After a successful Tour of Denmark in which he won two stages and helped his teammate to the overall victory, the Eneco Tour turned unlucky for Tinkoff-Saxo's Matti Breschel. The Dane was taken down when Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) was nudged toward the edge of a narrowing roadside and clipped the first set of barriers. The Belgian broke his finger in the crash, but Breschel will likely continue, suffering mainly road rash and bruises.
“It’s very unfortunate, luckily Matti could finish the stage, but he will have to undergo further examinations this evening," Tinkoff-Saxo director Patxi Vila said. “Our strategy was the same as yesterday, which was to try to get a good result in the sprint with Matti, who showed very strong shape in Tour of Denmark. He’s not a pure sprinter but he is fast and we wanted to position him well. Unfortunately, a rider from Topsport Vlaanderen hit the barriers going into the final kilometer and clipped Matti."
That rider, Vanspeybrouck, may need surgery to fix his broken finger, his team confirmed to Sporza. He also suffered a mild concussion.
Orica-GreenEdge was also unlucky on the stage to Breda, losing two riders in the run-up to the final sprint. Leigh Howard and Jens Mouris crashed with about 6km to go, a wreck that Orica sports director Laurenzo Lapage blames on a non-selective stage and chaotic battle for the sprint.
“Today it was not windy enough,” Lapage said. “No wind made the race slow and then quite hectic towards the end. Everyone was fighting for position and there were very few good trains.
“The hectic finish produced some crashes, and that is what caused Leigh to crash. He is okay though, just a bit of road rash."
The wreck left Orica-GreenEdge sprinter Jens Keukeliere without his lead-out men, and the Belgian could only manage 12th. "Once Leigh and Mouris had come down we were unlikely to win the race, you just can’t do it on your own," Lapage said.
“We are pleased that Jens (Keukeleire) got across the line safely. When the race is a bit frantic like that, you can sometimes forget your ambitions for the overall (classification). It is important not to lose time, so it is good that Jens is safe.”
Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling) was involved in the crash with Howard and Mouris, but was lucky to avoid any serious injury. “I don’t know what happened except that I lost control of my bike and fell on the side. I walked away without any real injury, but I was not able to get back to the head of the main group to lend a hand to my teammates. It’s pretty annoying because we saved ourselves the whole day to play for the win in the sprint. But cycling has never been an exact science. I scuffed my elbow and my right knee has lost a bit of skin, but it is nothing serious."