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"Today, we had an extreme amount of bad luck again. Five of our six riders crashed. Andreas Schillinger and Ralf Matzka are being examined once again as a precaution," Poitschke says




01.04.2014 @ 20:39 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In Gent-Wevelgem, most of the NetApp-Endura riders crashed and so the team lined up at today's Driedaagse van De Panne with a depleted 6-rider roster. The bad luck continued for the German team as five of those riders crashed in the opening stage that also left GC rider Jan Barta with a time loss to big favourite Niki Terpstra.


The most difficult section of the short Belgian tour, "The Three Days of De Panne," awaited the riders right at the start. Thirteen short but steep climbs and a few cobblestone sections had to be completed on the 201-kilometer course from De Panne to Zottegem.   Peter Sagan (Cannondale) managed to beat out his teammate Oscar Gatto and Kenneth Vanbilsen (Topsport Vlaanderen) in a group sprint. Jan Barta, Team Net App – Endura's best finishing rider, crossed the line with the chase group, placing 38th.


"Today, we had an extreme amount of bad luck again," said Enrico Poitschke, Team NetApp – Endura Sport Director. "Five of our six riders crashed. Andreas Schillinger and Ralf Matzka are being examined once again as a precaution.


"Jan crashed too, but when it came time for Sagan's decisive attack, he was in a very good position. Unfortunately, he couldn't maintain the explosive acceleration.


"The goal was to go into the next stages without any loss of time. We weren't able to achieve that. In light of the crashes and the fact that we couldn't support Jan in an optimal way, we just have to be satisfied with the result."


Six riders broke away from the field 70 kilometers into the race, building up a maximum lead of more than four minutes. With 65 kilometers to go, the leaders broke ranks, with one of them attacking from within the group.


Several hills in succession marked the last 28 kilometers to the finish line. During this race-deciding section, a new seven-man lead group formed, which managed to maintain the lead until the final eight kilometers.


Several favorites caught up to the lead group after having launched an attack and breaking away from the peloton on the second-to-last hill. The group was able to defend its lead of a matter of seconds, claiming the day's win among themselves.


The second stage tomorrow will take the riders from Zottegem back to the coast and then to Koksijde. The riders will have to climb the four hills of the day in just eight kilometers during the 206-kilometer stage. The day's winner will most likely be decided in a mass sprint after racing three times around an 11-kilometer circuit in Koksijde.



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