Van Houwelingen denies Flecha reports

Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) was unlucky

Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) was unlucky (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)

By Bjorn Haake in Schoten, Belgium

Reports about Juan Antonio Flecha not being happy with his team-mates and the team orders coming from directeur sportif Adri van Houwelingen are incorrect, according to the directeur. Flecha claimed that as he was left to fend for himself he wasn't able to eat or drink during the French Spring Classic, which "helped break" him later in the race.

"It's a lie," said van Houwelingen. "What was written in the press was a lie. [Flecha] was talking to a friend and someone from the press was listening, but took the wrong conclusion."

While van Houwelingen admitted that the team's Paris-Roubaix result was bad luck, he confirmed there was no break-down of the team's radio communication system or anything like that. "After the forest [Wallers-Arenberg], there were only two team-mates in front of Flecha," said the Dutchman.

One of those team-mates was Sebastian Langeveld, who had an extremely impressive ride in the Ronde van Vlaanderen a week earlier. After being in the first threatening break with George Hincapie (Team High Road) and Stjin Devolder (Quick Step), amongst others, Langeveld then stayed with the group of favourites and even attacked again before the Bosberg. Langeveld was caught in the Belgian race, but it was a good move to launch Flecha, who came within nine seconds of Devolder before fading to third place.

"I did not want to stop Langeveld," said Houwelingen. "If he wouldn't have crashed, he would have been in the top eight, for sure."

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