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"That’s when Zak Dempster and Andreas Schillinger tried to get Sam into the best possible position, but Zak ultimately crashed as well. By then, we had lost our entire sprint train and Sam was left to fend for himself,"...

Photo: TNE/Roth






31.03.2014 @ 13:26 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sam Bennett continued his excellent first professional season when he sprinted to a top 15 in his first-ever WorldTour race, Gent-Wevelgem. The result was a consolation for Team NetApp-Endura who otherwise had a disastrous day in Belgium.


In his first major Classic, Gent-Wevelgem, Sam Bennett sprinted to a 12th place finish, thus clinching the best result to date for his team in a WorldTour Classic race. After 233 kilometers, John Degenkolb (Giant – Shimano) prevailed ahead of Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and last year’s winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale).   Unfortunately, this race also claimed many crash victims for Team NetApp-Endura. Scott Thwaites went down and suffered an arm injury right before crossing the Kemmelberg for the second time.   More crashes followed during the hectic final stretch. This time, the two crashes took down three riders for Team NetApp-Endura – Paul Voss, Daniel Schorn and Zak Dempster. Scott Thwaites, Paul Voss and Daniel Schorn were taken to a nearby hospital.    While Scott Thwaites’s only got stitched up on his arm, it was confirmed that Daniel Schorn broke his collarbone and two rips. Paul Voss broke his finger. Both riders will undergo surgery within the next days. Zak Dempster luckily remained pretty much unharmed.


“We picked this race so that we could have an especially good showing, but we never would have guessed that crashes would cut our team nearly in half," sports director Andre Schulze said. "We completely focused on Sam Bennett and the final stretch. 


"Up until then, our guys were always doing a great job at the decisive points in the race, particularly the Kemmelberg. Four to five of our guys were always at the front of the pack. 


"Basically everything was going according to plan until Scott crashed crossing the Kemmelberg for the second time, eliminating our first rider. Then shortly before the final stretch everything was prepared for Sam when lots of riders, including Paul Voss and Daniel Schorn, were involved in a crash going through town. 


"That’s when Zak Dempster and Andreas Schillinger tried to get Sam into the best possible position, but Zak ultimately crashed as well. By then, we had lost our entire sprint train and Sam was left to fend for himself. He was still too far behind and boxed in, which meant that he couldn’t ride an optimum sprint.


"There is still a silver lining to the race, since our guys were in tune with one another and worked extremely well together. Unfortunately, the crashes nullified all of that."


A breakaway group of five riders, who pulled away immediately after the start, set the pace for a long time. The field showed no ambition and allowed the leaders to build up a 10-minute lead.It was only halfway into the race that the teams began to cut their lead. 


When the field crossed today’s most important hill, the Kemmelberg, for the first time, the lead was only four minutes. Paul Voss primarily represented Team NetApp-Endura at the front of the field. 


In general, the team was always well represented in the front groups. Shortly after completing all of the hills, 30 kilometers before the finish line, all of the escapees had been caught. As expected, the final stretch of the race was hectic, with a relatively large group sprinting to decide the outcome of the race. A number of crashes even affected many of the favorites.



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