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"What a stress! Days like these really hurt. The balance is really heavy," sports director Gayant says

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ARNAUD DEMARE

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DAVID BOUCHER

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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JOHAN LE BON

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MATTHIEU LADAGNOUS

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MICKAEL DELAGE

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TOUR OF QATAR

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YOANN OFFREDO

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11.02.2014 @ 10:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

FDJ failed to put a rider in the front group in yesterday's crosswinds drama in the Tour of Qatar but there was a good reason for their absence. In an extreme case of bad luck, several riders hit the deck and David Boucher and Matthieu Ladagnous are now both out of the race.

 

Last year FDJ proved that they have assembled a rather strong team for the cobbled classics. Most of them are preparing another assault at the tough one-day races in the  Tour of Qatar and they got their race off to a solid start on Sunday when Arnaud Demare sprinted to 8th on stage 1.

 

Yesterday everything went wrong when crosswinds wreaked havoc on the peloton. When the decisive 24- rider group went clear that was no FDJ rider there and there was a very good reason for their absence.

 

It had already started early in the race when Mickael Delage had suffered from stomach problems. Luckily, he started to feel better but it was just a signal of what was to come.

 

Demare and Matthieu Ladagnous both suffered untimely punctures that saw them end in the third group when things split up for the first time. Later Ladagnous was involved in a crash with Borut Bozic (Astana) that ultimately and even though he managed to finish the stage, examinations have revealed a dislocated shoulder and he won't start today's time trial.

 

Things came back together but when Omega Pharma-Quick Step created the decisive split, bad luck was again the destiny for FDJ. Yoann Offredo crashed and found himself in the third group with Laurent Mangel, Ladagnous and Murilo Fischer who had all been caught up b the crash. Offredo complained about pain in his scapula but has been cleared to continue.

 

Johan Le Bon and David Boucher were both in the second group with Delage and Demare when they both hit the deck. Le Bon managed to finish the stage despite a sore shoulder but Boucher was unable to continue. Luckily he has suffered no fractures.

 

In the end, the best finisher for FDJ was Demare who finished in the 2nd group on the road with Delage and the team have now lost all GC hopes as well as two important riders.

 

"What a stress! Days like these really hurt. The balance is really heavy," sports director Gayant said to the team's website.

 

Starting at 12.45 CET you can follow the time trial on CyclingQuotes.com/live. You can read our preview here.

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