Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank) suffered a setback to his Classics preparations today, crashing in the opening stage of Paris-Nice. The 2011 Tour of Flanders winner managed to finish the stage but was later taken to hospital. Scans and tests revealed no broken bones and Nuyens aims to start tomorrow’s 185 kilometer stage.
“Luckily, there are no broken bones. But naturally, I'm sore and especially my hip took a hard beating in the crash. My preparations for the Tour of Flanders are only in danger if I'm unable to complete Paris-Nice so I'm really hoping that I'll be back in the saddle tomorrow,” Nuyens said.
Saxo Bank team director Tristan Hoffman said: “Nick was riding very fast today and was one of the best after the climb but on the descent his front wheel slipped and he slammed hip first in to a traffic island."
Nuyens finished 6.11 minutes down on the winner, Gustav Erik Larsson (Vacansoleil-DCM) and was therefore Hors Délai. But the race jury decided to lift the disqualification due to "his crash because of the slippery road". The Belgian should therefore be able to take the start line again on Monday and continue his preparation to defend his title at the Tour of Flanders on April 1.
Nuyens has become Saxo Bank’s most important rider this season after Alberto Contador was banned last month for a doping violation. The team has yet to hear their fate as to whether they can keep their WorldTour license. Contador had provided over 60 percent of their points.
The team started Paris-Nice with Spaniard Daniel Navarro as their leader for the GC. He finished 61st in the opening stage, 36 seconds down on former Saxo Bank rider Gustav Larsson (Vacansoleil-DCM)
“After a physically demanding training camp I'll try to make a good result in the Paris-Nice GC. I've had a solid build-up for the race with plenty of kilometers in perfect conditions and I hope the effort will bear fruit here and the races to come,” said Navarro.
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