For a squad like Garmin-Sharp, 21st place in the opening team time trial of the Vuelta a Espana was a major surprise - but the fact that no less than four of their nine riders crashed on a corner mid-way through the stage has a lot to do with it.
“Somebody’s back wheel slipped out on the roundabout and four of them came down. It was a shambles to say the least,” Garmin-Sharp sports director Allan Peiper told Cyclingnews this morning.
“They took it hard into that roundabout, Andrew [Talansky] led in, Koldo [Fernandez] slipped out and brought three guys down on top of him” - Thomas Dekker, Christophe Le Mevel and Michel Kreder.
Worst off was Thomas Dekker. “He has the most skin off his knee, elbow and hip, and his knee was a bit swollen last night. It’s painful now but he says he’s ok on the bike so hopefully he’ll be all right.
“The thing is we’d done a lot of work on the kind of efforts the guys were going to need for the team time trial, what to do and what not to do and where to do it. We don’t have the all-star line up but we’ve got a very homogenous group here and I thought top five was possible, and at the mid-way point we were ten seconds down on [provisional stage leaders] BMC so they were doing well.
“But we’ll come round this one. As Jonathan [Vaughters, team manager] likes to say ‘onwards and upwards’ or something like that.
“It’s not bye-bye GC but every second you lose is a second you need to get back. Sometimes it can be an advantage if you want to move up some places, but Andrew was obviously disappointed, he’s come here with high aspirations, but these are things that all leaders encounter at some point in time. You have to deal with it and get on with it.”
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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