Wilco Kelderman slid down the Vuelta a Espana's overall standings after an unfortunate late puncture on stage 7 to Cuenca. The Sunweb rider lost 17 seconds to the group of overall leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) and dropped from 11th to 14th overall.
Kelderman's woes hit with 20km to go when he suffered the puncture. He received a quick wheel change and was being paced back into the peloton by his teammates when a crash happened in front of him, opening a gap that his group never closed.
"On the worst possible moment today I had a flat tyre, just before the final climb," Kelderman said. "Immediately after there was a crash and the bunch split. With the team we tried everything to come back and in the end we closed the gap down to 17 seconds on the group of favourites. It was a tough day but we will continue to try in the coming stages."
Kelderman dropped to two seconds behind teammate Warren Barguil in the overall, now at 1:45 in the standings behind Froome.
Jesper Hansen suffers on in Vuelta after double crashes
"Yesterday, a few hundreds meters after the end of the last climb we faced some narrows roads, and the guy who was in front of me lost the control of his bike," Hansen recalled. "He fell down and I couldn't avoid him because of the speed. I literally flew out from the road and shock, besides the pain, was really big.
"Yesterday evening with the doctor we did all the medical check that luckily excluded any bone fractures. Today, well it hasn't been easy to ride for more than 200km, but I did it. I felt pain on the ribs when I was standing on the pedals, but I think it is normal… I will have to suffer a bit more, but I want to keep fighting to be helpful for my team in this Vuelta."
Bystrøm out of Vuelta with fractured scapula
The Katusha-Alpecin squad lost Sven Erik Bystrøm on stage 7. The Norwegian was part of a crash during the stage to Cuenca and although he finished last on the stage, 18 minutes behind stage winner Matej Mohoric, he later learned that he had suffered a fracture to his back.
Movistar's Vuelta woes continue as Rojas misses out in Cuenca
The Movistar team have had no luck in their home Grand Tour, with Carlos Betancur, the team's best-placed rider on GC, crashing out on stage 6. Their misfortunes continued on Friday's stage when Jose Rojas, arguably the quickest sprinter in the successful breakaway, missed out on the win after his chasing group failed to reel in eventual winner Matej Mohoric (UAE Team Emirates).
"It's obviously sad to be missing out by so very few seconds, but when one who's stronger than you takes the win, you can't do anything but congratulate him - Mohoric was the best on course today," Rojas said. "He already attacked before the hardest part of the climb, and I tried to follow him because I knew he was the wheel to follow. I could catch him, but at the top I was really cooked, had to take a breath at the turns later on and the other ones did not cooperate. It was just a moment's hesitation, but it was enough for him to open a gap and win, despite the fact that we got on well with each other after realizing the danger of that move.
"It makes you angry, because the whole team deserves some joy after such a bad stretch we're going through. I'm feeling great, the Vuelta is only one week old and with these legs we should be able to fight for some more days - it was just that we found a strong rival today. The race is not over, and we'll keep on fighting because we deserve a stage more than anyone else."
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