The narrow, cobbled roads of Belgium took their toll on the peloton on Friday during E3 Harelbeke, with multiple pile-ups sending riders to hospital and knocking Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) out of the Classics with two fractured vertebrae. The list of injured was long, with several now unable to ride Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) crashed in the final 20 kilometres, but the BMC rider was able to remount after several minutes and finish the race. His team, however, stopped contributing to the chase when their leader went down, possibly affecting the final outcome of the race.
Cannondale-Garmin’s Sebastian Langeveld crashed heavily in a major pile-up that took place about 40km into the race. The Cannondale-Garmin team leader for the race was transported via ambulance to a local hospital, according to his team.
“His known injuries include contusions and abrasions to his right elbow and shoulder and a severe contusion to his right knee,” the team stated in an email to Cyclingnews. “Sebastian will continue to be monitored by team medical staff tonight for additional injuries, and he will undergo further imaging tomorrow.”
Diretor Andreas Klier said the team went to “plan B” after losing the designated leader for the race, setting up Jack Bauer, Dylan Van Baarle and Kristjian Koren in the finale.
“Because of the excellent help from Lasse [Norman Hansen], Kristoffer [Skjerping], Alan [Marangoni] and Ted [King] they were able to save a lot of energy for the last part of the race,” Klier said. “In the final, a perfect lead out from Dylan helped Jack to sprint on to place eighth.”
Milan-San Remo winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) was involved in the melee and hit the ground hard, but he was able to get back into the race and finish 25th.
“I was doubting a bit in the race after the first crash whether to carry on as I was quite bruised, especially my hip,” Degenkolb said. “Luckily it was getting better – the faster it went and the more nervous it was the easier it was to switch off the pain. On the Kwaremont though I didn’t really have the legs to follow the best guys.”
Boom out of Gent-Wevlegem
Lars Boom (Astana) took another tumble Friday in E3 after having just crashed during Wednesday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen, where he suffered contusions and superficial wounds to his left leg. On Friday he crashed at high speed and injured his right leg, although his team did not release the extent of his injuries.
Astana said Boom will not start Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, but he is cleared to race 3 Daagse De Panne next week in preparation for next Sunday's Tour of Flanders.
Lampre-Merida lost Luka Pibernik and Niccolo Bonifazio in the big pile-up. Pibernik quit the race but did not suffer serious physical consequences. X-rays showed that Bonifazio had not suffered any fractures but he suffered from deep contusions, especially to his elbow.
Less than 24 hours after Pablo Lastras's crash in Catalunya left him with a fractured pelvis, bad luck once again struck Movistar at E3 Harelbeke. Andrey Amador, Adriano Malori and Imanol Erviti all went down in the large pile up at 40km to go. While Malori was able to ride on, Amador and Erviti were transferred to a medical center for examination. Erviti received some stitches and was treated for a slightly inflamed ankle and knee, while Amador had more severe wounds in his elbow, hip and a finger. Both riders are no doubtful to start Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.
LottoNL-Jumbo’s Robert Wagner also abandoned the race after the crash. His team said he would not start Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, and will be replaced on that roster by Rick Flens.