Crashes Hamper ORICA-GreenEDGE's Ambitions at E3 HarelbekeFri 28 Mar 2014
Six ORICA-GreenEDGE riders fell victim to crashes at E3 Harelbeke, dashing the Australian’s outfits hope for a strong result in the second Belgian classic of the week. Svein Tuft and Mathew Hayman hit the ground hard shortly after the peloton hit the hills. The duo never rejoined the race. Tuft’s head bore the brunt of the impact of his crash while Hayman sustained injuries to his right calf. Both will be taken to the hospital for a full exam this evening.
Jens Keukeleire, Jens Mouris, Michael Hepburn and Mitch Docker were caught behind the pile-up that took out their teammates. Mouris turned himself inside out in attempt to deliver Keukeleire and Docker back to the main bunch. Hepburn missed out on the Mouris express and pulled out the race when it became obvious the bunch was too far gone.
After fully emptying himself in pursuit of the front bunch, Mouris packed in for the day. The main group remained out of reach for Keukeleire and Docker. The duo were deeply disappointed that they were unable to put their meticulously honed form to good use in the pointy of the race.
Luke Durbridge and Daryl Impey flew the flag for ORICA-GreenEDGE in the increasingly shrinking peloton. Durbridge and Impey remained well-positioned and attentive over the Knokteberg, Hotondberg, Rotelenberg, Kortekeer and Hotondberg. They moved toward the front in the run-toward the Kapelberg only to get caught behind a crash on the Paterberg.
The front group rode away from Durbridge and Impey as they worked their way around the fallen riders. The South African would finish 3’14 behind race winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale). Durbridge came in just under two minutes later.
Sagan proved top dog in a tactical finish, handily winning a four-up sprint. Dwars door Vlaanderen winner Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) edged out Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) for second while Terpstra’s teammate Stijn Vandenbergh finished one spot off the podium. Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) led home a chase group of 15 at 1’16.
“The big crash took out six of our guys,” said Impey. “It was really unfortunate for them. They’ve been working really hard toward this race. We saw the other day that they really had the ability to make an impact, and I know they were looking forward to testing themselves today.“
“Durbo and I rode well to stay in the front group,” Impey continued. “Just before the Paterberg there was another crash. We were caught behind it, and we ended up chasing all the way to the line.”
“I haven’t raced in Flanders for quite awhile,” Impey added. “I went a bit better today than what I have in the past. This has gotten me a bit excited to race Tour of Flanders now. Hopefully we’ll have a bit of luck on our side.”
Injury Update (3/28 23:15 CET) After spending the evening at the hospital, Svein Tuft was diagnosed with a concussion while Mat Hayman has a small hematoma in his left calf. Michael Hepburn will take Hayman's place in Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.