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"There has to be a moment where you draw a a line in the sand and start looking forwards, look at the positive things and what projects we can still do,” Garmin-Sharp sports director said.

Photo: Sirotti

DANIEL MARTIN

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DYLAN VAN BAARLE

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EF EDUCATION - EASYPOST

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FABIAN WEGMANN

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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KOLDO FERNANDEZ DE LARREA

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NATHAN HAAS

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RYDER HESJEDAL

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THOMAS DEKKER

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TYLER FARRAR

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11.05.2014 @ 18:24 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

A dramatic crash during the team time trial saw four Garmin-Sharp riders, including their co-captain and local crowds favorite Daniel Martin hitting the deck hard and marked what can be called a worst possible Giro d’Italia opening for the American squad. Even though the Irish leader and Koldo Fernandez pulled out of the competition with broken collarbones while the rest of the team finished the stage 3:26 town on the maglia rosa, team’s sports director Charly Wegelius insists that they are still determined to fight for stage victories and good result in overall classification.

 

Martin and Fernandez abandoned the race before its second stage, while two other riders involved in the crash, Nathan Haas and Andre Cardoso, were injured but able to continue their Irish adventure. The 2012 Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal suddenly became the sole leader of the American team, however, sitting over three minutes town on best placed general classification contenders.

 

In such circumstances, Garmin-Sharp sports director gave his riders a sufficient time for coming to terms with a hugely disappointing opening of the season’s first grand tour race, but emphasized that after eating humble pie they will use it as an additional motivation to excel in the three-week event.

 

“It’s important to allow the riders a bit of time to be disappointed,” Wegelius said, “because they work hard and they care about what they do. But after that there has to be a moment where you draw a a line in the sand and start looking forwards, look at the positive things and what projects we can still do.”

 

“The two riders that are still in the race that are injured” - Andre Cardoso and Nathan Haas - “they’re going to need a bit of time to work their way through it. But for the healthy riders, this is the Giro and there can be opportunities around every corner so I don’t think we need to switch off for any given amount of time. The race starts in an hour and we’ll be racing along with everybody else.”

 

“So there can be opportunities from today onwards and we have to be ready to take them.”

 

Fortunately, despite sustained injuries Cardoso and Haas didn’t seem to suffer throughout next two wet and windy stages in Ireland, finishing in the same time as the main group on both occasions.

 

As for what actually happened, Wegelius said “from the brief images I could see online, there was a manhole cover or something on the road that Dan hit, and at that speed, with how close the other riders are, there’s not much you can do.”

 

“We try and control everything we can by being studious, but there are parts of racing that is just luck and that was just bad luck.”

 

The other Garmin-Sharp sports director Bingen Fernandez described the scene of the dramatic incident as a total chaos.

 

“four riders ahead, four riders down, broken bikes....,” he recollected.

 

“There were riders all over the place, I could see Dan had something broken, you’re running from one rider to another, trying to help them all, get one bike, then another...”

 

“There was a little rut in the road and a metal manhole cover, he says he hit one and then the other but I reckon it might have been the whole combination [that caused him to crash]. It wasn’t so bad in itself [as an obstacle] but it caught his wheel and with it being wet, he went down.”

 

In such circumstances, American squad’s managers were actually pleased that one of their riders – Fabian Wegmann, was dropped earlier on the stage so he could quickly join the quartet of those who stayed ahead of the crash, particularly Hesjedal, Tyler Farrar, Thomas Dekker and Dylan Van Baarle.

 

“We were lucky he [Fabian] had been dropped, because otherwise he would have been in the crash as well.”

 

“Just as soon as he got there, I yelled at him at the top of my voice ‘Go!, Go! Go catch them!’ And he had to go flat out, the poor guy got there [to the crash] and didn’t know what was going on, but I shouted at him and he went straight up the road to do what he could.”

 

Being forced to reconsider Garmin-Sharp’s goals for the Giro, the American squad will focus not on the sprints for Farrar and stage wins, what panned out pretty well for the American squad in the previous edition of the Italian grand tour, thanks to Ramunas Navardauskas.

 

Garmin’s sport director disagreed, however, to completely rule out their chances for a good place in overall classification with Hesjedal, as the Giro is known for its unpredictability.

 

“Obviously Nathan Haas was going to be one of the riders who would help him and I can’t ask a lot of Nathan right now, [but] Tyler’s a skilled rider and Dylan Van Baarle is another good rider at getting into position [in bunch sprints] so I don’t see why we can’t look for a lot of opportunities from today.”

 

“No, not at all, this is the Giro d’Italia, [Spain’s David] Arroyo finished second one year in the Giro d'Italia [2010] going in a 56 rider break that got half an hour’s lead, anything can happen. As far as I know, the race finishes in another 20 stages and we’ll see where Ryder’s position is after that.”

 

“I even saw the sun a few times so far,” he joked briefly before pointing out on a more serious note “but the riders until then were riding extremely well. The condition in the team is there and we will have to make use of what we have.”

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