Omega Pharma-Quick Step denied possible Vuelta victory by wayward race motorbike
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Omega Pharma-Quick Step denied possible Vuelta victory by wayward race motorbike

by Ben Atkins at 6:24 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Tony Martin and Zdeněk Štybar led off course after Belgian team one of the fastest at halfway

tony martinOmega Pharma-Quick Step’s poor luck in this season’s Grand Tours continued in today’s Vuelta a España opening team time trial in the Navarran city of Pamplona, as two of its strongest riders were led the wrong way by a race motorbike. The team had been fastest at the 8.1km checkpoint, just short of halfway through the 16.5km course, but finished a very close second to then leader Rabobank, which had been eight seconds slower at the check.

Both teams were pushed down by Movistar, which went ten seconds quicker to put Jonathan Castroviejo into the red jersey, but the Belgian team could only look back to what might have been.

"The team had a great performance today," said directeur sportif Davide Bramati. "We had a great time at the check point.

“At more or less 8km to the finish, we entered into a roundabout,” he explained. “The motorbike in front of us took the wrong way; turning left instead of going straight. Tony Martin, who was leading the team at that time, followed the motorbike, it's a question of instinct. We reacted immediately, but we lost Tony and Zdeněk Štybar, who were the two first riders.”

Having lost the two riders, particularly Martin, the reigning World time trial champion, the rest of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step riders - having reorganised after the incident - were unable to find the same pace again.

“The rest of the guys continued riding even if we lost a lot of time because of it,” said Bramati. “Everybody had to brake and find the race pace again; we were third at the end. It's a good result, but we could have done better without this problem. We will fight again in the next stages. The GC is really close.”

Initially, the team was classified as having finished fractionally slower than Rabobank, whose riders spent an agonising wait in the ‘hot seat’ in the finishing area, only to have their hopes dashed at the last by the fast finishing Movistar team. It now appears however, that it should have been Omega Pharma-Quick Step in the seats, as the teams’ positions have been reversed.

Netherlands champion Niki Terpstra is the Belgian team’s best placed rider, in seventh place, ten seconds behind six Movistar riders.

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