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“It was really unfortunate to see Geraint go down when at such a key point in the race. He did a great job to fight his way back to the front group but he’d used his energy up for the final," sports director Servais Knaven...

Photo: Sirotti












01.04.2013 @ 12:18 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

A 17th place for Edvald Boasson Hagen was the end result for the mighty Team Sky in yesterday's Tour of Flanders. Unsurprisingly, the outcome did not live up to the British team's expectations in a race where a crash at a crucial point and illness took out a number of the team's strongest riders.


Prior to the Tour of Flanders, a number of the pre-race favourites had pointed to the collective strength of Team Sky as a dangerous threat on the Belgian cobbles. With riders like Edvald Boasson Hagen, Geraint Thomas, Mathew Hayman, Ian Stannard and Bernhard Eisel, the team had a number of proven contenders in their ranks.


The British team ended up delivering an anonymous performance, and the end result was not any more spectacular. Boasson Hagen was the team's only representative in the group sprinting for 4th, and the fast Norwegian was too tired to participate in the sprint.


The team's most likely contender in the race was Welshman Thomas. As it was the case in Sanremo, the Olympic gold medallist was, however, involved in a crash at a crucial time as he hit the deck on the approach to the Oude Kwaremont climb. He was unhurt, but spent a lot of energy in his fight to return to a high-speed peloton.


“It was really unfortunate to see Geraint go down when at such a key point in the race," sports director Servais Knaven said. "He did a great job to fight his way back to the front group but he’d used his energy up for the final."


Many were surprised to see key riders like Bernhard Eisel and Mathew Hayman disappear from the front early in the race. Both had shown strength in the races leading up to the big day, but a bout of illness ended up being their undoing when it mattered most.


“It’s a disappointment for everyone," Knaven explained. "The riders expected more. A few are upset because they weren’t fit enough to impact the race. To train hard for the race for such a long time and then to have the likes of Bernie (Eisel, ed.) and Mathew (Hayman, ed.) ill is very tough."


With such a stroke of bad luck, Knaven had no reason to criticize the performance of his riders, and he now look forward to the possibility of making amends in next Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.


“We certainly can’t fault the effort of the guys," he said. "We gave it everything we had. Edvald was in the perfect position on the Kwaremont but you just have to say that there were stronger riders today. We will concentrate now on getting the guys rested up and ready for Roubaix and we’ll give it everything we have.”


Despite the lack of results in yesterday's race, the team remains at the top of the WorldTour ranking.



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