Tour de France: Martin Velits replaces injured Vandenbergh on Omega Pharma Quick Step team
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tour de France: Martin Velits replaces injured Vandenbergh on Omega Pharma Quick Step team

by Shane Stokes at 8:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Tour debut means twin brothers will compete together in race

Martin VelitsOmega Pharma Quick Step rider Martin Velits will join his twin brother Peter on the already-announced lineup for the Tour de France, marking a very rare occasion for siblings to race together on the same team in the race.

As was the case in the past with Andy and Frank Schleck, Miguel and Prudencio Indurain, Stephen and Laurence Roche, the Pélissier brothers and others, the duo will compete side by side in the event. Peter Velits has competed in the race three times in the past four years and was 19th overall last year; Martin Velits will make his debut, being a late callup today after Stijn Vandenbergh decided he couldn’t take part.

Last week the former Tour of Ireland winner was announced as being part of the team but has now had to pull out due to a saddle sore.

"I had this problem in the last 10 days, and it was almost solved," he stated. "But Sunday's national championship exacerbated the problem. Together with the medical staff of the team, we decided not to take risks. This is why I will not participate in the Tour. I am really sad, but I think there are no other solutions.”

Vandenbergh implied that he would be okay to start, but that there was a problem that the issue could have cropped up again. “The Tour is a demanding race, and you need nine riders completely ready and healthy for the fight.”

Velits is happy to get the chance to ride but also feels for his team-mate. "It is a shame for Vandenbergh,” he said. “I can imagine how he is feeling now. I know how difficult it is to train and be ready for a race and then be forced to not participate because of an injury. That is why I will give it all for the team and for him at the next Tour. I am ready, am in good condition and am really looking forward to my first Tour de France."

The 27 year old was second to his brother in last week’s Slovakian time trial championships, and was also fifth in the road race.


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