Quick Step riders fighting onwards through pain of yesterday’s crashes
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Quick Step riders fighting onwards through pain of yesterday’s crashes

by VeloNation Press at 4:21 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
Chavanel, Boonen, Ciolek and Steegmans feeling after-effects of falls

Sylvain ChavanelFrench road race champion Sylvain Chavanel drew upon the motivation of being in his home race to get through today’s sixth stage of the Tour de France, feeling a lot of pain after yesterday dislocating the acromion-clavicular joint in his right shoulder.

He was one of several Quick Step rider who were under pressure because of the falls on stage five, and dug deep to get to the line. In fact, he almost pulled out of the race, but was persuaded to keep going.

“It's been a day I will remember for a long time,” he said afterwards. “I'm still in the race thanks to my sports directors. I even stopped during the stage, but they spurred me on by reminding me that this is the Tour and that I'm carrying the symbol of my country on my shoulders.

“I stuck it out even though the mobility in my shoulder is really limited. I can't jump and every time I try to stand on my pedals, I'm shot through with pain. To suffer like this while riding is no walk in the park, but I also want to stay tough for all the fans who have supported me, even today along the sides of the roads.”

Unsurprisingly, he ended up losing a lot of time. He finished 12 minutes 26 seconds back in 188th place, crossing the line as part of the last group on the road.

Team-mate Tom Boonen was in trouble on yesterday’s stage, crashing heavily and suffering numerous cuts and bruises. He didn’t sleep well last night and started today’s stage feeling stiff; he knew a battle was in store, and so it turned out.

“It was a hard day. Today was definitely not the right stage to recuperate after a fall,” he said. “The rain, the wind and the kilometres all made for a really hard race. I did my best. I was feeling the consequences of the fall, but I got through one of the most difficult times that a rider can go through after a crash.

“Now all I want to do is recuperate some energy. I'm really looking forward to the rest day so I can try to recuperate better and then I'll try to do something good.”

Boonen finished closer to the front that Chavanel, completing the stage two minutes 23 seconds behind winner Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Procycling).

In contrast, team-mate Gerald Ciolek fared very well, despite also being stuff. “My legs weren't exceptional,” he said, despite finishing a fine eighth. “I was feeling yesterday's fall a lot; at 20 km to go I had even a flat tyre and I was forced to chase the group for few kilometres. In the sprint I got on Hushovd's wheel. I was in perfect position. I tried busting off his wheel, but I didn't have any explosiveness.” However he said that the result gives him confidence for the days ahead.

Gert Steegmans rolled home as part of Chavanel’s group, almost 13 minutes back. He described the day as ‘really difficult, a sufferance,’ but things worked out fine in the end. “In the beginning of the stage I was also having a hard time finding a hand position that would allow me to brake,” he explained. “It wasn't easy, but I managed to finish the race. Tomorrow is also going to be hard, more than 200 kilometres. However I want to continue the race.”

Like Boonen and Chavanel, he is a past stage winner in the race and would like to help the team get strong results from this year’s Tour. It lacks an overall contender and so will concentrate on stage victories.


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