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“Jan was up at the front up until the next-to-last climb. Unfortunately, that was when he had a mechanial, which cost him his good position. Had that not happened, he certainly would have had a much better result," Poitschke says

Photo: Roth / Team NetApp

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07.04.2014 @ 13:56 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jan Barta may be mostly known as a time trialist but yesterday he proved that he may turn into a classics contender. Despite suffering a mechanical at the bottom of the Oude Kwaremont inside the final 20km, the strong Czech battled his way back to finish the race in 31st.

 

In a race marked by numerous crashes, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) prevailed to win the 98th Tour of Flanders. After 259 kilometers, the Swiss native dominated the four-man sprint, coming in ahead of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) and Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin-Pro Cycling Team), both of Belgium.

 

Jan Barta was Team NetApp-Endura’s best rider of the day, reaching the finish line in Oudenaarde in 31st place.

 

“Jan was up at the front up until the next-to-last climb. Unfortunately, that was when he had a mechanial, which cost him his good position. Had that not happened, he certainly would have had a much better result.

 

"All things considered, we can still be quite pleased with the outcome. Our guys rode a very good race from the very beginning. They tried everything they could and each of them gave it their all. Even still, we had another stroke of bad luck since we were involved in various crashes,” Enrico Poitschke explained after the Tour of Flanders.

 

On the 259-km route from Grote Markt in Bruges to Oudenaarde, the cyclists had to complete 17 mostly cobblestone hills and six other cobblestone sections. The route started off flat and headed south, where the first of the legendary climbs such as the Oude-Kwaremont, the Koppenberg and the Paterberg waited for the field after 109 kilometers.

 

The race got off to dynamic start before a lead group of 11 riders pulled away at around the 40-km mark. While the escapees managed to build up as much as a six-minute lead, the trailing field was involved in numerous crashes, which also affected Team NetApp-Endura.

 

“Right now it doesn’t look like anyone was seriously injured. Michael Schwarzmann, Ralf Matzka and Andreas Schillinger were brought down. Luckily, none of them had to go to the hospital. All of them are doing as well as can be expected,” Poitschke said as reassurance.

 

As predicted, the race itself turned into an elimination course. On each of the climbs, both the breakaway group and the pursuit group were decimated again. The last breakaway rider was ultimately caught on the Steenbeekdries, 40 kilometers before the finish line. Fabian Cancellara launched his attack 20 kilometers later, which would ultimately decide the outcome of the race. Although he reached the finish line in Oudenaarde with three fellow escapees, the others stood no chance against him in the sprint.

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