll have to see how the injury develops," he said.
"It's too bad because I'm back at the level I want to be. I have to keep working and one day luck will come my way. Hopefully I'll have a good summer or autumn," Devolder concluded, before leaving the velodrome complex in Roubaix.