Argos-Shimano: a more flexible Tour de France jury would help
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Friday, July 06, 2012

Argos-Shimano: a more flexible Tour de France jury would help

by Kyle Moore at 7:34 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Dutch team rues more bad luck; Poels, Txurruka show their mettle

Argos ShimanoAfter a particularly tough Tour de France stage into Metz, with a high-speed crash inside the final 30 kilometres affecting a large portion of the peloton, teams are growing increasingly frustrated with bad luck, injuries, and time loss.

One of those teams is the Dutch wildcard invitee Argos-Shimano, which has already lost its protected young sprinter Marcel Kittel to stomach and knee problems earlier in the week. Backup sprinter Tom Veelers has impressed in his opportunities, but he did not get one on stage six, after getting caught in the crash, along with most of his team-mates. Only Roy Curvers was able to make it through unscathed, and he finished 12th on the stage for Argos-Shimano.

As with many team managers, Argos-Shimano boss Rudi Kemna is frustrated, indicating that there is plenty of blame to go around, and not just to riders or race situation.

“The whole day it was very nervous. Everyone wanted to be in the front, sprinters and [general classification] riders. And they all wanted to have their teammates with them. And that is just not possible,” Kemna stated.

“GC riders don’t belong up front. But they're there because they’re afraid to lose time. And that is because the jury is very strict. They relentlessly ensure that riders don’t get back in the peloton behind cars. If the jury is more flexible the race would stay a lot calmer and crashes will not happen that often.”

Though things haven’t been how he’d like, Kemna did manage to see the bright side.

“Marcel became sick and that was a big loss, but the team handled it very well,” he added. “It also opened new options. Tom did a very good job. It was good to see the team switch so easily to the new scenario. That's promising, also for after this Tour de France. I’m sure we will see our boys again in the mountains the next days.”

Team manager Christian Guiberteau gave an idea of who that could be. “Every team will want to have a rider in the breakaway. So we will have to choose the right moment,” he said. “[Along with Yann Huguet and Johannes Fröhlinger], Matthieu Sprick is also capable. And with Albert Timmer we have someone who has already proven to be a good attacker.”


Poels, Txurruka put courage on display; Erviti out, Gutierrez doubtful


With a big crash at such a high rate of speed, injuries and abrasions increase greatly, which was the case with several riders after hospital visits. Vacansoleil-DCM rider Wout Poels was originally reported to have abandoned just after the crash, until it was learned later that he hadn’t, then he had again.

As reported in a team press release, Poels has officially abandoned after being diagnosed at the hospital with a rupture to the spleen and kidney, along with bruised lungs and three broken ribs. After the crash, Poels was loaded into an ambulance a first time, before deciding to get back on his bike. Ten kilometres later, he abandoned for good.

Along with confirming the abandonment of Mikel Astarloza, who dislocated his elbow, Euskaltel-Euskadi is reporting injuries to Amets Txurruka and Gorka Verdugo. Txurruka finished the stage in a group 13 minutes in arrears, but was then diagnosed with a broken collarbone. He will be forced to withdraw. Verdugo suffered a gruesome leg wound and is doubtful to start stage seven.

In the Movistar camp, Imanol Erviti is confirmed out. He is facing surgery after being inflicted with a deep gash in his right leg with muscle mass lost. And Jose Ivan Gutierrez is unlikely to start tomorrow with a knee injury. X-ray scans have ruled out any breaks or tears, but the Spaniard is having trouble walking.

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