Gilbert loses chance of winning Santos Tour Down Under
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gilbert loses chance of winning Santos Tour Down Under

by Shane Stokes at 12:21 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
World champion delayed by crash, as was Matthew Lloyd

Philippe GilbertPhilippe Gilbert made no secret of his ambition to ride well in the Santos Tour Down Under, seeking to highlight his rainbow jersey in the first WorldTour race of the season, but the goal of a high general classification finish or perhaps even the GC win evaporated today on the road to Rostrevor.

The Belgian rider hit the deck on the descent off the Corkscrew Hill climb and while he was not badly hurt, a mechanical issue meant that he lost more time. He eventually finished 71st, two minutes 49 seconds behind the stage winner and new overall leader Geraint Thomas (Sky).

“I crashed with 30 or 40 guys,” Gilbert said. “They were lying there right on the corner. We just hit them. It was pretty impressive. I just had time to go to the left of the road and another group came behind us.

“It was very fast and there was a big crash.”

However he had already realised that he was not in as good shape as he had anticipated; this may lessen the blow of being out of contention now, as his time loss would be harder to accept if he felt he was one of the strongest in the race.

“When Geraint attacked, I was already at my maximum and it was still a long way to the top,” he explained. “I tried to stay on the wheel, but I did not have the condition.”

Also losing time was the Lampre Merida rider Matthew Lloyd, who had wanted to perform well on home soil. He too hit the deck, and he trailed in eight minutes 18 seconds back in 129th place.

“I came around a corner and found a whole bunch of dudes on the road. Nowhere to go. I was (doing) around 50 to 60 km/h. It wasn't too bad, but unfortunately there were 30 or 40 guys who came over the top of us,” he said. “We had nowhere to go. It's one of those things. You cannot do anything about it.”

He had been going well but said the accident just unfolded in a way that was hard to avoid. “It was fast and there were corners everywhere. We were in a group of about ten guys, there were four off the front, we were just behind. It was all relatively close. I am not sure who slid out first.”

Gilbert is now 61st overall while Lloyd is 115th. Both are however better off than the FDJ rider Arnaud Courteille, who was forced to pull out of the race with a mild concussion and a suspected broken nose.

Giovanni Visconti was also banged up but managed to finish. The Movistar rider was due to undergo x-rays as a precautionary measure.

here for a video summary of the stage, and here for a race report and photo gallery.


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