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“He was in a good position in Viviani’s wheel but he came down and Luka had no where to go. It was only lost skin but it’s always a shock to the system to crash in the sprint."

Photo: Sirotti

LUKA MEZGEC

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TEAM SUNWEB

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TIRRENO - ADRIATICO

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TOM VEELERS

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12.03.2015 @ 19:06 Posted by Andy Pedersen

It was a crash-marred sprint finish which defined the opening road stage of Tirreno-Adriatico today, with Luka Mezgec victim to a touch of wheels that saw a high-speed pile-up in the closing hectares of the stage.

 

With Luka Mezgec in a decent position for a strong finish, all hopes were dashed with around 100m to go as the sprint opened up but quickly ended for several riders. He was able to get up and roll over the finish line but it was not the way he or the team wanted the stage to pan out.

 

The majority of the 153km stage from Camaiore to Cascina was a steady ride, dominated by a five rider escape group that got away early in the stage. After two climbs in the first 36km the parcours was a steady flat run to the finish and with the break’s advantage maxing out at five minutes they were never really in contention of staying clear for the stage win.

 

The race came back together with 15km to go on the technical finishing circuits and it was here that the first crashes started to occur. You had to have your wits about you and good positioning to stay out of trouble and here the team did a good job in staying problem free.

 

The team were working for Luka Mezgec and despite him losing the wheels on one occasion the guys managed to get him into position in the final kilometre. It all came crashing down within the space of a second though as a touch of wheels by the two riders in front of him ended it as he went straight over the top. It was only skin lost but the fall will set Mezgec back after already being under the weather ahead of the race.

 

Team coach Rudi Kemna said after the race finish to the Giant-Alpecin website:

 

“We came into the lead with 5km to go with Luka in the wheels for the sprint. At 3.5km out the guys lost Luka as he struggled to hold their wheels. They managed to bring him back to the front and get him into a good position but it was hard.”

 

“He was in a good position in Viviani’s wheel but he came down and Luka had no where to go. It was only lost skin but it’s always a shock to the system to crash in the sprint. The plus side is that their communications were good in the race to ride together.”

 

Tom Veelers added to the comment that it was under the 4 km mark everything went wrong for the Giant-Alpecin team:

 

“Everything was looking good until about 4km to go, after that we lost each other and didn’t manage to get Luka into a good position for the finish. In the hectic final we lost each other too often, and then it was too bad that he crashed and wasn’t able to get a result after finally being up there at the finish.

 

“Me personally, my day wasn’t too bad but my shape was not the best. The knee was feeling OK today though which I am happy with.”

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