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"At some point, he had spent his energy and he didn’t make the selection before the final climb up Côte de la Citadelle de Namur and finished 16th. We weren’t the only team that was affected by the big crash."

Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo




16.09.2015 @ 23:19 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

A torrential downpour throughout GP Wallonie made way for crashes that threw a spanner in the works for multiple teams. Tinkoff-Saxo had four riders, including captain Bruno Pires, taken down by a front bunch tumble that sent Pires chasing to get back in contact with the front of the race. The Portuguese finished 16th behind winner Jens Debusschere.


Tinkoff-Saxo had to approach the second part of GP Wallonie from behind, according to Head Sports Director Steven de Jongh, after team captain Bruno Pires was brought to the ground in a big pile-up.


“It was very rainy and we had appalling conditions with downpour from start to finish. That, of course, was the same for everybody but our team captain Bruno Pires was unfortunately one of our riders that crashed with about 70k from the finish line. With so many riders down on narrow roads, he had to wait for a bike and when he got back up, he had a lot of chasing to do. He mostly chased on his own, as three of our other riders also went down”, says Steven de Jongh and adds:


“He finally made it back up to the decimated main bunch and in the finale he went a few times with Bakelandts, as he knew he was the rider to follow. At some point, he had spent his energy and he didn’t make the selection before the final climb up Côte de la Citadelle de Namur and finished 16th. We weren’t the only team that was affected by the big crash, but I believe that he would have been there in the front group if he hadn’t gone to the ground”.


GP Wallonie offered 198km of hilly racing in the Belgian Ardennes and was ultimately won by Jens Debusschere in a late move with Pires taking 16th after a dedicated effort from stagiaire Michael Gogl to bridge the gap to the front group on the final climb. Unfortunately, Tinkoff-Saxo’s second stagiaire in the race, Felix Grossschartner, had to abandon the race after sustaining injuries in the main crash.


“Felix really crashed hard. He hit his knee, elbow and head. As we rushed to him, we could see that he had marks on his helmet. Fortunately, there wasn’t any need for an ambulance and he could follow the rest of the race from the team car. He is now on his way back home to recover. Overall, a dedicated effort from the team and Pires but today it wasn’t meant to be”, finishes Steven de Jongh.



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