Team Garmin-Cervélo kicked off its Spring Classics campaign in true Belgian fashion — in the mud and rain. While a late-race crash kept Martijn Maaskant from a top result in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Tyler Farrar fought back from two flats to take a fourth in the field sprint at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Director Johnny Weltz sent these reports:
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
The first race in Belgium this year and it was a really Belgien race — cold and rain from start. We had a strong team at the line up, and were up front all day where the action was.
We had quite a few flats who kept the mechanic very busy all day. A group went clear almost from the beginning, but they never gained a lot of ground. One of the favorited teams took up the chase right away and keep them at three minutes.
So when we hit the main difficulty of the race with cobbles and hills, people where already tired. We had our guys up in the front in with all the action and when it really hit the fan, Martijn was the strong man from us who was right on the spot.
He was in the right move and was in the group of 11 who would decide the race. Unfortunately he crashed on a cobble section right when the deciding move happened and when he caught back to the front group he had already spent too much energy.
At that point the front duo were up a minute on the road, but he still managed a seventh spot. If it weren’t for the crash he would have been on the podium!
200 riders on the start line today and Belgium gave us its nicer side. We had four riders exchanged from yesterday, and the youngster Ramunas Navardauskas one of them and as the plan was to get someone up the road he was very active pursuing that goal.
He got into the right break and it got the go from the peloton. It had almost seven minutes when they passed a railway crossing that was open but began to blink as the motor bike and caravan. But the commissaries had another opinion about it and said it was closing and disqualified the whole break!
It had an serious influence on the race as it would have put pressure on the race and brought us into a better situation. Now it started over again with new attacks, and we kept up the bad luck from yesterday with flats and crashes at bad moments with Tyler, Gaba and Daniel.
It took its toll on the team but we still did solid team work to bring Tyler to the finish line in as best position as possible, with a special nod to Johan and Martijn who were really strong.
More photos from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: