Hammond frustrated with Paris-Tours finale
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hammond frustrated with Paris-Tours finale

by Conal Andrews at 6:34 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Fall Classics, Paris-Tours

Roger Hammond has shown excellent form since riding the first Grand Tour of his career but his goal of a strong result in today’s Paris-Tours race was frustrated by a fall during the prestigious Autumn semi-Classic.

"I went back to get a feed bag,” said Hammond after the race. “Then there was a crash and for some reason some guys just took ridiculous evasive action and took out my front wheel. As I went over the handlebars, I caught my wrist and damaged something in it. I couldn't put all my weight on the bars which restricted the way I could race.

"I got back into it and then with six km to go there was another big crash which just stopped most of the peloton. It was just one of those days where the race was decided by the crashes rather than how good you are.”

The 230 kilometre contest was won by Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) who jumped early in the finishing sprint and held off Tom Boonen (Quick Step). Gilbert took his second successive win in the event, while Borut Bozic (Vancansoleil) netted third place.

Hammond finished 35th, crossing the line as part of the main bunch which was sprinting for 22nd place. The riders were one minute behind Gilbert, losing most of that time because of the crash.

"I'm disappointed because I had great legs - I felt really strong,” explained Hammond. “The last few races since the Vuelta have been going really well. I had high hopes for today really. When you have good legs, you're motivated. To have it decided by a crash that's not even your own fault is really frustrating. If you crash yourself - you take risks and crash, well okay. But when you're riding in a straight line on a straight road…well, I don't understand how people can crash like that."

Hammond’s Vuelta put him in great form for the final few races of the season. He finished eighth, second and third on stages of the Circuit Franco-Belge, netting third overall, and then scooped fourth in Paris-Bourges on Thursday.

Sports Director Jean-Paul Van Poppel said that Hammond was the designated leader for the race, but that things didn’t work out. In fact, at one point he wasn’t even sure he’d finish the race. “We were concerned because it looked like he broke his arm or his hand. It was tough,” he explained. “Jez (Jeremy Hunt) stayed with him…after a couple of minutes Roger really showed his character and he fought his way back. He's super angry that it happened because he was in a good chase and after that he was never really back in the race; he came back to the bunch but he didn't have the power. It was a shame for us because he was the best man for us today.”

The team had something to show from the race, though, as German national champion Martin Reimer finished in the chasing group, netting a top ten result.

"Martin had a free role today to do whatever he could. He did well,” said Van Poppel. “It's a fantastic result to get ninth at just 22 years old. It is really promising for the future.”


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