It was a rough day in the office for ORICA-GreenEDGE at the Vattenfall Cyclassics. The team had high hopes for a strong showing in the presumed bunch sprint. The day started according to plan before things went terribly awry in the final hour of racing.
“We were well positioned until everything went wrong,” said Matt Wilson. “It was an easy race until that point. Everyone was fresh. Then, in a space of two kilometers, we had two guys out. Ten kilometers later, Gossy [Matt Goss] punctured, so we lost our race leader. Daryl crashed inside one kilometer to go. We were all there, and it was looking good for us, but cycling is like that sometimes. It can go from good to bad pretty quickly.”
Stuart O’Grady and Jens Keukeleire were involved in a crash inside the final hour of racing. They tangled up with another and both ended up on the ground. According to team doctor Peter Barnes, a trip to the hospital for xrays revealed a broken collarbone and four fractured ribs for O’Grady, who will undergo collarbone surgery tomorrow. Bloodied and battered, Keukeleire received stitches to a laceration on his upper thigh.
Goss’ untimely puncture took him out of contention for the finish, and ORICA-GreenEDGE looked to Impey to deliver in the sprint. As Impey kicked it up a notch, he found himself caught in a pile-up a few hundred meters from the line. The crash images showed Impey still on the pavement as the other rider slowly picked themselves off the road.
Barnes confirmed that Impey suffered rib fractures. Head and neck scans came back clear, and suspicion of a collarbone break proved false.
Although Wilson, who announced his retirement from racing last month, had hoped to close out his racing career differently, he remains excited about the transition ahead.
“I started the race with a tinge of sadness, but I’m excited at the same time,” he noted. “I’m looking forward to my new role with the team. I leave for the Vuelta tomorrow where I’ll begin to learn about my new role as sports director. It’s a very fast changeover, so I won’t really have a period to reflect. It’s been a wild ride with memories and experiences that I will never forget.”